Google Pixel XL Phones Blacklisted as Stolen

FrgMstr

Just Plain Mean
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So I awoke this morning with the "Emergency Calls Only" and "Cellular network no available," messages on my Pixel XL phone. Hmmm. Restart. Nada. Restart again, Nada. So I got on a support chat with T-Mobile and they informed me that my phone had been "blacklisted as stolen." Nothing TMobile can do, it explains its hands are tied. I did buy the Pixel XL used, and I purchased it through Swappa. So I got on a chat with Swappa support, as it seems to be very solid with when it comes to working with its customers even though it is just a middleman or escrow company. I explained to Swappa what had happened and this is what they told me.
Sorry to hear of the complaints. We have seen a great number of Pixel devices becoming blacklisted the past two days. We are still trying to figure out why this has happened to so many devices. We are working to find out the cause of this widespread issue. It would be best for both of you to keep on top of Google and pressing them for an explanation. In one other case, I saw this morning Google agreed to send the buyer a replacement device so that might be an option to look into. Seller please work with the buyer and Google to see if they can get to the bottom of it.

Certainly hearing that this is happening to "so many" Pixel owners is not a good thing, but I could not track down much online pertaining to this issue, but certainly others have seen the same issue in the last couple of days.

From there I hopped on the direct Google Pixel support chat on the phone and explained what TMobile had said about phone being reported stolen.

Google support explained that what I got was a "spam message." Well, no it was not. They then escalated the issue to another support specialist. She explained that the phone had not been reported stolen, but had been sold through the "Project Fi Team." (FYI, screenshot your support messages as those disappear after the support chat end.) She went on to explain to me that she would have to escalate the issue to the Project Fi team, and I would be contacted via email in 24 hours. And again I was assured the Pixel XL phone was not blacklisted. Well I have to disagree with that assessment. I asked for a support ticket number and she would not give that to me but told me that it would come via email.

I have had this Pixel XL for a month, and have liked it more than any phone I have ever used, but if it can't make calls or texts, it is not worth much at all. Hopefully a bit of exposure on this issue will help get it fixed, maybe.
 
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Kromix

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well, having project fi and a Nexus 6P i can tell you that if the phone was bought through project fi, it will be tied to the gmail account that was purchased. so if i sell my phone, without releasing it from my project fi, it would still be tied to me in google's servers where i could mark it stolen/lost/etc with google. And if i have warranty and stuff, maybe get a new one for free or for the insurance deductible... never buy used :)
 
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So who actually marked it as stolen? And if no one did, where is tmobile getting that it is from?
 
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FrgMstr

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So who actually marked it as stolen? And if no one did, where it tmoble getting that it is from?
TMobile said that another carrier had blacklisted it, but they could not tell me which one. Given that it is a "Project Fi" phone, I would assume this came from Google.
 

ecmaster76

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So who actually marked it as stolen? And if no one did, where it tmoble getting that it is from?

I'll bet a dollar Google themselves marked it as stolen. Probably people had either defaulted on payment or defrauded Project Fi to get the phone and then cashed in the phone to Swappa.

Google gets around to cataloging the active devices that were not paid as agreed and sends it out to the carriers to block.
 
D

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I'll bet a dollar Google themselves marked it as stolen. Probably people had either defaulted on payment or defrauded Project Fi to get the phone and then cashed in the phone to Swappa.

Google gets around to cataloging the active devices that were not paid as agreed and sends it out to the carriers to block.

Thats the thing, I didn't think Fi sold phones with payments, or has that changed? Always thought it was full upfront price, as thats how I got my Pixel, I don't remember seeing a payment option when signing up for Fi, then again I was not actually looking for one, as I wanted to pay up front anyway.
 

ecmaster76

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Thats the thing, I didn't think Fi sold phones with payments, or has that changed? Always thought it was full upfront price, as thats how I got my Pixel, I don't remember seeing a payment option when signing up for Fi, then again I was not actually looking for one, as I wanted to pay up front anyway.

You can still defraud with an upfront payment (counterfeit bills, stolen CC, disputed CC charges, etc)
 

BenWah

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If the seller of your phone had project fi on it and hasn't either

1) activated FI on another approved device (nexus 5x/6/6p or pixels)

or

2) cancelled their project fi account

then

your phone is a paperweight.

