Reliance Jio is promoting the Jiofi M2 device (with a smaller, Nano slot) for Rs 999 instead of the previous price of Rs 2000.

Since the battery of my earlier Jiofi device has swollen up, and I’m on my second battery since purchase of the device, I decided to buy a couple of Jiofi devices to stock up, for the battery. I bought two devices from a Reliance Jio store, and one device from Amazon. Since I work at Cochin, and my home is at Trivandrum, I had the Jiofi device shipped to Trivandrum. I couldnt get to home last week and setup the device only last Sunday.

To get this device working, you need to insert the sim into a sim tray after sliding the tray back. The previous model had a different way to insert a sim. One could just slide the sim into the tray instead of the other way around. That used to be robust. I never had problems inserting the sim into the older device. Since I have four sims for my wifi device, I regularly swap sims and never had any complaints with the older generation Jiofi device.

But the very first time I inserted the sim into the new Jiofi device, the sim tray dislodged and came away in my hand. I swear I never applied any excess pressure. I should know. I’m quite adept in working with small electronic components and can open up my laptop and replace components without breaking things. But Jio’s new device is of very poor quality, especially in its sim tray. There’s half a millimetre of aluminium attaching it to the base, and it’s definitely not strong.

Since this is clearly a manufacturing defect by the Chinese company they send their contracts to, I decided to approach the Jio Centre at Cochin’s Oberon Mall. I gave the defective device to the service centre and asked for a device replacement as per terms of the manufacturer warranty. However the Jio Centre people were not willing to replace my defective device, even though it was hardly one week since the device was bought. They attributed the defect to “wear and tear”, which they claimed, is an exception under the terms of manufacturer warranty. They further insinuated that since I hadn’t reported the defect to Amazon within their return timeline of 10 days, I was probably lying to hide a physical damage that I had done to it. My explanation of not having been able to visit my home city for one week fell on deaf ears. They told me that my options were simple. Discard the device I bought at Rs 999 for, or optionally (as a favor) they could repair the product if I shelled out an additional Rs 800. They didn’t accept that the device is flimsily built and that normal pressure can dislodge the sim tray, even though there were four other people in a similiar situation lined up at the store, each having bought the device recently.

So, if you’re planning to get a Jiofi, and need to occasionally swap sims rather than work on one sim alone, think again. Maybe you should go for the slightly costlier Rs 1500 device. The sudden price drop could be a way to get this defective batch off the market quickly. Maybe Jio is bringing in a new model soon..

P.S: I love Jio’s trendsetting offers and plans, and consider myself a fan. But I believe a trustworthy company has to stand by its ideals and promises. If I cant trust Jio to replace a Rs 999 device under warranty, how can I trust Jio to return 80% of the upfront cost of the Rs 1 lakh iPhone that Jio plans to sell?