Technology

Issue With Google Fi Draining Users’ Bank Accounts, And Google Knows It

issue with Google Fi
PhotoMIX-Company / Pixabaygole

Google’s MVNO service, Google Fi, celebrated its fourth anniversary last month. To mark the occasion, the service came out with 50% off on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, making many buyers happy. Now, it is resulting in a disappointment for users who say that they are being charged full price even if they have financed their purchases.

What’s the issue with Google Fi?

According to the affected users, they are being charged the full price of the phone and this is leading to further problems for them. Some users say this issue with Google Fi is leading to overdraft fees from the bank amounting to $100 or more.

This issue with Google Fi, it seems, is affecting those who purchased the latest Pixel models during the fourth anniversary sale of the service, as well as some who made a purchase before the sale. In the sale, which was scheduled on April 22, the Pixel 3 64GB was available for $399 (down from $799), Pixel 3 128GB was at $449 (down from $899), Pixel 3 XL 64GB was at $449 (down from $899), while the Pixel 3 XL 128GB was at $499 (down from $999).

Google, on its end, has admitted the issue with Google Fi, and has assured it will have a fix soon. “There is currently an issue where users who purchased a device from fi.google.com are now getting charged the full price of their device after selecting the financing option. Our team is aware of the issue and is actively working on a fix.” Google said.

How the issue affects users?

Affected users have taken to product forums and social platforms to complain about the issue with Google Fi. Some users expressed disappointment over the fact that they weren’t notified about this goof up.

“Errors happen, but it is unacceptable that there is no communication to the customers who were hit by this. I saw the charge on my credit card, but did not find anything in my Fi app nor did I get any e-mail about this issue,” one user said.

Many others said that they were able to get the refund from Fi, but the company didn’t return the tax charged on the full price of the phone. “I received a partial refund  – charged $965.31 but only refunded $899. What happened to the extra $66.31? Has anyone else had this issue?” said one affected user.

It was not just the charges that users were concerned about. For some, this unexpected problem lead to more issues.

“Google, because of your ADMITTED MISTAKE, my rent check on Monday is now going to bounce.  I very well could get evicted from my house over this.  What is your plan to make sure I do not get evicted, or is Google going to pay for a new place for me to rent if this happens?” a user said.

Apart from these issues, there could be one bigger issue facing Google Fi subscribers. If they complain too much about Google’s error to their bank, the search giant may flag such accounts for security reasons, resulting in them getting blocked from Google Payments, according to PhoneArena. Such users won’t be able to pay their Google Fi bill, and will not be allowed to port their number to other carriers.

iOS app gets visual voicemail support

Google Fi came into existence in November 2018 after the search giant rebranded its Project Fi wireless network service. At the time, the company also added support for most Android phones and iPhones as well. Prior to this, the Google Fi service worked only with Google’s own phones and a few other certified devices.

However, the support for other phones in 2018 came with some limitations. These phones – iPhones and non-Fi-certified phones – were devoid of Google Fi’s switching capability, which allows users to choose any GSM or CDMA network on the fly. Moreover, Google Fi was also not compatible with iOS’s visual voicemail feature.

Last week, Google addressed one such limitation by adding support for iOS’s visual voicemail functionality. “Now your voicemails show up in a list, and you can listen, read the transcripts or reply—right from the app,” read the change log of the Google Fi app.

On Google Fi, unlimited calling and texting costs just $20, while data cost is $10 per GB around the world. It also offers an unlimited plan called Billing Protection. Such a plan triggers automatically when a subscriber uses 6GB in a month. The plan ensures un-throttled data until 15GB. One can buy Fi SIM cards from the online Fi store as well as at Best Buy.