Google Pixel Lawsuit: Company Accused Of Knowingly Selling Phones With Microphone Issues

Several Pixel units were affected by the microphone glitch, which disabled all three mics on the device and made it impossible to use for calls in certain situations.

Google Pixel Lawsuit: Company Accused Of Knowingly Selling Phones With Microphone Issues
Eric Risberg / AP Images

Several Pixel units were affected by the microphone glitch, which disabled all three mics on the device and made it impossible to use for calls in certain situations.

A law firm representing two users of Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones filed a class action lawsuit against the tech giant on Tuesday, claiming that the company continued selling both handsets despite being fully aware of the issues affecting the microphones on the devices.

As detailed in a report from Ars Technica, the lawsuit was filed by Girard Gibbs, LLP, on behalf of clients Patricia Weeks and Waleed Anbar. Both plaintiffs purchased their devices in December 2016, shortly after the Pixel line was introduced as Google’s first fully-branded smartphone series after years of sharing branding with other companies for its Nexus line.

According to the complaint, the users started experiencing microphone issues mere months after buying the phones. They were supposedly told by Google customer service representatives that the company would not issue refunds or replace the defective devices.

“Dr. Weeks did not know that the Pixel phones have defective microphones when she bought her phone,” read the complaint.

“Had Google disclosed the defect to her, she would not have bought a Pixel or would have paid substantially less for it.”

Ars Technica noted that Weeks was within Google’s one-year warranty period, per the specifics of the Google Pixel lawsuit, as she had reported the issue in March 2017. Her fellow complainant Anbar, on the other hand, only told Google about the microphone problems in January of this year.

With the two plaintiffs being among the many who have reported defective microphones in the months since the Pixel line was released in October 2016, the lawsuit accuses Google of violating the terms of its own warranty, which states that customers may qualify for a refund, a new or refurbished replacement phone, or phone repair with new or refurbished parts, if their Pixel handsets are defective. The language of the warranty, however, stresses that such remedies will be made in Google’s “sole discretion and to the extent permitted by law.”

The Guardian further quoted the Google Pixel lawsuit, which accused the company of marketing the Pixel and Pixel XL as premium phones that turned out to have “severe” microphone defects, and continuing to sell the devices without notifying potential buyers of the issues, despite “hundreds” of complaints.

A report from Engadget further discussed the allegations made against Google in the Pixel microphone lawsuit, focusing on the technical details of the glitch in question, which would unexpectedly disable all three microphones in certain situations, such as when the phone is being used in cold temperatures, or if it is held in a specific way. These issues made it impossible to use the Pixel for voice calls, or to take advantage of its voice assistant feature. According to The Guardian, Google claimed that only 1 percent of the units being sold at the time were affected by the bug, which was traced to a “hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec.”