How Purism Robbed Me

In October of 2017, I ordered the Librem5. After waiting for years, I asked for a refund in January of 2022 when I have given up on waiting and bought another phone. I was promised that my refund is being processed. In the of July 2022, I emailed customer support inquiring about it again! I received the following on the second of August, 2022:

Your refund is scheduled to be processed at the end of Q4 2022.

Kind regards,
João Azevedo

I complained about the delay and then never heard from them. For an organization that purports to be a social purpose corporation, this is quite ironic. Has anyone else experienced questionable business behaviour from Purism?!

Order History


No, I haven’t.


I came very close to canceling my pre order after a long wait, but didn’t cancel it for only one reason. I feared that the whole order might fall in to /dev/null if I canceled, which apparently yours has.

I would try to get a response from Joe with a commit date for your refund now? And not just a rough estimate by quarter. Based on your place in the queue, you would have had your phone long ago if you hadn’t canceled. Your refund should have gone out when your place in the shipping queue arrived.


If you search the forum for refunds, or even just browse a bit, you will see you are not alone.


I commented on another thread that with Purism, money only goes one way, from you to Purism. A few people corrected me. One received a Librem one refund. Another person got an AwSim refund. Both are small amounts. Refunds on high-dollar-amounts, not so much. For a Librem 5 refund, unless an Attorney General steps in on your behalf, it seems to be a “hell no” to everyone. You might consider accepting your Librem 5 if that is still an option. It looks to me like Purism might be waiting until they hit shipping parity, to refund any back order refunds, if ever.

Your promised deal from Purism in 2017 was a promise of an immediate refund if you change your mind before your unit ships. Purism unilaterally retracted that promise retroactively, a few years ago. They broke all buyer contracts and the law (for those who paid by credit card) without legal grounds nor any apologies. Apparently even now, they’re not issuing any refunds.


Thanks for the information. I won’t accept the phone now as I won’t be able to live with myself with a twisted arm. I will get to making my planned YouTube video about Purism in time to warn others. I suspect that it would cost Purism more than the $599 they owe me. Shame that they are not only acting immorally, but are also putting a bitter taste in the mouths of privacy-concerned individuals. Now, I’d rather give my money to Sony and Google; at least, I know where I stand with them. Also, I’ve bought a laptop from System76 and had to return it and they handled it professionally. Shame on Todd Weaver and his team for the hypocrisy; good riddance!

No you get robbed every day, using mainstream Media and Computers. But you accepted this already.

Got influenced to refund your order, and lost your future. Just to have a sad experience right now. Just wait more and you will get your refound i am sure. Or get your phone and sell it later.

However i am not sure about nudge behavior or post from competitors with chatgpt generated messages. You think the same from my post but … i have that offline phone in my hands while you are still using and proprietary hardware… and smartphones without kill switches and likely no option to remove the power source or to run free elective code on it.

I am sad about you and our world, and the fate of possibilities everyone have in a world moving towards artificial singularity.

Have a nice day!

These sorts of threads are provocative and leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s difficult to hear such stories - I’m sure we all wish everyone could have a nice, smooth go at life and everything would run their way. But that’s not how life works. It’s a struggle, and people and companies do things that are dishonest or immoral all the time. That doesn’t make it right, but it does call for some humility and understanding. Sometimes we simply don’t even have enough inside information to comment on things that look wrong from the outside.

I waited over three and a half years for my L5. But I put my money down with my eyes open.
Rather than expecting a product, all polished and shiny like Apple, I supported a cause.

And I’m glad I did. It’s been worth the risk and the wait to see what Purism and the community that have rallied around them have created.

And I even got a nice Linux phone out of it in the end.


I appreciate your sentiment and can understand your loyalty. However, I was not complaining about the quality of the product. The Librem 13 I ordered (and received) for ~2k was subpar, but I made my choice and took responsibility for the consequences. I could have even lived with a refusal to refund the amount. What I cannot tolerate is bad faith via questionable business practices such as stalling tactics. Implying that we should tolerate these practices for a greater cause is not sound logic. And I should know; I have lived under a dictatorship. I still support privacy, just not a la Purism. I think they do a disservice to the cause. Not sure what is provocative when you haven’t received your order for 6 years, your requests are being ignored, and you arrive at a logical conclusion that they have taken you for a ride? The rope of gaslighting is short. When that happens, one has to voice an opinion cause that’s how life really works.


This is really a difficult topic. The practice of not refunding after saying this was possible is not OK.
Also, waiting for a phone for several years with countless promises of it arriving soon is not OK.
But then again, asking for money back after a small company have used the money in good faith to develop a mobile phone +OS from scratch for years is really not OK either. What purism have done with the librem 5 is a feat not even huge companies have dared to try.

I ordered the phone around the same time OP did, but I believe my expectations was completely different. I wanted to support the development of a privacy respecting phone OS, so if purism failed, which I thought was likely, another company or the FOSS community could pick up the torch. I did not expect to really ever receive the phone, but very much hoped for it. Through the years I followed the development, which was really exciting for me.

