Google Fi's customer service problems are numerous and well-documented. The carrier has been accused of billing customers for using Wi-Fi, blacklisting IMEIs, locking customers out of their Google accounts, and charging them the full price after promotions (causing plenty of overdraft fees in the process). At this point, Fi is more associated with bottom-barrel customer service than the aggressive, on-demand pricing it was once known for. Today we have another horror story involving a two-month-long runaround and $70 in upgrade fees for a phone the company admits was never delivered.
Detailed at Android developer Jason Atwood's blog, today's episode of Fi-related woe starts with an attempted upgrade to a Pixel 3 via interest-free monthly payments. The phone never arrived, with FedEx's own tracking and Google Fi customer support representatives confirming it was last listed as on a truck for delivery. Over a week and three separate attempts to contact customer support yielded no results regarding the investigation into the missing package, while Atwood received his first monthly bill for the phone. Repeated attempts to contact customer representatives and escalate the problem over the following month failed.
Finally, one month to the day after the phone was out for delivery, a representative at Fi sends Atwood a new device, telling him it's too late to cancel the replacement order, even though he would rather be refunded. Over the next two weeks, the phone is refused at the time of delivery, sent back to Google in the hopes it might secure a refund, and the second monthly bill for the device lands. Finally, almost two months after ordering the phone, Atwood is informed that the two bills he's paid for the Pixel 3 — $70 in total toward a device he never had — can't be refunded, as he's past the "remittance period" which would allow for a return. Ultimately, Atwood considered it a $70 learning experience, eventually moving over to T-Mobile and an Amazon-purchased Pixel 3a.
Product Expert and known Google Fi customer support escalation specialist dmziggy over on Reddit says that Google Fi is "aware of the case and looking into it." And while we wish this particular episode of customer service failure existed in isolation, there are piles of other recent horror stories out there:
- Customer support representatives have refused to blacklist stolen devices, alternately claiming you must be the "primary account holder," then when contacted from that account told they must reach out from the "registered" account for the device.
- Broken and used device returns have been sent out as replacements
- When those used replacements are returned (as they should be), customers are subsequently charged full price, with some devices being lost and only later "found" when issues are publicly exhibited.
- Fi still hasn't honored credits for some for promotions from six months ago.
- Promotional credits are being flatly denied for some who are eligible.
All among a much longer list of customer service complaints we've spotted in the last couple months. We've reached out to Google for more information, and if any is forthcoming we'll be sure to include it.
Based on its recent performance, those considering Google Fi might want to think twice before taking advantage of the next promo — or even continuing as subscribers. Google may not be known for its customer service (just ask developers that aren't listed on the Nasdaq), but Google Fi is going to have to seriously step up how it handles and communicates with customers, especially given the complicated promotions and logistics involved when it comes to being a carrier. That is, if Google is at all serious about Fi not just being a "project" anymore.