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Group action against Fairphone for dishonest support on Fairphone 3

Hi Everyone

I have started that topic in September 2019 : No sound 50+% of the time in calls, until reboot - #174 by Bas_tien
This topic seams to be the very same in german language : 🇩🇪 Telefonieren nach Spotifynutzung nicht möglich
And in french : 🇫🇷 Pas de son quand j'appelle

I do not want to duplicate the info in that topic. Feel free to go there to make up your mind on it.
The baseline, is that I am realizing now that what I thought was a honest support, trying to troubleshoot my problem without success, is actually a planned strategy to avoid providing support, thus breaking the consumer law.
I base those accusations on :

  1. How they ignored my request for getting my faulty phone replaced (various ways have been used, from asking me more details, trying to consider my problem is another solved problem, sending me back to the support entry point, but mostly ignoring the details I give about the problem, and ignoring my requests for return/exchange)
  2. How everyone in the here above linked topic seams to experience the same with the support

I am now looking at that link : Resolve your consumer complaint | European Commission
It seams to offer different possibilities to solve consumer complaints :

  1. ODR (Online Dispute Resolution)
    Seams to be a EU (+ Norway, Island) that requires to fill up a form, and aim at a short resolution (30 to 90 days). I’m considering filling that form.

  2. Dispute Resolution Body (consumer organization)
    Seams to be relying on different european nation consumer organizations, and are listing relevant ones, such as :

  3. European Small Claims Procedure
    Seams to be some kind of timed simplified court case, which includes the payment of a fee, and filling some forms. Each part (attacker, defender, court) has a limited time to answer. More details : European Small Claims procedure: Cost and process - Your Europe . I understand that this solution should be considered when others failed, because it implies the court.

Is anyone interested in joining effort and sharing information ? So we stop being small fries bullied by a company, which takes advantage in taking us individually.

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Hi whereas I empathise with your dissapointment in how FP have responded to you, to say they have been dishonest is subjective and on this forum you cannot prove that, so i suggest you change the wording.

Further taking a joint action against another ‘body’ is just a type of bullying too, legal maybe, and very common on social media so i will not support your call to arms :slight_smile:

I know that dissapointment can lead to stress and illness, but FP although a company is made of individuals, and like all people are flawed, hence warranties and insurance.

Sure, I was mindful of the pitfalls and didn’t buy a FP for years until i thought i could cope with the stress, but for sure, i would not recommend anyone buy this phone unless they are strong enough to cope with the difficulties that may arise. And to that end, when my daughter was considering buying one a) i paid for it so at least she didn’t have a financial issue, and b) I bought one so i could understand and help with the problems.

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Hi Amoun

I do understand that my claim is subjective, as there is nothing more that I can do but being subjective as an individual.
What I am doing in that post, or at least trying to do, is to support my claim with arguments.
Feel free to explain why you think the arguments I bring are irrelevant. I can also give more details if you think they are too skinny.

I do understand your point of view regarding bullying and social media. That is the reason why I am not on social media and never been (I was born in 1985, I’m SW engineer, I’m not technophobic)
But I disagree with you in the present case, because I am an individual. Meaning, I go to work, I have a personal life, and in the end, not all the time on earth to deal with Fairphone support. On the other end, Fairphone is a company with 11 milions euro revenues in 2017 (https://www.fairphone.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Fairphone_Report_DEF_WEB.pdf). Which has legal obligation of providing honest support.

I would like to add another argument, which is the consequent amount of times I have spent doing test on Fairphone’s request and reporting to them. Such test included :
_ trying different app to find if one disturbs (podcat, games, whatsapp)
_ resetting the phone (the reset part is the easy part, as you may know)
_ enabling some debug mode, and trying it every time the problem occurs
_ many test calls (special thanks to my mum and my partner for helping me)
_ trying with/without wifi calls
_ trying different network operators

In this regards, I do not think that my wording is wrong, nor do I bully anyone here.
Finally, Fairphone is a company, a moral person, not a physical person. I do not think bullying can be applied in such case

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I admire your initiative and even enjoy occasional witch hunts, but I do not want to drag fairphone through the mud, their contributions outweigh their shortcomings.

