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Google bans hundreds of accounts over Pixel phone reselling

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Hundreds of Google users have had their accounts suspended for trying to profit from reselling Pixel phones by exploiting a loophole in US sales tax.

Google's latest handset launched last month, and several customers bought the phone through the company's Project Fi carrier – ordering the handsets to be delivered to a reseller in New Hampshire, where there is no sales tax.

As money-saving site Dan's Deals explains (via The Guardian), the reseller was therefore able to make a small profit on the phones, which it split with the customers who had ordered the devices.

Related: Pixel phone review

Google users who participated in the practice have had their entire Google accounts suspended, leaving them unable to use Mail, Photos, Documents, or any other Google apps linked to their account.

It looks like Google is taking a hard line on this one, with one user reporting an account that was listed as a back-up address for the main account used to buy the Pixel had also been suspended.

Google Pixel XLThe Pixel XL

Google's terms of service prohibit reselling of Google products, stating that customers “may only purchase Devices for your personal use [and] may not commercially resell any Device”.

But it seems, according to Dan's Deals, that the New Hampshire reseller has been taking advantage of the tax loophole for some years without Google taking action.

Related: Pixel XL review

Dan's Deals says: "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."

"...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."

Those who've had their accounts suspended will be unable to access stored photos or authenticate password changes that require email verification – making the ban potentially very disruptive.

It's unclear whether the account suspensions are temporary at this time, or whether the affected users will be permanently banned for their actions.

WATCH: Google Pixel Phone Overpriced? Head-to-Head

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