Posted by Chuck on December 2, 2018
Deals

Published on December 2nd, 2018 | by Chuck

108

[Updates] Google Fi Scrambles to Change Offer Terms on Free $999 Phone Deal

[12/16/18: A nice FAQ from Google Support here.]

[12/2/18: A couple of useful data points on Reddit today: (1) Someone cancelled their order out of fear that Google Voice number doesn’t work for promo, Google confirmed it does, and they resubmitted the order today with the travel gift card offer attached; (2) Someone mistakenly used a new number instead of porting a number, and now, upon request, Google switched it to a Google Voice number so that they can get the promotion.]

Earlier today, we posted about what is probably the phone deal of the year with Google Fi offering a travel gift card to offset the full cost of a new Pixel, LG, or Moto phone, up to $999. Essentially, for a $80 cost (service for 4 months), you could get something like the equivalent of a free phone worth up to $999.

Surprisingly, the offer was even valid for existing Fi members. They were basically handing out free $1,000 phones without even getting a new customer.

The kicker was that there’s a $100 off $500 Amex Offer found on business cards for advertising which gets triggered by Google phone purchases since the system thinks it’s a Google ad purchase.

The offer was slated to end at 11:59 PM PT on 11/28/18, but they pulled it around 5 hours early. Note, the $200 Fi credit offer for new Fi customers porting over a line is still valid at time of this writing (slated to end at 11:59 PM PT on 11/28/18).

I believe the deal died around 10:05 pm ET (see this blog comment, blog runs an hour ahead of ET). If you were doing the deal right around then, hopefully you screenshotted the checkout page where it showed clearly the gift card rebate offer. If you aren’t sure, it might be worth cancelling.

If you ported a number that was created after August 28th, I’d probably cancel since according to the terms they don’t need to pay out for such a number, and being that they pulled the promo early, I suspect they’ll be using any legitimate way out they can get.

New Offers

They now have two new offers showing in place of the gift card deal.

  • Get $100 or $200 or $300 Fi credit when you buy a new device from Google. There are six options available including Pixel, LG, and Moto phones. Depending on the device, your credit will be either $100, $200, or $300. No clear end-date shows currently for this promo. (Terms)
  • There’s also promotions showing (see image below) whereby the cost of the phones comes way down. For example, Pixel 3 costs $599 instead of $799.

In practice, I can’t get this latter discount to reflect at checkout. (Works for the LG, as was the case earlier today as well, but the new discount they are showing for Pixel isn’t working for me.) Maybe Google is in damage control now and in middle of trying to roll out this new discount in place of the old deal, and it’s not yet implemented. The terms page does not show anything about this Pixel discount. We’ll see how this goes.

(Update: they are no longer showing some of the price discounts as shown in the image below, must have a been an error or something. The Fi credit offers are still showing.)

In any case, the new deals aren’t anywhere near as good as the old one. The Amex Offer angle can still be interesting for someone who wants to buy Google products. I wonder if there could be some clawback on those, but hopefully not, probably not enough money at stake to do that.

Ironically, I was literally in middle of doing the Google Fi deal right as the change happened. I figured a one-day deal with a company the size of Google would live through the day so I took my time.

 



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james
james

ordered several, but i wonder how to see if orders qualified for the promo?

AD
AD

I ordered one, don’t remember seeing (or looking for) the confirmation at checkout. Got the purchase email, which unsurprisingly doesn’t show the promo. But I have faith we’ll be fine. There was no special link that needed to track, and they clearly see you signed up before they pulled the offer.

Toad
Toad

My feeling as well. I will definitely be calling before I port my number over though to verify all is well. If they start trying to hose people on this they will have a fun time re-stocking all of the phones they just sold that get returned.

AD
AD

Yeah, it’ll be chargeback time. But I fully believe all will be well. I bought mine at 11:45am PT.

kkjjhh
kkjjhh

one per household, you won’t get the deal.

Logmein
Logmein

It just say “One per person” Any link or screenshot which limits it to “One per household”?

charlie
charlie

doc if i accidentally ported in a number that was brand new after 8/28 do i still have a chance of getting the gift card? or they will never give it to me ? an urgent question as i may want to cancel the order before it ships out, thanky ou for all your wonderful posts

Yoni
Yoni

Pretty surprising that deal, T-mo switched from MC GC cash back for most deals to bill credits on EIP plans of at least 24 months.

