Why I Can No Longer Recommend Google Fi

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I’ve been fiercely evangelical about Project Fi since Google launched their cell phone service a few years ago. The plans have saved me a ton compared to a legacy mobile carrier, the un-throttled international coverage has been life-changing, and I adored the functionality and photo quality of my Pixel 2.

And because I’ve been so enthusiastic about the service, I think it’s important to update y’all about some recent experiences and research, along with why I am withdrawing my endorsement.

Like, 10/10 would not recommend. At all.

From a support perspective, Google Fi was not ready to expand

Project Fi recently rebranded to Google Fi, as part of an expansion that opened the platform to a few dozen more devices, including iPhones.

And I’m not sure all the components of that rapid growth were thought through.

My Pixel 3 is a little defective (or possibly a lemon). There are issues with calls dropping in locations where the Pixel 2 never had issues, the screen isn’t consistently responsive to touch feedback, the fingerprint reader is intermittent, and so forth. It happens, and I don’t feel like this is a failure of Fi — manufacturing just isn’t perfect.

Previously, whenever I had issues with my Pixel 2 or prior Fi-enabled devices, the third-party support center was phenomenal. I’ve had them help me with hardware issues, system issues, a phone that just wouldn’t connect to WiFi, or tethering that didn’t work when it was supposed to — every interaction was great, and resulted in the problem being solved.

Since November, this has not been the case. My calls and chats to support have gone nowhere, and the once-great support staff have been replaced (or supplemented) by random people using generic scripts. I’m sure the awesome trouble-shooters are still there, but the sampling I’ve seen doesn’t suggest pervasive competency.

I’m sure everything will eventually get resolved, and I have a lot of redundancy built in to my tech needs, but it’s super frustrating to have a brand-new phone not work as well as the device its replacing, and for tech support to be unhelpful about the whole thing.

Google Fi doesn’t function independently

I didn’t know this previously, because honestly — we all have better things to care about than the backend of a merchant’s payment processing systems. My Project Fi payments earned 5x points on my Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card, and that was about the extent of my interest level.

Earn bonus points on phone bills

Turns out, anything run by Google that takes money goes through Google Payments at some point, which is fine when things are fine, but horrible when they’re not.

If Google Payments is broken, your entire Google ecosystem is broken

My husband has been dealing with this for the past five weeks, and it’s basically a tire fire.

He made a purchase through the Google Store (for a Pixel 3 during the travel promotion, but it could just as easily have been an in-app purchase, or premium content on YouTube, or literally anything where Google collects the money). There were some issues with the payment (Chase declined the initial transaction as suspicious due to some other fraud I’d had on the card that same day, but Google still shipped the phone instead of flagging the payment, and obviously that’s not how the exchange of money for goods is supposed to work), and the process of getting that figured out triggered a “security check” with Google Payments.

It’s important to note, however, that the exact circumstances don’t really matter.

From what I’ve since learned, if a card in your Google Pay is stolen, or someone uses your Payments account fraudulently, or anything happens that leads to a security flag being raised, it can lead to your Google Payments account being frozen.

And that can wreak havoc on your Google life.

If you can’t use Google Payments, you can’t pay for Google Fi

This, fundamentally, is why I can’t suggest anyone use Project Fi anymore.

My husband has always paid his Google Fi bill with his Ink Plus, and has nearly three years of on-time (automatic) payments. This is the only card linked to his account, and there’s no indication that the Fi and Payments accounts “talk”. So while we were fixing the issue with the Google Store (which was on a completely different card), we didn’t give any thought to how it might impact other services.

Until Fi suspended his service for non-payment.

And his Android/Google Pay stopped working.

And his ability to make YouTube purchases ended.

And all in-app purchases started failing.

And he could no longer use Hangouts to make calls.

You get the picture.

Getting this fixed is actually impossible, and I say that as someone who really, truly, loves solving problems and has made a living off getting phone agents to want to help me.

We have submitted copies of his ID four times, my ID twice, multiple photos of credit cards, and various credit card statements. We’ve talked to agents and supervisors at Google Payments and Google Fi. No one is empowered to do anything, and even a well-intentioned agent doesn’t get the same answer from the “security department” twice.

I’ve since found hundreds of comments and Reddit threads from people having similar experiences, with almost zero positive conclusions.

The only suggestion of a solution we’ve been given is that he abandon both his email address and phone number of the past twenty years and start fresh.

There is no way to escalate, no timeline for resolution, and until that secret department (which consumers aren’t allowed to talk to) finishes their process with Google Payments, you can’t pay your bill. Google Fi won’t restore service or allow your number to be ported out until the bill is paid, so around and around we go.

