When Income Tax Dept Advised Ringing Bells, Makers of Freedom 251
Freedom 251 is the cheapest smartphone in the world priced at under $4. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)
Freedom 251 is the cheapest smartphone in the world priced at under $4. (Photo: The Quint)

When Income Tax Dept Advised Ringing Bells, Makers of Freedom 251

The world’s cheapest phone (or so they claim) Freedom 251 took Indian consumers by surprise in February. An unknown company, set up only in 2015, Ringing Bells, is now making headlines the world over – and for the wrong reasons.

The company has come under the radar of the Income Tax authorities for claiming to sell their phones at heavy losses. The Income Tax department has also raised alarm bells about whether the company can actually deliver on what they’ve promised.

So, just when everyone thought that the scam is about to be exposed something really weird has happened.

Excise department and income tax department officials visited Ringing Bells office. Since we are planning to achieve milestones under Make in India, Skill India and Startup India, they issued some guidelines for the future and extended full support and cooperation. 
Ringing Bells Official Statement on the IT Department Visit

According to the statement issued by the company, the income tax department did not find anything wrong with their operations. But there are many questions that still remain unanswered.

Sample this. The Ringing Bells CEO claims they are a registered Android partner and but the company hasn’t been listed. They have also not submitted a phone for certification to the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards). So how is the company selling online?

The real promoters of the company are unknown.

Also Read: Freedom 251: ‘Cheapest Phone in the World’ or a Cheap Trick?

In just two days the company has received more than 60 million registrations and has since stopped accepting new ones. They plan to work on fulfilling the first 30,000 orders and continue with their campaign only after that.

The company also claims to have not used the money it has received from orders. They have put it in an escrow account in ICICI Bank. Orders will be taken for a maximum of 25 lakh phones online and another 25 lakh offline.

Their confidence in pulling off such a large order, given that its barely a year-old company, is a bit confusing.

One is left then to wonder where is the IT department’s ‘support’ coming from?

In an article reported in Economic Times, the CEO of Ringing Bells Mohit Goel states that “We are not hiding anything,” in response to questions about concerns raised over whether the phones would reach consumers. “We are promising 100 percent deliveries to all 50 lakh bookings by June 30, starting from April,” Goel said.

The statements made by the company lack consistency and raise more questions than they have answered.

Also Read: Ring(ing) Bells of Caution: Why You Should Not Buy the Freedom 251

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