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Scam Alert -

If you're reading this, you too probably want to get your impossible-to-unlock iPhone carrier-unlocked.  You did some googling and found  You read a lot of positive reviews.  You saw their Facebook page with a flood of comments from satisfied customers.  Their site looks comparatively legitimate because they have an address and phone number published.  Maybe you're planning on placing an order with them.

Don't.  It's a scam.  Allow me to share my story.

My iPhone 4S is with Japanese carrier Softbank.  Japanese carriers (esp. Softbank) are infamous for never unlocking phones--esp. the iPhone. said they could do it.  It was expensive, but I reckoned worth it considering the yen I could save.  I placed my order around the end of October, 2012.

They told me to be patient.  I was.  I waited and waited and waited.  My order status showed "submitted to unlock server."  I got hopeful.  But nothing happened.  No reply.  No unlock.  Nothing.

My patience began wearing thin around January 2013, almost 3 months after placing the order.  I contacted them through their support page.  It took several requests each time to get a reply.  I even called them.  Each time the response was similar:
* "Please wait."
* "We haven't heard back from that carrier yet."
* "There was a delay with this carrier.  The orders will start going through in 7 business days."

Here's the actual support thread.  My requests are in black, while theirs are in blue.
Mon Jan 28 2013 05:58 am
My order has said "submitted to server" for over 6 weeks now. Please advise.

Wed Feb 20 2013 06:57 am
Please respond to my request.

Wed Feb 20 2013 08:48 am
We are just waiting for an update back from the supplier , when we do get this your order status page will be updated and you will be emailed,thank you for your patience

Mon Feb 25 2013 01:43 pm
I placed my order over 4 months ago. I think it's time you issued a refund.

Wed Feb 27 2013 02:07 am
Please respond to my request.

Thu Feb 28 2013 12:35 am
If you don't issue a refund immediately, I will take legal action.

Thu Mar 07 2013 12:22 am
Please respond to my request.

Thu Mar 07 2013 09:05 am
We have no new update for that network as yet , when we do the order status page will display it , thank you for your patience

Wed Mar 13 2013 11:33 am
I placed my order almost 5 months ago. Please provide an update.

Wed Mar 13 2013 11:43 am
If we do not get the unlock confirm for your IMEI/ESN in the next 7 working days we shall get a refund issued for you

At this point I was pretty sure that this was a scam.  I did more Internet research and found similar reports of fraud and nightmarish experiences with this company:

How I Fought Back
Like most problems I thought this one warranted a multifaceted approach.  I attacked this from several angles.

Call the Credit Card Company
I called my credit card company and told them what happened.  It was a straightforward story that they likely hear time and time again, so they calmly asked me to send them the invoice emails, support threads, etc.  They initiated a claim.  I was worried about how much time had passed since placing the order, but the fact they opened a claim gave me hope.

Submit a Report to Action Fraud
I reported these criminals using a website setup by the UK police:  Unfortunately, I'm not even sure they're really located in the UK.  The information on their site could all be fake.  Their site's IP addresses resolve to Costa Rica and Switzerland--behind "Cloudflare," an infamous free CDN service popular among scammers due to the no-questions-asked anonymity provided.  The guy on the phone had a British accent, but that doesn't prove anything.  Perhaps he's on the moon counting his scammed money, dreaming of the day he can afford a London flat.

Assuming they are UK-based, you can find their current company information using UK's Company House website:  This may assist in filing a report with Action Fraud.

Initially this was the company info:
Company No. 07838094

Then I found this one.  Is it the same?
Company No. 08487536

Perhaps this outfit ditched their old company name and registered a new one--likely because the old one was getting quite a number of fraud complaints.  Therefore, I suggest searching Companies House to see if they've jumped ship again.  It's no mystery why they no longer disclose their company info on their website.

Despite the effort, I considered it time well spent to submit a report to Action Fraud.  I'm not expecting much, but I hope they can do something if enough victims unite and submit reports.  So I encourage you to do so if you too are a victim.

