Mobility

Pixel owners suing Google, saying they were intentionally sold broken phones

Google Pixel users filed a class action complaint against Google this week, alleging that the tech giant knowingly sold them phones with defective microphones.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Google Pixel users filed a class action complaint against Google, alleging that the tech giant knowingly sold them defective phones.
  • The Pixel phones contain a manufacturing defect that renders their microphone and speakers prone to malfunctioning and failing, the complaint against Google stated.

Google has been hit with a lawsuit over defects in its Pixel and Pixel XL phones.

Earlier this week, two users of the original Pixel phones filed a class action complaint against Google, alleging that the tech giant intentionally sold customers malfunctioning phones.

The Pixel phones, first released in October 2016, were marketed as phones for business users. They represented the first smartphones to feature the AI-powered Google Assistant, and the first phones declared Daydream-ready for Google's VR platform. It also included the "best smartphone camera anyone has ever made," according to Google executives. However, it was also expensive, lacked water resistance and optical image stabilization, and offered limited storage, as our sister site ZDNet noted.

The complaint—filed on behalf of people who purchased Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones—alleges that the phones contain a manufacturing defect that renders their microphone and speakers prone to malfunctioning and failing. The defect prevents users from communicating by voice call, and from using Google Assistant, according to the complaint.

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Immediately after the phones were launched, hundreds of customers complained directly to Google of "severe microphone issues," according to the complaint. However, "instead of fixing the defective Pixel phones, providing refunds, or replacing the devices with non-defective phones, Google has replaced defective phones with other defective phones, resulting in many consumers repeatedly experiencing the microphone defect," the complaint stated.

Google confirmed in March 2017 that some of the phones were experiencing microphone problems due to a hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec, and began shipping new replacement phones to affected users. However, the complaint alleges that the replacements have the same issues.

"The microphone defect in the Pixel phones is substantially certain to manifest and

existed within the phones when sold," the complaint stated. "Plaintiffs were consequently deprived of the benefit of their bargain, and seek relief through this action."

This is not the first time Google has experienced Pixel hardware issues: Pixel 2 and XL2 users have reported burn-in and black image smudging on the phones' OLED displays, along with muted microphone issues. The law firm that is suing Google over the original Pixel phones is also looking into a class action suit over the Pixel 2 models as well.

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Image: CNET

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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