PSA: Don’t Mess With The Google!

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Update #2, 11/17 at 8pm: Google has reactivated the suspended accounts!

Here is the message that they each received:

“Hello Google user,

Your Google Account was suspended as part of our fraud prevention efforts, based on violations of our Terms of Service and Terms of Sale for Devices. After reviewing your appeal, we are re-enabling your account.
Google takes violations of our terms very seriously, and we ask that you review relevant terms and product policies to ensure that you understand them. Repeated violations of our terms may lead to account termination.
In order to access your Google account, please sign in. When you sign in, you will be asked to verify a security code via SMS. Once you verify the code, you will be able to access your account again.
Last but not least, we wanted to remind you that Google users can always export and download their data from Google products like Gmail, Photos, and Drive while their account is active. In a few easy steps, you can create an archive to keep for your records or backup your data to another service. More information about backing up your data can be found at google.com/takeout.”

I find it hard to understand why Google only allows you to download your data if your account is active. They claim the data belongs to you, but if you violate any of their terms you will lose the ability to retrieve your data.


Update, 11/17 at 6:30pm: This story has gone viral in the 25 hours since I published it and has been covered by The Guardian, Consumerist, PCMag, Engadget, Mashable, Ars Technica, Reddit, Hacker News, and more.

The Associated Press covered the story in depth and interviewed DDF members.

My hope was for that to get Google’s attention and put pressure on them to respond.

And indeed Google has just sent me the following statement,

“We identified a scheme in which consumers were asked to purchase Pixel devices on behalf of a reseller, who then marked-up the cost of those devices in order to resell them to other customers. 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. Many of the accounts suspended were created for the sole purpose of this scheme. After investigating the situation, we are restoring access to genuine accounts for customers who are locked out of many Google services they rely on.”

As of yet none of the suspended accounts have been restored, but hopefully that will happen soon and I’ll update this post again when that occurs. Google did not respond with a timeframe of when they can expect to regain access to their accounts. Many people have been devastated by losing their access to Google services over terms that they didn’t read. They’re not blameless, but let’s face it, how many non-lawyers actually read all the terms?

Kudos to Google for agreeing to restore their online identities. I still wonder though if a human authorized the account suspensions or if it was triggered by an algorithm. Either way, it’s scary to think about how much power Google has over our lives.

As for me, I got my Google Takeout order today and plan to request backups of my Google data on a weekly basis. Many others have moved their email to private servers and other hosts in order to diversify their online presence in case they ever run afoul of Google’s terms.

Will you be changing where you store you data based on this story?


Originally posted on 11/16 at 5PM:

Several DDF members are reporting that they have not been able to access their Google accounts over the past few days.

This is the error message they encounter when trying to login:

google-accountsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also got an email stating that all of their data will be deleted if they do not successfully appeal their suspension:

your-google-account-has-been-suspended-anshelkgmail-com-gmail-google-chrome-2016-11-16-20-21-45-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It turns out the common denominator is that they had all bought Google Pixel phones and shipped them to a phone dealer in New Hampshire who paid them a profit on each phone. There is no sales tax in New Hampshire and the phones are then resold to others.

The problem is that many of them didn’t read the terms that they agreed to when buying the phone from the Google store. Those state “You may only purchase Devices for your personal use. You may not commercially resell any Device, but you may give the Device as a gift.”

I did some research and found the dealer, who feels awful about the situation. There are over 200 people who are locked out of their Google accounts currently. Some of those people used multiple Google accounts in order to place orders for more than 5 phones and they are locked out of all of the accounts. The dealer is more than happy to return all the phones to Google if it will rectify the situation.

The dealer has been ordering phones from Google in this manner since the original Nexus and has never had an issue. In total a few thousand phones were ordered this time, which is fewer phones than were ordered in the past. However this time was the first time that they were ordered through Project Fi, as they were shipping out faster that way. The phones were all ordered at the full retail price and about 500 orders were cancelled by Google.

Google has apparently closed the accounts of everyone who shipped their phones directly to his address in New Hampshire, regardless of how many phones the account ordered or whether the phones actually shipped or were cancelled by Google.

The account closure includes all of Google’s services. The people affected don’t have access to Gmail, Google Drive, Google Voice, or anything from Google. They don’t have any access to gift cards, bills, travel confirmations, work documents, etc that were saved in their Gmail accounts.

Worse yet, emails that are sent to their Gmail accounts are being bounced back as undeliverable. Even if Google relents and reactivates their accounts they will never know what emails they missed while the account was locked.

Some people had family photos saved in their drive that are now lost. It’s the 21st century version of losing priceless mementos in a house fire.

Some people are also locked out of other online accounts that require email authentication, which of course they can no longer access. Many accounts require email access in order to change a password or update your email. There’s a world of pain in store for people who have lost their primary email account.

I’m not defending those who violated the terms of the sale, but I do think it is heavy-handed for Google to block access to all of their services for doing so. Was violating Google’s phone resale policy really worthy of an effective digital death penalty?

One DDF member even claims that his Google account, that didn’t order a phone, was banned just for having a recovery account that was banned for ordering a phone.

Quite frankly it’s scary to think about how much I rely upon Google for everyday life. Losing everything that I’ve accumulated with Google for the past 15 years would be devastating.

There are a few lessons here for everyone:

1. Don’t mess around with Google or any company that you simply can’t live without.

I’m guilty of this myself and it’s a good thing that they didn’t have this kind of account auditing in place when my friends and I passed hundreds of thousands of dollars around with Google Checkout when they were offering free credit card processing in 2006. The boatload of free miles were great, but were not enough to live without Google. Then again, Google wasn’t as critical to my day to day life 10 years ago.

2. Ignorance of the terms isn’t an excuse, so be sure to read them.

3. Backup your Google data often with Google Takeout. That page is not accessible if you are banned. I’ve already started the process of having my information delivered to me so that I can back it up locally and plan on doing so on a regular basis in the future.

People who have not been able to access their accounts have appealed to Google and that appeal is still in process.

It seems to me that a warning should have been issued before closing account access. At a bare minimum Google should have allowed emails to be sent to their accounts and not bounce back to the sender as undeliverable during the appeal process. And at the very least they should be allowed to download their saved data.

But hopefully they quickly get back access to their Gmail and other vital Google services where they weren’t in violation of Google’s terms.

I know that Google employees read this blog. Back when Google Wallet required you to receive money from another person in order to be able to send money to others there was a conga made on DDF that grabbed the attention of the director of Google Wallet. He was amazed by the concept and even stuck around to answer people’s questions. If anyone working at Google does read this I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Of course this leads to bigger questions on a national scale about what is or isn’t ours when it’s stored in the cloud? Should there be government legislation guaranteeing people access to their data?

I’ve reached out to the EFF, Engadget, and the Consumerist for their thoughts on Google’s actions and am awaiting their replies.

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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270 Comments on "PSA: Don’t Mess With The Google!"

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Shocking!

I always tell people to use their own email via godaddy, dont let your whole digital life be in the hands of a company that gives you no way to contact them.

From here on everyone should buy a domain and have that email forward to their gmail, this way you are in control.

Diversify, use yahoo and outlook. Dont store your data on google drive..

Thanks

Any recommendations of places to store all my emails, drive, and photos, outside of google? I want to back my stuff up asap

Morris

Wow, happy to have read this. I hadn’t thought of Google as the kind of company that would do such a thing. I will be transitioning to a private service.

Work-for-ur-muny

@Morris: There’s a woman living in Chapaqua, NY whose very good at this. She may have some advice on how to set it up… 😉

Work-for-ur-muny

Rather than wanting google to at least let incoming emails go through, I think there’s an upside that they’re being bounced back. At least the sender is notified that the message wasn’t delivered and should look for another means of delivery. Although for most (automatic) emails this isn’t true, but I’m suggesting that they should be let through (to help in the event the users regain access) yet the senders should still be notified (so at least the “human” senders should know to resend).

mmgfarb

@Work-for-ur-muny: you would run into privacy law issues with that

AJ

@Work-for-ur-muny:

That’s not a bad point, but it’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand, auto emails, like CC bills, utility bills, travel notifications/changes, need to be received in order to make sure they’re not missed. On the other hand, you want personal emails to be “bounced” so that the sender can contact you another way.

