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Google swings its banhammer at hundreds of profit-seeking Pixel resellers

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Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

If you are a reseller looking to make a profit, and you purchased either the Google Pixel or Pixel XL through Project Fi, you might want to think twice about putting either phone up for sale, The Guardian reports.

A number of forum members took to money-saving website Dan’s Deals to complain about their Google accounts having been suspended. As such, anything linked to the accounts, such as documents, photos, and emails, became inaccessible. Some users noticed that they lost photos that were saved in Google Photos, with others locked out of other accounts linked to their now-suspended Gmail that have the password reset functionality.

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The common thread is that all of these users bought the Pixel and Pixel XL through Project Fi, with the phones then shipped to a reseller in New Hampshire. The reseller paid the users a profit on each phone, with the phones then resold to others. Since there is no sales tax in New Hampshire, it made things that much more enticing.

Unfortunately for the customers, this practice runs afoul of Google’s terms of service, which states, “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.”

According to Daniel Eleff, who runs Dan’s Deals and originally broke the story, the reseller has been doing this since the original Nexus was released, with this being the first time it has encountered a problem. Google sniffed out the issue and canceled around 500 orders, though other orders still made their way to the reseller.

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Google did not respond to a request for comment, though the company sent Eleff a statement on the matter. In short, this story has a happy ending, with all of the suspended accounts having been reactivated.

“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,” the statement reads. “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 the rely on.”

The owners of the suspended accounts must be pretty happy, though we are not sure whether this is something they will want to repeat any time soon.