I’m a little sad that I missed out 🙁 – I was in process and double checked the post because it said to accept losing my G-voice number even though I was porting in T-mo number from June, so I did double back and hopefully the $200 svc credit goes through, but I will double check with Google CS before activation. As I did’nt see the $200 as an offer code at check-out for BYOD. Yet the webpage still shows it being advert with new lower offers for phones.

Tammy
Tammy

Sorry that you didn’t get the deal, Chuck! I’m surprised that they pulled it early, too.
I was able to order a new phone for both my husband and I this afternoon, so thank you for your help with posting these great deals! We were going to be replacing our phones soon anyways, so it was great to find this offer.

Austin
Austin

What a mess. I’ve been trying to get ahold of Fi literally all day and all their support channels are down/extremely backed up. Really not impressed with their support

aubergine
aubergine

its that way more than you would think.

jeffersun8
jeffersun8

I’ve had nothing but quick and easy interactions with Fi customer service for the last year. They’re obviously getting thrashed right now with these deals being so public, but I’d take Fi cs over any other phone company I’ve had experience with.

AJS
AJS

Well, I had at best a mixed experience with last year’s Pixel 2 deal ($100 credit and a Google Home I think). I ordered right before cyber Monday, and when my phone was delayed in shipping and the offer was posted I called in to ask for the offer. The nice woman I spoke with was very, very audibly relieved when I did not yelling at her after she told me I had to cancel and reorder. The problem began when I tried to switch my preferred care to my second purchase. I eventually was told to cancel that and buy a new plan. I then had to call something like three times over two months to get a refund on my first preferred care purchase; every time I called I had to talk to at least three people to get anywhere. Maybe my mistake was buying the second warranty. It wasn’t bad as, say, calling FEMA, but I definitely expected more from Google.

Also, thanks DoC for posting the Way Back links and allowing us to post referrals.

aubergine
aubergine

This literally happened to me too a few min ago too. I had dawdled on doing this since I needed to discuss with the SO what phone to pick, since odds are good they would end up using it.

I could understand if they ran out of physical phones, but Google is saying they ran out of gift cards (in the FAQ), and its not like that is such a scarce item…..

If this was a budgeted item — and there were only $ allocated — then it might have been wiser to simply state that the deal is available, but can run out at any time. In any case as we all know good deals should be pounced on. But there is an argument that picking out a handset that one will use daily for 2-3 years should not be done willy nilly, so I’m not super dismayed over missing this.

Oliver
Oliver

The T&C in the email did state:

“Limited time offer applies to any qualifying device purchased from store.google.com from 11/28/18 12:00 AM PT through 11/28/18 11:59 PM PT or while supplies last.”

I guess “while supplies last” is their way to end it whenever needed.

aubergine
aubergine

Fair point, My bad for dawdling.

Frugal_Squirrel
Frugal_Squirrel

Chuck you wrote “Ironically, I was literally in middle of doing the Google Fi deal right as the change happened. I figured a one-day deal with a company the size of Google would live through the day so I took my time.” I am in the exact same boat! I had my phone added and had started adding P2’s. I even still have the page up and am logged in….so I am on the phone trying to get support to honor the deal in this case.But I am fairly certain they won’t. 🙁

Frugal_Squirrel
Frugal_Squirrel

Yeah, waited on hold for 1.5 hours, explained that I was in mid-checkout when the deal ended and had already added a Pixel and selected a plan. Told him I was still logged in and had my shopping cart on screen still. Was told that any orders that may have been in progress but did not complete before 7pm PST would not receive the promotion. It’s what I expected to hear, but such a bummer.

Peter
Peter

Same. Took my time as I figured it should be at least safe till midnight EST. I understand how some companies offer deals too good to be true and immediately regret it. But Google is literally (1) one of the most cash-rich companies in the world, and (2) the company that has no excuse to be surprised by the power of Internet-driven information (and the hoard that follows).

