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Sonos Customers Force Backflip As Dealers Raise Questions

Serious questions are being asked of Sonos management after another marketing backflip and what appears to be a questionable attitude towards their existing customers and their existing dealers who are now having to deal with angry customers.

Under siege from Amazon and their new Studio network audio speaker, as well as from Google speakers which are seen as delivering superior sound and enhanced voice activation, Sonos has finally come to their senses and dropped their ‘Recycle Mode’ marketing program that was designed around the bricking of existing legacy Sonos speaker.

Basically if you are an existing customer who owned a perfectly good Sonos Play 3 or Play 5 speaker but wanted to buy a new speaker as part of a 30% discount program being offered by Sonos, one had to trade in the serial number on an old but perfectly good speaker to get the discount with that speaker blocked from being able to be used ever again on the Sonos network.

The program which has been described as ‘Insane” led to an outpouring of complaints in Australia with several existing customers telling SmartHouse Magazine that they will never buy another Sonos product again.

The program was initiated because Sonos is struggling up against several brands that now have superior high res networked audio speakers.

Apart from Google and Amazon Sonos is also having to compete with brands such as Denon with their Heos OS and Bowers and Wilkins.

Sonos marketing then came up with the idea of trying to force their existing base to buy a new product not once but twice.

Their initiative kicked off with the bricking promotion only to be followed up weeks later with a move to no longer issue software updates for its older devices, this led to an outpouring of criticism from loyal customers who had spent hundreds of dollars buying Sonos speakers.

Supplied undated image obtained Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 of the Sonos Play: 1 wireless speaker, the company’s entry-level speaker, which costs $299. (AAP Image/Sonos) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

The backlash was so bad that it forced the Company to abandon the marketing exercises via begging apologies.

Sonos CEO Patrick Spence posted an apology that said “all Sonos products will continue to work past May.”

“While legacy Sonos products won’t get new software features, we pledge to keep them updated with bug fixes and security patches for as long as possible,” Spence wrote.

“If we run into something core to the experience that can’t be addressed, we’ll work to offer an alternative solution and let you know about any changes you’ll see in your experience.

Existing customers won’t get any new features, and customers who want to keep using old products will have to hive them off from their primary Sonos system — otherwise, all products will stop getting software updates when the cut-off happens.

“We are working on a way to split your system so that modern products work together and get the latest features, while legacy products work together and remain in their current state.” A Sonos spokesperson reiterated that this is the plan and said the company will have more to share over the next few weeks.

a controversial part of the company’s trade-up program that rendered old devices inoperable in exchange for a 30 percent discount on a newer Sonos product is still in operation.

Customers who own eligible legacy products can get the same discount, but they’re no longer required to permanently brick devices that still work.

As one Sonos dealer said, “Actions speaks volumes and what Sonos has done to their brand and above all to their existing customers beggars’ belief.”

“Their marketing programs are questionable but their attitude to their existing customers raises questions as to how desperate is this Company”.

“We have been selling Sonos for many years, sales have fallen over the counter, but we are still installing Sonos speakers into custom home installations. We are currently looking at other suppliers to replace Sonos when integrated with a Control 4 system”.

What Sonos is now claiming is that existing customers can choose to keep their existing speaker or give it to someone.

Sonos quietly removed Recycle Mode from its app last week and replaced it with language asking anyone seeking the discount to call customer service.

Within the next few weeks, Sonos will update its website with a new flow for the trade-up program that no longer includes Recycle Mode, and you won’t have to call anybody their press release claims.

Many believe that the damage is now done and that customers will be “apprehensive” about buying another Sonos product.

“What the two exercise have done is drive customers into stores to complain, this allows us to offer an alternative product”.

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