That said, I’m certain Google has a way to allow all incoming emails but to set an “auto-responder” of sorts, letting senders know that the account is currently suspended and the account holder currently has no access, so please contact another way. Solution to both issues.

Anonymous

Maybe send this into Engadget and they can reach out to google?

Jack out of the box

Bottom line: We are all slaves to Google. As good as they are at the many things they do, we have to realize that they have tremendous ability to control us.

Moshe123

Thanks Dan!

Slim Jim

Google is evil blah blah blah. The phone dealer feels awful? That should make everything better. There are a few Hockers who never grew up and constantly look to cheat the system.
Trust me, the “dealer in NH” (LOL regus) feels bad bec they got caught. They will be up to the same antics when they find a new batch of suckers.

Dan

@Thanks:
Back it up on your computer/external hard drive.

@Jack out of the box:
It’s pretty frightening.

@Slim Jim:
I’m not defending the dealer or his customers.
I just think this is heavy handed.

SearchGuy

Sent a link to this article to a G Suites rep, let’s see what he has to say about it

Jacob

A) If anyone wants to compare to Apple, I’m sure they’re a lot more ruthless.

B)@Work-for-ur-muny: 🙂 Hilarious!

C) I’m not a lawyer so I’ll let AJ address this, but I don’t think it’s honestly expected of most people in today’s day and age to read T&C’s in general. I don’t recall off the bat, but I remember reading an article somewhere detailing a whole load of strange T&C’s that many very widely used companies have that no-one knows abides by or knows about them. One silly one that I recall was that Google’s T&C stated that by using their search engine you agree to abide by their T&C which state that you are over X years old (I don’t recall if it was 18 yo or 13 yo).

Similarly there are laws (a form of fine print, if you may) that are arcane and have not been enforced in decades. Nobody knows about them and the’re laughable in today’s day and age.

pmlace

@SearchGuy: +1

LockedOut

I have years and years of emails that I now cannot access! Work documents, family photos, all gone! For what? Because I ordered a phone? How about a warning? The power these people have is frightening.

GApps user

Did it happen to any Google Apps users too?

Jack out of the box

@Dan: I immediately went and downloaded a copy of all my important info as you suggested using Takeout. Thanks

Jack

What about using your own domain, but having the email go via google apps or google work, would you loose your data if they decided to close your account?

communism

This feels like communist suppression. Wake up one morning and it’s gone. No explanation no one to talk to. Just gone. Photos, Emails, Documents, Spreadsheets, Contacts, Gift Cards, Notes, the list goes on..

Gonna Get Slack

I want to start off by saying that I take advantage most deals posted by Dan and have purchased phones in the past.

However, I fully recognize that if I’ve broken the rules with any given company, I am putting my relationship with them in jeopardy and that is part of the risk analysis i need to make before posting a deal.
I’m sure many people did not know it was illegal and some did but never had issues so assumed Google didn’t care. However, there is no reason for them to be upset by Google taking action against them for it (even though this action is quite harsh). Google created these policies to protect themselves.
While it’s true that they host pretty much all my data, I don’t believe private hosting is perfect either. I have an ongoing situation where a small exchange cloud provider doesn’t want us moving away from them and is therefore not giving us full access to our e-mail/files. Trying to setup a truly private server can be equally dangerous as data can get lost and you need to hire someone good to properly secure it.

I’m not trying to boost Google but trying to knock them (as other commenters are) is not fair either.

LOCKED OUT

This is insane. I really hope they have some pity on their users. This is even worse than amazon suspending sellers without batting an eyelash and taking away their livelihood.

3rd Party Sellers

Same goes with Amazon. They can close ones account in a blink of an eye. The power is in their hands.

Eli Willner

What kind of “warning” should Google have issued? Once the phone is ordered the deed, and the violation of service terms is done. Did the people out to fool the system warn Google? Sheesh!

Dan is right – if you want to play games, man up and realize that the risk is yours and so are the consequences!

Lechatchileh Ariber

Just think about how powerful Google is, and how much info they have about you. All your emails, yor location history-where you work, where yor kids go to school, what kind of food you like, what kind of places you like to visit. Your search history-what kind of things interest you, any issues you’ve ever had in your life etc. Inbox and Allo’s auto answers learn from the way you respond-that means they not only know everything you say, but even your style of speech. Those fiction books from years ago about the world being run by a cyberpower…
Scary thoughts to think about.

Avi

I am personally affected by this and let me just say this is a nightmare for me , I’m completely lost , all my photos documents and every bank account was set up to that email I used to order the phones I am locked out forever . I do not remember what services I use that are automated billing to that email address so now companies and services I use can charge me without any notifications to my inbox I don’t know where to start , I’m still scratching my head since Friday

mmb

@Lechatchileh Ariber:
Yep it’s really scary. Especially now that we see them exercise their power

Space Cadet

@Eli Willner:

Yea, yeah, we all know it is *completely reasonable* that buying a phone on Project Fi will result in one losing thousands of dollars in gift cards, priceless family photos, and invaluable work spreadsheets.

Remind me not to travel to the planet you’re from.

Mike

Imagine being kicked out of apartment for whatever reason And the landlord refuses to let you in to take out your clothing/personal property. This is exactly what it is. The information doesnt belong to them. They can shut your account for violating any terms but to not give access to the info is absolutely wrong and potentially illegal.

SGF

@Eli Willner: Google should give a 72 hour notice before shutting down these accounts, that will give enough time to transfer out important info and to notify people of new address.

MeirS

@Gonna Get Slack:
“However, there is no reason for them to be upset by Google taking action against them for it (even though this action is quite harsh).”

They may not have a case against them in court but they have every reason to be upset.

Think about this one question. Who does the data belong to?

John

I also got locked out-all my credit card bills and notifications go to that email and so do my bank account notices. My credit is going to for sure suffer while i try to pick up the pieces. this is truly ridiculous their able to do this. I am going to contact the FCC and other organizations.

Mark

@Space Cadet: “invaluable work spreadsheets”

If you have a paid business google account, even a tiny business one, I doubt they could lock you out so easily. That’s one solution. Switch your personal free (with the associated T&C) google account to a small business one that has a fee, then Google has fewer options such as arbitrary locking/closing of accounts.

Isaac

I’m sure the issue could be solved if it is taken to court.

Avi

I don’t mind losing my account , just let me have my photos and my personal folders back that’s all I want , I’m seriously hoping that we can make a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT even though google will probably win due to the millions they are worth . They do not have to give us back our accounts , but data should be allowed to be accessed and removed

Jacob Weisz

@Thanks: FastMail is great. It costs a little bit of money (like half a Netflix subscription) for secure, private email with great, active technical support staff.

Hackers News
MeirS

@Joe:
Scary indeed!

dan1

as much as you say they are entitled to close down everything, this is still too much. years of everything on drive, notes, gift cards, photos, a boatload of personal info, travel confirmation ect… to take it away over night is way too steep of a penelty. besides, as much as youll say im relying on a free service to host my info for free,, it doesnt “belong to them” to just take it away…. its just too much…

also if they really had a problem, let them cancel the orders…
but to confiscate ALL my information isnt fair for a sale that they themselfs allowed to go through….

dan1

i didnt realize that it was against there terms….

also when companies make “deals” they should realize that people will find loop holes and take advantage of them…

the same goes with mile and points….

but to peanilize all of us who took advantage of a loop hole is not fair… let alone take away our personal stuff…

Anonymous

@Hackers News: what does it help if this is on Hackernews ? What can they do for us ?

Google is guilty

I would argue that google knew these people were ordering the phone in violation of their policy while they were placing the order and should not have allowed the order to process.

kishke

@Morris: They are very much the kind of company that would do this. Very powerful and controlling.

david

wow, good to know i’m not the only one

kishke

I use google only for mail and nothing else, and I have all my email forwarded to another email account, so it’s in two places. Having seen this, though, I may add another forwarding address as well.

zalmysilver

If anyone needs help setting up a private server, im sure Hillary would b happy to help, as she has lots of free time these days

Smith

Thanks for letting me know I’m not the only victim
Never thought this could happen to me
Maybe I should follow Hilary advice and get private server 😉

josh

the worst thing is there is no costumer service to contact, no information what? how long ? do i wait do, i move on?

Oscar

Bottom line is , I don’t think anyone had malicious intentions to break any terms. I know I certainly did not. On the contrary, I was giving them business.