For example the seller could have moved his project fi sim to an iphone (an UNapproved device) making the phone he sold you into a paperweight
 

Kromix

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Thats the thing, I didn't think Fi sold phones with payments, or has that changed? Always thought it was full upfront price, as thats how I got my Pixel, I don't remember seeing a payment option when signing up for Fi, then again I was not actually looking for one, as I wanted to pay up front anyway.
^^ this, Fi does do purchase plans for the phones. i know of 4 people that are currently on a purchase plan. it is highly possible. you could always call fi support and ask them. try 844-825-5234 (844TALK2FI)
 

FrgMstr

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Google Fi blacklisted it because the phone was resold. Phone support likely can't help you. The phone is tied to a Fi account that very likely moved on (or original owner stopped paying their bill).

If the original owner stopped paying the bill, Google knows this however they can't tell you for privacy reasons.
It would seem odd that this is happening to "a lot" of Pixel phones in the last couple days. And if that is the issue, why would Google tell me that the phone was not blacklisted? Something else is going on here I suspect.
 
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You can still defraud with an upfront payment (counterfeit bills, stolen CC, disputed CC charges, etc)

Possible, but that would happen pretty quick I would think. He said he had it for a month....Possible they bought it, flipped it more or less new, then waited a bit to dispute the charge.

If the seller of your phone had project fi on it and hasn't either

1) activated FI on another approved device (nexus 5x/6/6p or pixels)

or

2) cancelled their project fi account

then

your phone is a paperweight.

For example the seller could have moved his project fi sim to an iphone (an UNapproved device) making the phone he sold you into a paperweight

What does that have to do with the phone? So long as the phone is paid for, service they use to have on it does not matter. Having talked with Fi about moving services without activating Fi on the phone, as it was OOS everywhere when I bought mine, they told me I did not have to and could use the phone like any 3rd party bought phone.

^^ this, Fi does do purchase plans for the phones. i know of 4 people that are currently on a purchase plan. it is highly possible. you could always call fi support and ask them. try 844-825-5234 (844TALK2FI)

Interesting, are you sure they are on Fi service with those phones?
 

grtitan

Telemetry is Spying on ME!
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This is why I don't deal with used phones.

I had very good experiences with phones from Swappa.

And to be honest, a Pixel phone is not worth at this current time, the full price that Google ask for it.

The reason I say that is because Google set up an arbitrary expiration date of two years for their devices (2 years OS updates, one year security updates).

As a "victim" of that policy (my nexus 6 and nexus 9 were abandoned at a point release, 7.1.1, instead of a version release, 8), i cannot justify buying a Pixel brand new and at full price right now, given that its "google timer" is already at 16 months to be abandoned.

So this news is rather disturbing if they cannot find a prompt solution.
 

vegeta535

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I had very good experiences with phones from Swappa.

And to be honest, a Pixel phone is not worth at this current time, the full price that Google ask for it.

The reason I say that is because Google set up an arbitrary expiration date of two years for their devices (2 years OS updates, one year security updates).

As a "victim" of that policy (my nexus 6 and nexus 9 were abandoned at a point release, 7.1.1, instead of a version release, 8), i cannot justify buying a Pixel brand new and at full price right now, given that its "google timer" is already at 16 months to be abandoned.

So this news is rather disturbing if they cannot find a prompt solution.
What phone is still supported after 2 years? Even with the 2 year police my 6P will probably still more up to date then a S8 will be 2 years from now. This the only issue I have with the Android platform.
 
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James Robinson

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HkPOzEH.jpg
 

Kromix

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Interesting, are you sure they are on Fi service with those phones?
yeah, 2 are family members and the other 2 are friends that i recruited.

FROM: https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6181978?hl=en&ref_topic=4596407

Monthly payments over 24 months
If you choose to pay for your phone over time and you qualify based on your credit check, you’ll make 24 monthly payments. Each monthly payment will be charged to the credit or debit card on your Project Fi account. You’ll see this charge in the “Next month’s charges” section of your monthly billing statement.
 

FrgMstr

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Possible, but that would happen pretty quick I would think. He said he had it for a month....Possible they bought it, flipped it more or less new, then waited a bit to dispute the charge.
The person I bought it from on Swappa looked to be a trusted seller. A phone nerd I guess. Nothing but 5 star ratings from 18 phones sold. I seriously doubt this was a phone payment issue.

Also keep in mind what Swappa said exactly..."widespread issue."

