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Overall experience after 14 months (support processes)

I have to say, FP has a lot going for it. Social responsibility, an amazing modular design on the FP2, a great community…

When my FP1 developed random glitches after 2 1/2 years, I thought long and hard whether I would stick with FP. The fault couldn’t easily be traced to a single hardware module, making a repair a non-option based on cost vs. chance of success. This was certainly the shortest-living phone I ever had. Would I give them another chance based on that?

Well, I argued with myself that the FP1 was a learning experience, and the FP2 would be the result of that experience. So I ordered it.

Maybe it was just bad luck (I certainly don’t have statistics on hardware faults), but just three months later, my touchscreen on the new FP2 started to act funny. The phone is still usable - in a limited fashion.

Here at least, the error was quickly diagnosed by support: The display module has to be checked and possibly replaced.
The wonderful thing: It’s so easy to remove and reinsert the display module, it’s amazing. So I was happy. I would wait for my replacement display module, then send in my damaged one, and all that time I could keep on using my phone.

Or so I thought.

The realities of support processes hit. No, I have to send in my display module first. No, there is no contract repair shop anywhere, where this could be done. No, there is no way I could get the display module up front (not even by offering the full price as security). Plus, they don’t even give a reason why it has to be so - “this is how it’s done”.
Which brings to mind the quote “Bureaucracy was created to fulfill the requirements of bureaucracy”

What initially sounded like “fixed in 5 minutes” now turns out to cost me hours and hours.
My options on spare phones are pretty bleak (unless I buy one just for that purpose) - I use my phones till they break, and most of my friends or colleagues either do that as well, or sell their still-usable phones.

In many ways, I would have been better off buying any phone from a provider. While I wait for repairs, I at least get a spare phone to use in the meantime.

I totally understand that FP is still on a learning curve, and that I cannot expect hardware quality on par with Nokia at it’s finest. Even so, the first glitches after 3 months? I have never had that with any phone in my life.
What I really do not understand is the inflexibility regarding support options. Why is it impossible to receive spare parts up front, even when offering the full price as security, and paying a moderate handling fee on top?

Well, I’m stuck with the FP2 for now, and as I said, it has a loot of good to offer. Still, I’ll think three times before buying another phone from FP.

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I moved your post to #fairphone-road-map because “it shares info that can help Fairphone do even better”.

That’s weird, only 4 days ago someone mentioned that this is exactly what they did (though frustratingly this didn’t really solve the problem either):

So either the policy has changed, or someone in support didn’t get the memo…

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I’m sorry to hear of your disappointment in our support process. I fully agree that the current way of doing things is not as practical as can be, since it leaves you without a working phone for a while. In some very urgent cases we can make exceptions, but we’d rather not do this and there has to be a valid reason for this.

We are currently working hard to realise a system as described by @Asperamanca, where we ‘hold’ the money of the module/part being replaced so we can send out a replacement before receiving the broken part back. We hope to be able to realise this in the coming months. Until now, we had to trust on our faith in our community, which unfortunately went wrong a bit too often. Meaning that we sent out parts before receiving the broken ones, to find out that the damage was out-of-warranty and therefore the customer should’ve been charged. That is why we decided to go for the current system, which hopefully soon will be an annoyance for everyone involved of the past soon.

So, work in progress, but as always with these things, our team is simply too small to deal with so much projects at a time and it is a matter of resources. Our support team designs and manages a complicated reverse logistics process for the whole of Europe, and things are more complicated than you’d might imagine. I’m not trying to use this as an excuse, I’m simply stating the facts.

Then, also taking into account that for some customers we have to replace multiple parts (with the whole replacement process which comes with that, which inevitably takes quite some time although we try to make it more lean constantly), this makes things even harder. Luckily, with new production batches the amount of factory faults are lower!

In any case, thanks for your support for Fairphone and apologies for the inconvenience. I hope that you understand a bit more why our service is not on the level of the big manufacters yet. Thanks for your patience in the meantime!

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So even if this is, as aspected, not directed at me, I’d like say a few words.

