Louiss Rossman on Purism

Let me clarify that Purism had nothing to do with the text in the Librem 5 Community FAQ. I wrote the majority of it. If the answer in 8.7 isn’t understandable, then you can blame me, not Purism.

I wrote the FAQ mainly for people like myself who care about the details. It isn’t for marketing or customer relations and it doesn’t represent Purism’s official position. However, I think it’s worth stating that there were real technical and economic challenges that Purism had to confront to create the Librem 5, and dismissing those issues as “bull :poop:” is not smart or responsible in my opinion.


Please, show that to this russmen :sunglasses:


Your comment raises an interesting point. While you suggest that this individual might not have the full story and could be biased, it’s valuable to consider a broader context. Drawing from both personal experience and various accounts shared by dissatisfied customers online—on platforms such as the Purism Forum, The Better Business Bureau, Complaints Board, Trust Pilot, Reddit, YouTube and more—it becomes evident that negative interactions with Purism products, customer support, and obtaining a refund for not receiving a product in a timely manner or receiving products with defects the company is already aware of, are not isolated incidents. The sheer volume of overwhelmingly negative reviews and experiences across these sites is noteworthy. I implore you to look at them, attempt to prove me wrong, and then share your findings with the community.

Acknowledging that any viewpoint can be influenced by biases, it’s essential to recognize the frustration that can arise from investing in a product, only for it to malfunction shortly after purchase. In my case, this scenario played out when a laptop I bought from Purism stopped working just a month after the purchase. What’s even more disheartening is that the company was aware the issue stemmed from the motherboard before I reluctantly sent it back for a replacement motherboard, having been denied a refund three times. I possess emails that substantiate this fact This context significantly amplifies discussions about refund policies and product quality.

Ultimately, the aim isn’t to tarnish a company’s reputation but to foster transparency and accountability. Constructive feedback, whether positive or negative, plays a crucial role in a company’s growth and the overall enhancement of its products and services. It’s apparent to me that the company and products you find satisfaction in are in need of considerable improvement. However, I believe it’s vital to hear and consider alternate points of view and experiences. I look forward to hearing what you and the rest of the community have to say.


I empathize with your situation, having faced a similar ordeal with Purism. The frustration of investing in a product with high expectations, only to encounter ongoing challenges, is truly disheartening. While my own experience saw relatively prompt responses and a “repaired laptop” (we’ll see) returned within a little over a week, it’s deeply concerning to learn about other customers, from multiple different sites, who continue to grapple with recurring issues, even after receiving replacements or repairs. This perpetual cycle for others is simply unacceptable, and I respectfully hope to avoid falling into the same cycle.

I also requested a refund due to persistent issues that significantly disrupted my work and education. The response I received echoed your own: ‘We are sorry that this happened and we apologize for the inconvenience. Per the policy you accepted by purchasing (Policies – Purism), we can only return your device for replacement/repair.’ While I did accept the policy, nowhere does it mention the specific issues and defects that the laptop has. It raises the question: would anyone have accepted that policy had they known? No, yet their rigorous adherence to this return policy is indeed apparent.

Strikingly, their website boldly touts the Librem 14 as “The first 14” laptop designed to protect your digital life: an ultra-portable workstation laptop crafted chip-by-chip, line-by-line, to safeguard your rights to privacy, security, and freedom”. If their products truly live up to these claims, then why do they deny refunds? Could there be oversights in their meticulous chip-by-chip, line-by-line design that they take pride in? Or has their commitment wavered, resulting in the sale of flawed products and the mistreatment of customers who rightfully seek refunds for design or component flaws? This doesn’t resonate with the concept of freedom; rather, it evokes sentiments of gas-lighting, questionable practices, greed, and potential misrepresentation. It’s indicative of a company that may have lost sight of its original purpose, seemingly forgetting that its very existence relies on the support of its customers.

While I may have biases and not possess precise insights into challenges involving production, components, pricing, unfulfilled promises, supply chain intricacies, firmware, software, design, etc…, a convergence of these factors seems to have fueled the prioritization of their interests over customers’. This stringent approach could indeed serve as a strategic safeguard against the potential fallout from widespread refunds, which would likely be detrimental to the company.

