UFC-Que Choisir, one of the leading consumer associations, wants to launch a group action against Free Mobile. The smartphone rental is in question.
Since its launch in 2012, Free Mobile has always been opposed to the purchase of a smartphone "subsidized" by a subscription with commitment. Instead, in 2013, the operator launched a rental offer with an independent commitment to its packages.
Problem, the operator would tend to charge abusive fees to its customers, often on the pretext that the phone would never have been returned after the end of the lease. In addition, Free Mobile appears to be to absent subscribers when it comes to processing the claims of its subscribers, even when they provide the acknowledgment of receipt of their shipment.
The UFC-Que Choisir, a well-known consumer protection association, decided to seize this file and launch a group action.
An abusive use of a right
In its press release, the UFC specifies that on paper, Free Mobile is entitled to charge a non-refund fee. However the operator must of course be able that there was really no restitution, otherwise it could give the impression that the smartphones are well recovered, but still billed to the customer.
Free Mobile puts a lot of emphasis on renting
With its group action, which interested parties can register by completing a form, the UFC-Que Choisir hopes that potential victims will receive compensation. The association also argues that Free Mobile tends to charge the same amount to all the customers concerned, regardless of the age and wear of the smartphone.
Free Mobile denounces a communication operation
Contacted by the site Freebox Universe, Free Mobile believes that "the assignment of UFC is unjustified" because "it reports only 9 subscribers". A somewhat strange defense if the operator estimates that 9 possible victims are an acceptable figure.
The operator criticizes especially the fact that: "never before this assignment the UFC did not mention these 9 cases of Free Mobile subscribers". According to the operator, the association seeks "above all the opportunity to make a new procedure to make its own communication, rather than deal with the real problems of the French".
Concerning the restitution costs, the operator explains: "the billing of the non-refund penalty is applied when the terminals are returned in bad working order. ".
The case is now in the hands of the district court of Paris.