If it is a software issue, which it sounds like, there is no point in replacing the phone, i.e. the phone is not faulty, the software is faulty. One thing you can try is to use another network provider in the same handset. Make sure it is not piggybacking from the same network.

I had the same issue and it was gone when I changed for a completely different provider, which I understand is a long shot, I’m not sure it is the solution for you.

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Hi existentionaut

This post shows that at least one person got it fixed by getting another phone

On the other hand, no-one have had that issue fixed with SW.
To be more precised, I think that 4 times or so, I have been assured that the next SW update will solve my problem. It did not

Also, I am not going on a witch hunt, nor do I want to drag them in the mud.
I want a fair treatment, the basic respect of my consumer rights.
Few keypoints :
_ it’s been now 16 months the topic is opened, 5 months a ticket is opened
_ I have spent time and energy helping Fairphone, as detailed in my previous post (just above yours)
_ I have been testing the phone on different networks, including while roaming abroad. I have tested the phone actively in France and Norway, and had that problem in both countries. I have not taken the opportunity to try it on other countries while traveling, but I should do that next time I have the occasion.

I do not agree with the principle of “contributions outweigh their shortcomings”, at least not in this case. I would compare it to a “good citizen”, driving too fast and getting a speed ticket. However has been his/her contribution to society, the speed was too high, the fine got to be paid. In other words, no-one is above the law.

Once again, I am now asking for the respect of my consumer rights, no more, no less.
And I realize I do sound a bit offensive, but this is the result of months of emails which request have been mostly ignored, and time spent helping them, testing and reporting on their request, as well as participating on that very forum. I guess it is reasonable to say now, that it is too much, and consider the support as dishonest. Please do comment the arguments that I bring, because I am not wildly claiming it, I actually spend more time and effort supporting my claim.

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While I totally understand your frustration and absolutely agree, that the support oftentimes seem to be overdoing the “testing by consumer/user” thing and that it seems to be too much in your case.
I still would disagree to dishonesty, as this - in my opinion - implies ill will on their side.

And if you refer to them saying, that the problem will be fixed with the next update, when it isn’t. That doesn’t mean, they knew it wouldn’t be fixed, but it might not have worked out or not worked out in all cases.
Didn’t you ever promise something with best intentions only to realize later, you won’t make it (e.g. being stoped by a roadblock, when trying to make it to an appointment).
And, from my perception, all the testing, that you have done on request, is meant to help in two ways:
a) if possible in any way, find a fast solution for the customer to fix it, without having to send the phone in
b) if the phone has to be returned, to narrow the search for the repair center, thus (possibly) reducing the costs of repair.

Obviously this doesn’t change the fact, that 5 months is too long for finding a solution.


The opening of a thread in this forum of course can hardly be held against Fairphone, as this is a community forum, with no Fairphone employees regularly present,
And even if they notice such a thread, they don’t get all the neccessary details like name, date of purchase, IMEI …

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Hi BertG

I think you are actually pointing at the heart of the problem. That I would take from 2 different angles.

First, the status and duality of “The Community”. Fairphone and many other companies do emphasis about the Community, about all of the consumers being together on an adventure with them (I am pushing it a bit here, just for the example). The aim for the company putting forward the Community, is to promote the company, create a affect with the potential future consumer, so that she/he chooses that product over a concurrent.
Here is Fairphone communication material : Community - Fairphone
It says in the introduction :
"
Fairphone is on a journey to change the electronics industry, and the key superpower is our amazing community of supporters and advocates. We want to shine a light on the local Fairphone pioneers, change-makers and innovators that are shaping the future of the industry with us.
" (I realize now that I wasn’t exaggerating…)
There is nothing wrong with that message in itself, and I did buy a Fairphone because I got convinced that they are doing a better business than others. I did provide them with test results because I wanted to help the Community, therefore myself too. Never the less, the Community is suddenly ignored when it is about calculating how much money they can offer me for a non working phone. They indeed decide to use the starting point of my problem from the moment they opened a ticket for support, and they ignored the moment I opened a topic on the forum. And this despite the relative popularity of that topic, which could be seen as a measure of its usefullness. I have mentioned that to the support numerous time via emails. And never they have mentioned it in their reply, they simply ignored it.

