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Considering to buy a new Fairphone? You should NEVER!

This is an honest message from a customer very frustrated with his product and customer service experiences. If having a reliable and properly working phone, and a customer service that helps you when you need them, then you definitely should NEVER BUY a Fairphone.

To understand my reasons, please read the (on-going) story below.

On 14th of August I bought my Fairphone 3, a Protective Case and a Screen Protector (order # FP200158071) for a total of 501.45 euros. A high investment that I took amazed by the possibility of reducing my footprint in the world. Enthusiastic with the phone, I also invested in the new cameras to upgrade it on a purchase realized on the 8th of September (order #FP200159040) for 81.90 euros. In sum, I spent 583.35 euros on a phone that was definitely not worth it.

Soon after I picked up the phone, I started experiencing a recurrent issue: my phone would suddenly reboot. At first, I thought it was just some minor issue, but then the frequency of the reboots kept rising to a point that every 15 minutes or so it would reboot. Despite me using it or not.

Very upset about the poor experience I had, on the 23rd of September, I emailed the customer experience canceling the order of my new cameras (it does not make sense to upgrade a camera for a phone that doesn’t work properly) and asking for support (ticket 387129 and 387130).

Until now I have not received my money back. Yes. Believe it or not, it has been almost two months waiting for it. When I inquire the customer service about why haven’t I received my refund yet, all they say (it is really a copied and pasted message every single time) is that I should contact my bank. After replying to the customer service that my bank is uninformed about any “pending” transactions suggesting that Fairphone has never refunded me, their customer service simply stopped replying me. If I don’t receive my money back within a week, my next step will be to find a lawyer and sue them for denying my customer rights and not giving me my money back.

Regarding my poorly working phone, the support I received from the customer services hasn’t been any greater. All their copied and pasted messages are about deleting applications, erasing all data on my phone, and blames on my service operator and SIM card. All these steps were taken and my phone still doesn’t work completely fine, despite being three months old. It has been two months of explaining my issues to the customer services who were dedicated to saying that the problem was everything but the phone itself (my apps, my data, my service operator, my SIM card). How frustrating is that?! I thought I was buying a dream phone, but instead, I bought a nightmare one.

The company motto is “the change is in your hands” but their customer service has never done anything to make my experiences better, although the change really was in their hands as I was asking for help and support the entire time.

I deeply regret buying the Fairphone due to all disappointments I have had and I hope no one commits the same mistake I did: trusting this company.

YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY A FAIRPHONE.

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Welcome to the forum, Francisco.

I understand your frustration and feel really sorry for you. These are indeed unacceptable issues.

As you describe it, you’re not lucky at all with your phone and neither with the customer service, which really is busy since the launch of the FP3+ and Android 10 Update. Indeed, even if it seems to concen a minority of customer, it’s a lot of people to handle, probably more they can normally do. Remember Fairphone is a small company…

Even though there is not a lot of Fairphone employees here in the forum, maybe @rae could have a look into your request, to solve it faster?

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I won’t lie, this issue is a very bad one and despite most phones working fine the problem still happens to too many users (enough to warrant a blog post). Also, your customer support issues hardly seem unique unfortunately. Your rant is completely justified seeing your story.

I’m just going to ping @rae here as she seems to be fairly successful at making customer support get stuff done, hopefully that helps. As just another Fairphone user (who luckily didn’t have such issues) there’s not much more I think I can do.

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Double the answer, twice faster the success? :wink:

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And that fact justifies … what?

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Their struggle to answer faster and to be prone to take a device back at their cost for any issue which can’t be solved with a software hard-reset or with a SIM card change, for examples.

And also the fact that any problem concerning a certain number of phones is bigger for them than for any other bigger company… simply because of proportionality.

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This mess with the FP3(+) has been going on for too long now. It has been the reason why I chose a used FP2, because with this device I

a) can make phone calls,
b) have no audio issues,
c) have no reboots (anymore), and
d) do not have to dis- and reassemble the phone to fix a display issue.

Compared to the FP3(+), the FP2 is quite solid when “handled with care”. Fortunately I got one with revised core and display module, it might be one of the very last produced.

And the company that does all the Android stuff is not so “small”, it is their main business to engineer and manufacture smartphones. The only thing I can imagine is that there might be discrepancies in the background between Fairphone and them. Or why does it take so long to iron out most of these bugs? This company cannot be that incompetent, is it?

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I didn’t know they had revised the core of the FP2. Do you know what they’ve changed?

