Ideas for resolving maintenance issues /part scarcity

I see a lot of posts about difficulties getting parts or getting repairs done, and I must say that I am conscious of the dilemma between:

  1. being a sustainable company which is not trying to encourage people to constantly buy new phones
  2. The extra difficulties with supply chain management because you source many of your items through less mainstream channels

So I worry about the danger that when something goes wrong with my phone that I may not be able to get parts - looks like FP1 users are already quite hard done by, and I worry that my FP2 some day will also be obsolete and hard to fix.

I was therefore starting to wonder about whether Fairphone could offer some sort of maintenance contract for once the phone is out of warranty. Obviously the amount to pay would need to be worked out, but as people who are FP users are less likely to take the piss about getting new stuff just for the sake of it, it could hopefully be kept quite low cost. With the available funds, you could maybe smooth your supply chain management more, be able to stock parts to enable people to quickly get things fixed, and enable people to buy into their relationship to the phone and the company in a long term way.

It would also mean that there wouldn’t be a “oh god, I have to spend £70 - maybe I should just move to a more standard phone” moment, because someone would have accrued “credit” by having their maintenance contract, and they could access repairs without having a large one off cost.

Interested to see what other users and Fairphone think of my idea.



A system where maintenance/repairs are included at a recurring charge sound like a leasing plan of sorts. There was some discussion about those a (long) while back:

The problem with the FP1 was that at some point the suppliers to the manufacturers stopped producing components required to produce parts. So not only is there the challenge of convincing the assembly company to produce a fairly limited run of components at an economically feasible cost, there’s also convincing the component manufacturer’s etc. The sourcemap for the FP2 is a fun way to see how many sub(sub)suppliers there actually are.

Continuous production may only be feasible if the number of phones out there is quite high. In other cases stockpiling based on predicted need is probably what ends up happening. Why the leasing comes to mind is that at some point when paying monthly, it is going to be more feasible to honour commitments by replacing and recycling rather than by fixing (i.e. when parts run out and people have paid in quite a lot). The downside is that there is usually still a limitation in what is actually covered for repairs - some people just can’t seem to keep their screen intact for more than a couple of months!.

There is a hope that the modular architecture of the FP2 will be less susceptible to parts not being produced any more due component shortages (‘upgrade’ a part if a component is no longer produced), but whether this will actually help remains to be seen.

Also worth noting: some companies (e.g. wileyfox) now offer the option of purchasing a voucher for a free screen replacement when you buy their phone. The voucher is valid for a number of years and is cheaper than the quoted price for a replacement. I’m guessing this makes it easier to stockpile parts for them when they can still be produced.

Of course, in all situations all bets are off if the company goes bust…

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I’m not sure, whether the Fairphone team is reading this, so make sure to send them an email at . (Best would be, IMO, to attach a link to this discussion here. Would be great to get an official response.)

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