Spotify Car Thing: Lawsuit by angry customers dropped

Spotify Car Thing: Lawsuit by angry customers dropped
Spotify Car Thing: Lawsuit by angry customers dropped

A group of consumers has dropped a class action lawsuit against Spotify over the company’s recent decision to discontinue its short-lived “Car Thing” device. The suit said the streamer left users with “a useless product.”

The case, filed in May, came just days after Spotify announced it would suspend the Car Thing – a device launched in 2021 for playing music in cars – in December. Customers claimed the move left them with “nothing more than a paperweight costing between $50 and $100.”

But less than two months later, lawyers for the defrauded consumers announced on Tuesday (July 9) that they were dropping the lawsuit. The move was made without explanation and does not indicate that a settlement with Spotify had been reached.

In their original complaint, the aggrieved buyers claimed Spotify refused to offer refunds, and at the time the lawsuit was filed, the company’s FAQ on deactivation made no mention of refunds, simply telling users that Spotify “does not offer trade-in options” and asking them to “safely dispose of their device in accordance with local e-waste guidelines.”

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

It’s unclear whether the move to offer more significant refunds led to the lawsuit being withdrawn, and neither side immediately responded to requests for more information. But the voluntary dismissal was done “without prejudice,” meaning the plaintiffs can refile the suit at a later date if they choose.

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

In May, Spotify informed its users that it would stop supporting the devices entirely. The company told users that this was “not an easy decision” and offered a link to customer service to “make sure you have the right place to go if you have any questions.” A week later, the company confirmed in a public statement that the measure, which is set to take effect on December 9, would render the devices completely 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 tricking its customers into buying a “useless product.”

“Had plaintiffs and other class members known that Spotify manufactured the Car Thing with the ability to block the product at any time after its launch and at Spotify’s sole discretion, they would not have purchased the Car Thing or would have paid substantially less for it,” the lawsuit states.

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