4 Reasons Freedom 251 Might Be a Massive Scam; 2 Reasons It Isn’t
There is an old proverb which rings ‘bell’ everytime I see some unprecedented marketing campaign: “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is..”
Something similar has happened with Freedom 251, the smartphone which is being offered at earth-shattering price of Rs 251 by a little known company called ‘Ringing Bells’. The bookings started today morning, and as per messages received by the some people, the website received 6 lakh hits a second.
Even the majestic Amazon Cloud couldn’t handle this onslaught of traffic, and the website crashed.
Social media is right now ignited with the news and reports of Freedom 251, as thousands and thousands of tech enthusiast attempted to book a unit of this new disruption in tech world.
We attempt to analyse logically, the truth behind Freedom 251, and try to decode whether its a scam or its a genuine offering from a new hotshot company which is attempting something never tried before?
We will first give them benefit of doubt, and present two reasons which prove that its not a scam:
Two Reasons it is NOT a Scam
a) Political leaders have launched this product
At a glittering event, veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi launched this handset in Delhi. Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar was also expected to attend this event, but he failed to turn up.
b) Ownership Is Clear
The company’s owners are not hiding and have presented themselves to be scrutinized. Here is the Facebook profile of the founder Mohit Goel, who goes by the name ‘CuteMohit’; besides, all the founders of this company have come out in the open in today’s full page ad on TOI and mentioned that the handsets would be delivered in June.
Four Reasons IT IS a Scam
a) The actual product is a shady rebranded ripoff:
Sample unit of Freedom 251 was reviewed by Hindustan Times, and they found that it’s a shady, rebranded ripoff of a smartphone sold by a company named Adcom, which is a Delhi based importer of gadgets and electronic products. And, Marketing Manager of Adcom has said, “We have no idea that our branding is being used on the Freedom 251.. We will look into this.”
Adcom A400, the handset which is being allegedly rebranded (without their permission) was launched 2 years ago. Hence, it can be a possibility that Ringing Bells are now reselling the old stock at lower price.
The most hilarious thing is that, the logo of Adcom is hidden by a whitener. No genuine company selling a smartphone shall do that.. Never!
Interestingly, the handset which has been rebranded is sold for Rs 4000 by Adcom. How will a new company rebrand it and sell the same for Rs 251? A huge red flag for scam alert here.
b) Promises Broken:
As per the specifications mentioned in their website, this smartphone will be pre-loaded with several apps such as Swatch Bharat, Women Safety App, Facebook, Whatsapp and more. But the review unit didn’t had any such app. Besides, the actual handset received by HT is entirely different from the handset which is being shown on their website and the full page ads in newspapers.
Infact, the icons & browser seems a direct copy of iOS icons and Safari browser.
c) Unrealistic/Infeasible Pricing:
Mobile Industry Body Indian Cellular Association (ICA) has written to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, asking him to look into this matter, as there is no way any company can sell such a handset below Rs 2700, even after considering all discount factors.
ICA President said, “For your kind information, the bill of material (BOM) value for a product like this when sourced from the cheapest supply chain cost approximately USD 40 (Rs 2,700).”
Considering that this handset feature 4-inch display, Qualcomm 1.3-GHz quad-core processor and 1 GB RAM; the individual cost of each component itself will be far more than Rs 251.
d) Not Govt. Approved:
Ringing Bell, the parent company behind the scintillating offer is not listed under Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which means that they are not certified to sell any product in India. This is a major red flag alert, which indicates that it’s a scam. And, there are no address mentioned on their website; the copy which they have written describing the advantages and features are all amateurish, and the Tweets they are sending are unprofessional to say the least.
Only time will tell about the truth, which would be revealed on June 30th, when Ringing Bells will deliver the first batch of their Freedom 251 handsets.
Do share your opinion and feedback on this case.