Google has agreed to pay Pixel and Pixel XL owners up to $500 in settlement of a class action lawsuit over defective audio performance.

A class action lawsuit was filed against Google for a major defect that rendered Pixel and Pixel XL devices prone to malfunctioning and even failing. The defect was a “hairline crack” in the phones’ audio codec, causing microphones to work erratically or not work at all.

The class action complaint, filed in 2018, said customers who purchased the phones at launch quickly contacted Google to complain about “severe microphone issues.” Despite knowing and admitting that there is a defect, Google continued to market the Pixel and Pixel XL as premium devices and sold them at full cost: from $649 to $869.

Furthermore, the complaint alleges that instead of fixing affected Pixel and Pixel XL phones, refunding affected customers, or replacing their defective Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones with non-defective units, Google merely replaced defective units with those that would exhibit the same problem as well.

Specific allegations

The complainants both allege that they were enticed to buy the Pixel phone after seeing Google’s own advertisements touting the smartphone as a “high-quality” device offering the convenience of having a voice-operated Google Assistant more “favorable” to Apple’s Siri.

Both of them said they were not informed of the possibility of the Pixel’s microphone failing, or that it will be impossible to use the Google Assistant after some time. They also said they were not given to opportunity to discuss the terms of Google’s warranty and warranty coverage.

After some time, both of them experienced problems with the Pixel’s microphone. These included an inability to use the Google Assistant, people on the other end of the line not hearing their voice during calls, and an unusable headphone jack. Both of them approached Google, but were denied refunds and replacement units.

The lawsuit said the complainants are but two of the thousands of consumers who have complained about the Pixel and Pixel XL’s microphone and audio failures.

Google promises to pay

The Verge reported that internet giant Google has agreed to pay claimants up to $500 in the settlement, amounting to a total of $7.25 million, once the court gives its approvale. Pixel and Pixel XL owners who want to file a claim are advised to fill out a form with the law firm conducting the case.

Google Pixel Google's new Pixel phone comes with an exclusive launcher. Photo: YouTube/Marques Brownlee