Reliance launched its disruptive 4G feature phone — JioPhone— earlier this year in July and claimed that it’s essentially free as the Rs 1,500 paid to purchase the device is refundable after three years. But fine print suggests that if you wish to do away with your JioPhone, it’s going to be a pretty expensive deal overall.
Meet the Annual Recharge Threshold or Lose Your JioPhone
While the JioPhone costs Rs 1,500 initially, it comes with additional charges that a user will anyways have to incur on any network — monthly tariff charges.
But Reliance has made it compulsory for a user to invest at least Rs 1,500 annually to enjoy continued service. Failure in doing so means that Reliance can take the JioPhone back.
“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 3 years from the date of the first issue of the JioPhone,” the official website reads.
Pay-up If You Wish to Discontinue Service
Other than that, if you wish to return the device, you will not only be giving up the Rs 1,500 refundable security deposit but will also have to pay a certain amount depending on the time lapsed since you bought the device.
For those returning the Reliance JioPhone within the first year of purchase, a fine of Rs 1,500 plus GST or other taxes will be imposed.
If you plan on returning the phone after 12 months and before 24 months from the initial issue date, then you’ll need to pay Rs 1,000 plus GST or other taxes.
Those returning the JioPhone after 24 months and before 36 months will have to pay up Rs 500 plus GST or other taxes.
These ‘Early Return Charges’ — as the company likes to call them — will be imposed even if a user fails to comply with the Rs 1,500 annual recharge policy.
The Rs 1,500 security deposit paid at the time of purchasing the JioPhone will be returned by the company after the fine imposed has been paid off.
So, if you’re looking to purchase the JioPhone, or you’re among the millions who already have, you’ll need to tread carefully otherwise you’ll find yourself in a tight spot and end up paying more than you intended for the disruptive feature phone.