Business, car thing, lawsuit, Legal, Legal News, Music, spotify

Spotify Customers Drop Class Action Lawsuit Over ‘Car Thing’ Device Deactivation

A group of consumers have dropped a class action lawsuit against Spotify over its recent decision to kill its short-lived “Car Thing” device, a case that claimed the streamer left users holding “a useless product.”

Filed in May, the case came just days after Spotify announced that the Car Thing — a device launched in 2021 for playing music in a car — would be bricked in December. The customers claimed the move left them “with nothing more than a paperweight that cost between $50 and $100.”

But less than two months later, attorneys for the jilted consumers said Tuesday (July 9) that they would drop the lawsuit. The move came without explanation and does not indicate that any kind of settlement with Spotify was reached.

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In their initial complaint, the aggrieved buyers claimed Spotify had refused to offer refunds and, at the time of the lawsuit’s filing, the company’s FAQ addressing the deactivation did not make any mention of refunds. It simply told users that Spotify was “not offering any trade-in options” and urged them to consider “safely disposing of your device following local electronic waste guidelines.”

But after the news of the lawsuit had spread, Spotify’s website was updated to include a new section covering refunds. In the updated text, Spotify tells users: “Individuals seeking a refund can contact customer support with proof of purchase to discuss their options.”

It’s unclear if the move to more clearly offer refunds resulted in the withdrawal of the lawsuit, and neither side immediately returned requests for more information. But the voluntary dismissal was made “without prejudice,” meaning the accusers could refile the case at some point in the future if they choose to do so.

Spotify announced Car Thing in April 2021, saying it would provide users with a “seamless and personalized in-car listening experience.” The product — a touch screen with a physical dial that still requires access to a smartphone — rolled out in February 2022 at a price point of $89.99. But just months later, Spotify said it would cease production, telling investors that they “frankly haven’t seen the volume at the higher prices that would make the current product financially viable.”

Then in May, Spotify alerted users that it would stop supporting the devices entirely. The company told users that it was “not a decision we made lightly” and offered a link to customer service to “ensure that you have the right place to reach out if you have any questions.” A week later, the company confirmed in a public statement that the move, set to take effect Dec. 9, would render the devices fully inoperable.

On May 28, three Car Thing buyers — Hamza Mazumder, Anthony Bracarello and Luke Martin — filed their lawsuit, accusing Spotify of violating state and federal laws by essentially duping their clients into buying a “useless product.”

“Had plaintiffs and other members of the class known that Spotify manufactured the Car Thing with the ability to brick the product at any point after its introduction to the marketplace and in Spotify’s total discretion, they would not have bought a Car Thing, or would have paid substantially less for them,” the lawsuit read.

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