Google sued in class action over Pixel microphone problems

Google sued in class action over Pixel microphone problems

Google has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit for shipping Pixel smartphones with severe microphone defects.

The complaint has been raised in a district court in northern California by named plaintiffs, Patricia Weeks and Waleed Anbar.

The plaintiffs, representing everyone who purchased a Pixel or Pixel XL since October 2016, allege that Google knowingly sold smartphones with microphones prone to complete failure.

The defect is so severe that it prevented phones from making calls and using the voice-activated Google Assistant.

Google themselves acknowledged the microphone problem in March 2017, blaming a “hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec” that can be caused in the manufacturing process.

In the same statement, Google claimed the fault only occurred in 1% of Pixel phones.

According to the complaint submitted to the court, Google was well aware of the defective manufacturing before Pixels started being shipped to retailers and customers.

In addition, the plaintiffs allege that Google did not properly handle complaints or provide fair replacements in a timely manner.

Despite its clear awareness of the Pixel defects, Google failed to disclose them or their associated problems to consumers prior to purchase and failed to provide an adequate remedy to consumers when the defects manifested...

Google downplayed the scope and severity of the problem, and tried to sweep the defect under the rug with apologies and ineffective warranty service...

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.

- Complaint submitted to US district court on 06/02/2018

The case is still a long way from reaching a jury, and it may not get that far at all. The complaint alleges that Google broke seven US laws, including “Breach of Express Warranty”, “Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing”, and “Fraudulent Concealment”.

As Google has already publicly admitted to the microphone fault, the main question for the courts to decide is if the company was deliberately negligent in its actions surrounding the complaints and release of the Pixel.

Google has declined to comment on the case.

By:

Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.
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