Google Fi has had a couple of issues when it comes to customer service over the years, but it just hit a new level. Many customers that purchased phones on financing plans are now being charged the full price of their devices, putting them out hundreds of dollars and incurring additional costs such as overdraft fees. Google says it's aware of the issue and working on a fix.

Based on the content of the reports we've seen, only customers who purchased Pixel 3 and 3 XL phones from Fi via the recent half-off promo seem to be affected.(Or, at least, they're the only people name dropping their purchase.) However, with the little information provided by Google's support representatives on the subject, it's possible older purchases or different devices may also be affected.

[Update: we have received reports from customers that other devices purchased recently were also affected, Pixel owners are apparently just the most vocal.]

Most notably, some customers are claiming that they received no notification of the billing error, save the charge on their account. That cost can be as much as $500 for the Pixel 3 XL, and more for those that may have purchased multiple devices via the promo. For those that purchased via a debit card on a tight budget, Google's actions here could be crippling.

The statement provided by a Google Fi representative at the Fi Community.

The Google Fi subreddit is in full meltdown, as is the related thread at Google's Fi Community, with some claiming that Google's billing issues have resulted in overdraft fees and other costs, unlikely to be repaid in the event of a simple refund. A few are reporting they were able to secure manual refunds from Fi's support representatives, though in some cases Google has not refunded the tax on the erroneous charge. Others are afraid that their bank's fraud detection, which reversed charges in some cases, will result in being locked out of their account — since Google and Fi absolutely do that to customers.

At the time of writing, it has been almost a day since the issue first appeared, and based on the related support thread and reports, it has yet to be resolved. Perhaps Google can finally fix its problem tomorrow when banks open — though it will have quite a lot of juggling to do when it comes to reimbursing costs like overdraft fees incurred via its (huge) mistake.

Google claims that the issue is now resolved and affected customers should expect to see refunds within the next 1-2 business days. Unfortunately, there is no mention made of reimbursement for additional costs such as overdraft fees incurred as a direct result of Google's mistake.

We have also received additional reports that confirm purchasers of other devices are also affected (Pixel owners, it seems, are just the most vocal when it comes to issues).

  • Thanks:
  • James Miller,
  • Ryan Cormier,
  • and everyone who sent this in