Are Fairphone dead already?

Usually, the first sign of a company declining into bankruptcy is a lag of communication. Not necessarily a lag of marketing communication, mind you. A struggling company tries to pretend to be well and alive by sending out marketing news and the like, however, in the background there are to few people left to keep up the normal workload plus communication.

I don’t know if this is the case here.

But it seems like it.

Over two months (!) ago, I send a message to Fairphone support and have not yet received a reply. Judging by other posts in the forum, I am not the only one.

Sure, this could just be bad service, but in the past we got replies very quickly.

Even more concerning is a look at the open positions: Fairphone are looking for a ‘Software Development Manager’ for quite some time now and they write in the job advert: ‘Deadline to apply: We review applications on a rolling basis. Please apply as soon as possible.’ And yet, a friend of mine – who was working as a manager of a development team for yeas and whose experience met the demands of the vacancy almost spot on – did not even get a reply.

Are Fairphone really still looking for people? Are they still handling support requests? Or are they struggling to survive and hope they can make it just another day until they run out of money, waiting for something to happen.

What do you think? Will there be an investor? Will someone buy Fairphone lock, stock, and barrel? Will they just vanish?

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Fairphone definitely seems to struggle with getting the support done and has a huge backlog of over a month, but as far as I can see it, eventually people get served and also receive support or replacements if necessary.

The software lead developer quit his job a few weeks ago, so it seems logic they are looking for a new one.

Anyhow, from what I see, it doesn’t look like they’re dying, but that they are still a small company with limited resources, that apparently is overwhelmed with the support inquiries.

On the other hand, FP wanted to sell 140.000 phones a year, in May they had sold 40.000. Don’t know what that means in regard of the company’s economic sustainability.


Hmm, I’m not sure. The manger would be the developer’s boss. The position is also advertised since at least mid-April. (Of course they probably new that the developer was going to quit before he or she posted that.)

In any case, what worries me is the fact that they don’t seem to try to fill the position.

The numbers you quote are, of course, even more worrying.

I did get support and replacement part few weeks ago, story here:


me too, had to wait for ~1 week, which is very reasonable.


Strange. Maybe they are just ignoring FP1 users.

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that’s strange indeed. it wouldn’t fit with their claim of sustainabilty :sunglasses:


I don’t think so. They also currently have a new Software for the FP1 for testing, so obviously they still care about FP1.

As I said, they have a backlog on support requests.
You can always give them a call, that’s faster. If you think they have overlooked your ticket, you can remind them also here.


There is a lack of communication, I agree.

But I guess they careful choose what fights they pick. It’s easy to waste resources on “small” problems. They try to sell the FP2 mostly to LOHAS/ex-Apple users, so the main point is: It has to work and with a stable app store. All other things (Free software, updates, longevity) don’t matter that much right now. But I hope they will find the time to fix this later … and also report more about the T3G stuff.

And if you cannot put a positive spin on it, don’t talk about. Talk about it once it’s fixed.

I totally get that from a company perspective, but it saddens me to see this from a project I care about. I guess it’s called risk aware PR these days.

I also dislike that there is nearly no real hard info on the hardware or about the contracts they have with others (Google, HW, mines …)

But on the other hand: They came pretty far, so they must be doing something right. It’s not the critic that counts …

; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. (TR)


Well, I don’t mean to say they do it on purpose. (So, ‘ignoring’ was the wrong word.) I imaging they have so and so many person (left) for FP1 support and so and so many for FP2 and the FP1 guys (one?) are the ones with the backlog. Something like that.

Insignificant thinks like a hardware fault?

Happy customers are also very important in my opinon. I am considering to get a new phone now. And believe me, it would not be a Fairphone.

However, I will do that first. Thank you for the hint.

Still, there remains the fact, that they did not really try to fill the open position. I will have to remain worried for now. :frowning:

I’m sure they are aware of the problems, they just don’t talk about it unless they can provide a fix. I assume that’s the risk management I was talking about. I have the feeling they try not to talk about the future (“promises”) or about ongoing issues with the phone to prevent speculation, rumors and disappointed customers that will probably bind even more resources. I’m just guessing all this, because as I said, there is not a lot communication here about this. All we know is that the support is super busy.

I’m not a big fan of this, but this is how it seems to be done these days. But you cannot say that there is no progress at all.

Hey all,

Thank you for starting this discussion. I understand fully that things can look opaque from time to time as to what is happening at Fairphone.

First of all, we would like to apologize for not replying to tickets in a timely manner at the moment. In the few past months since the delivery of the Fairphone 2, our small support team has been overwhelmed by the amount of email we’ve received. Despite trying a variety of ways to improve response times and reduce the number of open requests, it’s still proving to be a very difficult task.We are currently hiring new people to help the support team and members from other teams are using any spare time they have to help the support team.

We expect that we need some more weeks to get the response time back to acceptable lengths and are very thankful for your patience.

Also we do indeed prioritize tickets depending on the problem. Someone who is asking for help on how to configure their Wifi will sadly be answered later then someone with a broken FP2 or FP1. For the FP1 it also matters if the device is still in warrenty as we feel a bigger obligation to help these people faster.