And this is the crux of the issue for me — at the end of the day, no matter how awful AT&T or Verizon are (and we’ve all had some awful experiences), they’ll take your money. You could walk into the store with a bag of coins or a stack of sweaty dollar bills, and they’d take your money.

So the simple fact that Google Fi can’t manage that is a deal-breaker for me. You’re either prepared to run a service business, or you’re not, and these recent experiences have reminded me that when it comes to Google (and other large tech companies) you have very little recourse when the Internet doesn’t “just work”.

And I don’t know that I feel comfortable putting an essential communication tool in the hands of a company that is taking this kind of approach.

Bottom line

To be clear, I’m not trying to get sympathy here — dealing with companies is often annoying, and that’s just part of being an adult. But when we’ve recommended a product or service to readers based on certain experiences, and circumstances change, I think it’s important to address it, especially when I haven’t otherwise had negatives to report.

It certainly hasn’t been convenient for my husband to not have phone service for weeks, but the realities of our life at this moment of time have meant it’s also not impossible. He telecommutes as well, and we spent most of the holidays together or with family, so he’s been around WiFi or with me (and able to tether off my phone) 95% of the time.

If it were me, not having a phone would be a non-starter, and I suspect the same is true for many of you. Of course if I was abroad I could buy a temporary SIM card and tether with my hotspot, or otherwise would work it out, but that shouldn’t be necessary when you are ready, able, and willing to pay a phone bill and the provider just can’t figure out how to process the payment.

Combined with the support experiences I’ve had, the deterioration of the service at Google Fi makes the platform feel very uncertain to me, and I just don’t feel comfortable recommending anyone else move over.

Beyond that, if you’re currently on Google Fi, and aren’t extremely nimble when it comes to managing your connectivity, you might want to think about moving back to a traditional carrier. You may pay a bit more, but unless you can guarantee that you will never have any issue that you might need Fi’s help with and would thus be inconvenienced by, it’s probably a worthwhile tradeoff.

Has anyone else had issues with Google Fi recently? Were you able to get them resolved?

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Comments

  1. Yep. Google Fi is great until it isn’t, at which point you lose your number and just surrender.

    IMO Hangouts, etc. is just a colossal mess and has been for half a decade with Android. I switched back to iPhone and it’s a much better experience- iMessage and FaceTime are on point by comparison. Don’t know why anyone would pay iPhone prices for a Pixel, which is really just terrible HTC engineering.

  2. When you originally posted about Google Fi a few weeks ago, I said that there had to have been a catch – otherwise Google Fi would have taken massive market share. Looks like that was indeed the case.

  3. Yeah I am currently having trouble with my Google pay as well. Tried purchasing an unlocked pixel 3 and paying outright for it. Google deemed my payment info as fraudulent so I had to upload my CC and ID, and 2 weeks later it still has not cleared. I am inches away from just buying an iPhone, this is ridiculous. The play store won’t even let me download free apps until this gets resolved.

  4. hangouts is amazing for juggling multiple GV numbers, haven’t had a single issues and I rely on it on a daily basis

    Fi itself I only use when traveling overseas and have not have any issue. It doesn’t taken market share because of apple junkies

  5. Sorry to hear that. From what I’ve heard, google has always had these issues.
    Question- were you really having a lot of issues with your phone, to the extent you were calling customer service often? I have an iPhone and have never had those issues. Why not go to that?

  6. Thanks for the write up Tiffany. I’m planning on trying Fi out when I go to Europe for a week later this year. The plan is to get a cheap Fi-enabled phone on eBay and then use the service for a week. Even though it would be a new number, it should be cheaper than Verizon international and I can easily have friends/family contact me on the alternate number for a week. Do you see any risks with that approach?

  7. I picked up Google Fi during their big promo in December. Decided it made sense to use as a data only plan for the iPads in the family and so far so good other than my own confusion on order extra SIM cards. Didn’t realize at first there was a difference between the regular SIMs and the data only SIMs.

    As an iPhone user however playing around with the Pixel 3 on a recent trip was just frustrating. For one, I have most of the information Google wants to store on me (search history, etc.) set to off/pause. It boggles my mind how many of the basic services don’t work if you have it set as such. You can’t even get “OK Google” to go if you don’t enable voice search history. “Hey Siri” doesn’t have that problem.

    So far my only real qualm with Fi though, as opposed to Android, is that if you are in a country that isn’t included you are just SOL. There is no option to pay more, your service just wont work. Vietnam for instance fell into this category.

    As such I’m sticking with ATT for my main line for the foreseeable future and will continue to use Fi for data when it makes sense.

