According to the newspaper Du Dimanche, Free Mobile would have done a bit of cleaning up on its unscrupulous users who rented smartphones through their dedicated service, without being careful to return them at the end of the agreed period.
Keep in mind that Free offers a smartphone rental service that allows everyone to enjoy a terminal for an initial amount with monthly payments and a commitment of more than 24 months. Except that at the end of the contract, the user has no choice but to return the terminal (and possibly go elsewhere), no purchase option is provided.
However, some users were able to bypass the system, not restoring smartphones, avoiding billing … This forced Free to start a major operation earlier this month: remote locking of unreturned terminals.
Livre remains the owner of the terminals and can therefore implement a lock that blocks the terminal, no longer allowing it to connect to any GSM network (neither FREE nor anywhere else in the world), which makes smartphones almost unusable.
The problem is that for 3 years the situation lasts, some of these terminals have changed ownership. Whether it is second-hand selling for individuals or through second-hand specialist stores, some users have had the bad surprise of seeing themselves with an unusable smartphone, but purchased from reputable stores.
According to the JDD, Free would have blocked in no less than 300,000 smartphones since the beginning of this month. The situation is complex because the owners of these smartphones did not know its origin for the most part. Blocking is therefore a surprise and the remedies are limited: free calls to contact resellers to review the black listing on a case-by-case basis.