Hi @Bopper, great idea!
So to answer your questions from me personally:
Why you were interested in Fairphone?
I was interested in Fairphone from the start as I’m passionate about knowing where products I own come from and that to the best of my knowledge they have been made fairly (workers treated well, not overworked, no slave labour, safe working conditions, etc). I’m also passionate about the environment and having products that are made to last and to be recycled. I try to support people and organisations and initiatives that are trying to demonstrate new and better ways of doing things, and challenge the current unfair and unsustainable systems.
2) What motivated you to end up purchasing one (what model and what year?)
I bought one of the first fairphones (one of the first 10,186 to be precise). We pre-ordered when Fairphone were crowd-sourcing purchasers for their first batch. I was buying to support the concept, and to help a startup trying to do something amazing to give it a shot. I was buying the phone on principle. Where possible my view is that ethics should come first, and price/colour/convenience/taste/etc second. I realise this is not always possible and this is isn’t a judgement on other people’s choices - just to say that I wanted to buy this phone because it was attempting to be a fair phone and make a supply chain transparent and challenge the status quo - and I wanted to support that! If the phone I received worked, that would be a plus. The fact that what I got was a fully functioning smart phone to rival any other android, that it wasn’t some “hippy phone” (whatever that means), that people don’t notice I don’t have a “normal phone” unless it comes up in conversation, that people then look at it expecting to find things wrong with it (because after all, you can’t make something fair AND quality…) and are surprised to realise it’s a smart phone with facebook and photos and stuff… these facts were just a massive bonus!
3) How did you go about getting it sent to Australia and were there any issues or things you’d recommend?
Looking back at emails it seems:
- I signed up for a fairphone account in April 2012
- I emailed a stack of friends in May 2013 to say I was pre-ordering a Fairphone and inviting them to join me so I could get them bulk sent to a friend in UK then bulk sent to Aus
- In June 2013 I ordered 5 x Fairphones. They were less than $400AUD each
- After a few delivery hiccups (not necessarily Fairphone’s fault) in March 2014 we received our Fairphones in Australia and I distributed them amongst friends.
Since then I’ve ordered spare parts and accessories from Fairphone (more below on that) and got them shipped to other friends in UK, who have then gone and posted them to me. I can’t remember exactly now but I think maybe there was an issue trying to send the replacement battery overseas (I don’t think we could get it posted or couriered to Australia, but I think I was lucky that it ended up coming back on a plane with a friend in their luggage).
4) Have any friends / family / colleagues been interested in your FP, and what might be the barriers to them purchasing one?
Yes, people are interested. They love the concept and they want to support it. From memory barriers have been:
- Fairphones not available when new phone badly needed
- People forget its an option when they’re buying a new phone
- Don’t want to wait to get it shipped to someone in Europe then shipped here
- Don’t want to have to wait for spare parts from Europe via friends
- Worried that they won’t be able to get it fixed here
- Worried that it won’t work in Australia (I’ve heard that could be a problem but to be honest I’ve never had an issue or heard of anyone with a FP1 or FP2 whose phone didn’t work in Australia. I’ve also travelled with mine to New Zealand and used a sim there no problems).
- Distrust that it’s as good a phone
- Have read extensively on the forums and there are some things that don’t quite meet their needs/wants in a phone (eg amount of memory space I think?)
- the cost of buying a phone outright instead of paying it off as part of a plan
- I think there could still be some concern/distrust/fear of the unknown: Is it actually a functioning smart phone? Will it be as good and do all the things I need? Is something going to go wrong? Are they actually as good as they purport? etc??
5) What city are you in and what network are you using?