  8. you have just discovered the perils of free stuff AKA google.\ its great until you need service and since the google ecosystem is not inherently based on consumers paying for it, when things go wrong nobody cares.
    (although as you mentioned , on fi you are a paying customer so that level of service is unacceptable)

  9. Google is like the government , they have virtually unlimited revenue, lots of bureaucracy, as a whole everything seems to function but when you take a peep inside it’s a big mess.

  10. I’m sorry to hear about your troubles with them but I’ve been with Project/Google Fi for over three years now and I can report that the only time I ever contacted support was when porting over my number and that was fixed in five minutes – I haven’t had a service issue since! I even upgraded phones from Nexus 6 to Pixel 2 with no trouble. However, all this was before they expanded operations a few months ago so I’m hopeful things will be fixed by the time Pixel 4 comes out and I upgrade phones again…

  11. This is exactly why I’ve never switched. Your phone (and its service) are so essential to everyday life that I wouldn’t trust it to Google. Timely, human customer service is just not in their DNA. If I’m handing you $100-ish a month, I’m sorry, but I expect that.

  12. I’ve had an iPhone on Project/Google Fi since early 2016. I’ve never been an Android user so none of the Android and/or Google ecosphere has ever held my attention, like Google Wallet. As such, none of my functionality is tied to Google. And, touch wood, I’ve never had an issue with my billing. Based on the story, it sounds like folks who bought new Pixel phones are the ones saddled with Google’s expansion issues, which is very unfortunate. Like @Jason, I’ve not had a single issue in any aspect of service with iPhone. And while I wouldn’t call myself an Apple or a Google/Android fanboy, I would suspect (hope?) that Google has this sorted fairly quickly given how large they are and how much they’ve invested in this program. Fingers crossed for you, and for all of us. Fi has been a godsend for me and several folks I know.

  13. Interesting, I wasn’t aware of any of these issues. It sounds like a true nightmare and I knock on wood that it won’t happen to me. I have been very happy with Fi (and my Pixel 3 btw, it has been working perfectly so far so I think you may just have had bad luck with yours ).
    However when I go online to chat with the support staff, I DID notice that it is not as great as it used to be. It feels like yet another crappy offshore support center that reads off of scripts.
    But when all is said and done, the convenience of having service overseas is unmatched – I have quite a bit of international travel coming up so it’s priceless to me. So I’ll keep using it until something goes wrong, but I’m hoping Google (of all companies) will figure it out, they must have heard about it by now.

  14. Switched over during the promo and have yet to have a problem. The bill was only $38 this month too so that’s a plus!! I haven’t had to speak to customer service at all other than when porting the numberhowever, so I can’t vouch for that. My new Pixel 3 works great as well. Maybe you just got a lemon.

  15. The potential privacy violation alone is enough to make this service a non-starter for me… It IS Google after all.

  16. Thanks Tiffany. I am very appreciative of this update. I’ve been thinking about switching to google Fi … based largely on your recommendations. Not now.

  17. All of the support issues you mentioned have a benefit — it is extremely hard for fraudsters to socially engineer a SIM swap on your Google Fi account, then drain your accounts that use your phone for one-time code verification. For that reason, security professionals love Google Fi.

  18. Haven’t used Google Fi, but have recently had weird issues with Google Pay. Through Spotify, I received a free Google Home Mini. I placed the order, but Google cancelled it without explanation. In online chat, the rep said there was missing information on the credit card on my Google Pay account, insisting that I hadn’t completed the online form. I pointed out that (a) there was no charge on the order, so they shouldn’t have contacted my credit card, and (b) I had previously used that card to buy a book from Google.

    I was interested in Google Fi; thanks for the warning!

  19. This is really a big deal for me. Terrifying. I’m a Google Fi fanatic – I love the service, I’ve referred numerous others, etc. But. This is enough to make me reconsider staying with them.

    Curious if it showing up on a blog with this level of followership might trigger Google to look at the problem and even provide an official response.

  20. Great writing.

    This post is a particularly good example of Tiffany’s writing. I doubt anyone else could have made this topic, this story, as readable, entertaining and powerfully persuasive. At the end, I find myself almost frightened. Beautiful.

    Thank You, Tiffany, for always sweating every paragraph, every sentence, while watching the big picture. This piece is a great example of why OMAAT is at the top of the game.

    Definitely NOT a lounge act.

  21. Oh no you had a hiccup and the world is going to end. This is anecdotal nonsense. Every tech company has had issues somewhere. I’ve had Google Fi since the original Pixel debuted and have had zero issues. I’ve converted many friends and coworkers (a whole year worth of free service worth of people) and none of us have ever had a problem. Fi isn’t a priority for Google, they’ve made that clear, which is why it hasn’t gained much traction. They just don’t advertise it. But they’ve still done an excellent job with it. Plus I never pay more than $32 a month. Even overseas. No other carrier even comes close.