Having possessed several FP2s and a FP3 since launch date, I’ve been much luckier with my FP3: no major issue so far. I think it’s also a matter of luck, but it seems there way less issues with FP3 than with FP2 proportionally, seeing the sales figures, even if they obviously underestimated some Android 10 bugs, which were revealed to be major issues and too numerous…

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Actually, I posted 2 minutes before you but my post got stuck in “Awaiting Approval” :frowning:

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A visible change on the core unit is the display connector, probably the antennae socket was revised, too.

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Ah, that must be because of the link, I also got one recently, I don’t know why they ask for approval when inserting a blog link…

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There is a list of catchwords / strings. They automatically send a post to the “approval”-wating line.
Don’t ask me please for this list, I don’t really know it, as I never researched it and I most of the time wonder what a word in a post it might be.
But there are some number-combinations as well on this list and those can easily appear in links. I hav no idea, if the date in this link is such a string.

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Hi @franciscompm,

Apologies for the experience you’ve had thus far and for the frustration caused. I checked with our customer support team today and a member of the team will reach out to you tomorrow morning.

Rae

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My experience is rather the other way round. The FP2 was nowhere near as reliable as both FP1 and FP3. It was still ok enough to use it for 2.5 years, though. :wink:
And judging from the problems I’ve seen as a Fairphone Angel I wouldn’t draw the conclusion that the FP2 is more solid than the FP3 as your items read like a list of the most common issues with the FP2 :wink:

Disclaimer: I’m not saying anyone should accept a malfunctioning device.

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Hi Antoine. I’ve noticed many complaints about the Fairphone 3 especially when people did an Android 9 to 10 update. Can you send the phone back, which may provoke some action. I’ve also read that a few people take the phone apart and rebuild it, seemingly bad connections and loose screws, so you may want to try that. Other than that i feel bad for you and hope the suppliers sort the problem.

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First of all, I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad experience.

I would just like to say that, although your complaints are more than legitimate, I do not think your unfortunate experience is telling for Fairphone.

First of all, I’ve literally never had issues with my device, not even after the upgrade to Android 10. It works perfectly. So the FP3 is not a bad device in general.

Secondly, I also tried to return the camera modules as I was underwhelmed by the reviews and had some unexpected veterinary bills I wanted to spend the money on. I was reluctant to share my experience with customer services here, because I don’t want to ‘inspire’ anyone to intentionally ‘steal’ camera modules, but here’s what happened:

I called Fairphone explaining I wanted to return the modules and was told I should write them an email and that if the email was sent within 14 days after receiving my modules, no matter how long it would take Fairphone to reply, I would be able to return the modules. I sent the email and the wait began. I didn’t mind much because I’m aware of various issues with some of the phones so I knew Fairphone was quite busy and after all they told me it was fine as long as I sent the email within the 14 days. So nothing happened for a few weeks until suddenly I got a notification from my bank that I received my money. This was strange because I was expecting an email with return instructions first. I called Fairphone and explained I now had my money back and the modules at home, but was told that unfortunately, Fairphone was not yet able to receive returns from my country so I could just keep them or give them away if I liked and also keep my money. I don’t know about you, but I thought that was pretty amazing service. I hope none of you will abuse this information, but I guess if you were prone to, you would not have an FP :wink:

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Thanks!
Great story.


One should not place any bet on being treated like that, i.e. getting the money back and keeping the stuff. It seems there have been special circumstances and karma t work here.

So, anyone trying this for profit, might end up with nothing, but having cost Fairphone postage and packaging. :wink:

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I also cancelled my order for the new camera modules a while ago and received a confirmation within 2 - 3 days. I had my money back the day after.

My FP3 works just fine so far, although I also have random reboots but very rarely. I bought it in June and have had maybe three reboots since then. Except for that the wifi connection to my router at home is very luck based which is a bummer indeed. But I’m considering installing /e/ as soon as a stable A10-Version is released anyway. Maybe the wifi problem will be solved that way.

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Sometimes I feel like I’m part of the chosen few: Got my FP3 in August. Since then no reboots, no sound issues, no wifi-drops and a smooth and fast update to Android 10 without any problems. There was just a little bug in Android 9 which kept the phone from connecting to my car sound system, but this has been fixed with Android 10.
So it seems that there are devices of many different quality levels around…

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I have just gotten rid of my FP2 - and bought a new one which does not boot three times a day, goes to a blank, white screnn where I cannot do anything but have to reboot, again. And thar at least three times a day (although I use my phone only about an hour a day). The idea is great - but not the phone I got.

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