Google has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit that accused it of knowingly selling defective Pixel handsets to customers. If approved, the settlement will pay Pixel buyers up to $500 for a total cost to the company of $7.25 million.
To be clear, this settlement applies only to the original-generation (2017) Pixel and Pixel XL. Apparently Google sold some of these handsets with a manufacturing error that resulted in a “hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec,” resulting in spotty audio performance, including during phone calls.
Google replaced numerous first-generation Pixels under warranty for this issue, but in some cases, it replaced a buggy handset with another that had the same issue. It has also admitted to secretly fixing the issue mid-way through the initial Pixel’s lifecycle.
Those users who replaced their Pixel and received another bad unit will be the big winners here, and will receive $500 as part of this settlement. Those who returned a bad Pixel and received a working unit will receive $350. But anyone who purchased the first-generation Pixel is entitled to $20. (Those who paid an insurance deductible as part of a Pixel replacement will receive the full value of that cost.)
Those wondering about Google’s hardware reliability issues over the years are right to question whether further class action lawsuits are coming. As it turns out, Google recently settled a case with owners of the Nexus 6P, the handset the preceded the original Pixel. And given the reliability issues with the Pixel 2 XL and 3 XL, I suspect there will be further settlements down the road as well.
Those waiting on refunds will need to sign-up, but that can’t happen until the settlement is approved in June. I’ll report back when I know more.