The controversies around Ringing Bells don’t seem to be showing any signs of disappearing. The makers of the world’s cheapest smartphone, Freedom 251, is on the verge of getting sued. Cyfuture, a data center and BPO, alleges that the Noida-based company has not paid the dues as per the contract.
Update: Ringing Bells President Ashok Chaddha has reverted to our query. “We completely disagree with the facts shared by Cyfuture BPO. Ringing bells were receiving 1000s of complaints directly from the consumers that lot of people were not able to get through the helpline number.We had outsourced this job to Cyfuture BPO. Telecom companies confirmed that the helpline was receiving a volume of approx 12 lakh calls per hour. It came to our knowledge that the BPO company were not able to handle the traffic. We are looking into the situation to serve our customers better,” he said.
Cyfuture claims Ringing Bells had outsourced the call center duties to it before the launch of the Freedom 251. The company claims that it hired more than 100 employees to attend to “lakhs of calls” from customers post the announcement of the Freedom 251 smartphone. It however alleges that when it was time for paying the dues as per the contract, Ringing Bells “abruptly terminated its services.”
“The first few days after the phone was launched, the call-center number received lakhs of calls which were attended and promptly responded to and even Ringing Bells was happy with our services,” Anuj Bairathi, Founder and CEO, Cyfuture said. “However, when we started asking for our payments, which were to be made to us on a weekly basis, they started making false allegations and abruptly decided to terminate our services citing unsatisfactory services without adhering to any of the clauses mentioned in the agreement signed between us.”
“They did not provide any notice period, refused to make our payments and abruptly terminated our services. They are also not taking our calls. We plan to take all necessary legal recourse including filing a police complaint to fight our case” Bairathi added.
Though it has launched the Freedom 251, all eyes are on Ringing Bells to see if they can deliver the Rs 251 smartphone. The telecom ministry has ordered investigations into the matter to see if there is anything shady, considering a smartphone like this costs a minimum of Rs 2,300 to manufacture in the first place.
Ringing Bells director however says there is nothing shady about his business, and in fact it will make Rs 31 profit on each Freedom 251 unit sold. Yesterday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also warned the company that strict action will be taken if it failed to deliver the smartphone.