My thinking was, if for any reason google doesn’t like what I’m doing they will not accept my order, just as they hadn’t accepted orders of over 5 phones per account. If I even had an iota of a speculation that I was jeapoedizong my account I wouldn’t dear have placed the order.

They saw that hundreds if not thousands of phones are being ordered to be delivered to the same address, yet they accepted the orders, processed the orders, and shipped them out. Then instead of being thanked for the business – after the phones delivered and full payment was accepted – google goes ahead and ruthlessly deletes our gmail account.

Accounts that stored years of important emails, documents, photos, and what not. Ppl run businesses from these accounts, and now everything is frozen with the potential to g-d forbid never to be unfrozen again.

How about a warning first. Or at the least give some type of notice, or how about even charging a fine to regain access.

joe

@Work-for-ur-muny: i like the idea

Mendy

Worst thing is i put my other gmail address as the recovery email and now i wont even receive the notification because that account is also disabled.

joe

@Space Cadet: couldnt say it better

Sholom

There is another lesson to be learned from this… Any time you are doing something even slightly possibly shady that requires an email address, just make a new one. It’s free….

Mister-K

I am a little surprised that this has not run up against government regulation. Has the first sale doctrine been weakened that much?

If I buy something, it has long been illegal for companies to try to prevent reselling with an unenforceable “contract”. This is why ticket scalpers exist, why eBay and Craigslist exist, and why we don’t cut a bunch of checks to original manufacturers after a yard sale.

Makes me want to buy one and publicly flout the contract by making it a selling point, just to test the point in court.

TomGreen

@Shocking!: This is the worst advice you can give someone.

Moe

Just wanna point out that if you used a mail app on your computer/phone like Mac Mail then you’re emails should be saved on your desktop… also if you had a synced google drive folder on you computer your drive files are safe as well..

Don

This is why millions voted for Trump: he intends to introduce anti-trust laws against groups like Facebook and Google which are just too frikkin big and break them up. It will be a healthy change. This will definitely be a case they can use to justify introducing such legislation. #bustthetrust

Eli

The best way to deal with this is to reach out to the press. If the Wall Street Journal etc. run The story it will definitely have an impact. The list thing Google wants is for users to feel that they can’t depend on their data truly being safe with Google. This impression goes against The image they are trying to project. So try to reach out to the major media outlets to see if they will carry the story.

Mimi K.

#Bustthetrust +1111111111
@Dan. Can you make us a wiki on how to back up our google info just in case?
Some of us are not very techy.
Another major concern is them shutting down recovery accounts.
I have like ten active google accounts for work (used by multiple people) that all link back to the main “recovery”
Can you confirm the exact details? the shut all related or is that just one instance?
A google lockout would destroy me Chalila

Dan's the Man

Dan, the emails being “bounced back” will still be accessible if Google reactive’s the account.

David

2 Points

1. From Googles Terms: “Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.” https://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/

2. What Google did is the equivalent to an eviction without giving the tenant any prior notice nor letting them gather their furniture and belongings before the lock is replaced. Google is stealing years of irreplaceable intellectual property and is having a terrible affect on peoples personal lives and businesses.

I sincerely hope they will realize they were completely overreacting and will reinstate everyones emails very soon.

Wow

Was there just cause to shut down the accounts? Did the fine print say that could happen? I would expect a slew of lawsuits from people who lost business and I don’t think Google will win them.

Anonymous

Is THE Google related to THE Donald?

Dan

@Eli:
Have a contact?

@Mimi K.:
http://google.com/takeout
http://gmvault.org/

@David:
Someone on DDF just posted this. Everything will be deleted if the appeal fails. Scary!
http://i.dansdeals.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/16201551/g1.jpg

@Anonymous:
The Google was started by another president:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90DKubFKwVo
(And there I go linking to another Google property…)

LockedOut

@Dan’s the Man:

Says who?

Jack

Can we start a lawsuit against google?

montey

Yet people have no issue breaking TOS for Chase or Amex with points. Lesson applies there too.

Dan

@montey:
I’m not defending those people either, but most people can live their life without AMEX or Chase.

Living without Google is becoming increasingly difficult. A digital death penalty is rough.

Martin

Did Trump say hes going to break them up? Cant remember.

anon

@Dan:

I have a contact at CNBC Tech.
Email me and I’ll send you more details.

Ben

How did you figure out this was the connection between the accounts? Impressive.

mg
Eli

I don’t have any media contacts, but you must have taken some calls/ emails from the media over the years regarding dansdeals. How about reaching out to them to see if the story can get the attention of the editor of a major publication?

Sounds Simple

All you need to do is band together. Create a group of people that were affected. Have 20 people sign a letter telling Google they are going to the press full force. This will kill Google as millions of people will now be nervous about trusting them. I would never trust a landlord like that. Within a day they will unlock all I guarantee.

Greg Z

Hope everyone affected will sue the s**t out of Google and cost them millions in legal fees. After reading the Dennis Cooper story, will not be relying on Google to store anything. Its their right to be a**hats I guess, was just hoping they weren’t.

As always, thanks Dan!

iz

What happened “Don’t Be Evil”?
Oh, “New Google Parent Company Drops ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Motto”:
http://time.com/4060575/alphabet-google-dont-be-evil/

mg

Dennis Cooper spent several months after Google suddenly suspended his email account and blog reaching out to Google trying to find out why. No response for weeks. Finally he got the American and international press involved. Multiple news sites ran articles on his plight. Google still ignored. Finally he hired lawyers to contact Google. Google still stonewalled. After a few weeks Google finally agreed to give him a *copy* of all his emails and blog posts. But he still lost his account and Gmail address.

ComputerGuy

I am an advanced computer guy. I would like to ask anyone who got locked out if you can initiate the password-reset process? (you do it be clicking “need help signing in”)

Please reply to this post and i will try to help.

@Dan:

if you unassociate yourself from the suspended account can you log into that email address?

fjdo

@Martin: Does it really matter? He wouldn’t remember either. (But no worry, if he said it, it will definitely happen on day 3. Day 1: Mexico Wall goes up. Day 2: Muslim Ban goes into effect Day 3: Google goes bust! I’m not counting on anything from that mouth, but keep dreaming…)

Bob

@Don: lmao, your joking.. right?

Not A Comp Guy

@ComputerGuy:

Cannot initiate password reset. When you try, you are met with “Google does not provide another way to sign into this account at this time.”

As to your second question, no.

Shoobi
Don

I think it’s pretty fair. What goes around comes around all these years of scamming for deals Google finally got all you back

Dan

@mg:
Scary.

@Don:
Who is “all you”?

Personally I stayed far away from this and turned down numerous requests over the years to advertise drop shipping phones to NH on this website.

But I don’t see how losing all Google services is a fair response to violating a phone resale term.

morganvachon

Only speaking for myself, but I’m put off because Google is punishing its users with a digital death sentence because they sold a phone that was originally bought from Google at full retail price. Yes, it’s against the service agreement for the Fi phone service, but at most Google should only be allowed to suspend the user’s Fi account, not irretrievably delete their entire Google identity. It’s retaliation and punishment, and it shouldn’t be legal. Basically, Google is claiming that these folks paid full retail price for a device they don’t actually get to own, as they apparently don’t have a resale right to it. That’s a load of… as far as I’m concerned.

Gonna Get Slack

@MeirS: They have every right to be upset but no one is in a position to say Google is evil for responding to a breach of their T&Cs.

I truly am sorry for all those who lost their accounts and I can’t imagine what I would do in their situation. Add I said before, this is a VERY harsh reaction.

ocdtrekkie

Is a ToS rule like that even legal? This comes a bit more from copyright law, but the US has the “right of first sale”which guarantees individuals the right to sell works they purchased to someone else. I can’t imagine this protection would be weaker on physical purchases.
Additionally, Google’s Terms of Service also says you own your data, including IP rights: “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.” I would question if refusal to grant users access to download their own data could be considered theft.
Of course, IANAL, but if I were any of these people, I would seek the opinion a real one immediately.

Anonymous

If they have a problem they shouldn’t send the phones,but don’t go and close their Google account, that’s wrong

Avi

To keep this short : here’s what I want to know as of now . I have no access to my Gmail account and would like to band together a group of people that were victimized by Google’s retaliation and go ahead with a lawsuit I am serious about this and would like to proceed is there anyway we can get this together ?

Eer

What does PSA stand for?