Second, you said that dishonest support would “implies ill will on their side.”.
I do not agree with you about the use of that concept, because the definition of “ill will” is not suited for the current case and subject to interpretations. An hypothetical company may decide to provide dishonest support to customers because they can not afford better, because they protect their business and employees. In this case, it is hard to classify their behavior as “ill will”. The point here is not to try understand their deepest motivations nor to qualify it as “ill will”, but to look at the consumer law and the consumer rights. We all seam to agree here that 5 months, which is actually 16 months considering the topic creation, is way too much. But this is not the only point of the current topic. I accuse them of having an internal policy to delay reimbursement and exchange of faulty phone. I base my accusations on :
_ the many people complaining for now 16 months about the bad support, which can mostly be resumed by : no answer from the company. Just read No sound 50+% of the time in calls, until reboot for details.
_ that post, where a user claims he got his phone changed after pushing them, which solved his problem : No sound 50+% of the time in calls, until reboot - #131 by freierfunden
_ one of the last email I received that says : “I can ask for approval to swap your device with a new one […] This is a solution we have already tried in the last quarter of 2020. After testing a big number of devices we have stopped doing it because it didn’t solve the issue for our customers.” Despite my explanations about my problem not being related to what they describe in their blog, which is also pointed out by that post : No sound 50+% of the time in calls, until reboot - #166 by mcompte Which I agree with

That is why I qualify the Fairphone support as dishonest.
I think that all-in-all your comment is very much related to the one from existentionaut. We all came to Fairphone for a reason. I am actually very disappointed, and I would like to find another explanation. But re-reading the topic (“No sound 50%…”) and the last emails I received the last 2 weeks from the support, I had to admit that there is a pattern in their support, which I qualify as dishonest.
It is very hard to judge, and I actually do no want to judge them as a whole. I simply want my consumer rights to be respected.

Bastien

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I completely understand your frustration. I bought the FP3+ some months before and have serious issues (not just one…) which makes it sometimes impossible to use the phone. Spending more than 500 Euro (including accessories) and just getting problems is really frustrating.

About the support:
You are right, the general support is not really helpful and they ignore (technical) details and just answering with standard texts.
But then the general support forwarded my mails to the technical support and they DO care about the details I sent them. And they honestly say that they see the issues, working on it, but they simply have not been able to fix it. Maybe they simply don’t have the developers to do proper OS development, maybe it is hard to find programmers, or they don’t have money to pay them or whatever.
So they are aware of all these bugs, they try their best, but it is simply not enough.

About actions against Fairphone:
I understand your point. If this would be successful, we would get our money back, maybe. But this is not my goal - my goal is to finally get a working smartphone.

So my personal way to deal with it, looks like this:

  • Waiting some more weeks or even some months, hoping Fairphone will fix all the bugs, so I have a working smartphone.
  • If Fairphone is not able to fix the bugs, I will try installing LineageOS, which obviously works great.
  • If I should break my phone while installing LineageOS, I will smash the phone against the wall and buy a new from another company.

Honestly, I spent so many days troubleshooting the buggy FairphoneOS, sent so many mails to the support, doing workarounds and much more. I am tired of dealing with all these bugs. And I don’t want to spend more time with group actions or legal actions against Fairphone. I just bought a new smartphone and I never expected to get that many problems. I am tired of it.

