Google bans hundreds of accounts of people reselling Pixel phones


More than 200 people have reportedly had their Google accounts suspended for allegedly reselling Pixel phones, the Guardian reported. Hundreds of members of the forum of U.S.-based website Dan's Deals, primarily known for offering credit card deals, have reported their Google profiles, as well as associated backup and recovery accounts, blocked from all Google services on grounds of violating the search giant's phone resale policy.

All affected users had bought Pixel phones from Google's Project Fi virtual network operator, and shipped them to a reseller in New Hapmshire, one of the U.S. states without sales tax. The N.H.-based dealer intended to resell the devices, splitting his profit with those who had sent them the phones, but their plans are currently on hold after the mass bans.

According Daniel Eleff, owner of Dan's Deals, “some of those people opened multiple Google accounts in order to place orders for more than five phones and they are locked out of all the accounts,” adding that he has located and contacted the dealer, and that “the dealer is more than happy to return all the phones to Google if it will clarify the situation.”

The bans are service-wide and the affected users have been denied access to all Google services, including Photos and Gmail. Even recovery accounts not used to purchase Pixel phones, but merely associated with such accounts as backup options, have also been restricted from using all Google services.

“I’m not defending those who violated the terms of the sale, but I do think it is heavy-handed for Google to block access to all of their services for doing so,” wrote Eleff in a blog post on his site. “Was violating Google’s phone resale policy really worthy of an effective digital death penalty?”

Google's terms of service state that customers “may only purchase Devices for your personal use. You may not resell any Device, but you may give the Device as a gift.” Interestingly, the N.H.-based dealer has been doing this for years with Nexus phones with no action from Google. According to him and affected members from the forums, “a few thousand” Pixel phones were ordered, which is “fewer than the amounts ordered in the past.”

The affected customers are reporting that emails sent to their Gmail accounts are being returned to the sender as “undeliverable,” which would suggest that their Google identities have been wiped completely. This could mean that their photos in Google Photos, files in Google Drive, as well as all correspondence conducted through Gmail may have been deleted.

Google has not responded to any requests for comment on the ordeal yet and it is currently unknown whether the company would reinstate the affected parties' privileges.

source: Dan's Deals via The Guardian

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39 Comments

1. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Damn, that's a heavy penalty, but hey, they're taking advantage of the system at the expense of those who really want a Pixel phone for themselves so I have no issue with it.

22. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

How so? Taking advantage of the system??? I don't get it.

23. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

They're buying a product during its launch period with the intent to try selling them for a profit when demand is at its highest and supply is at it's lowest. 200 accounts were locked because of this, this means that 200 people will have to wait longer for their phones because of greedy individuals. This is against Google's terms of service and Google is not alone in banning this kind of action, view comment 16 for further clarification.

25. Jason78

Posts: 281; Member since: Apr 10, 2013

Google was giving a $200 discount on the phone if you signed up for Project Fi as an incentive to use their mobile service.

29. tsp38

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 04, 2015

do you genuinely don't understand how this is s**tty for real customers?? do you not get the idea of scalping tickets? say you wanted to buy a ticket to go watch an artist you really like, at an intimate venue, limited seats.. by the time you went to buy a ticket, they're all sold out, so you go to these f**king s**tty-ass sites like stubhub and others where people bought multiple tickets in advance, with the intent to resell them at a much higher price. now, instead of paying $50 for this artist, you're paying $75 or higher. if you still don't get it or you think that's okay, (which, you seem to imply, in your language) then I don't know what to say.. I hope it doesn't happen to you. it's happened to me a few times and it pisses me off, every time.

38. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Google should mind their own business. Instead of taking on the little guys that make $50 profit. Produce more pixel phones.They buy your phone fair & square and taking on risk.

34. blazee

Posts: 414; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Google has a shortage of their phones currently. It's also the perfect time to pick up customers that are leaving Samsung due to their exploding issues. If Google doesn't have a phone available they might simply move kn to iPhone or another phone. They could be potentially loosing life long customers due to these guys.

2. eggimage

Posts: 83; Member since: Jan 19, 2012

Congrats on their greed paying off

3. bubbadoes

Posts: 1225; Member since: May 03, 2012

yet another reason I left Google/Android. so much for openness!

11. fiji.siv

Posts: 95; Member since: Nov 25, 2015

Curious what platform you went to that was more open than Android. Please elaborate.

30. tsp38

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 04, 2015

seriously... and is he defending these people who's trying to make money off Google and real customers??

4. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

I feel no sympathy for these individuals if they broke the terms and conditions BUT i have a few issues with what Google has done and their terms and conditions..... -i think its a bit silly for Google to lock them out of all Google related services. -To go and possibly wipe all of someones pictures and emails is wrong and the opportunity to retrieve the data should be given to the customer. -Even though the terms and conditions state "you can buy a phone for yourself or gift it to someone" why are they so concerned if you sell the phone? Is it because of a lack of stock availability because if it is that's the fault of Google for not having enough inventory on hand! -Were these phones purchased at retail pricing or some sort of installment plan? Regardless of terms and conditions if they were purchased at retail then their should be no issue in selling the phones to a 3rd party. Hopefully Google gives these people their privileges back but also gives them a warning so this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

5. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

It's the real world with real world consequences, If you violate a company policy then Google has every right to take action. People need to get out of this high school mentality that they should get a do-over when they do something they know is not allowed. Odds are they accounts are locked out until the phones are returned, I would imagine that at that point, they'll regain access to their accounts.

8. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

I agree with you that there should be consequences for their actions especially when violating terms and conditions but the punishment does not match the crime. I hope that once the devices are returned that these individuals will have their access reinstated and they learn their lesson.

9. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

It's disturbing how many people uses Google services knowing (or unknowingly) what Google does with their information. If they close your Google account, take it as a blessing! If you purchased a phone with your hard earned money, you have every right to sell that s**t. Google has no right to tell you otherwise even if they had it written in their POS TOS.

13. Ragnarkov

Posts: 25; Member since: Dec 02, 2014

I agree whole heartidly. "We may suspend or stop providing our Services to you if you do not comply with our terms or policies or if we are investigating suspected misconduct." Google has EVERY right to disable services as per their TOS. These people weren't buying a phone, using it for a period of time, then reselling it to upgrade or sidegrade. They created multiple accounts and bought as many phones as they could, with the expressed purpose of making a profit through reselling. Zero sympathy from me.

33. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

That's a slippery slope. Who owns the phone? Once Google sells it, it is none of their business what the customer does with it. Would you be happy if GM or Ford nerfed your car because you did 70 in a 65 mph zone? They would have more right, since what you were doing was actually breaking the law. This isn't just heavy handed on Google's part, it is dangerous property law precedent.

35. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Ah, but when was the last time you read about a large number of people buying Ford pickups with the intent to turn around and sell it expecting to make a 50% profit on it? It is however very common for you to go to a concert and have someone try to sell you tickets to get in, or to the Superbowl, I've been approached at 6 Flags theme park while waiting in line with my friends by a guy who was trying to sell tickets to get into the park, only to have the guy immediately arrested after we told him no thank you. This is a scenario where people are taking advantage of a recently released popular item and using the limited supply to inflate the asking price for their own benefit. Your analogy regarding speed limits makes absolutely no sense as it in no way draws any similarities to the issue discussed in the article.

37. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Cars sell for more than MSRP all the time. They are property, just like the Pixel, and thus persistent. A concert or a game is a one-time performance, and chances are if you miss it in your area, you missed it for good. Scalping is often illegal. Selling your phone is not, anywhere. There's a huge difference.

32. tsp38

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 04, 2015

read my comment #29 about scalping.. - they didn't wipe any information or pictures. they're simply suspended, and they're giving control of accounts back to those who didn't make an account to simply buy a Pixel phone. - if I'm not mistaken, these are only for the people who bought the phone through Google Fi, which were at a discount, then sold at a much higher price than Google intended. - so you think Google should sit back and do nothing as these scalpers buy Pixel phones to sell them for profit, WHILE Google's real customers are getting ripped off because they sold out from scalpers??

6. bucky

Posts: 3794; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

While i think its a bit harsh, i think a huge reason this phone and iphones sell out are because of them. This just makes it even harder to buy for someone who actually wants to appreciate the device.

7. kelshir

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 17, 2016

Good. I hope none of them get their account back. These are the people that buy up new products making it impossible to get it at a reasonable price for weeks or months. Some of these people bought 20+ phones. This is a group that is scum and trying to wage a PR war coordinating on a forum trying to get accounts back. I hope they fail.

10. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1345; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

These phones were bought through project Fi. That seems to be the primary issue here. These phones are intended to be used on Fi by the original buyer.

12. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

So what happens if they bought the phone at retail and decide that they don't like the device and are past the return policy? Why should they not have the opportunity to sell it and get their money back or make a little profit?

14. Zylam

Posts: 1822; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

You're not allowed to resell a Pixel phone, what?

15. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

The answer is "NO" but it appears that this pertains to phones bought via the Project Fi service. Per the terms and conditions you can only buy a phone for yourself and or give one as a gift.

16. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Did you read the article? "All affected users had bought Pixel phones from Google's Project Fi virtual network operator, and shipped them to a reseller in New Hampshire". This is not a case of people reselling used Pixels, this is people working a system for financial gain. You see people trying to sell concert tickets or football tickets outside of venues for a profit, you know those people are risking incarceration or steep fines if they're caught cause it's illegal, this is no different.

17. MikeG77

Posts: 426; Member since: Nov 24, 2008

Apparently he didn't. Ticket scalping or reselling is legal in some states but there are specific rules they have to follow and usually these people are placed in a designated area to conduct a transaction.

18. MRWINDOWS

Posts: 14; Member since: Mar 01, 2014

GOOD....

19. rob5150

Posts: 183; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

i think once someone brings them to a court they google will lose big time. the supreme court has already ruled on these type of things... if you bought it . you own it. you can resell at your will.

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