Smartphone brand Realme has issued a warning about a website that claims to offer franchisee partnerships on its behalf. In a statement to media, Realme said, “It has come to our notice that someone has created a website www.realmepartner.in asking for franchisee partnerships. We want to officially clarify that this is not owned and operated by realme and we do not take any responsibility of people doing business through this website. In the meantime we are taking necessary legal action against the owners of the portal.”
The company further said that it only has one official website, www.realme.com. “Please note that we only have one official website, www.realme.com. All our product information and business partnerships are available on our official website.”
Times of India Technology-Gadgets Now checked the website ‘www.realmepartner.in’. It has a huge banner running with BBK Electronics Group (parent company of Realme) written. It is followed by a drop-down that says ‘Become a partner’ and claims to offer Realme Franchisee (‘Get Realme Franchise store’). The links in the top bar include ‘Home’, ‘About’, ‘USP’, ‘Partner’, ‘Franchise Benefits’ and ‘Sign Up’.
There’s also an option to apply for franchisee (Apply Now) that asks for details including name, phone number and email. It also has a 300-words-long introduction about Realme brand. This mentions the company’s smartphones, its CEO and research that claims it to be one of the top brands. The website also claims that Realme is planning to launch exclusive experience stores across the country. The timeline given for the same is second half of 2019. Partner plans have been classified under ‘Solution Partner’, ‘Channel Partner’ and ‘Service Partner’. It also claims to offer three franchise benefits.
Interestingly, the website has all giveaways of being a fake website, right from wrong logo of Realme to wrong spelling of its parent company’s name to other factual errors. The terms of service page throws a 404 error.
Incidentally, in the same month last year (February 2019) arch-rival Xiaomi too had warned of a similar franchise scam. “FRAUD ALERT! I have come across a scam where few retailers have been cheated into buying fake franchises of @XiaomiIndia Mi Stores! Shocking to see forged documents, with my fake signatures. We have filed a case with cyber crime department & police is investigating this matter,” company’s India MD and global VP Manu Kumar Jain had said in a tweet.
“My request to all retail partners: please do NOT fall for scams! Anything related to Xiaomi, Mi Stores, products, prices etc.: please verify by contacting our local teams OR calling toll-free no.: 1800 103 6286 OR on http://mi.com OR our official social media pages ?? https://twitter.com/manukumarjain/status/1095196349010653184,” Jain added in another tweet.