Google Swings Account Banhammer On Pixel Owners Embroiled In Reseller Sales Tax Loophole

Many Pixel owners woke up this week to find that their Google account had not only been suspended, but their mail, photos, documents, and anything else linked to their Google identity had been lost. Google is punishing Pixel owners who took advantage of a tax loophole in order to purchase their phones at a reduced out-of-pocket price.

The affected customers bought their phones via the company’s Project Fi MVNO service. They then shipped the phones directly to a reseller in New Hampshire, who split the profit with the customers. New Hampshire is one of four states with no sales tax. Resale of the devices goes against Google’s policy which states that customers, “may only purchase Devices for your personal use [and] may not commercially resell any Device”.

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Google sent the following email to the affected customers: “Your Google Account was suspended as part of our fraud prevention efforts, based on violations of our Terms of Service and Terms of Sale for Devices...Google takes violations of our terms very seriously, and we ask that you review relevant terms and product policies to ensure that you understand them. Repeated violations of our terms may lead to account termination.”

The reaction online to Google’s response has been mixed. Dan Eleff, the owner of and the person who first spotted the Google bans, remarked, “I can’t defend violating Google’s terms. But Google has become such a large part of our daily lives that I think they do owe their customers a much higher standard of responsibility.”

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Customers can appeal to Google to reactivate their account. According to Google, “users can always export and download their data from Google products like Gmail, Photos, and Drive while their account is active.” More information about downloading your data can be found here.
Tags:  Google, pixel, nasdaqgoog