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back to article Chromebook Pixel owners' promised free data plans being prematurely axed

Owners of Google's $1,449 LTE Chromebook Pixel are discovering that the two – or possibly three – years of free 100MB-per-month data-download service they were promised are being terminated after just one year. "Pixel LTE owners are discovering their data plans have been disconnected," writes JR Raphael for Computerworld. "The …

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Trollface

Do no evil?

Do I hear lawyers getting ready?

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Thumb Up

Re: Do no evil?

Oh heck yeah. I hope they sue the pants off both companies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Do no evil?

Don't be evil!

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

Did actually anyone believe in that promise ?! Oh, it is about a sucker born... OK, now I get it!

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Boffin

Re: Err...

The problem is that the "promise" wasn't vaguely vented in a press release or some such – it was put down in writing, at the product's page. This is not so different from a lie about the device's specs, for example – buyers were told one thing at the counter, and delivered another after payment. There are laws against this kind of thing, you know.

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Holmes

Oh no - I'm not getting my free 100mb of data per month

Guess I won't be able to watch those six-and-a-half minutes of Game of Thrones re-runs I was looking forward to in July.

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Childcatcher

Re: Oh no - I'm not getting my free 100mb of data per month

On the other hand, if it's such small fry that people shouldn't have the right to complain, why not live up to what it says on the tin web page? I bet many a user have a faster wi-fi network at home, but relied on the LTE connection while on the run. Remember, without an Internet connection a chromebook is dead weight, so to suddenly find oneself without mobile support is very likely a big deal to them.

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Re: Oh no - I'm not getting my free 100mb of data per month

On the other hand, I have 200MB on my mobile phone contract which is usually enough to cover traveling between wifi spots during the month...

My company phone has 1GB, but I rarely use more than 20-30MB data on that, unless I am staying away and use it as a hotspot for my tablet.

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Big Brother

Re: Oh no - I'm not getting my free 100mb of data per month

On the other hand, I have 200MB on my mobile phone contract which is usually enough to cover traveling between wifi spots during the month...

Except not all carriers allow wi-fi tethering from a handset, or charge for it as a separate service. And even where that's not the case, or can be circumvented (which is, at best, trying to get two wrongs to make a right), that's beside the matter: buyers were told they'd get two years' worth of free service. Verizon (with or without Google's tacit consent) cannot go back on its word now. Really, it's an open and shut case.

But what I find really disturbing in this episode isn't so much that the free plans are seemingly being terminated without so much as a warning message, before or after the fact; it's how many people here seem to think it's alright for big companies to screw their own customers. Surely you don't believe you're "safe" from corporate malice just because you know a thing or two about computers?

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Re: Oh no - I'm not getting my free 100mb of data per month

"Remember, without an Internet connection a chromebook is dead weight"

No it isn't.

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Re: Oh no - I'm not getting my free 100mb of data per month

No it isn't.

Fine, bit of hyperbole. The Chromebook FAQ does say that "[f]or the rare times when you’re disconnected from the Internet, you can use offline-ready apps to stay productive." Still it's clear that a working Internet connection is very important for the thing to work properly.

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Re: Oh no - I'm not getting my free 100mb of data per month

My point was in reply to the above comment on 100MB being negligible. I was pointing out that for my private phone 200MB was more than enough data for a month and that on my company phone I use 1 - 3% of my allowance.

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Conditions apply.

Where I see "conditions apply", I can only imagine the extent they'll negate the "promise".

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Paris Hilton

Re: Conditions apply.

Unless they had a condition that read "lies" or equivalent ("void at provider's discretion", perhaps?), I don't see how they can explain away an entire year's worth of coverage.

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Trollface

It is what it is ...

Leopards with stripes? Zebras with spots? Panthers in pink tights? Scorpions with sugar tits?

C'mon, people! It's in the accepted gaming realm of political lies, party platforms, and a job waiting to be filled for every citizen who wishes to crawl out of the shelter, stand up, and make something of themselves ... right? These are deceptions and baldfaced lies and anybody who expects promises made in an advertising sales pitch to actually be honored is seriously maladjusted. Seriously. Next thing you know, you'll demand that Verizon apologize for delivering less than promised connection speeds and offer to refund a portion of the monthly fee ... about the time scorpions grow sugar tits in place of their stingers ... or there's a shortage of lawyers to sympathize over yer rights bein' bent.

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Coat

Re: It is what it is ...

Two (vaguely) relevant jokes:

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Q. How can you tell when a politician is lying?

A. His lips move.

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Q. What's the difference between a computer salesman and a car salesman?

A. The car salesman knows when he is lying.

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Stop

Re: It is what it is ...

"These are deceptions and baldfaced lies and anybody who expects promises made in an advertising sales pitch to actually be honored is seriously maladjusted."

Unfortunately for your theory there's the law of contracts getting in the way.

