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BPO firm files cheating complaint against Freedom 251 manufacturer

A BPO company on Friday filed a complaint against Ringing Bells Private Ltd, the Noida-based manufacturer of the world’s cheapest smartphone, accusing it of cheating and non-payment of dues.

tech Updated: Feb 26, 2016 19:09 IST
The BPO service provider is now planning to sue Ringing Bells for fraud and not honouring the terms of the conditions of the contract.
The BPO service provider is now planning to sue Ringing Bells for fraud and not honouring the terms of the conditions of the contract.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

A BPO company on Friday filed a complaint against Ringing Bells Private Ltd, the Noida-based manufacturer of the world’s cheapest smartphone, accusing it of cheating and non-payment of dues.

Ringing Bells CEO Mohit Kumar Goel had hired the BPO firm – Cyfuture – on February 16 to handle customer calls.

Stating that he has lodged a complaint with the Gautam Budh Nagar senior superintendent of police’s office at Sector 14-A, Cyfuture CEO Anuj Bairthi said: “I had gone to the Noida Phase-II police station the previous day to lodge an FIR against the Ringing Bells founder after it terminated our agreement without serving us a month’s notice. However, the police said the FIR can be filed only after receiving permission from the SSP or SP (crime). Therefore, I have submitted the complaint on Friday… my first move towards lodging an FIR.”

The BPO firm will go ahead with the case if Ringing Bells does not pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh, he added.

Ringing Bells had hit the headlines earlier this month by selling the Freedom 251, the world’s cheapest phone, at just Rs 251. However, the company has run into many political as well as design-related controversies since then.

Goel denied Bairthi’s allegations, contending that he had paid Cyfuture a remuneration of Rs 7.6 lakh before terminating the contract over “poor quality” of services. “A clause in our agreement states that the employer is free to terminate the agreement without notice if the services provided did not meet our expectations. We decided to terminate the agreement with Cyfuture after 10,000 customers told us through e-mail that they were not satisfied with the BPO service. Also, we found during an inspection that Cyfuture had kept only 40 staffers against the promised number of 100,” the Ringing Bells CEO said. The company now plans to hire a new BPO to handle customers, he added.

According to Cyfuture, its staffers received calls from as many as 12 lakh customers – way more than what the BPO could handle – after Ringing Bells launched the Freedom 251 smartphone on February 17, 2016. “At the time of signing the agreement, Goel did not tell us that they will be launching the Freedom 251 smartphone. That much traffic could be handled only with a staff strength of 3,000. Despite this, our professionals dealt with the pressure and performed well on a 24x7 basis. The traffic has dipped now, but that is only because people have realised that the company is cheating them,” said Bairthi.

However, Goel said Bairthi cannot blackmail the company by threatening to file an FIR. “I am working as per the agreement,” he added.

Noida superintendent of police (crime) Vishvajeet Shrivastava confirmed that he received the complaint. “A BPO representative met me today and submitted a complaint against Ringing Bells. I have forwarded the complaint to Noida’s Phase II police station to conduct a preliminary probe and take appropriate action,” he said.