Existing Fi Customer
Existing Fi Customer

I bought a Pixel 3 on Black Friday for $599 and a $200 Fi service credit. I saw the gift card deal today and I was furious.

Eddy Cue
Eddy Cue

Sigh. Same

Austin
Austin

Same. Some people got matched to the new deal but I was unable to get ahold of support all day.

Eddy Cue
Eddy Cue

Oh, wow! I tried but chat was unavailable and calls not going through. Damn!

Gaurav
Gaurav

So I just got off the phone after being on hold for almost 2 hours. I had purchased a 3xl on Monday. The rep looked up my order and said that I was within the window for price protection. She would refer my order to a specialist and they would issue service credit instead of the travel voucher. I’m fine with that. So if you purchased your phone recently I’d get on the customer service helpline at https://support.google.com/fi/contact/c2c_fi_tech_support?hl=en&ec=other&cfsi=other&cfnti=6058763&cft=5 and wait until you can talk to someone.

LDoc
LDoc

This seems very generous of them. Did the mention how long the “window for price protection” is? I bought a Pixel 3 XL 128GB on Friday the 23rd with the $200 off and $200 service credit promo. Are you saying if 6 days is within the Google price protection window I can contact them and get a $999 service credit instead? Is that what you did?

LDoc
LDoc

I sent an email to Project Fi support since it is so late and I’ll see what they offer me. I’ve been with Project Fi for a few years and I’m happy so a service credit more than the $200 I am scheduled to get from their Black Friday promo would be a bonus.

Gaurav
Gaurav

Doc the terms of the offer were to get a gift card for the price you paid for the phone. So under what you paid (same as me) I wouldn’t expect more than 599. I don’t know how long the window is but I do think it’s worth a shot to call.

LDoc
LDoc

Yeah, I paid $799 ($999-$200 promo) and will get a $200 service credit after a period of time that I now forgot. If they honor a “price protection” rule then I would get a $600 service credit. If they do not reply to my email from last night by midday I’ll call and see what I can get.

MSer
MSer

Too bad. So sad.

Existing Fi Customer
Existing Fi Customer

I know!! Right?

Thanks for the emotional support.

marc
marc

Can someone send me a screenshot of how it looked like on checkout page?

Nick
Nick

“I figured a one-day deal with a company the size of Google would live through the day so I took my time.”

Clearly shows what a company they really are;)

Frank

Yeah, clearly not a charity but I guess we knew that since they aren’t registered as a 501(c)3

McPeePee
McPeePee

prick

qmc
qmc

It’s too bad this blog doesn’t have a “report comment” button.

Ayrton Carson
Ayrton Carson

You must be loads of fun to be around.

Glt
Glt

Wow, also very surprised a company Google’s size pulled it early. I ordered pretty quickly after getting the email from Google just because I was worried about colors/sizes selling out or taking inordinate shipping time. Just got a shipping confirmation. Can’t hold a candle to many credit card deals but probably the best product deal I’ve ever gotten!

Jason
Jason

So sad for real. I didn’t have my amex business card with me. so I wanted to get the deal after I got home. I literally just sat down at 7:00 PM PST and was about to do it and they were gone.

Michael
Michael

Was in check out when I saw the deal pulled :(. Thanks for clearing things up though

ANDREW S JONES
ANDREW S JONES

My order confirmation is from around 9:30 pm ET. I did it on my phone and it wouldn’t let me screenshot the final page. Order doesn’t say anything about the promotion. Think I’m good?

Rowan
Rowan

FWIW Frugal_Squirrel said above that Fi customer service advised that orders completed before 7pm Pacific would apparently be honored with the promo. I got mine in at 6:48 so it sounds like you can be somewhat confident that you got it.

I’m going to contact customer service in the next couple days after the hubbub dies down just to see if I can verify that they see it attached to my order since I neglected to take screenshots…

Frugal_Squirrel
Frugal_Squirrel

Rowan The Google Fi CSR who took my call was very clear in stating that 7pm PST was when they officially ended the promo. I think you’ll be fine.

Rowan
Rowan

Ok, thanks for the confirmation.

Chun Zhang
Chun Zhang

Forgot to take a screenshot of the promo. I hope Google be honest.

McPeePee
McPeePee

Me too.

Reed
Reed
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