Yes, an advert might be "an invitation to treat" and the vendor can impose other conditions if you want to buy; when the vendor takes your money then that's a contract and they can't unilaterally go back on the content of that contract. Imagine if you decided not to pay the rent on a property after having signed a contract, the law would come down on you for breach of that contract and this is no different. It also doesn't matter whether the contract was agreed verbally, in writing or a "click through" It's still a contract. They have taken your money and must live up to the terms agreed to.

Just because it involves two, dominant players in the sector does not mean that they are above the law. It does mean that you might have a fight on your hands given that they probably have a lot more money to buy good lawyers. A class action might even things up if one can be arranged.

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Re: It is what it is ...

"Unfortunately for your theory there's the law of contracts getting in the way."

And fortunately for us consumers!

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Re: It is what it is ...

@nematoad - yes, invitation to treat (or US equivalent) is one thing, but if you use that argument, it's a classic "bait & switch" trades description issue.

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Prior art

Santander Business Bank in the UK had a similar problem a couple of years ago. They had taken over Abbey National who had a very useful small business online account - no charges if you stayed within certain limits (50 cheques a month etc). Worked fine, very popular.

Then some marketing wonk at Santander decided they were going to 'improve' things and offer extra services (which the customers probably wouldn't want or use) but of course there would have to be a new, compulsory, monthly charge to cover them.

Problem for Santander was that some of the angry customers remembered that the account had been sold as 'free for life', and some of us had the documentation and sales leaflets to prove it. Wisely Santander backed down after a lot of negative publicity, and agreed to retain the free account for ever for existing customers.

Putting promises in writing can be such a bummer!

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"The point – obviously – it that you can't fail to honor a well-documented promise and expect to get away with it. A two-year or three-year promise can't unilaterally be morphed into one measly year."

Ah bless... the innocence of youth. :)

I think it will come down to what's in the contract, as opposed to what was advertised.

As hard as it might be to believe, in some countries the two do not necessarily have to coincide at the point of litigation, where the contract is deemed to countermand any claims that might have been made in securing your agreement to that contract and the expectation that you should have checked the contract terms rather than merely assuming that they reflected what you had been told prior to entering into it.

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front loaded deals

Never trust a front-loaded deal, where you pay in advance for something that will be available at no extra cost for years into he future. They're invariably bait and switch. Once they've got your cash, there is no incentive for them to continue to provide whatever ongoing service it is. Or they'll just run out of funds and stop the service. Either way, you lose.

The Tesla free for life charging another case in point. If you spend 10s of 1000s on a car with the promise of free charging 'for life' you're asking for trouble.

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rvt

Re: front loaded deals

It happened before, on a different scale. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/05/07/american-airlines-used-to-offer-unlimited-first-class-tickets-for-life-and-then-people-started-using-them/

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Devil

A Pinky Promise? No! A Google Promise!

Maybe Google, in all its gracious wisdom, discovered that users were downloading more than 100MB for their Screenplay writing in Starbucks and, rather than sting them with a big bill, decided to combine the years so if you used 200MB in January 2013, then that would be 100MB from January 2014 as well.

Let's face it, if you're going to pay that much for something that doesn't work unless its connected to Big Brother, faced with this you're probably just going to lie back and think of Silicon Valley (or should that be Silly Con Valley? Oh, I'm full of it today!) anyway.

Chromebook, works wherever you are, whenever you are and That's a Google Promise!

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A bundled option of 100MB is not "free"

They purchaser paid $1490 for the Chromebook and 2 (or 3) years of data (100MB per month). How much of that $1490 was data and how much was hardware is unknown, but selling something with no plans to fulfil it is fraud. There are really two options - turn on the data or you will end up in court (and if it were my way - prison).

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Re: A bundled option of 100MB is not "free"

Sounds like a great deal for consumers.

Google changed the contract and I assume the owners can choose not to agree to the new conditions and can return their year old chromebook for a full refund.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A bundled option of 100MB is not "free"

Ah but this is a corporation committing fraud. The rules are different for them. They factor the likely cost of settling a few legal cases, and if less than the profit they make by the illegal action, go for it. A few million for the lawyers, $10-off-your-next-Verizon-phone coupons for the victims, and pocket the profit.

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Bah!

Yes, this behavior is no surprise but people shouldn't *let* big players weasel at will without the threat of a legal kick in the shins, otherwise the whole thing will come down around our ears.

Big companies cheat and lie*. Yes. Well done for stating the obvious, commentators. The point is that we the people have to headbutt them (figuratively) when they do so they understand we care and are watching.

* - See: Industry's ability and commitment to self regulation, an oft-touted-by-industry myth.

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Anonymous Coward

Google is paying back affected users

They get a $150 credit card:

http://blogs.computerworld.com/mobilewireless/24060/google-chromebook-data

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