Nearly 200 Google users have found themselves banned and suspended from Google after making a clear violation of their terms of service. The users purchased a Google Pixel through Project Fi and then had those phones shipped to a 3rd party in New Hampshire. Those phones were then resold and the profits split between the 3rd party company and the original buyer of the phone. While it is perfectly legal for you to resell your phone, it is equally clear in the Project Fi and Google Store terms that you cannot do this or you will have your account suspended. That is exactly what has happened and this is no small deal. A suspended Google account means you can’t access anything associated with that account: Gmail, Calendar, Google Photos, Google Docs, etc. It is a complete shutdown.
At the time of this post, none of the accounts that have been suspended have been re-enabled. While owners of these accounts can appeal to Google, it is a question if they will ever get back into those accounts. So the question is this: Is this too draconian by Google?
I’m not defending violation of terms – far from it. Based on a report from The Guardian, it sounds like the reseller in question has been taking advantage of this process for years. But for the end
user to be completely cut off from their accounts, which is effectively a digital death sentence for some, seems a bit harsh. Banning them from ever buying anything in the Google Store seems reasonable but equally, Google has to make a statement that this type of activity and clear violations of their policies won’t be tolerated. It’s a tough call and a hard lesson learned for some.
The bottom line: Know the Terms of Sale and don’t violate them. Clearly Google has a low tolerance for it and you could end up without access to your account.