Pablo Escobar’s Brother May Be Scamming Users With Foldable Phones
Pablo Escobar’s brother is back with another foldable phone at an ultra-low price. But there’s growing evidence he may be trying to scam consumers.
On Monday, Roberto De Jesus Escobar Gaviria began to sell a second foldable phone, dubbed the Escobar Fold 2. It looks a lot like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, but the big difference is the price: Roberto’s phone will only cost you a mere $399 when the actual Galaxy Fold retails for $1,980.
We don’t recommend you buy it. Two months ago, Roberto introduced his first foldable phone, the Fold 1, for only $349. To further hype up the device, his company, Escobar Inc., released an ad for the product, featuring scantily-clad models, that managed to attract over 1.6 million views on YouTube.
(Credit: YouTuber Caralda #DBL)
However, users who ordered the device online say their phones have yet to arrive. In other cases, the company simply mailed a book about Roberto’s upcoming smartphone business along with a pamphlet that promises the consumer will be upgraded to a Fold 2 shipment in March.
YouTuber “LJP Tech” has been chronicling the long wait to receive his order, which was originally made back on December 16. So far, he’s only received the book and pamphlet, but told PCMag he doesn’t believe it’s a scam. At least not yet. He recently received an email from the Colombia-based Escobar Inc., promising that he’s “one of 1,000 clients” selected to get the Fold 2, which should be arriving soon.
“I’m really excited about it,” he said in his latest YouTube video while adding: “The worst case scenario at this stage is I open up the box and it’s another book. Or it’s something else other than the phone.”
A separate user on Reddit named “imnotnicknolte” told PCMag he ordered a Fold 1 on Dec. 4, but has yet to receive the device. He provided a copy of the order, along with his email correspondence with Escobar Inc. when he tried to cancel the purchase and get a refund.
“You can come to Colombia if you want. I would advise you to just wait a little longer!” Escobar Inc. said in response.
The whole situation has convinced “imnotnicknolte” that Escobar Inc. is running a scam. “No one is going to receive a phone,” he told PCMag.
Indeed, there’s a small Reddit forum devoted to the Fold 1, but it doesn’t appear anyone has received their orders yet. Some users say their refunds have also been declined, forcing them to dispute the charge with their credit card companies.
However, Escobar Inc.’s CEO Olof Gustafsson is dismissing allegations that his company is running a scam. “We sold over 50,000 Fold 1 telephones,” he claimed in an email to PCMag. “The initial 30,000 were delivered to the clients, then we faced some difficulties obtaining more high quality stock of the Fold 1, so around 20,000 got a free upgrade to the Fold 2. They were notified of the free upgrade along with a free book.”
Without offering any evidence, Gustafsson then went on to accuse Samsung of running a scam with its own foldable device. He claims the Galaxy Fold is not built in Samsung’s factories, but manufactured entirely in China, mainly in the city of Shenzhen. “There are huge, huge amounts of Fold 2 telephones available to us for purchase at a very low cost in Shenzen, Mainland China,” he said. “Our delivery partners have confirmed our access to easily over 200,000 units at an incredible per unit cost.”
“We are just trying to give people good deals on what is all made in China, simple Chinese tech. No need for fancy launch events, our stellar reputation speaks for itself,” he added.
Despite Gustafsson claiming to have sold over 50,000 Fold 1 phones, few consumers seem to be showing off the device. We’ve noticed a dearth of online videos reviewing the product. However, one buyer based in Lagos, Nigeria told PCMag he did manage to obtain the Fold 1 after placing an order on the Escobar Inc. website back on Dec. 2.
The buyer, Mustafa Hussein, has posted four short videos of the Fold 1. However, skeptics have been demanding he post more videos to prove he actually has the device. They also note Hussein’s YouTube account only contains four videos of the Fold 1, and nothing else.
In an email, Hussein told PCMag: “I think phone is good for this price. But still feel like Chinese phone. Like copy phone.” He said he gave the Fold 1 to his son. We’ve asked him to upload a longer video of him reviewing the phone, and we’ll update the story if it’s published.
In the meantime, the Escobar Fold 2 was introduced this week with more YouTube videos featuring scantily-clad models, in addition to an odd endorsement from former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
If you managed to get your hands on a Escobar foldable phone, let us know via [email protected].
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with comment from Olof Gustafsson, CEO of Escobar Inc. and more information from Reddit user “imnotnicknolte.” The name of YouTuber LJP Tech has also been corrected.
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