Moto E 4G LTE – The device is locked

I purchased two of the Verizon Wireless Moto E 4G LTE prepaid phones during Best Buy’s Black Friday sale.

When they finally arrived, I opened them up and powered them on only to find the following error:

The device is locked. Please return to the store to properly scan and unlock the device.

How to fix this error:

Long story short, if you see this error when you turn on your phone, take it to a Best Buy brick and mortar store with the original packaging and the receipt from your order. Show them the error on the screen of the phone and tell them you want to return and repurchase the phone.

When you repurchase the phone, make sure they scan the two barcodes on the bottom of the phone’s packaging. One barcode says above it “Scan Barcode Below For Activation”. The other is the phone’s IMEI. Make sure the employee scans BOTH of these barcodes into the system. After you’ve completed the transaction, turn the phone off and back on. You should no longer see this error message.

This resolution should work for any Verizon Wireless prepaid Android phone that displays this error.

How I found the resolution:

Since I purchased the phones from, naturally I wanted to resolve this online rather than going to a brick and mortar store.

I e-mailed Best Buy using their contact us form on their website. I never received a reply. Apparently, Best Buy doesn’t bother responding to requests using this method.

Next, I called Best Buy’s toll free number, 1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289). I was put through to a seemingly knowledgeable customer support representative. I explained the situation and she assured me that she would help resolve the problem. Once she realized the phones I had called in about were prepaid devices, I was quickly dismissed and informed that her system only allowed her to resolve post paid device issues and that I would need to contact Verizon.

I attempted to reach a Verizon customer service representative using their prepaid support phone number, (888) 294-6804. I tried every combination of entries to attempt to reach a live human using this phone number, but I was not able to. Don’t even bother ever calling this number if you’re not already a Verizon Wireless prepaid customer. It’s worthless.

I then tried Verizon’s general support number, (800) 922-0204. I reached a customer service representative who, when I explained the situation, said I needed to reach out to prepaid support. She gave me the same number, (888) 294-6804… Great, thank you for your help. What’s next?

Verizon Wireless chat support! I started a chat support session and described the situation. The rep was very friendly and assured me that he would resolve the situation. After finding out that it was a prepaid device, he said there was nothing he could do. But he did find a prepaid chat support rep that he transferred me to. The prepaid chat support rep also told me that there was nothing he could do to help and he provided me with a phone number that took me directly to a Verizon Wireless tech support representative. If I find the number, I’ll post it here. It may come in handy.

I called the number and, surprisingly, I was directly put through to a technician! It seemed like he was going to be able to help. He asked me for the ICCID and IMEI of both phones. I thought this was a good sign. But to my dismay he told me that there was nothing he could do. The phones were still in Verizon’s inventory and he couldn’t do anything to release them.

Out of options, I sucked up my pride and went to a Best Buy brick and mortar store. I walked up to customer service and explained the problem. They had to get one of their phone specialists. When he came over, I described the situation again, showed him the error on both phones and told him that I was quite certain that if I returned the devices and repurchased them the error should disappear. He complied and returned the phones. I repurchased the exact same phones (since they didn’t have any in stock). He scanned the correct barcodes into the system and I paid for the phones.

I powered both phones down and turned them back on. The error was gone. Euphoria overtook me.

If you Googled this error and found your way here, I hope that this story will prevent you from going through the same headache.