Huge goof by Google drains Fi subscribers' bank accounts

Huge goof by Google drains Fi subscribers' bank accounts
When is a 50% sale not a 50% sale? The answer is when Google accidentally screws it up. Last month we told you that hybrid MVNO Google Fi celebrated its fourth birthday by holding a one-day half off sale on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. According to the Google Fi support page (via Android Police), many of its subscribers who bought one of the latest Pixel models on the day of the sale were accidentally charged the full price of the phone. This caused some to be hit with overdraft fees of $100 or more from their bank. These fees may never be reversed if Google issues a simple refund.

UPDATE: Google has sent an email to all of the Fi customers invovled in the mix-up with refunds promised in 1-2 days. In addition, Google is placing a $10 credit into the Fi accounts belonging to subscribers who were incorreclty charged for a Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL. The email, which follows, doesn't mention any reimbursement for bank overdraft charges that customers were hit with after being incorrectly charged the full price of the phone they purchased. The email reads:

Hi there,

You recently purchased and financed one or more devices from, and we incorrectly charged you for the full amount of your Google Fi device(s). We have refunded the incorrectly charged amount, which you should see refunded back to your payment method within 1–2 business days. Any additional, correct charges, such as taxes, Fi service, and extra items added on at the time of purchase, will remain charged to your account.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, and we are crediting your Fi account $10 for the disruption. You’ll see this $10 credit applied toward your future Fi bill(s).

Thank you, —the Google Fi team

Under the terms of the sale, which was held on April 22nd, pricing for the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL was as follows:

  • Pixel 3 64 GB - $399 (usually $799)
  • Pixel 3 128 GB - $449 (usually $899)
  • Pixel 3 XL 64 GB - $449 (usually $899)
  • Pixel 3 XL 128 GB - $499 (usually $999)
On Reddit, there are quite a few pissed off Google Fi subscribers, some of whom were not even notified about the screw up by Google. Others had the transaction adjusted but still were charged tax based on the full price of the phone. And there could be an even bigger issue for Google Fi subscribers. If they complain to their bank too much about Google's error, their account can be flagged by Google for security reasons. And that could lead them to get locked out of Google Payments. If that occurs, they won't be able to pay their Google Fi bill, and they won't be allowed to port over their number to another carrier. That might not be a big deal to many, but some consumers have had the same phone number for years.

Google says that it is aware of the error and "is actively working on a fix." Anyone who has ever tried to get an overdraft fee waived by their bank knows that Google has its work cut out for it.

Related phones

Pixel 3
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 2160 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 2915 mAh
Pixel 3 XL
  • Display 6.3" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12.2 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3430 mAh



1. Alcyone

Posts: 388; Member since: May 10, 2018

I had a feeling the deal was too good to be true, without issues, that is.

2. Pabliell

Posts: 184; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

Americans don't stop to amaze me. They can gather for protecting their laws but can't gather to get the tax included in the final price.

5. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

We rarely gather to protect our laws. Mostly we gather to let whiners cry about injustices that effect 1% or less of the population. But with every separate state and city tacking on their own separate sales tax it's pretty hard to get a final tax wrapped in on online purchases. Is that what you're talking about?

12. andynaija

Posts: 1259; Member since: Sep 08, 2012


3. speedingcheetah

Posts: 83; Member since: Jul 22, 2017

Totally called it! Their forums have been full of customers that never got the last several promotions and refunds or service credit due to them...myself included. Fi is a big SCAM!

4. MrMalignance

Posts: 296; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

Your scare article left the word "some" out of it. Should read: "Huge goof by Google drains "SOME" Fi subscriber's bank accounts"

6. rsiders

Posts: 1954; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Why is the Deal tag next to this article? What's the deal with that?

7. threeline

Posts: 313; Member since: Sep 11, 2011

You really can't afford to be buying a phone then.

8. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1324; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

It is common in the US to pay full taxes on a discounted item, at least it is in California. That overdraft fee though should be taken care of entirely by Google.

9. Blazers

Posts: 742; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Not in Nevada.....the tax haven of America. At least for now.

10. dnomadic

Posts: 415; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

If you that closer to end of your funds it might be a good idea to skip this device and get something cheaper. Not excusing Google, but come on people.

11. Niva.

Posts: 440; Member since: Jan 05, 2015

I personally dealt with hell when I bought my Pixel 3 late last year, it took weeks to get the situation resolved. Unfortunately Google, Google Fi, and Google Store operate as separate entities and that creates some of the problems I encountered. Eventually things got resolved and I did get the discount I was initially promised, but boy did it take HOURS, many hours, of my time and quite a bit of annoyances along the way. Fi is still in beta stage, especially when it comes to things such as customer support if you have to interact with humans. The sad truth is that issues like this can be encountered with the other U.S. carriers, and the end result oftentimes works out worse, don't even get me started on Verizon, that company absolutely sucks! Despite this we remain Google Fi customers. The service is great and the prices are the best for our usage models.

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