David

@eer Public Service Announcement

Dani

@David: instead of typing @eer, just click “Reply” on the right side of the comment you want to answer

Anton

That is exactly why I transferred my email to paid fastmail account. That is why I’m gradually resigning from usage of any Google services except search. That is why I’ll never ever buy anything from google.

Sara

@Avi: I don’t know if suing them is the right answer. Personally, ever since my account(s) were locked, I’ve been constantly searching to see if this topic was being spoken about anywhere. I am happy to say that, since Dans post, a few other small websites have picked it up. Hopefully, we can get some serious media attention around this issue. It’s just amazing, prior to this, I would NEVER have thought Google would do such a thing nor be so difficult to get a clear answer and get my account back online.

s

Calm down, peeps. It’s been like five minutes. This was posted at 5pm on a Wednesday, peeps probably just went home. Chill out.

James

@Shocking!:

That is also unsafe. It puts the most important part of your life’s online security — access to your email — in the hands of a domain registrar. If your godaddy is hacked, everything in your life can be hacked. Much harder for a gmail account to be hack d, especially with two factor auth.

This exact scenario has famously happened many times and most developers I know do not trust a domain registrar to keep their email safe.

Alex

@Thanks: I moved to Fastmail and their service is incredible.

Mik

@communism: this is actually the opposite of communism, it’s capitalism, where our lives are corrupted by private control

Mike

@i think you are confusing him with the only Jewish candidate: Bernie Sanders

Firm Docc

Play by the rules. Pigs get fat…

Stay independent - problems with dependencies - Paradite

[…] did not realize before reading this news on Google accounts being terminated suddenly due to violation of ToS and people who have similar issues. This is scary. To illustrate the effects, I quote from the […]

This happened to me.

@James: You are 100% correct. Back in 2005 Godaddy gave one of my domains away to someone else who forged paperwork. It took me a lawyer, money, and 9 months but eventually I got the domain back. (Yes – All documented.)

In the meantime all the damage was done in the first minute Godaddy handed over the domain to someone else. The potential for the fraudster to have full access to my email, and thus theoretically full access to my bank accounts and other financial and personal information was there. Believe me, losing your domain and a personal email is a much bigger headache than Google blocking access to your gmail account – at least in the Google scenario no one else will gain access to your info.

Personally I don’t trust Google and never have. I don’t use them for my email or any other file hosting service. I always tell people never to fill out info on Google docs – I can’t stand when my kids schools tell us to do that – I always give them a piece of my mind. No doubt google is mining any info you upload.

I have a gmail account just so I can have access to my android phone and that’s it. As for what the solution is to storing your life in an email account is… backup everything and backup often. Don’t leave your information entirely in the ‘cloud’.

Eventually the weather clears up and the cloud disappears.

whatamess

Has anyone been able to call and get someone from gogle on the phone? Is such a thing possible?

Mark

If say google grants access eventually either because of law suit pressure or media exposure, i’m wondering if it would be across the board or would I need to submit something in addition to the initial appeal.

Dan (or anyone) would you please advise if you hear anything what we need to to do.

SB
M

“But, according to US money-saving site Dan’s Deals, which spotted the bans after a number of forum members complained,…” -above article

Charlie

@Thanks: Dropbox

Eli

Has anyone tried reaching out to their local congressman’s office? Assuming they aren’t on Eric Schmidt’s political contribution list they may be willing to make a few inquiries if convinced of the seriousness of the issue, particularly if multiple constituents of theirs contact them regarding the same concern……be prepared to explain why the reselling issue was not an intentional violation of Googles terms etc. if you can that will probably help your cause…..

Helping Hand

@Avi: Probably worth while in the mean time, going through your bank and credit card statements looking through all the charges picking up witch ones are auto-pays and contacting the providers

Liam K. Nuj

To all the smug and self-righteous commenters:
Just imagine you’re moving all your belongings cross country You get pulled over in the middle if nowhere (i.e. Kansas) for going 5 mph over the speed limit. And everything gets immediately confiscated with no info about how, or even if, you can get your stuff back.
So you go on a top rated blig (i.e. Dan’s Deals) to vent about your experience.
And you’re told to stop your kvetching & belly aching – you broke the rules, you pay the price.

yony

@M:
“I think Google should have banned them from future purchases, but taking away all Google services seems very draconian to me,” Eleff added. “Not allowing access to past data is even worse.”

Marky

I read through this entire thread and I’m trying to figure out if anyone that had a smartphone attached to a Google acct , were those accounts also disabled? If yes we’re you able to put on a different Gmail account?

Zombi

@Jack: Yes, but at least you could point your email address at a new host and receive you new emails.

Moshe

I have a Microsoft Outlook email account that is attached to my gmail. When I send an email from it, it comes up as coming from gmail. If my Google account were to get shut down, what would happen to my Outlook account?

Moshe

Is it possible to have an email account set up that is intimately linked to Google? That when I receive or delete an email on Gmail, it does the same on the other account?

TheUnrealHillaryClinton

@Work-for-ur-muny:
Yes, but I here she first requires a very very large deposit of cash into her and her husband’s (non)profit charity foundation.

d3rrial

In Germany it is mandated by law that phones have to be able to be resold by the buyer. No matter what Google puts in their Terms of Service, in Germany, German law supersedes their Terms of Service and you can take them to court over this issue, as in you can force them to re-open your account and demand compensation. I would still take a hike from Google at that point, tho.
I know that Google does apply its punishments across accounts, because I am (for an unknown reason) shadow-banned on YouTube, but not just on my main account (the one with which I actually do leave comments) but all of my secondary accounts Google accounts also (even tho I usually don’t use them for YouTube at all)

mark

It’s time to boycott Google. The more you give them, the more power they will have over you.

Thanks for the warning though, I have since long tried a way to get out of the google pitfall – this nazi method that google employs here not only is censorship at best, it also shows that google is evil.

mark

@d3rrial: yeah, google breaks law in the EU. It is time for the EU commission to move their ass and do something about this abuse by Google.

James

Long thread

Jimy

Haha I for one am glad this happened. There is a special place in hell for resellers. Thanks Google for being proactive against reselling!

Anonymous
JohnD

@Jacob: This article is about Google and how they used a heavy hand when dealing with something. I don’t see how associating Google’s behavior with Apple’s is relevant.

Apple doesn’t offer the online services that Google does, nor do they store the quantity of data associated with any of these services that Google does.

Also, I know of no instance where Apple has doled out the punishment of closing user’s accounts and denying them access to their data as a result of behavior they’ve deemed unacceptable.

Deflecting Google’s hideous behavior and trying to somehow make Apple equally as guilty of the same behavior, perhaps worse, is simply false and a false equivalence.

Jimy

Hey resellers, you can sell your phone on ebay or swappa, fine. But when you flip to a business for profit….BAN HAMMER. Well deserved too. Lol

Johndoe

@Mike: but you pay for the apartment. You are using free services from google. They are in their right LOL

hnn

@SGF: 72 hours is not enough. What if you are on vacation and chose to be offline for a week or two? Or you are in hospital at that time?

whatsurdeal

@Jimy: why so harsh? where are you coming from with this perspective, interested to know why it’s that bad for the other side…

Google Bans Pixel Owners Over Tax Loophole

[…] the smartphone to others and shared the tax-savings profit with the original buyer, according to a post on Dan’s Deals, a site that offers tips for users to save […]

yuneeq

@Johndoe:

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.
If you’re not paying, you are the product.
Google makes boatloads of cash off our data, which is why they happily spend millions to create and maintain these services.

While we might not pay money upfront, these services definitely do have a cost.

Not using Google

Option 4. Stay far away from Google so that you can operate 100% fine without Google having control of all of your personal info, dat, photos, etc.

