Things you need to know before buying a JioPhone

Reliance Jio had launched the JioPhone (opens in new tab) claiming that it will be available at a “zero effective cost”. While the company had priced the 4G feature phone at Rs. 1,500, the device was claimed to be effectively free as users can get their money back by returning the device to the company after a period of three years.

More than a million customers had pre-booked the JioPhone due to this cashback offer. Reliance Jio had stopped accepting pre-bookings for the JioPhone just two days after beginning to accept them and announced that they have received over a million pre-bookings for the 4G VoLTE feature phone.

Reliance Jio recently started shipping the JioPhone across the country and now, the company has put up the terms and conditions related to the JioPhone on its website which you need to know if you are going to buy the device or have already pre-booked it.

Penalty for returning the device before three years

If for some reason you decide to return the JioPhone before the end of the three-year period, you will have to pay the penalty charges as mentioned below:

  • Up to 12 months – Rs. 1,500 + GST or other taxes
  • 12 – 24 months – Rs. 1,000 + GST or other taxes
  • 24 – 36 months – Rs. 500 + GST or other taxes

The company will refund your security deposit only after you pay the applicable penalty. While it was expected that Jio will put some restrictions on early return of the JioPhone, the penalty seems a little high, especially for the first twelve months. If any tax is applied on the JioPhone’s penalty charge of Rs. 1,500, it would make more sense to not return the device and forgo the security deposit instead of paying a penalty more than the security deposit.

Minimum recharge of Rs. 1,500 annually

Over the three-year period, you will have to spend Rs. 4,500 on recharges, which means you will have to spend Rs. 1,500 every year on the JioPhone. If we take the Rs. 153 plan, you will have to recharge at least 10 times in a year.

The terms and conditions updated by Reliance Jio mention that if you do not recharge the JioPhone with vouchers worth Rs. 1,500 every year for the three-year period from the date of first issue of the JioPhone, the company can repossess the JioPhone. If the company reposes the device before the end of three-year period, the user will be liable to pay Early Return Charges.

As mentioned above, the penalty for returning the JioPhone will be Rs. 1,500 + GST if you return it before 12 months have passed, Rs. 1,000 + GST if you return the device between 12 and 24 months and Rs. 500 + GST if you return the device between 24 months and 36 months. Similarly, if the company reposes the device, you will have to pay the penalty as per the date of repossession.

When the user pays the penalty charge, the company will return the security deposit of Rs. 1,500 that was deposited while purchasing the JioPhone. If the customer does not pay the penalty charges, the company will not refund the security deposit.

Terms of returning the JioPhone

Apart from terms regarding recharges and early return, the company has also put up the following conditions regarding the return of the JioPhone after 36 months:

  • The device must be returned between 36 and 39 months from the date of first issue.
  • The JioPhone should not be damaged and should be in working condition.
  • Normal wear and tear is expected and the company will accept you device if it is still working.
  • All the date of the user must be deleted before returning the device.
  • The user should remove the SIM card before returning the device.
  • The user should comply with all other terms mentioned by the company on its website.

Apart from this, if the customer does not return the JioPhone within 3 months of the 36-month period, it will result in following consequences:

  • The Security deposit will be forfeited.
  • Reliance Jio will take back the device from the user.
  • Apart from this, the company has said that it will take further measures against the user.