There has been a lot of buzz lately about the new Google phone. The device, known as Pixel, has been called “the best Android phone on the market” by a number of people who are familiar with the device. The tech giant did not want people who had bought the new phones to sell them and had instituted a policy to disable the accounts of any Google users who sold their Pixel phones. The company has since revered that policy. People who were impacted do not even have to use the Google recovery account to access their email and other applications.
The problem was that people who had bought the Pixel phones were selling them to a reseller in New Hampshire. That state has no sales tax. The individuals sold their phones to the reseller who then gave them half of the profit they made when the reseller sold the phone to someone else. For its part, Google said that this was a violation of their terms and conditions, according to reporting by the Guardian.
Some users called this step a “digital death sentence” and were very upset about losing access to their Google apps backup email and the data they saved with the Backup google drive. Some people were surprised when they could not access their Google recovery accounts. They thought Google was overreacting to what some called a “minor infraction.”
Daniel Eleff, from Dan’s Deals, was the first person to sound the alarm about what Google was doing. His site offers deals on a host of goods and services ranging from beating traffic tickets in New York City to getting a cheap meal, flight or toothbrush. According to a post on the site, at least 200 Google users received this email:
“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.”
After Eleff reached out to Google, he received the following 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.”
Google decision to restore the accounts of the impacted users underscores how much so many of us rely on the tech giant. Most people have at least one Gmail account and when rely on the Google recovery account system to help when they have lost their password or have locked themselves out of their mobile devices.
Eleff is now recommending that Google users who are worried about being locked out of their accounts and rely on their Google recovery accounts, export their data to back it up elsewhere to prevent losing access to it. Google sent him this statement:
“After investigating the situation, we are restoring access to genuine accounts for customers who are locked out of many Google services they rely on.”