But if you have the time and the energy to do that: I wish you good luck and I understand your decision!

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Consumer rights… I wish I was not a consumer in the first place. When have you developed this issue? You should’ve been able to return straight away after you ordered the phone. You even have the 30 days no questions asked right to return the product if you’re not satisfied.

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@existentionaut my bill is dated the 16th of September 2019. Then I created the topic reporting the problem on the 28th of September 2019.
I don’t think I could ask for the 30 days return, after the 30 days.
And the reason why I did not return it, is that I chose Fairphone for a reason, ethical reason. And just like @ontheair I want a working phone rather than money back.
But now the trust is broken, and I accuse them of dishonest support, because not only the way they treated me is wrong (see previous posts), but it seams to be the same pattern that applies to many other Fairphone 3 users, thus my suspicion of a company choice rather than a simple mistake. I qualify such thing a dishonest support.

Could you please find an alternative word to dishonest, you have to prove a statement they said was a lie and that through that lie, in compensation terms you need to quantify the loss due to the lie you have evidence of.

It seems more appropriate to query FP’s integrity in their ability to manage customer support that accuse them of lying. This is a public forum and you are open to slander/libel depending upon how you term this media where there is an ongoing discussion and repeated accusation.

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@amoun
I do not agree with you. Dishonest does not necessarily implies the use of a lie
Dishonest definition : dishonest meaning - Google zoeken

I think I did develop extensively why I have concluded that the support is dishonest.
Please feel free to answer to the arguments that I have brought in my previous post. Or bring new one.

Also, I don’t think I have qualified Fairphone, as a whole, as dishonest, but only the “support on Fairphone 3”, as per the title of that very topic.
I have as well express several times that my point of view is subjective, and I have welcomed contradictors, such as you, and tried my best to answer, using rational arguments, and listing sources.

I understand that you are now trying to warn me about the risk of being accused of slander, that is the "crime of making a false spoken statement " (slander - Google zoeken)
I don’t think this applies in my case. Mostly because I’m a single nobody, and Fairphone is a company. The balance is clearly leaning towards Fairphone.
Searching the net about slander against a company (slander agaon a company - Google zoeken); the first result, at the time of my search is : What Is Slander in Business? | Small Business - Chron.com
And it says :
“if a person genuinely has a bad experience with your company and urges her friends not to solicit your business, this is not slander; it’s an honest reflection of her experience with your company. If a competitor poses as a customer and tells people lies about your business with the intent to steal customers away from your business, this is slander”

Furthermore, I am a bit surprised about the reactions I have had on that thread. It looks like criticism is not welcome, or maybe taboo. I have to admit that asking me to change my wording is disturbing, as it appears to me as a pressure to protect some kind of Fairphone aura, disregarding my personal experience and the effort spent to express it accurately.
The discussion seams to always drift towards neighboring terms such as "ill will, “lie” or “slander” towards Fairphone as a whole.
Then again, I am targeting the support on Fairphone 3, and I am focusing on my right as a consumer. I do not see how this is not legitimate.

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This is mostly true and sad, some of the residents have developed strong feelings towards this company and every mistake FairPhone makes is blessing in disguise.

One of the highlights was “you don’t need to make calls with your phone, just ask someone to use theirs”

I would try to avoid empty discussions and wait for those who have similar problems, they come, look for help, see the state of fairphone and leave- return the phone or give up.
Some will defend the product or company here, even after they are sick of it and sell theirs in favor for a working phone.