  22. I have an iPhone and so far so good. I actually switched due to your article and even used your referral code. I think this article is skewed in a few ways. First, the issues you have with your phone isn’t related to Fi per say, while I understand it’s also a google product, shouldn’t be a knock on the plan itself. Second, Fi allows you to enter more than one credit card, so if they couldn’t charge the primary on file, they charge on the other card. This should minimise the non payment issue if your primary card gets deactivated for fraud, etc.

    I would also like to highlight that Fi indicates I use a lot less data compared to Verizon for similar usage. Call quality so far is also very similar. Not sure if I’ve been hosed by Verizon all these years. Fi cut my monthly bill in half.

  23. Google support is great until it isn’t. When you are unlucky to be stuck with something that is not getting resolved, escalation is non-existent and problems will last forever. See multiple bugs related to Android, Pixel and Nexus devices. I fear the day my main account ends up stuck in one of these Google Support Black Holes.

  24. Agreed that Google support is great in self-service land, but active assistance is non-existant.

    That said, I haven’t had any problems with Fi. Given the fact that I get LTE speeds abroad, I’m not planning to give that up.

  25. Email the FCC with a consumer complaint (well, when the government shutdown ends). Hopefully someone will take your complaint seriously. It similar to filing a DOT complaint against an airline.

  26. T-Mobile is sufficient for my travel needs. The free slow data is sufficient for browsing the web/facebook and using google maps. As cheap as tmobile is it is an awesome service

  27. Im feeling the issue now with the flaws of Fi. Loved it for the 170+ countries i dont have to pay extra in but found out how flawed they were when I returned a defective Pixel 3XL and got an email from Capital One a month later saying they attempted to charge me for it. Have the email saying we got your device back, Fedex label/Signature, Fi website shows returned but every chat and call is a “we have to escalate the issue” Going on a little over 2 weeks and still no resolution. Just sad becuase things use to be amazing but they have lost their magic

  28. Both my wife and I have had a lot of good interactions with Fi support over the last couple of years (even got a free Pixel XL out of it), but we’ve also never had a billing issue.

    Google Payments is kind of weird, I noticed that I have a Google Merchant account, although I’ve never tried selling anything with Google. If I try and edit the account, it tells me it isn’t activated, but it also won’t let me delete it.

    Is there no way to just change the credit card number on file with his Fi account? You should probably be using the family plan anyway, it saves us a fair bit every month.

  29. First support for me has always been abysmal. I would get a completely different, and usually uninformed answer with each call back (billing issues). I was owed a service credit on a promo purchase, after 4 months and dozens of calls, Find support refused to give me an address for certified mail. I was forced to send demand fr payment to Mountain View HQ. If you ever need anyy not available online or in the app, you’re completely screwed
    I still love my Pixel (1), and the service itswlf
    Pay $90 for 3 lines, but still consider leaving due to horrible service

  30. Knowing Google Fi was not 100% compatible with my iPhone was already a deal breaker to me. I want to have nothing to worry about when it comes to technology. Apple is expensive but it just works. You add ATT or Verizon and you are good to go. Until Google realizes there is a world out there that does not run in their ecosystem I am sticking with the basics.

  31. Most of my feelings were captured by your article and you even gave me more reason to leave. I’ve been with Fi since the beginning. I’ve lived every minute of it. But like you, I capitalized on the Black Friday deal for the pixel 3 xl before the expansion announcement. I received my phone, had an issue that rendered my phone useless and there was no way through to support. I tried for a week after going back to my old phone which I’m thankful I hadn’t traded in yet. Multiple calls, emails, tweets … And nothing! I’m just trying to figure my best way out after my credits are used.

  32. Large tech companies are terrible at customer service. There’s no way to reach them.
    They all just want you to fill out a web form and will get back to you when they feel like it.

  33. I’ve been with Fi for over two years with two people on a family plan. I had an issue with billing once, called to get it resolved, it took a bit longer than it should have but it was resolved and they gave me an extra credit for the trouble. I don’t ever see myself switching.

  34. Well I am currently having a nightmare issue with Fi. I have been with them since the beginning and love the low price bill and the service up until I decided to take advantage of the promotional deal to buy one pixel 3 and get credit for the second. Then all hell broke loose. Every time I speak with them I get a different answer. I’m not sure if at this point I will ever get the credit they promised and the last call they were escalating it to someone who would get back in touch with me in 4 to 6 weeks…no not days, weeks…I am appalled. I believe they were not ready for the expansion and everything and everyone got screwed over when project Fi changed to Google Fi…SMH…just waiting to see. They are still the lowest price out there but if customer service sucks I may need to reevaluate since that’s the reason I left Sprint and switch to Project Fi in the first place. I’m hoping they will get it together but I’m not sure it will ever be the same.

