Pixel resellers report their Google accounts blocked
Thu 17 Nov 2016
Several customers who attempted resale of Google Pixel phones have reported that all of their Google accounts have been temporarily suspended. This suspension could apparently become permanent, resulting in a loss of all the data associated with these accounts, unless users can successfully appeal Google’s decision.
At least 200 accounts have been affected by this issue.
The problem came to light earlier this week, when people who had their accounts suspended began appealing for help on a popular ‘internet deals’ website forum. Upon investigation, the common thread among all users whose accounts had been suspended was that each person had ordered a Google Pixel phone and had it shipped to a reseller.
A Google account login is required for each order placed for a Pixel phone, and every person reporting a suspended account ordered a Pixel phone and had it sent to the same reseller’s address in New Hampshire.
The users paid full price for the Pixel phones, but because there is no sales tax in New Hampshire, they were able to turn a small profit on each phone.
However, the terms and conditions for purchasing a Google device state that reselling is expressly prohibited. “You may only purchase Devices for your personal use. You may not commercially resell any Device, but you may give the Device as a gift.”
The reseller confirmed that he had ordered phones from Google in a similar manner for years by the thousand and had never experienced account suspension issues. This time, though, the phones associated with suspended accounts were ordered through Project Fi, the new Google service plan, because Pixel phones ordered with Project Fi were shipping more quickly.
Several thousand Pixel phones were ordered in this manner and sent to the reseller. 500 of the orders were reportedly cancelled by Google, but even accounts associated with the orders that were cancelled before shipment were still suspended.
The reseller in New Hampshire has offered voluntarily to return all the Pixel phones in question to Google if that will help alleviate the problem. Until it is settled, the accounts remain unavailable, and for many, that means they temporarily have no access to email, photos, Google Voice and Sheets, and many services to which they have subscribed without backup. Barring a successful appeal, they could lose all of this information permanently.