Dissapointed experience with Fairphone

Less than 3 years ago I bought a Fairphone 3 because of the company’s claims about longevity and environmental footprint. My phone stopped working this July after it overheated for no apparent reason. Fairphone repair centre sent me a quote for 337,61 euros for the repair and said that the phone stopped working because of an electronic fault on the motherboard.

I was very disappointed with the quote given as I may as well buy a new phone for that amount of money, and mainly because I bought the phone believing that it was going to last as Fairphone claims to be a brand that cares about designing for longevity and aims to make phones which hardware will last as long as possible (claims from Fairphone’s website). Mine lasted less than 3 years because its hardware stopped working through no fault of my own.

Fairphone website states: ‘We design for longevity, easy repair, and modular upgrades. Our goal is to make your phone’s hardware last as long as possible, and to provide the support to keep its software up to date. The longer you can keep your phone, the smaller its environmental footprint.’

Fairphone’s claims sadly do not match my experience, my phone did not last and cannot be repaired by myself because Fairphone does not sell the electronic card/motherboard.

I have asked for my phone to be returned to me unrepaired a MONTH ago and I still have not received it or given a delivery date.

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I can understand your disappointment! And I see why your individual case is making you feel that way.
I’d still say: This is an unfortunate case, but nothing that makes Fairphone’s claims invalid. They do not say it out loud, but reading a bit on their phone designs it becomes relatively quickly clear that the only thing that cannot be just exchanged in case of failure is the motherboard. So broken motherboard means phone is dead and you can more or less buy a new one - you may perhaps sell the other parts to other Fairphone users. As far as I can judge from the forum, motherboard failures are not very common, so bad luck for you…
IMHO with just publishing Android 13 for the FP3 they made true on their promise to support their devices for a very long time, and as far as I understand FP2 was supported for more than 7 years - I personally would say they do a lot to keep their promise. It is not easy to update an old phone where the SoC-Manufacturer has stopped the support!

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To be fair, they do all that. Compared to the competition anyway…

Their software support leaves a lot to be desired with their endless software issues but I trust them with caring for the environment and the workers. That’s what made me buy my FP4.

Well, that and the 5 year warranty.

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The core module (motherboard) basically is “the phone”, bar some accessories. A lot more went into it than into the other modules. If it is defective and out of warranty, yeah, this will be costly, sadly.


Just as a valuable data point …
They don’t seem willing to do so, but if they sold the core module to you for 222,64 EUR + shipping, would you have paid and done the repair yourself?

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Please also have a look over here for another in-depth discussion about pretty much the same issue. I think most things being brought up here have already been said there.

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Frankly guys,
I’m plus-ing MMGA here. got my FairPhone 3 2 1/2 years ago and the same happened to me last month.
Following a bad review, of course, support contacted me to “offer” repair soluctions except, warranty being over, no solution is being offered that won’t match the price of the phone itself.

Honestly, I want to believe it is not intentional, I really want to…

But my feeling is, if you claim you “design for longevity” and you design a phone that CAN die for no reason with NO cheap solution for replacement, then you intentionally set for a fraction of programmed-for-obsolescence models.
And from what I’ve been reading wandering over the internet, it dosen’t seem like this is rare… NOT AT ALL. Had these cases been rare, I believe FairPhone inc. would have offered to replace faulty models for a decent reduced fee, as in line with their “design for longevity” policy.

I would have been happy to hear :
“Ok, sens your phone for repair, if the motherboard truly is faulty, we will offer to provide you with a repair service for like less 1/4 the price of a new phone and our apologies. If another part is faulty or we find there has been a misuse of the phone, then we will charge the normal repair fee”.
That would have been fair … for a FairPhone.

So as far as I’m concerned, FairPhone just fell into the “Green-washing communicative” category of industrials and I’m getting back, for quite a long time I guess, to cheap and close-to-disposable models… but that still last longer !
I went back to my former Samsung J5, bought in 2016, it’s out-of-date but it’s working like out of the box. Same goes with an old Sony Ericsson from 2012 if I recall right. It’s still up.
I’m quite careful with my phones actually, always protecting them in soft cases and stuff and as far as I can recall, this one is the one that lasted the less… unacceptable when reading the company’s policy.

This has nothing to do with chance and fate, mark my words and I’ll be telling my story (which is the same as lots of others as I may guess) to anyone wanting to hear about “fair and long-lasting phones”.

So long UnFairP,

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They clearly sold a batch of phones with motherboards that weren’t going to last more than 2.5years. I completely agree with you. The fact that they haven’t acknowledged the problem publicly despite many of us reporting this issue or apologize to the affected customers suggests that they are aware of the problem and simply don’t care about tech waste or longevity. A real shame as I thought they actually cared.