@ALL

first – regarding the latest comments against resellers, why? what are they doing wrong (in general)?

second – to those commenting/alluding to the first sale doctrine, ive been in touch with a lawyer on the topic, for my own bizz. it wouldnt help in this case at all, the whole pt of the doctrine is that the original mfr/company only has control/jurisdiction ONLY over the ‘first/immediate’ sale but safeguards any1 that procures the item from that pt fwd.
that said, in this case, ppl were purchasing directly from google. and are therefore responsible to abide by googles t/c. and claiming non knowledge, is lightly-put, not an excuse. its ur responsibility to do ur due diligence to find out.
last pt that may be worth noting, having t/c in fine print or otherwise on a web-site, may be legally not binding, which may be a legal-out for the ppl affected.

third – in this case specifically, i dont know what all the anti-google comments are for? yes- it was a strong overpowering response, but thats the risk you take when dealing with any company. rememeber amazon payments, withheld ppls money (thousands of dollars). amazon seller accts get closed on the smallest whim, putting many ppl without any means to support their family. ebay closed many ppls accts. the difference here is that you have more to lose, but bottom line is when dealing with a company, they have the right to cancel/close accts/relationships. its just like playing with fire, the bigger the fire, the bigger the damage. and in this case you have/had so much more to lose.
I truly feel sorry for those that got affected, id probably lose my mind if i lost my gmail acct. I really hope they rescind the ban, and allow you back to your accts.
ps as a thread of hope- imo google prob temp suspended the accts and didnt directly delete them till they find out what the legal ramifications are, and if they have the legal-right to do so.

Binny

@avi
I have a cousin who works at google , she’s looking into it internally right now. I’ll keep you updated.

Anonymous
Alex

That’s why I use a different account for Android and Google Drive! I can’t trust Google (same for Microsoft) to let me receive my mails when they claim their filters found some violation in my Drive. That’s a no-go!

Joey

If anyone has time or was affected I suggest you call one of these:

http://www.ap.org/contact-us/bureaus

They have direct numbers to the different bureaus

Call the NH, CA, NY and other states

If you get it on AP you get it everywhere.

yankel

i think venting on this blog is gonna get you far… maybe spend time apologizing and plead ignorance. how can you possibly be upset at google when you violated their rules to purchase their product to make a few shekels?

harsh? man up… i would hate for something like this to happen to make but what goes around comes around… people need to also appreciate what they have and sometimes only realize when its too late… lots of scams and stuff going on and when it works for you, great. when it doesnt, everyone else is a monster…

Dan

The AP wants to speak to a few people who were affected by this.
Send me an email if you want to talk with them.
dan@dansdeals.com

rotty

@LockedOut: Ideally, you should have been aware of the power you handed over when completely outsourcing your data storage and processing onto a third-party service.

Monseyboy

Can anyone elaborate on the motive of does people? How much was there profit cut? Just curios.. If the phone dealer paid full price for the phone plus a profit for all does people how is he making money reselling them? And why cant people just order it from google themselves? Why pay more for this dealer?

It doesn't matter

I once had Google as the main e-mail address for my GOG and Steam game library accounts.

One day I couldn’t login to Google e-mail anymore because of “irregularities” or whatever they call it and countless tries to recover the Google account failed. I was able to switch the e-mails in GOG and Steam to another e-mail provider just on time.

The problem is you can lose your library accounts at GOG and Steam if your e-mail doesn’t work and if you paid for 500 games etc. it is gone or you will have a lot of trouble explaining yourself IF you find a human caring for your problem and you behave like a peasant pleading.

Google is indeed evil. Please, don’t make any excuse.

Google is not your friend.

Everytime you give Google or any other companies the opportunities to link your data (phone number, e-mails etc.) they WILL use it against you and you don’t have the resources to go to court or keep your little bit of anonymity that’s left.

Yossi

What is FastMail better???
They can also close your account for TOS – Anywhere you go you agree to TOS…

Anonymous

@Monseyboy:
All in the name of business.

pnutjam

@Thanks: If you use Android, it’s pretty easy to back all that up to any Linux server using rsync. I run my own “cloud” to handle this.

dan1

@yankel:

i dont wish it upon you, but think for just 2 min alone what such a disaster like this would mean to yourself… think ” i wake up one morning and i have no… emails, business meeting appointments/ reminders, bill pay info, mortgage info, gift cards, airline confirmations, lawyer documents, photos, spread sheets, insurance information, debt information… the list goes on and on….

when you finish thinking what your life would be like if all that plus more was GONE…..

then i wonder if youll still be saying “MAN UP”?

Anonymous

@pnutjam: how do you run your own cloud?

whats rsync?

Liam K. Mij

@pnutjam: Yep. Linux. rsync.
Sounds easy. Like doing your own dental work.

DLeahL

@Liam K. Nuj:
It’s more like you’re driving across country and when you come up to a town there’s a small sign saying “No Honking!@. You don’t notice it, and your favorite song comes on. You tap the horn at your favorite part of the horn.

THEN you’re pulled over and everything is taken away from you.

DLeahL

On a different, yet similar topic:
About a week and a half ago, Yahoo deleted all but the previous 3 or 4 weeks of all of my emails RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY EYES!

I was just working through my emails when I received a notification at the bottom of the screen saying “Updating.” And then, suddenly, they all disappeared. This wasn’t just on my phone – I checked my computer and it appears they were deleted from my account.

Now I have to make sure to move all my emails into sepárate inboxes.

Which email service does everyone say is better? I’ll even pay for it if I have to. I’ve got a gmail account, but right now I’m not feeling too secure about using it as my primary, for obvious reasons.

Tom

Only idiots host their (private) data and/or digital infrastructure on Google, Amazon or Apple.
These services are good for a 2nd or 3rd backup space, nothing more.
I sometimes use Drive, Keep, only Photos is totally synchronised with my HDD so I can use them on my Android. Beside of that all my data like contacts and calendar and email is hosted on a server within my country. All files are on my HDD and a backup of everything and OS is on a 2nd hard drive, some things also saved on my website and everything saved fully encrypted on a ftp server. So everything is fully automatic saved on 3 locations, some things on 4 or 5.
Google already kicked me out of Adsense with no reason and no violation.
No way to use it again. Even new bank account, new location in a new town, new Google Account – nothing.
So these people are f****d hard, I think they won’t get a real Google account again if Google handles it like Adsense violations…
Lessen learnt 🙂

Jagarnaut

@DLeahL: LMFAO @ that analogy XD

Anonymous

@DLeahL:
did it give u a reason?

GOOGLE SUCKS

theyre evil. most people were unaware and now their lives are destroyed. huge hit for google, bad PR to say the least. Theres millions of people pissed off at paypal. theres alternatives for every company. they will become just another one who you dont need.

shmaya

@dan:

Why is everyone reporting it as if the purpose was dodging taxes?

Anonymous

@Shocking!: until you forget to pay your renewal, then godaddy shuts down your site and erases everything. Happened to me. They held it hostage and charged me hundreds to “get it back”. Local storage and backup is the only answer.

Simple Yid

Can someone PLEASE respond with SIMPLE steps on how to download all emails with their attachments on to an external hard drive?

Also, what OFFLINE program can I use to access and search my old emails once they are downloaded?

I wish much success to the victims of Google’s viciousness and I hope that they all get together to fight it.

Free Advertising

Dan,
Obviously this is a bad situation for certain folks. I however am loving the fact that this is being reported everywhere (Fox Business) giving you credit. More free publicity for USA Today’s best miles and points blog!

Lurker

@Dan Can you explain exactly what the point was? Is the dealer’s New Hampshire location is an irrelevant detail? What’s the market for above-retail google phones?

It’s definitely time to break up the tech giants.

Dan

@Simple Yid:
http://google.com/takeout
http://gmvault.org/

@Free Advertising:
Hopefully the coverage puts pressure on Google to relent.

@Lurker:
NH made this more profitable for the dealer, but that had nothing to do with the shutdowns.
Resellers don’t need to pay sales tax anyway. The issue is that Google doesn’t want people to resell their phones commercially.

Existencielle

“i dont wish it upon you, but think for just 2 min alone what such a disaster like this would mean to yourself… think ” i wake up one morning and i have no… emails, business meeting appointments/ reminders, bill pay info, mortgage info, gift cards, airline confirmations, lawyer documents, photos, spread sheets, insurance information, debt information… the list goes on and on….”

a big part of the issue that seems to be mostly overlooked is that there seem to be a lot of people who never thought about that before it was too late.

(or if they had thought about that, they were putting off doing something about it)

i hope more people learn from examples like this.

defend the dealer

Everyone makes mistakes
no reason to blame the poor dealer

Google goes after Pixel resellers by locking their accounts

[…] directly to a reseller in sales tax-free state New Hampshire, according to bargain-hunting site Dan’s Deals. The phones were then resold to others, and the small profit split with the buyers. However, […]

Yossi

What can you do with the Data you backup from GoogleTakeout ???

old man

Again and again I am surprised that people are storing their (valueable) data ONLY at one place. Also some mention to store it now at a different place. I would recommend to store several copies at different places. Even if those are not for free…isnt it woth to pay some bucks a month for the safety of your data?

