Live AMA with Michiel Stoop 11th Aug, 17:00 to 19:00 CEST (UTC+02:00)

I am Michiel Stoop, Customer Support Manager at Fairphone.

This Thursday you can Ask Me Anything

A little about me:

After finishing my Master in Organisation Sciences at the Free University of Amsterdam, I joined the customer support team at Fairphone. Working in this team means communicating with a wide array of customers from all over Europe on a daily basis. After doing this for some time now I can honestly say that you can learn a lot about people through this work, which is lots of fun. I also realise now that if you come up with a good idea to make the world a little bit better, a lot of people will support this cause and actually will help you to realise this. ‘Faith in humanity restored!’

This Thursday I will answer any questions you have to the best of my possibilities and with the help from @Douwe who will be helping me to keep the discussion organized.

Some basic guidelines to manage expectations:

  • This is live, so it might take some time for us to read your question and come back. Discourse auto-refreshes the screen, so no need for reloading yourself.
  • Allow room for others and only ask a second question if you feel others have had their turn as well.
  • If you see someone else asked the same question: upvote it by clicking on the little heart!
  • The stuff I know most about is support and how the Fairphone 2 works. But you can also ask about my personal life, sports and how I like my sushi.

Looking forward to do the first Fairphone AMA ever!


Hi Michiel!

I’m not sure if you’ll be able to answer this but since you work in customer support
maybe you’ll be able to provide some insight. Fairphone has been long
on my mind so I hope to get some of my questions answered.

How common is it for people to have to change their smartphone due to a part
other than their screen breaking? Don’t most people switch because 1.
their screen broke 2. their battery has gone bad 3. they want the
newest model 4. they feel that their phone has become slow?
Modularity makes it possible for the user to replace parts easily,
but how useful is this? I feel like basically the only merit is the
somewhat lower screen replacement cost (you don’t have to take the
phone to a store, but you still have to pay for a new LCD screen),
and the removable battery. But loads of phones already have removable
batteries, without the modularity.

My last phone I replaced because it was slow and a pain to use, and the one before that because weird
software issues appeared on it. My current phone has also become very
slow over time. I don’t feel like modularity, especially when the
processor can’t be upgraded, really adresses the issues people switch
their handsets for, but instead mostly increases cost. Is modularity
more useful for making part upgrades possible? Or did you want your phone to
be able to stand out from the crowd? Also, do you think Fairphone 3
will have the same kind of modularity?

Hi Michiel,

I’m very happy to be part of the Fairphone community, but i just got it and have a big problem with the camera : it doesnt focus at all. I sent a request and read on the forum that we are quite a lot with this problem… Do you know if everyone is gonna receive a new module camera ?
Thanx, Sabrina

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Do you like the ubuntu touch os?

Hi Michiel, can you let us know what have been the most common reasons why people have sent their phones in for repairs? Have you had a lot of repairs that users could/should have been able to do themselves using the modular build-up, or are most sent-in repairs really things that users could not have fixed themselves?

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Hey Joel! Of course I can’t talk for all smartphone manufacturers, and indeed the screen is the part that breaks the most, but there are also other parts that tend to break a lot… unfortunately! Here are some:

  • The usb connector
  • The camera
  • The microphone
  • The vibration mechanisme (although this one you don’t see so much, it’s mainly the upper ones!)

Battery performance differs per phone as well, but usually they tend to perform worse after around a year or 400 cycling charges - at least that is how it is for Fairphone 1, for Fairphone 2 we will have to see, it is not a year old yet :slight_smile:

In any case, the modularity of FP2 is gonna be a great help when it comes to repairing commonly breaking parts. We have just set up the whole logistics plan for sending around modules and we are sending them throughout the whole of Europe now! A challenging mission to manage, I can assure you…

Thanks for submitting a question!


This is what it looks like from this side:


Hey Sabrina, we are glad you are part of our community as well. If you check out the forum, it might indeed seem that we have a big problem with our camera, since you see quite some posts on it. But that is because only the people with broken or badly functioning camera’s post on the forum!

However, it is not as bad as it seems - the big majority of Fairphone customers have perfectly working camera’s which don’t need replacement. But at some point we do plan to introduce a better camera module, which will then be the first module for which we’ll have a better option. But it is still to early to really inform you about this.

If you create a ticket we can make sure we take a look at your personal camera issue!

PS. > In this forumthread community members are showing their camera skills. You’ll see, our camera aint too shabby :wink:


Thanks for the answers Michiel! My questions are mostly related to the design decisions of the Fairphone 2. The customer support has not been able to answer them, so I don’t know if I should ask them here or not. Did you take part in designing the fairphone 2?

