Update (11/21/16): It didn’t take long for the Google Pixel fiasco to spread all over the internet. It is true the terms of service were violated, but Google’s response seemed proportionally catastrophic. This is why Google has decided to change its position and return access to the affected users’ accounts, so long as these are genuine.
“Hello Google user,
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. After reviewing your appeal, we are re-enabling your account.
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.
In order to access your Google account, please sign in. When you sign in, you will be asked to verify a security code via SMS. Once you verify the code, you will be able to access your account again.
Last but not least, we wanted to remind you that Google users can always export and download their data from Google products like Gmail, Photos, and Drive while their account is active. In a few easy steps, you can create an archive to keep for your records or backup your data to another service. More information about backing up your data can be found at google.com/takeout.”
Original post (11/17/16): If you were thinking about buying a Google Pixel or Pixel XL smartphone with the sole idea of reselling it for a profit, you need to beware. Such actions are actually against Google’s terms of service and now many of those people have had their Google account suspended.
This activity was first reported on the deal monitoring site Dan’s Deals. It stated it started receiving emails from people who found that they had been locked out of their Google account. All of these reports came from folks who had bought a Pixel phone and then sent them over to a reseller in New Hampshire who paid them back with a small profit, before selling those phones again to other people. The report said that over 200 Google account holders were affected.
In response, a spokesperson for Google sent the site an official statement:
We identified a scheme in which consumers were asked to purchase Pixel devices on behalf of a reseller, who then marked-up the cost of those devices in order to resell them to other customers. We prohibit the commercial resale of devices purchased through Project Fi or the Google Store so everyone has an equal opportunity to purchase devices at a fair price. Many of the accounts suspended were created for the sole purpose of this scheme. After investigating the situation, we are restoring access to genuine accounts for customers who are locked out of many Google services they rely on.
Obviously, the lesson here is that people should read the long and boring terms and service agreement when they buy any smartphone, and not just the Pixel. Will this incident make you think twice about reselling your phone for a profit?