Given these circumstances, advocating for solutions that cater to our needs becomes even more imperative. I commend your resolve in asserting your rights as a customer. Let’s strive for a resolution that acknowledges our concerns and experiences. Please keep me informed, and I’ll reciprocate. Best of luck, and thank you for sharing your invaluable insights.

IMO: Yeah, yeah - poor Purism. I don’t "think it’s worth stating…"because the same is repeated in several places. You missed the point. But I expected as much.

A good carpenter never blames their tools.

BTW - Thanks for your work on that set of FAQ’s. I’ve bookmarked both sets of FAQs FAQs.

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May I PM/DM that to you? IMO: It may be a waste of time as it’s possible it could be corrected any time soon.


When did you place your order? What Purism is quoting here is a new policy that was only added a few months ago. At least until March 26, 2023 it was not present and the refund policy said this instead:

If you want to return a product that doesn’t have any hardware issues, we will charge a 10% restocking fee. We accept these returns within 30 days of delivery.

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Zues100x, It’s sad you did just like Louis Rossmann and decide to ignore the several points he ignored (or like I said, “doesn’t have the full story”)
I will throw you your own words : “it’s valuable to consider a broader context.”, just like Louis Rossmann, you didn’t, you decide to just focus on refunds
I implore you to look how hard and complex it is to create a new product, how it’s worse in the social/economical period we went through, and how it’s worse when your main competitors are Apple and Google which will consider you as an ideological enemy

Acknowledging that hardware problem happens to any other companies in the world and Purism is not exempt of this, Purism doesn’t have the backbone the be as good as multi-billions dollars companies : they can’t easily give back (refunds) the spent money on hardware and software development.
You had a bad experience with the purchase of a Purism product, but everything went well for me, I feel sorry for you, this situation sucks, but calling this a scam (this is the point of Louis’ videos) because of a minority of bad experiences is WRONG when you look at the broader context
What is even worse is that the electronic component shortage surely triggered a wave of fear of never getting the product, which increased the refund demands
I think Purism has/had two choice: bankruptcy and disappear, or survive by delaying refunds to invest in improvements and to satisfy the most orders, I’m glad they choose the latter

Seems like we didn’t watch the same videos
The worse thing in this all drama, is that Louis has a lot of ideological viewpoints aligned with Purism, and should be praising them (without holding back on the refunds issue)

Amen ! On both points you raised here


I placed the order on June 21st, 2023.

Hello friend,

It’s clear to me you understand this on a higher intellectual level then I could ever hope to aspire. I have read your reply and appreciate your perception, taking the time out of your day to reply, and contributing to the forum.

All the best,

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The Librem 5 has not been marketed as a crowdfunding product for many years now, yet they treat the customer that arrived after the crowdfunding as if it still is one. The fact that they spend money that they don’t have is something I’d expect from a crowdfunded product, not a finished product. When they stopped marketing the Librem 5 as a crowdfunding project, they should have had a big enough monetary buffer to be able to refund if customers decide to do so.

I have had my Librem 5 for 2 years now and got it during the crowdfunding phase so I’m happy with my purchase, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think that the denial of refunds for people who did not crowdfund this project is outright awful.

At the end of the day, the “only” issue Purism has in my opinion is lack of transparency and recklessly spending money they don’t have while implicitly saying to customers that they do have the money. I hope that they have realized it by now as they have raised prices of their devices and asked for more investments, but it has taken way too long and the damage has already been done. It’s going to take many years for them to repair their reputation.

Has the raised price of the Librem 5 reduced the sales of the device? Yes. Has the refusal of refunds reduced the trust in Purism to reduce the sales of the Librem 5 by the same amount? Possibly.

Just because it is a minority doesn’t mean that it’s not a significant amount of people. There’s a lot of people on these forum complaining about the refused refunds and keep in mind that this is just a minority of that minority!

Is it a scam? Depends on how interpret what a scam is. Denying refunds for a product that you have not received is illegal in a lot of countries. It’s impossible to know if it is a scam according to US law as there has not been a class-action lawsuit yet, which honestly I’m surprised that there has not been one yet. Maybe that’s just because class-action lawsuits are so expensive in the US that it simply costs too much for a few hundred devices of a few hundred dollars each.