First of all:
I work in the field of outpatient care of people with disabilities. And as you may imagine, there’re a few things in life that can’t be planned. So my clients and I’ve to trust our phones, because otherwise we’ll miss each other, stand in front of closed doors or may have no money to buy groceries. When something isn’t working out, I explain why it did and I’ll change the part that went wrong. I mean, doing the same thing over and over again, even if it fails, is likely to work out in the end, right?

You on the other hand apologise and ask for patience (in the meantime). Patience for what? What are you changing? How long is it gonna take? Why should I have patience and trust in you? You wont tell me how any changes are gonna effect my experience of the Fairphone 2 and the only thing you ever gave me, for over 530€, is a phone that breaks whenever it feels like it (and I do not talk about glitches, frozen Displays, over-heating battery, the thing where I need to remove the battery 3 times before it starts … which all happen aswell). So either your Fairphone 2 is a rip-off or the spare parts you keep sending me as a replacement.

The whole “be part of a movement thing”, big words like “social change” kind of make me sad.
You know what really makes a difference? Treating people like you care about them, trying to show empathy, instead of telling them how hard it is. All I ever wanted was someone who takes my problems serious. But thats obviously to much to ask.

First of all, let me say that it is very unfortunate that these modules break over and over again. It is a result of problems in the production process, because A. it is incredibly hard to design, build and maintain smartphone, not even taking into account that it is also the first modular smartphone and that we try to implement our sustainable goals, and B. producing in such small numbers as we do is always a tricky business, since it is harder to get a steady quality in the production line.

Like I’ve said, we’re now on a much better quality level and we are continuously working on operational improvements, and our support processes are already miles better than they’ve been before. Believe me, we really do care about our customers, but we care even more about the fact that they support our sustainability goals. I personally believe that this also means that you have to accept that we are still a very small and young company and that we will need the support from our customers to work towards improvements.

And in the end, although sad as it is that all these parts have broken on your phone causing you discomfort - we have replaced any broken parts in warranty and in a decent manner, except for the long waiting time the first time something broke, right?

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Owning my FP2 since January 2016 I needed to get my display replaced in May 2016, which took a week or so, perfectly fine for me. Since then I didn’t have any hardware issue whatsoever, even my (blue translucent (loving it!)) case is absolutely ok.

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Someone in this forum provided a link to a documentary about FP (…producing the fairphone-vpro backlight documentary.

Maybe urs_lesse…

I watched it.

Although I did expect something like FP has done would turn out as quite a challenge, this documentary lighted even more aspects I did not think of. But still there are many dark not lighted aspects.

Anyway in some point it has changed my thoughts about FPs challenge.

Outsiders who most of us customers may be often cannot imagine what´s going on in a small start-up company and about their struggles.

Some moments were moving as well.

I do appreciate the strenght and ambitions and also the responsibility Van Abel has taken over to convert from a designer to a manufacturer.

He really puts quite some energy into this movement and I wouldn´t want to swap with him.

Maybe others also change their point of view and oppinion about FP when having watched this documentary.

There is no comparison to other smartphone manufacturers as this is a completely new approach and path. He actually is a pioneer.
But meanwhile we do hear or can even read about other companies starting to change, at least in very tiny steps.

So it obviously again needed one to do the first step for the others to see how it´s going or where they can do better right from the start.

Having the same expectations on FP than on other manufacturers I think is unrealistic and not correct.

Anyway the customer support here twice took its time for an explanation and clear apology. Few bigger companies don´t even bother wasting time with such. (Sony???)

FP has a lot of screws to adjust and only limited resources. I am sure everyone there is doing his best to fullfill all needs quickest possible to everyones satisfaction.

Being under pressure and earning mainly critism propably does not rise motivation.

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There’s been a couple of links to that, not sure who posted it first. To save people searching for it:


(now with subtitles in different languages)

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And some more can be found here:

A while back I read this phrase (not in relation to Fairphone):

Everybody said it wouldn’t work. Then someone came, who didn’t know that, and simply did it.

