According to the newspaper Du Dimanche, Free Mobile would have made a little bit of slush for its unscrupulous users who rented smartphones through their dedicated service without having to return them back at the end of the agreed period.
Recall that Free offers a smartphone rental service that allows everyone to enjoy a terminal for an initial monthly payment and a commitment over 24 months. Except that at the end of the contract, the user has no choice but to return the terminal (and eventually go to another location) without offering any purchase option.
However, some users have been able to go through the system by recovering smartphones, while avoiding billing … This has forced Free to launch a big deal early in the month: blocking unlicensed terminals remotely.
Free remains the owner of the terminals and can therefore implement a locking system that blocks the terminal by allowing it not to connect to any GSM network (FREE or anywhere, anywhere in the world), which makes the smartphone- almost unusable.
The problem is that for three years, that the situation persists, some of these terminals have changed owners. Whether it's about selling second-hand to private stores or specialist stores, some users have had an unpleasant surprise to see with an unusable smartphone, still bought in trusted stores.
According to JDD, Free would be blocked on no less than 300,000 smartphones earlier this month. The situation is complex because the owners of these smartphones have not known their origin for the most part. Blocking is therefore a surprise and the means of redress are limited: invites free to contact resellers to review the blacklists on a case-by-case basis.