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Spotify Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over ‘Car Thing’ Deactivation: ‘A Useless Product’

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Spotify is facing a class action lawsuit over its recent decision to kill its short-lived “Car Thing” device, filed by angry consumers who say the streaming company’s move left them “with nothing more than a paperweight that cost between $50 and $100.”

The case came just days after Spotify announced that the Car Thing – a device launched in 2021 for playing music in a car but discontinued just a year later  – would be rendered fully non-usable in December. Spotify has offered no refunds or trade-in options.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, attorneys for the jilted customers accused Spotify violating state and federal laws by essentially of duping their clients into buying a “useless product.”


Spotify ‘Car Thing’ Given Six Months to Live


“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 reads.

The lawsuit was filed by three Car Thing buyers — Hamza Mazumder, Anthony Bracarello and Luke Martin – but aims to represent thousands of other consumers who experienced “the forced obsolescence of their purchase.”

Spotify announced the 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 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.”

Last week, Spotify alerted users last week that it would stop supporting the devices. Then this week, the company confirmed that the move, set to take effect Dec. 9, would render the devices fully inoperable. The company told users it was “not offering any trade-in options” and urged them to consider “safely disposing of your device following local electronic waste guidelines.”

“The goal of our Car Thing exploration in the U.S. was to learn more about how people listen in the car,” Spotify said in a statement. “In July 2022, we announced we’d stop further production and now it’s time to say goodbye to the devices entirely. Users will have until December 9, 2024 until all Car Thing devices will be deactivated.”

In the new lawsuit, Spotify’s customers say they couldn’t have expected that the company would shut down the devices just a few years after they were purchased. The decision to do so “unilaterally and without recourse” has left buyers nothing more than a paperweight that cost between $50 and $100.”

“Plaintiffs and class members would not have purchased a Car Thing if they knew that Spotify would stop supporting the product within just a few months or years of purchase,” attorneys for the users write.

In technical terms, the lawsuit includes allegations that Spotify violated state consumer protection and false advertising laws in New York, Florida and Pennsylvania, as well as the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and various other forms of civil wrongdoing.

A spokeswoman for Spotify did not immediately return a request for comment on the lawsuit’s allegations.

Read the entire complaint here:

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Bill Donahue

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