Ever since the Noida-based start-up Ringing Bells made an announcement to launch the world’s cheapest smartphone at Rs 251, it has been in the midst of severe controversies. According to recent reports, the company has come under the scanner of Enforcement Directorate (ED); the body has also issued directives to payment gateways Pay U Money and CC Avenues India Ltd, not to release the funds, till the phone reaches the customers. The company has reportedly collected Rs 1.66 crores in one account and Rs 75 lakhs in another account from the consumers.
The company Ringing Bells has recently announced that it will start refunding the money to the customers due to negative speculation around its claim. In order to ensure transparency, customers will now make the payment only when the phone is delivered to them.
Following are few excerpts of tweets posted by Ringing Bells:
The phone- Freedom 251, touted as the result of the Make in India initiative by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, went on sale from February 18 till 21 with a promise of delivery in four months. However, soon after the sale started, the firm had to suspend taking orders for the next 24 hours due to overload. Around 30,000 customers have pre-booked the device on the first day of the sale. The delivery of Freedom 251 smartphones is expected to start in April after which the company will start the second round of bookings.
Freedom 251 which was introduced with the intension of revolutionising the smartphone market raised concerns among experts who sensed that it could be a massive scam. India’s mobile industry body Indian Cellular Association had also written to the telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad about the pricing of the new phone, arguing that it could not be below Rs 3,500 ($51) even after subsidies.