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Essential support confirmed it is a manufacturer defect. They explained that if I lived in the US, they normally replace the device with a redesigned earpiece mesh. However, when I contacted our Koodo webstore, they’ve mentioned they are aware of the issue and the webstore rep has recently been on a call with someone else with the same issue. They’ve mentioned that all the Essential phone they have in-stock are from the old factory batch that have the same defect and they are not sure when they are getting a new shipment of the redesigned earpiece mesh.
I checked their Essential official community forum in Reddit and customers have reported this issue since August. Honestly, if there is a do it yourself kit on eBay, I’d just fix it myself. It is not really a big issue, probably why they haven’t done a recall of the old batch. But now I know not to wipe the top with a microfibre. The earpiece is just kind of an eye sore now