Stirlo

@Lechatchileh Ariber: use DDG, block third party cookies, host own email or as above get a domain and forward,. Don’t let one company own all the keys to Your kingdom it’s your castle not theirs!

eli232

Getting already dizzy of seeing DD in the news lately! LOL

mg

Moving your email account away from Gmail to another host does not do much good, as any other provider is just as suspectable to suddenly yanking the account as Google did here.

Jackson strong!

Mazal tov!

Karma

“right of first sale” won’t protect you.
look at all these illegal car importer/exporters.
they are required to sign document stating that won’t export and ignore anyways, just like these idiots signed/agreed to google’s ToS.
What was verdict on those exporters? Many states are suing them for millions of damages as well as the car is being impounded/seized as well as bank account associated with it and there are several cases that dealers/manufactures won the suit.

also, google’s ToS stated that you can’t resell the product commercially. Some argued there are people on ebay/craiglist and it isn’t problem if you are reselling at individual level. you agree to sell it to business/commercial with intent to profit. very difficult to argue that you didn’t know knowing you are shipping it to business.

You can try to sue google but i doubt you will get anywhere.

Chimney changas

I wonder if the “dealer” is concerned about tax evasion.

Raf raf

Here is a service that will backup your accounts.

http://www.datto.com/backupify/pricing/google-apps

Jeff

I don’t quite understand why people are so angry at Google. If one has violated the (not outrageous at all) T&C, then one shouldn’t be surprised.

Moreover, if you’re in the game of CC, miles, reselling, GCs etc., you should definitely make sure all of your deals are kosher before you take a risk. It’s like buying $5000 worth of GC only to find out you’re not allow to resell them, and then you go and blame Target or AMEX for that.

It sucks to lose access to your account with emails, photos and everything, and it seems like Google is on the its way to restore access to most people affected. I just feel like the negative sentiment in this thread misses the real target and those are people who try to bend the rules to make a few dimes and the come back crying that they were caught and punished.

Dan

@Chimney changas:
I don’t believe that resellers don’t have to pay sales tax.

@Jeff:
Not everyone reads every term. Do you?

JB

according to news article:
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/google-hits-pixel-resellers-digital-death-sentence-43619481

“Super and his fellow resellers got into trouble for buying up to five Pixel phones from Google’s online store and having them delivered to New Hampshire for resale. They received $5 for each phone. As of Sunday, some started finding themselves locked out of their Google accounts.”

HAHAH. $5 dollars for each phone? yeah, right.

PSA

Don’t mess with the Dan’s deals

Dan

@JB:
The point was likely the miles from manufactured spend, not the profit margin.

L T

I hope this New Hampshire dealer is the same one that UPS gave the package of an iphone 7 to with my name and address to and they resold onwards leaving me with having to deal with re-ordering it from apple. I can only hope they face the banhammer from google permanently if so.

Jeff

@Dan – of course I don’t. But that doesn’t remove the liability from me, like any other law (traffic laws etc.), and I do carry some risk that it will bite me in the a** one day. The difference is that, maybe, in this case, it sounds like people tried to abuse the system and got punished.

According to your latest update Google is working on restring access to some accounts, so hopefully things will be solved for the innocent (?) clients involved. I’m just asking myself who tried to make a few bucks on Google’s expense (and on those innocent clients) and will they learn the lesson.

BOSSY_TEXAS_CHICK

@Eli Willner:

how about a warning “pop up” right when you add to cart that states something like, “you are about to purchase a Google product from a 3rd party reseller, please acknolwedge our TOS, violations can result in account suspension/shutdown, zero access to your files, photos, documents…”

i know if i received a warning like that, i’d sit up & take notice BEFORE proceeding to “checkout”…. i’d be like….um, never mind….

BTC

Zalmy

Account has been reopened 🙂 Thanks Google and thank Dan

Anonymous

@Thanks: Microsoft’s Onedrive.

GrodnoKing

Congratulations to everyone who got their account back! #ddfEffect

Mendel

@dan my google account was just restored!

Got an email at the recovery account, informing me that it was restored

Shmaya

Thank you Dan!

My account is still disabled, will let you know when the reinstate it.

Mendy

I can report that i have regained access!!! THANKS SO MUCH DAN!!!!!

Shook

Got my account back.

Yay.

Bor

@Dan
Thank you very much for your post.
I would like to move away from google, perhaps someone can suggest the best way transition. I already stopped using chrome and moved my stuff from Google drive to dropbox

shmuel

I got back into one of my accounts

Shook2

“Your Google Account was suspended as part of our fraud prevention efforts, based on violations of our Terms of Service and Terms of Sale for Devices. After reviewing your appeal, we are re-enabling your account.

Google takes violations of our terms very seriously, and we ask that you review relevant terms and product policies to ensure that you understand them. Repeated violations of our terms may lead to account termination.

Anonymous

Back into my account!!

Shmaya

@Shmaya:

And it’s back.

Thank you!

Joey

Thank you Dan and everyone else here who pushed it to the media, and especially whoever had the great idea of going to the Associated Press. Also a big thank you to the AP and the other news outlets who helped shine light on this major issue.

Aaron

Account still disabled

I'm in!

Thank you Dan!
I have another account that I never appealed, is it too late now?
I never got the suspension letter for that account either because there was no recover address or because my suspended account was the recovery address.
Also, I order gift cards from staples that I never got because of this. Are they able to resend or will I have to cancel the order?

Thanks!

Alex

And now is the time to reiterate to everyone what you should have realized long ago: Google is NOT your friend. There is a reason why all of their services are offered for free. They monetize on your data, they look at and know whatever you do online. Even when you use their opt-out options to disable directed ads, they still track you.
Google’s TOS stated clearly (at least at some point) that everything you upload to Drive or Docs becomes shared intellectual property with them. That means that the hard-working thesis you worked on – Google owns it and can publish it. Your financial spreadsheets – they have full clearness to read them. Your most personal and intimate emails – they’re Google’s for the taking.
At a time when many companies try to streamline their TOS’s and make them simpler to read and understand, Google continues to make theirs heavier and more obfuscated. They rely on you not reading them, because if you did, you’d never agree to them.
There are plenty of low-cost options for cloud storage that rival Google and don’t mess with you. You can host your own emails for pennies a day, including the domain name, at any of the big registrars. We all have some sort of a network at home, if only to connect our computer and modem. Adding a networked file storage server is not expensive, and many are pretty idiot-proof.
Take your life and data back. It may cost a bit, it may not have the ease you’re used to, but your info will stay YOURS (at least until you share it with someone else). Don’t let Google rule you.

Work-for-ur-muny

You may want to add to the post what some DDFers have mentioned that in order to regain access they had to resubmit their claim.
[P.S. No need to post this comment. This is just a suggestion.]

ShmuliT

Dan, you’re a Tzadik!
Bh, i wasnt affected, but am inspired how you are mamesh osek betzorchei tzibur.
Keep it up!

Keep away from the scamsters

@Dan: You are correct, BUT. If it was all on the up and up, which clearly it was not. The address that the phones were shipped to was a Regus office and these guys do this all the time.
If they were legit, they could have had it all shipped to NYC or Fl etc.
a reseller might not have to pay tax, but there is a limit on how many items can be purchased.
A hot item new or even clearence, has limits on quantity for this exact reason. Resellers will always have a different price structure than the public consumer, -and that’s assuming the original company (in this case google) even allows resellers.

Circumventing quantity limits is a half a problem.
Having these high priced items shipped in bulk to another state to save thousands on tax, the other half a problem.

Sure, some genius will try to have you believe all these people were shipping them to a heimish legitimate dealer in NH.
But, That’s about as plausible as Giving the arabs all the land in the world, on the condition that they never throw another rock at a Jew. Ha.

Mark

@Alex: “Adding a networked file storage server is not expensive, and many are pretty idiot-proof.”

Backing them up properly (like the online services do) is not so simple. And if you mess that up, sometimes you really lose your data forever!

Bust that trust

Great news for all those who got their data back!
Let’s not forget the larger problem: google is too big for the good of anyone but itself. It needs to be broken up now, not regulated, not shamed into exerting its immense power slightly less harshly, but broken up into several independent companies. Anti-trust enforcers, I hope you’re reading this.