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HI ontheair
I could have written the exact same content - Got my first FP3+ in september. The phone’s software is still very buggy. And the support is - well frindly is the only possitive thing that comes to mind. The fist update i got to the phone was A.0066 - which reduced the number of (typically daily) crasches significantly. After A.0077 the freezing of the GUI seams do have dissapeared - The GUI it much more responsive now - Now the primary usability issue is that the phone is often unsusable without a headset - sometimes the built-in mic works but often i have to switch to headset to make my self understood by the other end (often, but not always, the recipient complains of very bad voice quality until i use a headset)

Would i recomend Fairphone to others - Well it would require a significant quality increase of both software and support - I think not sofar Fairphone have been a big disapointment

If things havent gotten better in a few month - i will have a giveaway FP3+ (My
conscience will not allow me to take money for a product with so many bug)

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Hello Bas_tien,

I have not witnessed this issue. I have no spotify app (trackers, ugh). But I agree. The tone in this thread seems to “protect the FP aura” as something holy. You put as good a case together as any individual can and should precede as you deem right. I want the best company FP can be, maybe we can all agree on this. Maybe hold back with the legal action though (beware the rats tail) and see how your topic in the forum further develops. That being said, I detest any kind of silencing and squirreling around the problem and you do have a problem.

Many greetings
-Hendrik Dorn

I think it is obvious this is the issue, otherwise they would have had fairphone OS by now up and running.

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Yes. Implementing an OS is hard. Nobody has done it properly up to now. I mean, look at the Windows mess and they have been throwing engineers at the problem for decades now. So. We can forgive FP to have bugs. But that is NOT Bast_iens issue.

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I’m not loyal to fairphone but I’m a deeply skeptical individual, sorry about that. I think you are making a big case in here(group action) but providing unequal effort to back up your case, in my opinion that is the issue with your crusade. I understand you have fallen a victim of the dark side of consumerism(after sales support nightmares) and now you are breathing fire, which I sympathise with as it is only human.
You want to start a crusade with far and few who had same experience and get sympathy from those who had no such experience, how would you react in my place? Would you join me with a torch and a pitchfork, or would you sit on the fence? Now, I’m surprised that you are surprised. I think there should be a price for everything, including credulity to the system.

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Yes, the issue is with fp as a company. They need more self-managing employees and not “bozos” as Steve Jobs used to say commenting on his recruiting philosophy.

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Hi again, hopefully this will be my final post on your topic. :slight_smile:

First: This forum is to support other users with the use their phones, it seems to stretch it to try and build an army of discontent.

On your specific gripes, you said you didn’t contact FP for 16 months.

they do not recognize the starting date of my complains from the moment I created that topic (sept 2019, 16months ago), but from the moment they have opened a ticket, that is august 2020

Your creation of a topic in sept 2019 is not a compliant to Fairphone but rather a casual and non contractual request from other users over the issues you have. Issues that were clearly a) not bad enough to send back in the first month, nor to ask for a repair for 16 months. Consequently FP nor anyone else can assess the issue given the changes you may have made to the phone and it can’t seem that bad that you used it for 16 months ~ What! and then you decide to ask for a new phone or a full refund ???

At any time in last ‘two years’ you could have sent the phone to FP at your own cost and see what they think of your issues, that you still aren’t doing that can interpreted as either a) the phone is still usable and b) you don’t want to invest the postage to try and sort the issues, or both

Clearly you express anger and frustration, but you can still send the phone back, though i would probably take the money and run. I definitely wouldn’t buy another FP if I can’t get the one I have fixed after ‘two years’

Personally I would send it back, that’s not advice, you can keep it and try and resolve the problem as you seem keen on.

But as I started this forum is more aligned to helping those who are trying to solve issues with their phone more that their issues with Fairphone.

Interpreting lack of support form your cause does not equate to supporting FP but rather an understanding that they are limited not by just their resources but by their consumers engagement.

If you have an issue with Fairphone take them on if you think the effort is worth it, but asking others to what ‘join you in group action’ action to what? Many users have problems, some I am sure worse that yours but they are different and are best dealt with separately as individuals. To ask others to call FP dishonest isn’t generally helpful to users who want their phone to work.

I hope you have other more pressing issues to deal with and can have a nice day.

As has been said before ‘First World Issues’ ~ teething troubles that just won’t go away as we age as it’s our expectations that are the problem.

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