We have seen a great number of Pixel devices becoming blacklisted the past two days. We are still trying to figure out why this has happened to so many devices. We are working to find out the cause of this widespread issue.

upload_2017-5-24_14-54-31.png
 

y2jdmbfan

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Same thing happened to me yesterday. I bought mine back in January on Swappa. Mine was bought locally by the Swappa seller from someone that said it was bought from Google. It was sealed new in box. The seller used it for a few days and then sold it to me on Swappa. I used it on AT&T and T-Mobile and yesterday I had the same no service thing. I contacted T-Mobile and they said it had been blacklisted by someone else, but not them. I contacted Google and turns out it was a project Fi phone. Today I called T-Mobile again and today they advised that Sprint applied the blacklist. I think this was probably Google Project Fi that blacklisted. The Fi team has contacted me saying it wasn't them, but who knows. In my case my seller accepted a return and has helped me try to figure it out, but I am sending it back today. I filed a claim through Paypal.
 

BenWah

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i told you guys why (project fi) but you don't believe me. Whatever later you'll figure out I was right
 
D

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i told you guys why (project fi) but you don't believe me. Whatever later you'll figure out I was right

If the phone was paid for what you said makes zero sense, and goes exactly counter to what Fi support told me when I bought my phone through them. Mine is still working just fine as well. Google also told him that they did not blacklist the phone, further suggesting that is not the case.
 

infinity9

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This is why I don't deal with used phones.

Just wait until they start enabling that feature on laptops. Its a "security" feature for "your" protection.
If the seller of your phone had project fi on it and hasn't either

1) activated FI on another approved device (nexus 5x/6/6p or pixels)

or

2) cancelled their project fi account

then

your phone is a paperweight.

For example the seller could have moved his project fi sim to an iphone (an UNapproved device) making the phone he sold you into a paperweight

Yeah that's exactly what's happening. I wonder why Google is doing this. Planned obsolescence?
 
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FrgMstr

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Yeah that's exactly what's happening. I wonder why Google is doing this. Planned obsolescence?
Then why would Google support tell me the phone is not blacklisted? This may be what is happening not all the ducks are in line yet.
 

FrgMstr

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There was a big issue last year with people reselling Project Fi phones: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/201...d-in-pixel-phone-resale-scheme-later-relents/ That time Google starting banning accounts. Looks like this time they're blacklisting the phones instead.

At the time, Google said: "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." So maybe they now see Swappa as "commercial resale"?
Wow. I bought it through PayPal, so I am protected, but not sure why Google leave me hanging without an answer.
 
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Deleted member 184142

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My personal guess is someone in Project Fi enforcement started going after Swappa sales as "commercial resale". Perhaps without checking with management first. Now Google is trying to figure out what's happened what they want to do about it. Either that or one of the carriers started "cleaning house" and blacklisting phones that weren't on active accounts anymore.

Big companies suck at responding quickly to the unexpected like this. But hopefully they'll do the right thing and get people's phones turned back on.

They would have no way of knowing about the sell. And Swappa doesn't make it commercial.

The link about the banning was because THOUSANDS of phones were shipped to a single address, and it took a while after then that for them to figure it out and then those users accounts used for ordering those phones were banned.
 

bman212121

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I'd have to agree with you Kyle. That seller doesn't look to be the issue here. They have sold many phones over the past 4 years, and you are their only Pixel buyer. If you were trying to dump merch, I don't think you'd be doing that with an account that you put a lot of effort into. Hard to say if the seller knew they were violating a policy, or how they obtained the phone themselves.

This could be something as simple as a PEBKAC error, but no one knows where it came from yet. (Trying to ban one phone and accidently wildcard banning 1,000) Swappa has their own IMEI checker on their page, so you could try to put your number into there and see what their site says. They will show international bans as well as US bans. If it's only been banned on T-Mobile / Sprint, then something funny is going on there. (Which is who project-Fi uses)

https://swappa.com/esn
 

Bandalo

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They would have no way of knowing about the sell. And Swappa doesn't make it commercial.

The link about the banning was because THOUSANDS of phones were shipped to a single address, and it took a while after then that for them to figure it out and then those users accounts used for ordering those phones were banned.

That's why my thought was about Project Fi's "enforcement" team. I'm guessing after the first scam they have more people out looking for similar issues, and they may have gone after Swappa sales. Now I don't work for any of the companies involved, so I'm just speculating. Just seems like there's some common issue with resold Project Fi phones.
 
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