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Spotify Car Thing Lawsuit Dropped by Angry Customers

Spotify Car Thing Lawsuit Dropped by Angry Customers

A group of consumers has dropped a class-action lawsuit challenging Spotify’s decision to discontinue its short-lived “Car Thing” device, claiming that Spotify left users stuck with a “useless product.”

The lawsuit, filed in May, comes just days after Spotify announced in December that it would be removing Car Thing, a device launched in 2021 to play music in the car. Customers claimed the move left them with “nothing more than a paperweight priced between $50 and $100.”

But less than two months later, lawyers for the abandoned consumers said on Tuesday (July 9) that they would drop the lawsuit. The move came without any explanation and does not indicate that any settlement has been reached with Spotify.

In their initial complaint, aggrieved buyers alleged that Spotify refused to offer refunds, and that at the time the lawsuit was filed, the company’s FAQ addressing deactivation made no mention of refunds. It only urged users to consider “safely disposing of your device in accordance with local e-waste guidelines.”

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

It’s unclear whether the move to offer more explicit reimbursements led to the lawsuit being dropped, and neither side immediately returned requests for more information. But the voluntary dismissal was made “without prejudice,” meaning the accusers could reopen the case at some point in the future if they choose.

Spotify announced Car Thing in April 2021, saying it would provide users with a “seamless and personalized in-car listening experience.” The product (a touchscreen with a physical dial that requires access to a smartphone) launched in February 2022 at a price point of $89.99. But a few months later, Spotify told investors it would discontinue production, telling them that “we frankly don’t see the volume at higher prices that would make the current product financially viable.”

Then in May, Spotify warned users that it would stop supporting the devices entirely. The company told users that it was “not a decision we made lightly” and provided a link to customer service “to make sure you have the right place to reach out if you have questions.” A week later, the company confirmed in a public statement that the move, scheduled to go into 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 a lawsuit against Spotify, accusing it of violating state and federal laws by tricking customers into purchasing a “useless product.”

“Plaintiffs and others in the class would not have purchased a Car Thing, or would have paid much less for one, if they had known that Spotify had built the Car Thing with the ability to break the product at any point after its release, and that Spotify had sole discretion to do so,” the lawsuit states.