Some of Google's unwitting users are learning a harsh lesson: If you violate the company's policies, it may abruptly cut you off from your Gmail account, online photos and other vital digital services.
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Several people who recently bought Pixel phones for a New Hampshire dealer are now suffering that punishment. Google detected their online purchases and judged they violated its rules against "commercial" resale of the Pixel. The consumers received $5 for each phone they bought for the reseller.
One Google user locked out from his account since Monday likened it to a "digital death sentence."
In a Thursday statement, Google described the reselling arrangement as a "scheme," but promised to restore the accounts of customers who it believes were unaware of its Pixel policies.