Ringing Bells emerged as the most visited website overnight, thanks to its ridiculously priced smartphone, the Freedom 251. The company received a massive backlash from all around as its website crashed and booking were halted mid-way. Many of the industry’s bigwigs and Indian bureaucrats have already named it as a Ponzi scheme. Now, the makers of the Freedom 251 have announced Cash on Delivery (COD) payment option for users. No, the pre-ordering for the device has not resumed, and the COD option stands open for the first 25 lakh users who have successfully registered for the Freedom 251.
The company made the announcement on its official Facebook page, which further states that as of now, they are gathering the emails of the 25 lakhs of registered buyers and will soon issue the COD option to them. Moreover, a report about PayUBiz ( a company that is handling online payments for Ringing Bells) states that the company has refused to release the payment received from registration to Ringing Bells. In the first booking round, Freedom 251 received Rs 1.75 crore from 25 lacs of buyers.
Clearing the issue, PayUBiz released a statement saying, “As a leading payment solution company, we are cognizant of both our merchants and buyers. With a surge in no. of queries received for Freedom 251 during last few days, we are cautious towards the payments being made by buyers to buy Freedom 251. As a responsible payment solution company, we have ensured that the buyer’s money remains safe with us and gets released to the merchant once the product is dispatched. In case the merchant is not able to fulfil the huge demand they have received, we will work with the merchant to return the money to buyers.”
Whilst most people are doubting how the company will manage to achieve the Rs 251 price mark, Ringing Bells’ Director Mohit Goel claims that the company is expecting to collect Rs 31 profit on per unit sold. Ringing Bell’s president, Ashok Chadha disclosed at the launch event that the per unit procurement price for the Freedom 251 is around Rs 1500, and not Rs 2500.
Among many who raised their concerns over Ringing Bells. BJP MP, Kirit Somaiya proposed Telecom Ministry, Telecom Regulator Authority (TRAI), Consumer Ministry, Stock Exchange Board of India (SEBI), Corporate Ministry, Finance Ministry, RBI, and state governments to examine several concerns that many have raised over the company offering a smartphone at Rs 251, which is an impossible price point. Also, Government of India has distanced “Make in India” initiative from Ringing Bells. All these instances are a hint that nobody is ready put a dime over Freedom 251’s authenticity.
In the end, we think that people need to wait and see the entire drama unfold before buying the “World’s cheapest phone”, although COD option does ensures a little safety as you’re not going to share your card details. It would be interesting how Ringing Bells tackles the controversies and fulfils its unbelievable promises.