Submit a Report to Citizens Advice / Trading Standards
This is the UK equivalent to the Better Business Bureau.  I used their site to submit an enquiry, and they contacted me directly through email.  However, they said they could not do much since I'm located in Japan.  They did say they would report the company's activities to Trading Standards.  I figured that was better than nothing.  Again, I think it's one of those things worth doing because it will get noticed if enough victims speak up.  Here's the link:

Speak Up
I'm writing this article so that other potential victims can be spared.  I encourage others to do the same.  Harvest the infinite power of the Internet to blog, post, podcast, tweet, facebook, youtube, etc. about these criminals.

The Endgame
Mid-March, 2013 I received an email from stating that my credit card company had initiated a charge-back.  They threatened to blacklist my iPhone and report me to the authorities if I did not call-off the charge-back.

Here's the actual email text:
We have been informed by our payment processor that a chargeback has been initiated by yourself against the unlock for IMEI:

In accordance with our terms and conditions (see below), proceedings will be initiated in 48 hours for the blacklisting of this IMEI from working on ANY network worldwide, INCLUDING the original network it was locked to. Please note that this is PERMANENT - once an IMEI is blacklisted, there is no possibility of removing this entry. You were warned at the time of purchase of the consequences of filing a chargeback and de-frauding our company.

In addition, if you are based in the UK, we will be filing a Money Claim Online for the cost of the service itself, plus GBP25.00 court fee, GBP25.00 chargeback fee, and £50 administration costs.

If, however, this was a mistake on your part, then you can halt this process is by replying to this email where we will collect payment for the unlock via bank transfer or credit/debit card and immediately halt the blacklisting/small claims process.

Kind regards,
Chargeback Administrator

The Official iPhone Unlocking Team
iPhone Accessories and Repairs Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales no. 7838094
0121 510 2140
13.1 We will not tolerate any attempts to obtain our services by fraudulent means. We report all such attempts to defraud our company to the relevant credit reference agencies and authorities.
13.2 To combat fraud, we are obliged to log the IP addresses of customer computers at each and every stage of the buying and delivery process.
13.5 In case of any chargeback, the associated IMEI will be blacklisted in the iTunes database, preventing it from working on all networks worldwide. This is PERMANENT.

Then my order status showed this:

The IMEI will not be sent for unlocking. Your IP has been logged and passed to the card authorities, the IMEI has also been blacklisted within the Apple iTunes database from working on ANY network worldwide.

The cardholder will be refunded in full.


Handset Model:
Locked to:
Softbank Japan

14 Mar 2013 13:23:18 - IMEI submitted to unlock server

Approximate Timeframe: 5-10 days - please remember, that when considering timeframes, unlocks aren't processed at weekends.
If the timeframe has been exceeded, it will either be that your handset is barred (lost or stolen) and hence requires a slower method, or one of the reasons below:
Unlocks were offline for 1 month due to the Chinese New Year. Unlocks will start coming through from this Friday on a limited number per day, please be patient.

This made me laugh and served only to 100% confirm my suspicions that this "company" (if you could call it that) is indeed fraudulent:
* This wasn't a business transaction.  Threatening people for financial gain is extortion.  Isn't that a crime?
* Their site says that they aren't responsible for delays.  They'll take your money, but they aren't responsible for delivering the service.  That alone should be a red flag.
* The delay is due to Chinese New Year?  Really??  Here in Japan we don't celebrate Chinese New Year, you dummies.  If you're going to lie, then at least get it right.
* If they couldn't get my phone unlocked in 5 months, how could they get it blacklisted in 2 days?  This is yet another lie, so now they're not just thieves, but liars too.  Much worse.

My Softbank iPhone is just fine, and my money is back.  My phone is still carrier-locked of course, but I learned a valuable lesson.

There's just too much fraud wrapped around carrier-unlocked iPhones.  The best way to get a legitimately factory unlocked iPhone is from the Apple Store or by directly asking your carrier to unlock it.  If your carrier won't do it, then chances are that anyone else claiming they can do the impossible is a thief.

Perseverance is king, so I haven't yet given up on my dream of owning an unlocked iPhone.  Stay tuned for the exciting continuation of this intriguing adventure!