Dave

Although my a count was reinstated I lost a lot of contacts, extremely painfull.

Eli

I’m happy the the accounts were restored. As I posted yesterday, the one thing that would make google set up and take notice would be a press coverage questioning their trustworthiness and reliability. I hope this is a lesson learned not to take a risk Where the fall out would be catastrophic….

Anonymous

@Avi: looks like you lost all but one period too.

tax evaders

for every1 hating on the dealer…
there is no tax evasion. u r obligated to pay sales tax only if u purchase an item to be shipped to a state that obligates it OR if you have it shipped elsewhere and ‘smuggle’ it in to a state AND then use it, called USE tax….

this dealer did neither of the above… and therefore no state can come after him for the sales tax, assuming he is collecting sales tax on his sales to his customers’

POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA

SOCIAL MEDIA IS VERY POWERFUL & I APPLAUD @dan FOR UTILIZING HIS RESOURCES & SPEAKING UP FOR MANY FRUSTRATED PEOPLE WHO FOR NOT HIM…THEY MORE THAN LIKELY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN HEARD. YOU PUT THIS STORY OUT IN A RESPECTFUL YET PROFESSIONAL MANNER ALL WHILE LAYING OUT THE FACTS WITH PRECISE DETAIL & INFORMATION.

KUDOS & MUCH RESPECT TO YOU. MAY YOU CONTINUE TO BE SUCCESSFULL IN MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE.

MW

Huda

Dan Congratulations to you! And a big thank you while I wasn’t affected at all this was a story I kept on checking up for updates I noticed you were busy and on top of the situation the entire day and I know you did it because you felt awful for these people just like I did and for the Nay sayers who say you did it for ratings and traffic I’m positive otherwise especially since this story can get you flack as you appeared to defend dishonest people so a big thank you for all your hard work today!

David K.

@Alex,

Google tracking you even when you opt-out?
Taking a user’s thesis and claiming it’s Google’s property and publishing it?
That is a big deal of BS you wrote there.

Following the recent US elections, it would be wiser to either quote credible resources for what you say or stop spreading disinformation altogether. We have too much of that.

Nils

Over here in old Europe it’s pretty regulated what you can and can’t put in the Terms & Conditions, simply because corporations can’t expect users to read 20 pages of legalese which is hard to understand. It may be sensible to introduce similar legislation – limit the scope of the fine print to a few pages of clear language.

Liam K. Nuj

@POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Looks like Google still hasn’t restored your lower case letters.

nobiggy

still locked out of my account. Anyone else?

Dan

@nobiggy:
Try appealing it and you should get it back now.

Avi 2.0 since I got my gmail back

Ok guys I got my GMAIL BACK! MAZAL TOV I’m finally breathing again.

Yall have no idea what a nightmare this was for me, my banking and everything else was screwed up I could not log into my account I have tried to change my email put needed my old email in order to enter a new email this is been a hell of a week for me.

All my personal family photos google drive.

Billing subscriptions were all billed to this email that was blocked from getting access to , I’m so happy I got it all back I’m literally a new person again I can breath.

BUT google lost my trust and every single one of my family members trust , due to them locking me out for almost a week without giving me access to my data which belongs to me and is written in the t&c straight out.

I and many others of my friends whom I shared my frustrating story with all started a private server email that backs up all emails and docs to a secure place that is reachable just in case google ever tried destroying my life again.

Lesson learned google can not be trusted.

Anonymous

@JB: yes the amount was $5 for a phone but the credit cards points equaled to 3700 points for miles or cash back that’s why we do it

TravelBloggerBuzz

Bucket list item of mine: Go viral just once like Dan does so often 🙂

Chaya

Can you explain how you did it? Im so relieved access to my account was restored, but like you, I lost all faith in google.

Dan

@TravelBloggerBuzz:
Between the first pitch in game 7 of the world series, winning the USAToday travel blog contest, and now this. I think I’m ready for a vacation 🙂

@Chaya:
1. I heard from a number of suspended people who were desperate for a solution.
2. I reached out to the NH dealer to understand exactly what happened.
3. I wrote about the story and shared it to 100K+ DD social media followers.
4. I reached out and spoke to several news organizations.
5. I watched the story spread virally via social media and news media across the globe.
6. Eventually there was enough pressure that Google was forced to rapidly respond before the story would continue to snowball and further harm their reputation as the guardians of billions of people’s online lives.

Dansfan

I didn’t read all the comments but I guess if I got the gist of it right it’s a good thing we are not a few years down the road and I mean that literally, in a few years we will have Google cars imagine if you had a Google car and you got locked out of everything, and all that just to make a few dollars on a Google pixel phone of all things…..
Now THAT’S a scary thought

Dan

@Dansfan:
It sounds funny now, but I said the same exact thing last night about Google cars and I don’t doubt that we’re headed that way.

Google is very convenient, but what price will we pay one day to have digital overlords that control our lives and demand that we stay within their arbitrary terms?

Very scary when you think about it. This was a rude but necessary awakening for me.

dan1

@Anonymous: i made about 20,000 points from the phone sales….STILL WAS NOT WORTH IT, and i would not do it again

THANKS DAN FOR HELPING US ALL OUT TO GET OUR INFORMATION BACK!

Monseyboy

Was is advertised somehwere? Where did you guys know of this NH guy and how did he pay u?

J

Everyone is pissed at Google yet they violated the T&Cs. LOL

Tim

So people were scamming google/others and got caught?

Seems like that is not only illegal but immoral.

coon

I do not understand the stupidity of people. After an event like this, how can you ever use the services of this company again? Isn’t it just common sense to avoid making yourself depending on any company? Gosh people, diversify the services you use, don’t depend on one single company with your routines and avoid all that cloud stuff. People don’t think any more nowadays and then just put up with anything. How comes? Are you not aware that this kind of behaviour from Google (well, from any company really) is unacceptable?

Excuse me?

Google is being presented as evil but all of you participated in this fraud for $5 each and lots of mileage. This is fraudulent business activity. Forget Google’s punishment. You sold a part of your soul.

coon

@Avi 2.0 since I got my gmail back:
I really do not see why it needed an incident like that to come to your final conclusion, that Google is not trustworthy. No company is, don’t depend on them, did you not know this? People are strange.

whatamess

Anyway to get the emails back from the last four days that were bounced back?

Alex

@Mark: Yes, that’s true. Which is why I first mentioned other cloud services. If you have a RAID 5 or 10 storage device, AND back it up to a cloud server, you’re pretty much covered. And while such devices are more expensive, if your data is so important (which to many of us it is), then it’s worth the expense.

Dan

@J:
Do you read every term of every service you use?

@Tim:
@Excuse me?:
Scamming?
They paid them full price!

@whatamess:
No.

Avi2.0 AFTER GETTING MY GMAIL BACK

@whatamess: unfortunately not , I have bills that I didn’t receive notices about and many more business related emails that haven’t made it to my inbox

Joseph C.

@Dan: Google is a common carrier and is subject to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. You may have a basis for a class action lawsuit.

kdm

I don’t use Google, I don’t have an account with Google, I do not twitter, I am not with Facebook… and I never was.
.
…and my life is still nice and prosper.

Wrong about the tax

All of you who bought those 5 phones each acted as resellers. You received your sales price back plus a small profit. Without a business license. And probably without declared income. And the fraud piece isn’t that you didn’t pay full price but that you knew you were invited to participate (yes you have to wait to hear from him) to help him skirt the rules.

Dan

@Wrong about the tax:
1. You don’t need a business license to resell a few phones.
2. The income was a whopping $5/phone, the point was the manufactured spend for miles.
3. Reselling full priced phones is not fraudulent.

DDrocks

@Dan: DD 1- Google 0

Alex

@kdm: I’m right there with you. I have a non-working Gmail address which is only used so my Android phone can work and get apps. I don’t store anything on Google’s systems, opt out of their “tailored ads”, and never use Chrome. I don’t use social media of any type, and pay for my online storage. And, like you, have a very active and social life without these things.

Chillul Hashem

Whether the point was the $5 or manufactured spend, the article only said the $5 part. And being that both people quoted in the AP article have jewish names, and live in Brooklyn and Lakewood, that did nothing good for jewish image. I read the comments on the AP article, many blasted the resellers, and some pointed out that they were jewish and did it for 5 bucks.
Regardless of who is right or wrong, the world sees it as “Jews playing the system for a few dollars, and then complaining and blaming when they get busted”. All these shticks are great, lots of free money to go around, but all it takes is one little chillul hashem, and then you really have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it.