Actually, I have only seen it being used and never used it myself… sadly enough! But I hear it’s pretty good. Will it be available on Fairphone 2? There is a Norwegian guy who is working on making such things possible, you can find out more (and donate!) here:


Hey Emmy! For most of the ‘known’ technical issues that occur with Fairphone 2, we know exactly which module needs replacement - or in some cases the whole phone - so we can act accordingly and send the right module to the customer. However, sometimes the description looks exactly like a known issue but the corresponding module swap does not solve the issue. In this case, we bring the phone in so our skilled tech team can find out what is the problem.

Of course I’m now talking about in-warranty repairs. When out of warranty, there are two things you see all day everyday; water damage (many toilet drops!) and displays with the infamous spider-app… a.k.a. broken screens!


Hi Michiel, have any of your Support Team folks been able to take holidays in the year so far? :wink:


No problemo, although this might sound corny, I always like talking to our community. I did not take part in designing Fairphone 2 no, unfortunately. I do not have a background in engineering, but have a team of very skilled technically oriented colleagues around me who advise me on a daily basis.

On the design of the phone, there have been many people from all over the world involved in doing so, although this amount of people is very small compared to the designers of the ‘big players’ in the industry. The design was mainly driven by a English design firm, named Seymour Powell. Find out more on our design philosophy here.

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Hey Michiel,

I bought the fairphone 2 on 7/18/2016. It was the first smartphone i´ve bought in my life and i was really convinced by your product. But just 5/6 days after it arrived, the screen stopped working (just strange colours). Since them i´m trying to get in contact with you to return it and have it fixed. But i´m getting no replay at all. Wether it is calling (which is very expensive) or by mail.
My question is: What are you planning to improve your support, and how can i get a respond.

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Haha, good question! Yes, we do actually take holidays, it’s called the weekend :wink:

No but seriously though, as you know, it has been a pretty rough time for support lately. This means that there is quite some pressure on the members in my team, because who can live without a smartphone for more than 48 hours these days?

That is why we spend a lot of time and energy on making sure the wellbeing of our team members is good, but still… it is pretty demanding. I can tell that we consume many liters of coffee. And to make sure the pressure on the team doesn’t build up too high, we are increasing the capacity of the team big time to make sure we can reduce our backlog as soon as possible. With our current plan, it is looking pretty good and I therefore hope to be out of this pickle soon.

Thanks for your interest :smile:


Hey Michiel, can I ask who is your favourite colleague within Fairphone?

Thanks! :smile_cat:


Hey Thomas,

I’m really sorry to hear that nobody got in touch to help you out yet while you were convinced with our product from the start. But help is on the way! What are we doing to improve support? Here are a couple of things.

We are currently doubling the capacity of our team. We are making sure we can filter our tickets better so tickets with high priority (broken phones) like yours get helped faster. We are improving our support material so customers can help themselves and don’t need to get in touch with us. We are going to ask the community (that’s you!) to help us as well, because there is so much knowledge in our community, actually combined way more than here in our office!

Hang in there, and we will be in touch as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience Thomas!


I’m just going to ask my question here. Maybe you happen to know, or maybe you have some close by who knows.

I’m wondering about the 5-year-lifetime claim.

I currently have a 4-year-old android phone. I can still use it but I’ve had to switch
to a lighter browser and give up on using Google Maps, and the phone
is generally very slow. I suspect that it has slowed down so much due
to all the apps on it becoming heavier over time. I think it’s an
issue caused by having either too slow a processor (Nvidia Tegra 3),
or too little RAM (1GB). The phone has not received a single major
software update since the day I bought it. I’m not sure if this is a
good example of this issue of android phones slowing down over time,
but as far as I know, it’s a common problem. You claim that the
Fairphone 2 would be useable for 5 years. With all this in mind, are
you sure this will be possible, when the phone will not have the
possibility to upgrade the processor or the RAM? You also want to
provide the users with constant software updates, but wouldn’t this
possibly add to the issue, since newer software tends to be heavier?

Thanks in advance for the answer!

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That must be Olaf - the person within Fairphone who makes sure we don’t starve while working round the clock :wink:


Hey Joel, good question!

It is indeed an interesting question, since I believe the (future) performance of their processor is not something your typical smartphone customer would worry about. Why? Because they replace their smartphone fast enough for it to actually become a problem.

With more ethical consumers who want to use their phone for 5 years, as is the case with FP2, this is of course something to discuss. The processor used in FP2 is one which will be good for 5 years to come, in my opinion. The Qualcomm quad core chipset is fast enough to handle anything that will come out in that time (but of course time will tell). And, needs differ per customer, but your average Fairphone customer is a pretty lightweight customer - somebody who will game heavily on their phone usually does not buy a Fairphone.

Next to that, we release an update every month (!) to ensure the phone keeps running smoothly and protected from any outside harm.