2020 kicked off with Sonos in hot water for its trade-in program, which required owners to put their devices into ‘Recycle Mode’ in order to get a 30% discount on newer models.
That sounds innocent enough, but ‘Recycle Mode’ essentially bricks devices after 21 days, and can’t be undone. That understandably drew ire from environmentalists given it breaks the all-important ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra for sustainability.
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Oddly it’s only now that the heat had died down that Sonos has done something about it. ‘Recycle Mode’ was quietly removed from the app last week, and today the company has confirmed that you no longer need to give up your device to get a discount on a new speaker. Just enter the serial number on your Sonos device, and you’ll get your 30% discount on anything the company sells at its online store.
What you do with your device afterwards is up to you: keep it, pass it on to a friend, sell it, recycle it or send it back to Sonos to do it for you. It’s up to you. If you’ve already set a device to recycle before the mode was withdrawn, you still can’t undo it, but Sonos says you should contact customer support if you’re in that sticky situation, so hopefully they’ll be able to sort you out.
At the time of writing the UK store still has Recycle Mode advertised as the way to get the discount. So maybe hold off for a few days just in case.
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This is a big improvement for consumers. While Sonos always said this was a way of protecting people against the scourge of pre-owned hardware that doesn’t perform as expected, that always felt a bit of a cop out. The world of audio hardware doesn’t move as fast as, say, smartphones, and if the sound quality is there then there will always be use for a good speaker – even if it means plugging it in via 3.5mm cable.
With this solution, Sonos has found a way to reward customer loyalty while ensuring that perfectly good older speakers aren’t either discarded completely or inefficiently stripped for parts. Well done Devin Wilson for highlighting the problem and, ultimately, forcing change.