[Update: Fi Team to the Rescue] Google Pixel Phones Purchased via Project Fi are Showing up Blacklisted

Google Pixel and Project Fi

In November 2016, we stumbled upon a report where more than 200 Google accounts of people using the Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones were suspended by the search engine giant.

This suspension came in following a discovery by the tech giant that the affected Pixel phones had been resold to these people in a bid to evade a U.S. sales tax loophole and in the process make some profits, with the proceedings shared between the dealer and the buyers of the phones. The report said that the dealer, who is located in New Hampshire, a region that has no sales tax, had been doing similar business with Google before, but it was the first time he had bought the phones via Google Project Fi.

Google is clear enough with its policy, stating that no Google product can be bought from its official store with an aim of reselling it. Instead, these products can only be given out as gifts, if not meant for personal use. When the accounts were suspended, more than 200 people who owned these Google Pixel and Pixel XL phones were unable to access the Play Store, photos, email services and any other stuff that is linked to the affected Google account.

Now, in a fresh report, it appears that the same story is happening to some Google Pixel and Pixel XL users where the phones are suddenly showing up as blacklisted without any prior warning or notice. When a phone is blacklisted, it means that the device’s IMEI has been submitted to authorities as stolen or lost. The phone is then blocked and the only thing it can do is make a 911 emergency call.

Google Pixel and Project Fi

One of the people who have been affected by this blacklisting says that he bought his Google Pixel XL via Swappa. Basically, Swappa is a broker that links buyers and sellers of used phones and apparently, the retailer has acknowledged that there are several other reports of similar cases.

When advised to contact Google for a possible solution, the victim was told that the search engine giant is aware of the problem. In fact, the tech giant noted that this was only a spam message and nothing to do with blacklisting, but when the IMEI of the Google Pixel XL in question was checked, it emerged that it had indeed been blacklisted. After demanding more explanations from Google, the victim was finally given some familiar explanation – that the affected Pixel XL phone was actually sold via the Google Project Fi team.

So, the question here is does this new happening have anything to do with last year’s events in New Hampshire? For now, we don’t really know, especially since the Google team has yet to respond to the affected cases with some real solution, but hopefully, it does sooner than later.

Meanwhile, are you experiencing the same thing with your Google Pixel or Pixel XL phone? Please share with us in your comments below.

Update: After some Google Pixel owners had their phones blacklisted by Project Fi, it miraculously happened that the phones started being whitelisted, with Google nor Project Fi team saying nothing about the same. However, a few days later, the Project Fi team has made a communication that tends to justify the fact that it was indeed the Fi team that was responsible for this blacklisting. As it is, the issue was originating from the back-end, something the team has now taken care of.

To apply the changed back-end settings, the affected Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners need to restart their devices and if this doesn’t work, feel free to contact them back so that they can investigate further.

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