Spotify says it will refund Car Thing purchases

You’ll need to contact customer service with a valid receipt.

Billy Steele for Engadget

Spotify says it has quietly begun offering refunds for its soon-to-be-bricked Car Thing. The company told Engadget on Thursday that, as of last Friday, customers with proof of purchase (like an emailed invoice) can contact customer service and get their money back for the vehicle streaming device.

Spotify has taken some heat for its announcement last week that it will brick every Car Thing device on December 9, 2024. The company described its decision as “part of our ongoing efforts to streamline our product offerings” (read: cut costs) and that it lets Spotify “focus on developing new features and enhancements that will ultimately provide a better experience to all Spotify users.”

TechCrunch reports that Gen Z users on TikTok have expressed their frustration in videos, while others have complained directed toward Spotify in DMs on X (Twitter) and directly through customer support. Some users claimed Spotify’s customer service agents only offered several months of free Premium access, while others were told nobody was receiving refunds. It isn’t clear if any of them contacted them after last Friday when it shifted gears on refunds.

Others went much further. Billboard first reported on a class-action lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on May 28. The suit accuses Spotify of misleading Car Thing customers by selling a $90 product that would soon be obsolete without offering refunds, which sounds like a fair enough point.

It’s worth noting that, according to Spotify, it began offering the refunds last week, while the lawsuit was only filed on Tuesday. If the company’s statement about refunds starting on May 24 is accurate, the refunds aren’t a direct response to the legal action. (Although it’s possible the company began offering them in anticipation of lawsuits.)

Regardless, anyone reaching out to customer service with a valid receipt should be offered a refund. If you have tried since then and have been denied, we recommend you contact them again.