Sonos criticized for recycling program that makes speakers useless

Sonos is facing backlash for encouraging people to use a “Recycle Mode” feature on older devices that makes the expensive speakers permanently useless.The company is pushing a trade-up program that lets users “recycle” their devices in exchange for a 30% discount on a new speaker.But in order to trade in their device, people have to turn on “Recycle Mode,” which permanently bricks the speaker — making it impossible for the speaker to be reused.Sonos said the program is meant to prevent people from buying used speakers that may be subpar.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.When Sonos launched a new trade-up program in October, the company framed it as a way for people to “responsibly recycle older products.” Customers could trade in older models of the high-tech speakers for a 30% discount on a new one.But in order to qualify for the program, Sonos requires that people enable “Recycle Mode,” a software feature that activates a countdown before bricking the speaker — that is, making it permanently unusable.The feature ensures that people won’t be able to resell old devices — Sonos speakers are known to last a long time, and can retail for as much as $250 used. The “Recycle Mode” feature decreases the number of working Sonos speakers in circulation, allowing the company to maintain more control over supply and demand for their products.The program has been drawing blowback on Twitter in the past week, including from one user who claims to work at an e-recycling facility.—ralph waldo cybersyn (@atomicthumbs) December 27, 2019—ralph waldo cybersyn (@atomicthumbs) December 27, 2019Sonos did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement to The Verge, the company said the program was meant to stop people from buying old, used speakers that “may not be able to deliver the Sonos experience they expected.””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,” Sonos said in the statement.

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