It may sound unfair, but these days we have to resort to these kind of measures to make sure that the people with the biggest problems get support the fastest.

As for your other question about the open position for a software team manager: I’ll ask internally what the status is.

EDIT: to add status of software team manager.

The software team is on a steady path releasing timely updates and fixing bugs at a good pace at the moment. It seems they work better then expected without a manager and are really good at managing themselves. Therefor the need for this position has declined and we also now removed it from our website.

In order to continue developing new options and improve the OS we are now discussing to maybe hire junior Android devs.


Love it :slight_smile: Wish this school of management could spread…


Interesting, and fair enough. In my view Fairphone should have a dedicated person or people whose job it is to respond to all customers with a maximum response time of a few hours, even if it’s just an acknowlegement that the message has been received and is being dealt with. For a small company customer service and personal communication is a key differentiator from the big boys and one that no small company, however ethical, can afford to neglect.

If people feel they are being listened to they will be patient. If not they will get pissed off and go elsewhere, which would be a real shame given Fairphone’s positive start.


+1 to this. I was really worried with the one month delay to my possibly broken Fairphone issue but felt much better when I got a reply from Borjan with options. Ultimately, great support but if I hadn’t patient, could have left me just worried. A quick auto-reply would indeed have helped.

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Most probably you received a responce, but it may was automated and electronically…so.
That´s the way it´s done by the big boys simply to save time and money. Fairphone is still developing. Some things work better, others need time to develope.
Just imagine a big player delivering more than three huge sw updates adressing problems within less than 5 months (for free) just as FP has done…more and more big players rather tend to try selling a successor model ignoring eventual “software” problems and state to the public - there is no known software issue with your device modell hence to this no sw update is in work. Maybe you´ll get a security update and if so any fix might not be listed in the change log.
When buying a FP2 no one should seriously consider comparing this with buying from a well known established global manufacturer. If not wanting to accept some facts, simply go and buy from one of the big boys.

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But Fairphone are seriously missing a trick if they neglect the customer service side. The thing is, it’s not too hard to solve as it is a management issue rather than a technical one. The way all IT / tech companies are going is to become more agile and responsive, and that includes the big guys. Big companies are acting like small ones, and It’s happening pretty fast. Those that fall behind in this regard are almost guaranteed to fail.

It´s these kind of rumors being spread which can seriously bring companies into trouble.
But imagine, there also were times when no one could even imagine of Nia being passed over to M$ for just a small obolus pay.
Fairphone is still forming it´s shape and surely has a lot of competition specifically in this market. I believe no one of the global players wanted this to happen that such a small company as FP actually managed to launch such a special product and start a market impact. Even this time G
*le had put their nearly ready to launch phone to a freeze for whenever they may move on.
And that´s comparable with David vs. Goliath. Of course there may have been other reasons as well. Anyway that´s the fact, FP sells/deliveres, G***le not, other manufacturers may start thinking of new ways which was FPs idea from the beginning. Imagine the same thing actually is going on in the automobile branch - Tesla sells/deliveres, other big etablished manufacturers may try to disrepute, or may also start to think different (specifically neglect german manufacturers here of course).
From my first contact with FP as a early backer (order no. some about 9000) I had up to now only short responce times (few days). I can´t realize any unsatisfactory in my case. But on the other hand I knew what I would get and could experience right from the start, a new phone which may still have problems and maybe or maybe not having to get back to the manufacturer for issues. But surely no state-of-the-art phone which could compete with any top modell out there from a established manufacturer just because FP2 was not low prized. Generally I´m quite satisfied with it and it does all I´m expecting from it.


My FP2 has worked without a glitch since I got it begin of this year. (Except for the status LED inconsistency which was solved by an early update)

Good post @Douwe!
But I think such information does not belong into a hidden place in a community forum, but rather to a very noticeable spot.
It may shy away potential customers to read about heaps of unanswered tickets on the main page. But reading about the company openly admitting customer service problems and trying to solve them is still better than reading so many complaints in the forum, where potential and real customers may get the impression that once they have spent all the money and received their device they are pretty much left alone. This could have devastating effects.

Why not even writing on the main page (or support page) something like:
"Currently there may be some waiting time depending on what issue you have, see forum entries ([put here some links to complaining forum entries]). But we are working on it, last week we solved so and so many tickets…"
Show awareness! Show that the forum is not just read by isolated forum-responsible persons, but that the company as a whole is aware of customer issues and customer feedback. Show that the company is aware that every customer is a needed ambassador!

In one of the customer support job offers you write “You understand how people FEEL when technology goes wrong”. Yes, spot on!
People will be happy about every straw - just anything but a seemingly massive silent wall in front of them and their issue.

If I had a ticket, here is my over-the-top wishlist:
I’d want to log in somewhere, and see the amount of tickets in front of mine, hopefully shrinking every day. Plus maybe statistics how many people had a similar problem and how quickly they received help…

PS: Everybody who is truly patient maybe likes to be thanked for their patience. But someone who is seriously pissed because of not having heard anything in weeks - maybe not so much :slight_smile:


Support helped me very efficiently with both replacing my broken back cover and my display with bright spot on it. No complanints at all. (FP2)