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Sonos Receives Backlash For Bricking Old Devices Through ‘Recycle Mode’

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Sonos has been facing a bit of scrutiny this past week for its controversial ‘Recycle Mode’. Twitter user, Devin Wilson, posted a long thread outlining that Sonos’ “Trade-In Program”, which thereby bricks older devices by forcing them into Recycle Mode is less than ideal.

The Verge recently wrote a report detailing Sonos’ side and how the entire process works. When a customer wishes to trade in an eligible older speaker for a thirty percent discount on a new device, users must confirm they are trading in a device on the Sonos app. Sonos will then activate a software feature, which starts a 21-day countdown. At the end of the countdown, the older device is then wiped and permanently deactivated. As Sonos states, once a device is in Recycle Mode, it cannot be reactivated.

To say this practice is a bit unorthodox is an understatement. The Recycle Mode renders devices unusable for customers who may wish to purchase an older, cheaper alternative rather than invest in the newest model.

A Sonos representative told The Verge: “The reality is that these older products lack the processing power and memory to support modern Sonos experiences. Over time, technology will progress in ways these products are not able to accommodate. For some owners, these new features aren’t important. Accordingly, they may choose not to participate in the Trade Up program.”

Of course, customers can take it upon themselves to give their devices a second life by reselling their older speakers themselves. As it currently stands, there’s no indication that Sonos is considering alternative approaches to their trade-in policy.

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