Do support exist?

I sent a message 12 days ago, as my phone won’t function as a phone. No reply yet. Last time I thought 7 days was bad, but this is getting ridiculous. Their answer? We are a small company bear with us.

The support team is currently struggling to keep up with the increased number of emails they get. To check the current status of the team, please check this post:


I really understand your anger, especially since a smartphone is something you want to have on you all the time.
On the other hand the Fairphone stands for a change in electronics using fair minerals, giving you the chance to “own” your phone (i.e. open it, change the OS …) and standards in working conditions as well. Although the main focus lies on the working conditions in Congo, China etc. we should not forget the working conditions “at home”. We are so used to being online and available all the time, that this really seems normal to us. Well, it is not. While a mail is easily sent, it might create a lot of work on the other end. In the good old days, before electronic mail, there was snail mail (of course, there still is); sending a letter took the time to write the message, get an envolpe, address it, buy and post a stamp and bring it to the next mailbox. Before doing so, just to ask about the current standing of a request sent the day before, one thought twice. Nowadays it takes just the writing of an e-mail and the klick on the send-button.
Meaning: while we lost our patience waiting for answers - in times of snail mail it was obvious things took their time just for the sending of letters; we - at the same time - multiplied the amount of “letters” (i.e. e-mails) sent. And not all mails are easy to assign, as the case-number or the previous mails are not always included. That’s why picking up the phone and calling is much easier, as the case can be sortet out much more easy (usually).
Fairphone still is a small company, working from the Netherlands. They did not yet (or so I do hope) outsource their support to India or Romania or …, just to minimize the costs. I guess (and trust in them on that) they are really doing their best.
And if faster support means (more) overtime and more stress for the support team, this can only be taken so far, before the system collapses.
More personnel would be an option of course. But where does the money come from to pay them.

In all, it seems like a bit of a vicious circle. To be attractive to the broader market, support has to be working on a competitive level (i.e. faster than nowadays) without betraying the principles of fair working conditions and selling the Fairphone at reasonable prices.


Why? In July/August apparently response times were slow because you were training new staff to deal with additional demand. So how come that didn’t solve the problem?

Obviously, if they replied to emails then they could work more efficiently - they would not need to deal with multiple messages about the same problem (like mine). And why advise people that they will be dealt with more quickly if they telephone? How is that efficient?

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Hey @Andrea_Finch, the support requests we get has risen over 30% in the past few months. We have not been able to keep up that with the growth of the team. 3 new people will start end of this month and probably it will take 2 weeks before they are up to full speed.

I’d like to stress that even tough it sometimes takes a while before we get back, your messages are not lost. Sending the same request again adds to the burden of our support team and causes more work.

I saw you also posted on social media and now here on the forum; all these messages are read and where needed we respond. But be aware that each of them creates additional work for the Fairphone team.

If you have extra information to share (a new problem, or a screen shot or so), please always reply to the original automated response keeping the ticket nr. intact. This will allow us to keep the requests bundled and easier to answer.

I hope this explains a bit.


Obviously, if you have an office e-mail account, you get tons of mails you have to sort out, including spam, advertisements etc.
Then you have the super nervous customers sending a reminder the day after they posted their support request “Did you get my mail? When will I get an answer? How long does it take?” You have to open and sort those mails and structure working on them. Maybe your colleague handling this case is sick today and maybe they just forgot to give you any hint which case they are referring to. You can’t delete the message, you have to search for the specific file, which might take quite a few minutes (for naught).
Calling is way easier. You pick up the phone, look into the online file and straighten out things in one go instead of a back and forth mailing and all in the same time it takes to locate the correct file for a “What’s up” mail.

Please don’t take this as a personal attack on you or something like that. It’s just the thoughts I had, while reading your posting and reflecting on my own feelings. As I happen to be sitting in front of a mailbox spilling over from mails I just have to sort out, I suddenly realized, how much time that takes and how much it takes away from actively supporting customers in need.


I’d have a lot more patience if this was the first time you have given such poor customer service. But it feels like as a customer kicking up a stink on social media is the only way to get your attention. I am done with fairphone - waiting for you guys to contact me about a refund & to return my phone. It sounds like this will be a mutually convenient solution.

True… We do prefer to handle all support requests in order by which they arrive and treat everyone equally.

But naturally if someone starts making a scene on social media or elsewhere we feel the need to de-escalate. This might mean that the angry customer gets priority treatment.

This is of course very unfair to our more patient or forgiving customers. But we, and many other companies with us, still have not found a good answer to this problem in these time of ubiquitous social media.

As you have noticed yourself, it is an effective way to jump the queue.


Sorry, but that’s obvious, as the reply of @Douwe made clear, that it’s a case of an overloaded system and not an individual single failure, And it’s evidently - to my experience - not a sign, that FP does not care about the customer or wants to get rid of them, but that they have limited ressources only.
Instead of “kicking up a stink” as you put it, one could give them a call, thus acting fair towards FP and other customers. :wink:

I’m missing something here. What’s “unfair” about letting potential customers know, before they buy, that if they have a problem with their fairphone, they will wait 12 days or longer to have any acknowledgment from support? What is this talk of “jumping the queue”? I still have had no reply or help from anyone at fairphone support.

And I don’t want to call the Netherlands. If you poor service & buggy performance had been explicit initially, then I would not have bought a fairphone, as is evident.

You are right - in a way - of course. Yet still …
Maybe they just don’t do this, because they work on reducing that time, not to mention, that they had not planned for this for sure.

And please be honest to yourself:
You bought a phone from a startup in the Netherlands, that has developed a kind of revolutionary modular phone. They produced and sold a total of 100.000 phones (which might equal the daily output of the ones like Samsung, Appe, HTC etc.).
They obviously do not employ a large and cheap workforce abroad to handle support requests, but manage themselfs.
As I - from my own experience - already said: sorting e-mail can be a quite time consuming task. And general mail addresses like support@ tend to be flooded with spam, requests for assistance with student- and schoolworks and everything else you might think of. Just the process of selecting the support requests for troubles with the phone takes a lot of time. Answering those mails individually takes even longer.
Of course they do not have an expensive phone number you can call for free, ending up in a support center in India.

If you can’t bear those shortcomings, that really have to be expected, when looking at the facts, I fully understand that; but then the FP right now might not be for you (at least if - like you - you got a troublesome one).

But what I really don’t get is to keep on complaining that e-mail does not workt while refusing to call the Netherlands, which usually - to quite a few reports in this forum - helps a lot. Sorry, that’s the point where my understanding and compassion end.


Bert, I have a job and deal with emails too. Sorting support requests will be quite clear, as this is contact through the website portal, and if the system doesn’t already direct these appropriately then there is no hope for these guys. Perhaps my perspective is different because in my line of work, we do everything we can for the customer - that is our priority. I did not buy a phone from a flakey start-up - it was sold to me as a product that works! Perhaps it was missold. If you are going to sell a product for beta testing this should be made clear! If something is sold on the open market then if it is buggy & needs a lot of fixing, then support should be in place to do so. If fairphone’s business model doesn’t work, that is not my fault, I would have paid more for a product that doesn’t let me down.

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And how am I supposed to call the Netherlands when I cannot dial internationally from my office phone, and my mobile phone doesn’t work?!?!!

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