The Pixel 4a is undoubtedly an incredible value on the smartphone market right now, but its weakest point is still its maker — Google. The search giant has messed up the logistics so often in its relatively short existence in the smartphone space that we’ve frankly lost count. The brand-new Pixel 4a couldn’t avoid the inevitable either, but Google’s latest snafu sounds fresh; hear me out. The company is asking its Canadian customers to ship back their existing phones more than a week before the Pixel 4a is expected to reach them.

One of our tipsters from Canada reached out to give us a first-hand account of what’s going on with the Pixel 4a’s trade-in deals there. Those who pre-ordered the phone have already started receiving their trade-in kits that expire a month from when they were dispatched — it’s September 3 in our tipster’s case and for anyone who pre-ordered on launch date. But guess what, the Pixel 4a doesn’t ship in Canada until September 10, with deliveries expected only by mid-September. And if that wasn’t enough, your old phone will lose trade-in value after that 30-day window closes. Rubbing it in is the instruction document that is provided with these kits to help transfer your data to your new device.

In a sane world, trade-ins are sent back after­ you’ve received your new phone, or exchanged on the spot if you’re in a store. We looked for a similar logistics goof-up on Google’s part in other markets where Pixel 4a pre-orders are live, but nothing came out as silly as it is in Canada. Our tipster also tried their luck with Google’s support, only to receive the temple response: “we’ll try our best.” At this point, they’re considering canceling the existing order and placing a new one sometime around when the 4a is really set to start shipping in Canada. This might also be the only option for others who are facing a similar issue, unless Google comes up with a solution.

Google’s statement

Following up on our coverage, a Google spokesperson reached out to clarify that the 30-day timer will start ticking only when your new Pixel 4a is delivered. The statement also points us to a trade-in support page that now has a note attached to clear up any confusion. As for the quoted estimate, your old phone’s value will be recalculated only if it doesn’t reach Google within this new 30-day window. The crux of this clarification is that you won’t have to live without a phone, thanks to the altered rules. Here is the full statement:

Google Store has clarified its trade in policy for customers who pre-ordered a Pixel 4a. The trade-in estimate is valid for 30 days from the day their new phone is delivered. Even though customers can send their trade-in device at any time, if it arrives more than 30 days after their new device was delivered it’ll be assessed at current market value instead of their quoted estimate. Current market value is determined by the trade-in terms. You can view full details in our Help Center article: https://support.google.com/store/answer/9882124

  • Thanks:
  • Andrew Kumar-Misir