Seems to me this argument can be substituted with a simple poll:

  • The ends justify the means
  • The ends do not justify the means
0 voters

Too simple. Sometimes there is no clearly right or wrong.


All the points argued, including Rossman’s, is either “developing a linux phone is hard, they couldn’t have continued work if they issued refunds, thus they should not issue refunds” and disregard the policy, or “they should issue refunds regardless of the outcome because they said they would, and it should be done in a timely manner.” I just boiled it down.

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You have it backward
They already used, in hardware and development, the money the unhappy customer gave them and want back, so they have to make new money to refund while paying the employees and the hardware production
As I already said : “I think Purism has/had two choice: bankruptcy and disappear, or survive by delaying refunds to invest in improvements and to satisfy the most orders, I’m glad they choose the latter”

The monetary buffer is when you have stocks and no backlog to fulfill, so I completely agree with you here
You make me think that they should have never stopped marketing the Librem5 as crowdfunding until the backlog was emptied, so it would have been much more clear about the long wait (worsen by the social/economical period the world went through) of the product because of the backlog to fulfill before new purchases
I think that’s one of the big PR mistake they made

But I don’t think it would have changed anything about the refunds problem until they reach this end of backlog

As I already said : “Purism doesn’t have the backbone the be as good as multi-billions dollars companies : they can’t easily give back (refunds) the spent money on hardware and software development.”
It may be a shitty situation, but in my point of view, Purism is crawling out of this situation
I wish they could run, but I don’t think they can


The thing that worries me the most is (again) absolute silence from Purism on this matter.


How many customers considering a refund do you think would look up all the reasons they cannot have a refund, refund is delayed - again, or 6 month becomes 12, or due to the many issues in your full post, or as Rossman said, a refund was promised twice and then told not getting one (words to that affect)?
How many would understand any of the mentions in your post?

I hope Puri gets out of the rut they seem to be in that wherever everyone with a problem has read all the FAQs, Docs, Wikis, Tip & Tricks with several layers of Linux under their belt.

If Puri would tone down the L5 landing page and let it be known, or a caveat that the buyer should not expect a phone with the quality features the phone Kahuna’s provide, then they wouldn’t be shocked later.

[blather stuff]
When people look at my phone and ask what it is, I put on my advertising and promoters hat. First thing I’ll tell them that it is not for the faint of heart; that they cannot just pick it up and go like a Apple or that other one; that there is a learning curve; and that it is on a ongoing improvement program.
Then, I go into the pluses, especially the privacy part. That is it’s selling feature.
Lastly, I explain that there is help via the Forum but not to make the same mistake I did, and learn too late that the issue registered in the forums is not considered a under warranty - refund request. And adamantly tell them do not ask me how, why or what to do with it, that my answer will be ‘I don’t know’.

Rossman may have 1.8M subscribers, but it doesn’t mean all view the full video’s, that all are still alive and not all are fans (know thy enemy), but the response he read didn’t help Puri image. Did he have permission to air like he did? Too, I know zip about the L5 compared to everyone else here but I could recognize he was taking a lot of stuff out of context to use as fodder for his diatribe.
I didn’t bookmark the guy.

Summary: Should not have given Rossman more fuel for his fire.

There’s a third option: Be transparent about the financial issues and explain the situation to customers and potential supporters. Then the rightful owners of the money which is at stake can decide if they want to further support Purism or don’t. Instead Purism decided for customers, that it’s in their best interest to not get their money back, by violating their own policies and FTC rules, all while they publicly pretended to be running a super successful business.


No I don’t have it backward. The transaction is not complete until the customer gets his/her phone. Spending the money before they have delivered the product is spending money that they have not fully earned yet, they are in debt to the customer until the product is delivered. That is the exact difference between a crowdfunded and a non-crowdfunded product, that when it’s crowdfunded they are expected to spend the money on development before the product is delivered. That is why crowdfunded products are often seen as a risk, since if the product gets more expensive to develop or produce than expected either only a few or none actually get the product before the company goes bankrupt.