Reliance last week announced shipping of its smart feature phone, JioPhone, to consumers who had pre-booked the device last month. The JioPhone gained a wide attention for its smartphone-like features including 4G VoLTE compatibility and voice-based browser. In a bid to tap consumers in smaller towns and rural areas of the country, Reliance Jio priced the device at Rs 1,500. Moreover, the price could be refunded after three years of usage, which the company touted as an “effectively free” price.
The company has now given more clarity on how the refund the policy works, and it turns out the terms and conditions are not really consumer-friendly. While earlier a consumer was locked for three years, the updated terms and conditions say that users can now return the smart feature phone before the completion of three years, but the money will not be fully refundable.
If a user returns the phone within 12 months from the date of issue of the JioPhone, customers will have to “pay Rs 1,500 along with applicable GST or other taxes”. After 12 months, early return charges are Rs 1,000 along with taxes. After 12 months and up to 36 months, return charges are Rs 500 with taxes. This essentially means if a customer decides to return the phone before 12 months, they will have to pay a price more than the actual price of the JioPhone.
Also, a customer will have to recharge worth Rs 4,500 during the three-year time frame. “The JioPhone is available for continued use on the recipient purchasing telecom recharge vouchers of an authorized carrier (presently Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited) from the company or any of its authorized retailers for use in the JioPhone of a minimum value of Rs 1,500 per annum for a period of three years from the date of the issue of the JioPhone,” reads the T&C section on the Jio website.
“The recipient has no right to sell, lease, assign, and transfer or otherwise dispose of the JioPhone in any manner whatsoever,” it further said.