I posted a follow-up to this article: Scam Alert - - Part 2

UPDATE - 2014/8/5
Be careful because iPhone unlocking scams are everywhere on the web.  Generally speaking, it's a scam if the unlocker claims to unlock phones from providers that never unlock (Softbank, Au, Docomo, etc.) and/or they offer iCloud activation lock bypass/removal service (

Here are some sites that are also scams:

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  • Guest - Karol

    It just happened to me!! I took my iphone5 back to US which I bought in Japan from Softbank and have been using it in Japan like 1 year, before I left Japan I have paid off all the balance. My order was placed on 2/7 2014, and they sent me a e-mail to me yesterday saying my IMEI was blocked!! So I will not get my refund back!! The reason maybe remaining balance or contract issue! I was like what the heck!! This morning I was trying to call their company and they hang up my phone for three times!! Until I did some research about this company I found your page. Then I was doing the suggestion you wrote,call to the credit card company first! I am waiting this company's next reply about how to do with my money! Next step I will do as what you did, contact the English police!

  • Guest - Steph

    I have had a hellish time with these guys. And I mean HELLISH

  • Guest - Mohan Hegde

    My experience was exactly same. They asked for pound 19.99 for unlocking my AT&T phone but after they got the money they wanted more pound 90. I initiated a charge back and got the same email from one Stephanie. Looks like they have changed their company to

    iPhone Accessories and Repair Ltd
    The Oakley
    Kidderminster Road
    Droitwich WR9 9AY

    They threatened to blacklist my iPhone's IMEI number too. Please be aware of this company.


  • Guest - NyaonSS

    Hi dear,
    I 've done... ;-(
    Thy say my phone is bad as"you believe the status of your iPhone to be clean and can provide proof that the IMEI is not lost/stolen or in contract, please reply to this email with proof and we will be only too happy to authorise a card refund. "
    Off course I wrote the results of checking my phone is clean to them via email, No answer comes me yet.

    from Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
  • Guest - Keith

    Hello. And yes I have ordered an unlock for my Iphone 4s of which is on EE in the UK. I have just found out that they do not have an address on their site just as you have found out which is odd to say the least. I have paid the so called "Pre-pay" price of 19.99 quid. And now they are asking for 59.99 quid of which does not make sense because they have not deducted the 19.99 quid off of the payment due price. I have sent them an email, now I am waiting to see if they come back to me, if at all.

    from Finland
  • Guest - rocky yang

    I am so pissed off about this, It was my own fault for believe their Facebook likes, and comments.
    I know there is no way, I will get my money back.
    Do you thing there is way to shut them down for good.

    from Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Guest - not_a_geek

    Guest - rocky yang

    There is a way to get your money back. I asked my credit card company to charge back. As they have not provided me with the service.
    And i did that about a year after i placed the order. But still i got my money back. Almost USD 350.

    So check with your credit card company share all the details you can.
    Hopefully you get your money back.

  • Guest - Victor

    They are a fraud.
    Had not only one, but three situations with them as they did not unlock the iphones when they were checked to be clean before I ordered and after I ordered they said the iPhones were blocked and had to purchase a more expensive service from them (FRAUD).
    Other situation as I placed order as they calimed to be able to unlock, and then unlock not possible and they claim to give you refund or credit for next unlock request, well I got neither one.
    Third situation was similar to first as iPhone was legit purchased in USA, all bills paid, nothing wrong because it was from a friend off mine who upgraded to lattest iPhone and decided to offer iPhone to nephew in Portugal. These FRAUDSTERS claimed iPhone was blocked from being stolen or phone bill not paid?! How come if the invoice came along with iPhone and proof of all bills paid.
    iPhone had to sent back to USA so the owner could unlock it directly at the carrier, and guess what...THESE FRAUDSTERS after iPhone had been unlocked at the carriers shop, they sent email saying that they (FRAUDSTERS), had successfully unlocked the iPhone. Sad but true.

  • Guest - david

    i paid them almost 200 USD for couples I phone and i pad, no luck, so please guys its 100 percent scam official i phone unlock
    the credit cards companies wont refund you because its authorizes by cards holders. stay away from

  • Guest - Ian

    Great article!

    There are no greater scammers than these guys. They have stolen so much cash I'm surprised they are still in business...:D

    By the way, the Chinese New Year comment refers to where most of the unlock code providers are located. A huge part of the unlocking sector shuts down when the Chinese go on holiday.