6) Have you had any issues with your FP and if you did anything about them, what was the outcome? (compared to previous phones, i.e. can get it fixed locally etc)
- I broke my screen once and I ordered a new screen (and a cover!!) from Fairphone. When it arrived I went to a small phone repair place in station arcade (the one near the nuts and travel shops, really close to the actual station). He wasn’t interested or even curious at even taking a look. Once I said it was a Fairphone and he hadn’t heard at it, he just said no! My friend ended up ordering a spudger (tool) and fixing it for me from ifixit.com instructions
- more recently I needed to replace the motherboard (I knew this because my camera or something wasn’t working and I had sent pics/had discussions online with Fairphone staff who had identified the issue and informed that’s what I needed to do) I ordered a new motherboard and this time I went to another shop in station arcade (this one up past the escalators, closer to Hindley Street, it’s the city arcade shop for http://allthatmobile.com.au) You can read my rave about that shop here
- I had a swollen battery which Fairphone helped me identify, gave me great advice, and replaced for free immediately (and as we all know, we’ve since seen that happen to other phone companies…)
- The other thing that was really useful to me and has probably made it easier for me to say “it’s worth it” and “it’s fine” (see below) is that I actually ordered my parents both a fairphone when I ordered mine. But my dad’s old phone was still working and he hasn’t needed to switch yet. So when my mum or I have had a problem, we’ve just borrowed dad’s unused fairphone or borrowed a part from it, eg the battery, while waiting for our new part to come from overseas. This has worked well. I recommend always buying a spare phone that you can use for parts and back up (<-- that’s a joke, but it has been very useful!)
7) Pros and cons of having a FP for you
- My faith in Fairphone is renewed and increased regularly. I believe I am supporting people and an organisation that is truly trying to make a product as ethically and transparently as possible and in doing so challenging and changing the electronics industry for the better
- Fairphone provide THE BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE I have ever received anywhere for anything, consistently (they respond to my emails personally and within a very quick timeframe, they go back and forth with me until they identify my issue and I am satisfied with their explanations, they have replaced parts for free for me when they’ve identified them as a fault. They are just simply wonderful!)
- I can’t comment if you’re used to an iPhone, but as an existing android user it was easy to switch to a Fairphone (from Samsung, HTC, whatever). It’s just another android.
- I love that when something breaks I can replace that part and fix my phone and recycle the old parts. I don’t have to go and buy a whole new phone!!
- While I have had a few things go wrong, things go wrong with any phone. Let’s not kid ourselves, I’ve had issues and glitches with and broken HTCs, Samsungs, and seen friend’s iPhones do the same. And I’ve had this Fairphone for 3 years! Things are bound to go wrong, that’s not unique to it being ethical! The fact that Fairphone is still relatively speaking a new start up and is attempting and achieving all that it is I think is amazing, and I think putting up with a few glitches and issues is worth it. But that’s just me.
- I’ll be honest, the camera is not as good as an iPhone, or maybe any other smart phone. But don’t get me wrong - its better than all phones used to be, it’s still great and I use it daily, it’s just in some lighting and settings etc my photos aren’t that great and I know my friends iPhone will take a much better shot.
- I have had a few things go wrong, but… (see above )
- Honestly the main con is having to order things to go to a friend in UK/Europe and then wait for them to post to you here and pay the postage, and waiting for a new part to come from the other side of the world can be pretty frustrating when you have a phone that’s really not working, has to be constantly plugged in, etc (though I don’t think it should stop people buying Fairphone - I’ve survived it! And the more people buy, I hope, the more the demand will be demonstrated and Fairphone will be able to export to a stockist here. I don’t know if the only barrier to stocking in Australia is finding/convincing a retailer to stock them, or if there are tax issues, laws, if it’s too hard for them to set up an overseas branch or to ship here, or whatever. I’m just optimistic that it’s inevitable and just a matter of time…I hope!)
- Oh, one other thing that’s quite annoying now is that I broke my screen again (my fault…) and the original Fairphone 1 screens are now completely out of stock and there’s no guarantee if/when they’ll be able to get them back. I think Fairphone are working hard to get their production cycles that which will mean people can still get what they need for their phone for as long as possible/needed (since the point is they’re meant to last a long time and have parts replaced, not just be replaced by and upgraded to the next model). But unfortunately the system is not perfect yet. But it’s not just my screen that’s broken - my phone isn’t working 100% at present (not terrible, just little glitches - potentially caused by my broken screen…) and so after 3 years of their first attempted model and a few replaced parts, I’m probably ready to order a Fairphone 2 (once I save up…) and recycle this one.
8) Tips if FP branched into Australian market?
Just do it as soon as possible!
Let me know if you need help, I’ll do anything I can to help you get it here!
If I think of anything else I’ll add. If you have questions, feel free to ask. But seriously if it wasn’t a good phone and I didn’t believe it to be ethical, I’d be tempted to still stick with Fairphone - their customer service has been outstanding! I really thing what this group have achieved is phenomenal and they deserve all the support they can get. I think they’ll use it to go far. Jump on the bandwagon peeps!