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I only know: “Everybody said it wouldn’t work. Then someone came, who didn’t know that, tried it and it didn’t work” - Nico Semsrott, Source :de:

Clearly not related to Fairphone either! :wink:

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Ok, I’ll try this once again, since it most of you did not get the point I intended to make:

When I decided to buy a Fairphone 2 I knew that it wouldn’t be a perfect phone, I knew that some things may take longer because the company is so small, I knew I would’ve to put effort into troubleshooting myself instead of having a smartphone that runs smooth in every aspect.
What I aspected was to get a Smartphone that suits my idea about sustainability, about fair a price for a product I’d like to have, about sharing my “wealth” with everyone in the chain of production instead of feeding a giant corporation like Apple, Samsung …

When the Fairphone company talks about a movement, I feel like I want to be a part of it. And I believe I am.

The only thing that disappointed me was, that I never got an individual answer to my question, that I started asking when the 3rd or 4th module broke. I wanted to know if that is normal or if I have just bad luck. What did I get? The standart E-Mail without the slightest hint of an answer to my question. Then I wasn’t able to make a call on my telephone and they said, that they are improving the chain of productions for a better quality (I know that this is good!) and they can’t send me a spare part. Still no individual help and not even, that bothers me the most, a word about how long I’ve to wait, no tip what I could do, nothing!
Than I got angry, quoted some shit of the BGB about purchase contracts and pooof a day later my module is on the way. But still not an answer to my question.

That is were I need to disagree. When acting like that is the only way to get my phone to work, if you (kind of) force me to be that guy quoting paragraphs like some kind of advocate, if I have to be that guy to get you to react, than no, that is not a decent manner.
I was ashamed of myself for writing those mails (and this post took me a day to write, because i was reflecting whether I’m overreacting or not), because I could imagine the struggles that you most certainly have to deal with and I hated that I had to “scream” to get something to happen.

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I believe that for a small team to be able to provide fast answers to lots of users it’s necessary to have standard texts that they can copy-paste. What happened here is probably you wrote about your issue in the request and that very question was somewhere buried in the text, like it is in your posts now.
The support employee probably read the mail and answered with the appropriate standard text. They may have thought your question was an angry rhetorical question like: “WTF?”, “Are you friggin’ serious?” or “Why does this keep happening to me?”.

To answer your question: No, it’s not normal.

I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with you getting angry but simply with the fact that a new shipment had arrived.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Fairphone 2 Community Reviews

My overall experience

I have my FP2 for about 13 months.

Things were frustrating in the beginning. There was a problem with the camera, and I had to send the phone back and get a replacement. The interaction with support was OK. But the second phone was restarting randomly many times each day. After an update this was also fixed.
Since then I am completely happy with the smartphone. I dropped it 3 or 4 times and the cover broke at the corners, so I bought a new cover. This was OK, since the cover did what it was supposed to do, i.e. absorb the energy of the crash.

I didnt have any other substantial issues. I love being a fairphone owner.

My brother, on the other hand, is frustrated because there are no spare parts for his FP1. His display broke, and there are no more displays available. I understand the reasons, but it still sucks. And it is completely unsustainable, as the old FP1 is no longer usable and will be thrown away.

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I think that is something FP will have to put more focus on in the future.
Recycling. Even my replaced camera module I was pleased to dispose the old properly. Well it is still packed in the original package in my cubboard as I do know how electronic waste is handled here in Germany.
A better way would be to take back as much parts as possible and keep the circle moving.
I don´t know if FP still have special offers on a new FP2 when returning an old FP1, that also would be a good way to keep customers and collect valuable ressources.
But yes, I also read few FP1 owners just wouldn´t be satisfied with the prize discount. (130€ I think).

Please give us links instead of writing “I have read somewhere”. It is really hard for anyone to verify what you are talking about.

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I will try to improve on this.

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I’ve been using my Fairphone 2 for about three months. So far the only issue I can remember has been that the soft and hard parts of the regular back cover started getting separated near the micro-USB port a little while ago. I e-mailed Fairphone about this with the appropriate subject line and pictures, and they answered the next day, saying that I can choose one of the regular back covers and they will ship it to me as a replacement, free of charge. The new back cover arrived very quickly, in only a couple of days and it’s been fine so far. I tried gluing the old back cover and will try to keep it as a spare. Overall I was very happy with the support.

I’m sorry that you’ve had such a tough time with your phone.

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Please continue here to write about your experiences with the FP2 and here about the experiences with support.