Bkav, an Internet security firm turned phone maker, apparently got off on the wrong foot in its bid to make “the world’s best smartphone,” as the company is now facing a fine for the tardy delivery of its flagship device.
More than a month after the lavish launch of the Bphone on May 26, no buyers have been able to actually own and experience the handset, while the Hanoi-based phone maker has been crippled by scandal after scandal.
Those who placed orders for the Bphone on its first day of sales on June 2 have yet to receive the devices, with Bkav so far breaking its promise on delivery three times in a row.
The company, known for the Bkav antivirus software, first announced that the Bphone would be delivered to customers’ door on June 9, before delaying the date to June 18, and then June 29.
While some customers reportedly received the smartphones on June 29, Bkav announced shortly after that it would recall the first batch of products for upgrades, and made yet another promise that delivery would come on July 3.
And then the company broke their word for the third consecutive time, forcing buyers of what Bkav CEO Nguyen Tu Quang dubbed “the world’s best smartphone” to express their anger and disappointment on social networks and local tech forums.
Do Thu Hang, director of public relations with Bkav, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Monday that most customers in Hanoi had received the devices on Friday and Saturday last week.
“Those in Ho Chi Minh City and other provinces and cities would receive the products on Sunday or Monday,” she said yesterday.
Hang attributed the late delivery to “the very big number of orders” the company received. Bkav has said it received 11,822 orders on the first day of sales of the Bphone.
However, many customers in Ho Chi Minh City told Tuoi Tre late Monday their Bphone has yet to arrive. Bkav, in the meantime, has not apologized to customers for constantly breaking its promises.
Many buyers have complained that Bkav is going against the commitment to serve customers its executives pledged during the launch ceremony, adding they feel disrespected by the phone maker.
Many local consumers have said they would buy the Bphone to support a Vietnamese firm, but most are now losing faith in the promise breaker.
Lawyer Nguyen Van Hau, deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Lawyers Association, said Bkav is facing a fine for violating the law on protecting customers’ rights and interests.
If Bkav does not publicize the reasons as to why it keeps delaying delivery of the Bphone, it can be considered as concealing information, or providing insufficient information about its production and business ability.
“This breaches the law on the protection of customers’ rights and interests, and shall be subject to fines of VND20-40 million [US$920-1,840],” Hau told Tuoi Tre.
“The company can also have its license suspended for up to six months, or be suspended from operations for one to six months over repeated violations.”
Those who placed orders for the Bphone, meanwhile, can ask to terminate the purchase contracts and request compensation from Bkav, according to the lawyer.
Hau said the order customers placed online is a contract which stipulates that the manufacturer delivers the product on time as agreed upon by both parties.
“The seller is only allowed to deliver the product prior to or after the agreed time with the consent of the buyer,” he said.
“So by repeatedly failing to deliver the smartphone on time, Bkav has violated the contract's terms and the customers have the right to terminate [the contract] and ask for compensation.”