Aryeh Rand

Dan,

You should change the name of your website to “Dan Vs Google”…!

Dan you’re the man, love how you take the courage to go toe to toe with a company like Google! Well, it is America after all!

Keep the faith, great work, kudos!

All the best!

David

@Avi 2.0 since I got my gmail back:

You were the scammer, my friend, not Google.

Can YOU be trusted?

nobiggy

@Dan:

I tried and I just got an email saying that it’s not eligible to be reinstated. Any idea what I should do?

Dan

@David:
How did they scam Google? They broke a term of sale, but that’s not a scam.

@nobiggy:
Send me an email with your closed account and I’ll forward it to Google.

nobiggy

@Dan:

I just tried to login and it worked. Do I need to be concerned being that the email said we are unable to reinstate your account?

James G

LOL! I feel kinda bad for laughing, but unless you’re all 12 year olds you should know better.

It costs a tiny amount of money to set up your own email. Google doesn’t exactly hide the fact that they own your data. On top of that, you have the gall to s**t where you eat scamming Google and arguing that you’re too busy to read the T&C.

Are you really naive enough to believe that free email is free? If you aren’t paying for it, then you’re probably the product.

Dan

@nobiggy:
If you’re in the account you should be good to go.

@James G:
I’ve yet to hear a coherent explanation on how Google was scammed.

A term was violated. Most people don’t read every term. That shouldn’t mean you lose everything from Google and apparently Google agrees as they have their accounts back.

Vegeta

@Smith: Victim? Please. Anyone who went in on this scam is a prick and getting what they deserve.

Many people wanted those phones, and this dealer is intentionally running a scheme to get them and sell for outrageous prices.

Anyone who did this, knew it was at the very least shady. Deal with the consequences.

vegeta

@Avi: You never though about the fact that you were buying 5 phones for a re-seller? Additionally that didn’t make you take pause and read the TOS? Google should have shut down all the accounts permanently IMO.

Thom

@Oscar: if this didn’t reek of being a bad choice to you, you need to evaluate your decisions in life. It’s insane to act like Google is evil here. Good on them for protecting their stock for people who want the items as opposed to some jerk in NH hoarding and marking up their products.

Dan

Even if you assume that people do read the terms (and who actually does that) and even if you believe that Google should have stuck with their decision to ban them, do you honestly believe it is fair to delete their data?

That’s data that Google maintains belongs to the user.

I would maintain that would be thievery.

I’m not here to justify those who violated Google’s terms. But I’m happy to have fought against data theft if nothing else.

And I’m happy that Google agrees that most people don’t actually read the terms of service (though they should).

Vegeta

@Dan: you make a fair argument in regards to the data. They should absolutely get it back. As for the banning, even if temporary, I support it. Nobody could have possibly gone into this deal thinking it was all on the up and up.

I am fortunate to have gotten a Pixel. Many people can’t. This scam is a partial reason for that. Also, I am biased against scalping. I abhor it and think anyone who takes part in it is wrong.

DV

@Jacob:
“I’m not a lawyer so I’ll let AJ address this, but I don’t think it’s honestly expected of most people in today’s day and age to read T&C’s in general.”

With the attempts to fudge removed, this is saying:

“I’m not a lawyer or a reader. I don’t think anyone is expected to read T&C’s.”

Terms and conditions of a contract offered to you, whether online or offline, are mostly not there for your benefit, they are for the offerer’s benefit. So they actually do really matter to you: they contain the nasty bits of the deal, in addition to the more obvious ‘cheese’ you want that sucked you in.

What other method do you suggest to tell the offeree (you) what the deal is, before you accept it? Telepathy? A cartoon? 50 clickbait memes that you will click?

It’s true most people do not read T&Cs. They are often too long, hard to read or understand, full of unwelcome dull reality, and they are non-negotiable (except you can say no). Google’s are often shorter and clearer, though they are still full of unwelcome stuff (and leave key bits out).

But they are usually bindng: when you click that button that says “I have read and understood and agree”, the offerer and any court will take this at face value, and work on the basis that you have accepted the deal and there is now a contract with you.

If you choose to say you accept something you didn’t bother to read, it’s hard to see how the other side can tell, or how this should stop your acceptance being taken as real. (The fact that most people don’t read them doesn’t mean they are not bound, it’s not a popularity contest or vote: it just means they are all ignorant of what they have been bound by. Mass denial and mass ignorance is a thing. There is no safety in numbers.)

You might like to imagine that ignorance of those terms means that you get to make up some other ones, a simpler, nicer version of the terms that leave out the bad bits; or that because you know that really you don’t know what’s in them, you should get the cheese without being bound by the deal at all. But this is self-delusion.

The contract terms are often not fair, the deal is often bad, but that’s the reality. When stuff hits the fan later, the reality you took that bait and did that deal without bothering find out what’s in the ‘fine print’.

Mark

@Dan: well said Dan1

Harry

I just set up an archive. I hate – actually revel – to think how much this is costing Google. I will be setting up a new archive weekly as well.

Osborne Greene

Google probably reinstated the accounts because the scammers were pretty much all jewish. So rather than be accused of contrived antisemitism they simply bit the bullet.

Dan

@Osborne Greene:
Good grief.

Or because they don’t want people to be terrified of their digital overlords and look for other cloud solutions.

Or because they would have been sued in court and lost.

David

@Dan:

Fine.
Let’s say it’s not a “scam.”
(Although it certainly does seem to have been “a dishonest scheme,” which is one definition of “scam”.)

Instead, let’s call it “lying” and “stealing,” which is what it was, according to Jewish Law, as far as I understand.

(Acquiring something under false pretense, which, had you disc the seller

Dan

@David:
Stealing? From whom?
They paid Google the full price!

The USA has a first sale doctrine that allows you to resell producta that you buy.

They are guilty of not reading Google’s legalese. Nothing more.

David

@Dan: @Dan:

People didn’t know they were doing something dishonest and deceitful by purchasing multiple phones and having them shipped to an address in New Hampshire?

And those who created fake GMAIL accounts (so as to purchase more than the 5 Google wanted to sell them) also didn’t know they were doing something deceitful and dishonest?

Ydad

Just saw this article on Google News as “Most References”. Alol!

David

@David: @Dan:

And, please explain why acquiring under false pretense would not be considered geneva’as da’as, if not geneivas mammon.

Thank You

Matt

@Dan, on Google news in the technology section, there’s an article from yahoo about this, then if you open the pull down thing to see more articles on that topic, you’re one of like 3 or so articles. Yay! 🙂

Yossi

I’m glad it ended good for all those people, but I personally have many Google accounts to prevent that from happening to me, one for financial, personal, general, professional etc. I don’t save my password in chrome and I manually type in every time, so in case I can’t access my account I’m less likely to use “Forgot username/password” because I remember it, and I use a different password for EVERY ACCOUNT. I have at least 3 copies of everything that is important to me, on 3 different services like Google, Dropbox, Mega, ADrive, Microsoft etc. my rule is; if it’s valuable to me I back it up on 3 different places.

losingtrader

@Jacob: Oh, you mean sort of like the Constitution

iceberg

@Dan,

IANAL, but when Google says that it’s YOUR data, they mean it in a very specific way – in regards to intellectual property that they are storing on your behalf. Yes, you OWN it and Google has limited license as to what they are permitted to do with that data.

It’s like those hundreds of AOL mailer disks you turned into drink coasters. AOL “owns” the intellectual property on that plastic substrate, but you can take that data and turn it into frangible frisbee ammo if you wish because that plastic now belongs to you even though you may lack the license to copy AOL’s code for your social-media platform project.

Similarly, your service contract with Google doesn’t make you part owner of the physical hardware that hosts your data; your agreement to the TOS grants Google a limited license for what they can do with your intellectual property and no more.

Google retains full ownership of the substrate that stores your IP, and if they so choose, they are within the color of the law to run BleachBit on selective portions of their server farm.

Steve

@Morris: Yes, punishing users who ignore terms of use and use their store to commit tax fraud, how DARE they!

Dan

@Steve:
Resellers don’t have to pay sales tax.
Thanks for playing!

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