Fast forward to now, I have received my phone. It has been my daily driver since October. The phone is only getting better and better.

Due to a HW issue (proximity sensor) on the phone I contacted support. They asked me if I was comfortable opening the phone myself, which I am, and gave me instruction on how to fix the issue. To be able to try and fix your stuff without losing warranty is really awesome. Unfortunately it was not an easy fix, and I had to send it in. I received a prefilled and prepaid DHL note for DHL to pick up in person. After some time i got my phone back in the mail with the issue fixed. No charge. I even had had a rather long mail conversation with support. At this time I felt I had robbed purism really.

During the time the L5 was at the repair shop I used my old android phone. A capable phone with degoogled custom ROM. Good battery, fast startup times and smooth scrolling everywhere, which I had missed.
What I did not miss was all the hoops I had to go through to get a privacy and freedom respecting phone. MicroG to fake having closed source on your phone, Magisk to be able to have root and again being able to hide the fact that you don’t have google services and now also hide the fact that you have root access to your device. The maintainer of the ROM had also stopped maintaining it, so no more security updates unless I reflashed to another ROM. Also, Aurora store was again broken, which has happened countless times for me over the years.

All in all it was a joy to get my FOSS phone back, and I am quite confident I wont go back to android as long as I can use a linux phone.


Yeah elbabilonio …I also got “Purismed” Long story short…received my phone March 20022. Along with awesim card. Couldnt get it to make or receive calls.A few people on this forum were trying to help by having me type in code to help with the issue. Finally I followed instructions and sent the phone back for a refund. Thats when I started to get run around the mulberry bush. "yeah the refund is coming"...blah blah. I got the same story. $700 to just stand on a hill and throw it into the wind. It really angered me but more than that it "hurt" to know this seemingly awesome company would stick you like that. I really thought the phone was good looking and well made but just didnt work. I don`t get that a company would actually send you a product without testing to see if it actually works first. Anyhow…your not alone.

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I am sure the phone works, as I’ve received mine around the same time, and it does indeed work. I can make and receive calls, browse the internet… the software is still a work in progress, so not for the casual user, but it is a real working product.

I’ve heard of similar, yes. I first noticed this when the Librem 14 hit shipping parity. At shipping parity, the people who had asked for refunds should have, according to the Librem 14 refund policy, have gotten their refunds. Several were complaining about that.

I’m not sure if you can edit the title of your post, but I would suggest that you change it from “Robbed” to something else. Robbery is properly defined as “theft” combined with “the use of force or the threat of force”. What they have done is awful and is, IMO, theft or fraud … but I don’t think it’s robbery.

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I think there is a difference between backing the crowdfunding campaign and placing an order.
A crowdfunding campaign is a risky investment and the money might be gone. This is ok.

Ordering the phone on the website is a different story. There is more obligation to actually deliver the order.

investment vs order

That is true. But many who bought from the website are facing the same issues. The crowd funding finished years ago. Many have bought the phone since. I was one of them. In my case I did not request a refund. But others did.

The thing is, we are not machines. Part of the reason we care about privacy are the values that we hold. How can we reconcile those values with this behaviour? This behaviour is akin to value-nuetral capitalism which I can experience any day of the week via thousands of other businesses. Calling yourself a social-purpose corporation implies a level of responsibility that transcends the material. I would respect an honest capitalist much more than a deceitful socialist. If we apply Hanlon’s razor and attribute this behaviour to incompetence rather than malice, it is still problematic. Edward Snowdon did not blow the whistle because he likes living on-the-run in Russia; he did it because he had a social purpose informed by his values. Purism needs to be honest and change its mandate, stipulating their refund policy clearly no matter how strict. Only then will they not impart this dissonance on its customers.


I couldn’t edit the title to read “How Purism Defrauded Me” :man_shrugging:

Sorry for my first post in this thread, but today and in our world… its like too many humans share less and less values in some kind of a group bubble. And if you have to decide to pay wages for workers family’s or to refund some one more customer… what would you do?

Or see some “kill your company Bill” appose to “generate more money and pay someone else 7 days later”. Sooner or Later you will see that this values will put you on a path that you won’t go in the first place but the future will push you too.

I do not know how some company decide. But i think you will got your phone or your money, sooner as the CPUs from China.

And you can’t be honest in predicting the future, its like the first “you will get your phone in 3 month”… no body will wait for 12 Month more and everyone will be disappoint if its 24 month instead of 12 or 18 or 20. New Customers who order and spend Money on that are hard to predict if you not nudge them to spend money. And in that case with fix costs its hard to plan…

Edit: I just think you have to trust. You will get your money sooner or later. And the word thrust disclose the way we think about money end spent it. We have to do it because everything else will end in isolated hell of our thoughts. We won’t spend something or invest into a future if we do not bereave… to gain. But still in some cases wi miss and will learn to resume and marge on.

I’ve got to say that there is always somebody who claims to be a victim everywhere we turn. Enough already!

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Yes, I have.