Friday, 19 February 2016

Buying Freedom 251, Here is What You Need To Know

When the news went viral for the smartphone with the price tag of Rs 251 only, everyone had geared up for booking the smartphone. Noida-based Ringing Bells had touted as the world’s cheapest smartphone. Freedom 251 has been trending on social media for the last two days.

This post is just to let the users know about Freedom 251 and does not pass any judgement about the phone and whether it’s scam or not. What we are referring to is that it seems more of a ‘Publicity Stunt’ and nothing else.

The registration for Freedom 251 smartphone started from on February 18th, 2016 from 6 AM. The website crashed in no time owing to the massive traffic it received. In fact the company stopped taking orders after few hours or so because the website had as many as “6 Lacs hits per second”, due to which firm noted that they are “taking a pause and upgrading the service and will revert within or before 24 hours.” Later in the day, Ringing Bells Director Mohit Goel said that 30,000 orders were booked before we terminated sales for Day 1. With a shipping charge of Rs 40, one unit of Freedom 251 cost Rs 291, so the company collected Rs 8,730,000 before the crash.

As the company had announced they will revert back after 24 hours, today the site was functional taking orders from the users. After resuming the service, however, hardly any issues have been resolved. The site is still inaccessible most of the time. Now, if you try and order from a desktop, it doesn't go through. No validations are in place in the submission form. This means you can enter imaginary states, pin codes, phone numbers, emailIDs and there will be no error while submitting. They have disabled the quantity field though. Till yesterday, you could put '0.5' and get the phone at half the price. Presumably half the phone.

Here are some facts about the smartphone which was encountered :

Let me start with the website, the domain was registered on 10 February 2016 and was updated on 14 February 2016. The website has only 4 tabs and most of the details are hardcoded. There seems to be no kind of return policy on the website, though it does say your Freedom 251 unit is covered by a one-year warranty.

The product came with Adcom branding, which was hidden by a whitener and overwritten with “Freedom 251”. And Adcom is denying that fact that it is selling or even manufacturing the phone for Ringing Bells.

The delivery date of the smartphone is on June 30th i.e. four months from today. Given the company's lack of any kind of a track record, there's an outside chance that it may never ship at all. The company had also launched a 4G smartphone dubbed the Smart 101, which is a cheap 4G Android device for just Rs. 2,999. The device went on order between February 2nd to 10th, and many users on the web are reporting that they never got any confirmation from the company, and moreover there was no response on the given customer care numbers.

Coming to the cost, Current technology does not allow for a mobile phone to be manufactured at this cost. The bare minimum is around INR 3,800, even if it is subsidised. The company has made it clear that they have not received any subsidy, either from the government or any other third party for this project. Still the price is only Rs. 251.

At the end of the website you can see "650+ Service Centre Pan India". There is no mention of even a single service centre, and nobody knows which cities they exist in.

Issuing a warning, BJP Member of Parliament Dr. Kirik Soumaiya, who is a Chartered Accountant and has a PhD in Financial Accounting, has issued a warning letter, and has requested the UP government to investigate the company, as the company and its claims look highly suspicious.

Even though the promoters claim that they will deliver the phone, it is highly improbable that they aill be able to do so, given the fact that no one would sell a phone for Rs. 251, that costs at least Rs. 3800 to build. As far as we can tell, this is either one of the biggest con jobs in India, or the promoters of Freedom 251 are certifiably insane.

No comments:

Post a Comment