  35. Three years and not one single issue. Average bill has been $38 monthly. I can pay early and have had plenty of times where I was credited to my account. This is entirely nitpicking and when you look up other providers(who by the way, have way more negative feedback and horrible support) there is always the standard “I’m having problems with my phone, calls dropping, customer support etc) I recommend Fi to anybody….cool thing about support is you can see.what number you are and waiting is never long. People have become so “fast food” they expect everything to be perfect except themselves. I have family on Verizon, T mobile and AT&T and all of them complain about billing, support and call coverage and they pay hundreds more monthly than I do.

  36. T – Mobile all the way, US based customer service has been fantastic. Free international data is usually fast enough to do Skype voice calls.

    I’m probably one of the last holdouts still using a windows 10 phone, I know I’ll eventually have to switch and android is not even on my radar, the worst most convoluted operating system ever.

    Not to mention google knows everything that happens on one of there phones and it is not to you benefit. As Apple says what happens on your phone should stay on YOUR phone.

  37. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve been with Fi since day 1 and always praised it’s service, and customer service, to anyone who would listen, it WAS phenomenal. Then I ordered a Pixel 3XL in November and ported and existing number from T-Mobile and the nightmare began. They screwed up the order in every single way possible, I ordered 1 through the Google store for a promotion, cancelled it to order another one from Fi the following day because of a new promotion and subsequently had to place 4 separate orders to get 1 phone because of sales channel restrictions. One phone that was sent out and received back by them was never refunded, even though I had a FedEx delivery receipt that they had received it back, it took over a month to figure things out and issue me a refund.

    The worst was when I received the phone and ported my number over, there was a clear discussion with the rep (I have the conversation recorded thankfully) that I DID NOT want to lose my existing Fi number, as I was going to use it and add another line. I was assured I would not lose it, but low and behold, they lost the number and it has now been 6 weeks of them trying to fix it.

    Although everyone I talk to is nice, and they all ASSURE me that it will get escalated to the appropriate department for recovering a number and “you’ll hear from them in the next 24 to 48 hours”, I never hear from them and have to start all over and tell my story again, get promised a resolution again, and repeat. I’m on my 4th attempt as of today.

    The customer service is friendly, but when it comes to organization and efficiency, it is abysmal. I seriously have never experienced such terrible customer service in my life, and I was with Sprint at one point and currently have Comcast! It’s very hard to be worse than those 2, but Google has lowered the bar significantly.

  38. I signed up about a month ago or a bit more when they had a promo

    They have horrible support.

    I have been without service for some time and they have not refunded me a cent. So I am paying for nothing. I will be changing my carrier

  39. Thanks for sharing, Tiffany. I am new to Fi and had some issues contacting CS when I signed up last month, but figured it was just due to the busy holiday season. What you mention was one of my fears in switching over from Verizon. Not your specific issue, but just that Google isn’t a very customer focused company since so much of what they do is offer free. I hope that as they expand the work on beefing up their customer service. While I agree with most people that when you don’t have a specific, odd, or just not run of the mill issue, they are fine, but when something unique happens their level of service leaves something to be desired. And I’m not expecting great, just something similar to Verizon or another big service provider.

    Someone above mentioned that hopefully they’d take notice, and while I am not a big social media user, I did take a minute to tweet this story and share my own frustration while tagging Google Fi. I would encourage anyone else hoping for them to notice to do so as well. May make no difference, but if they hear from enough people maybe they will invest a little more in improving their customer service.

  40. A few people’s bad luck doesn’t make an entire product or service bad. Otherwise no one would patronize most any of the major companies – travel and otherwise. I’d try contacting the FCC and anyone else that would help, though.

  41. Meh, can say the same about every other large company. Works great until it doesn’t. Paypal, Amazon, Google, Yahoo – all insanely incompetent when anything out of the ordinary occurs.

  42. Sorry to hear about your experience. I actually switched to Fi using your referral code and have been happy about the almost “free” roaming service when traveling overseas.

    I did however had a terrible experience with Gmail recently. When Gmail switched to the new interface last year it messed up a few of my draft emails where I have stored information collected for years. These long draft emails were truncated and the information contained in the messages were completely lost. I tried to contact Google but never heard back. I have since switched to using Notes on my iPhone.

  43. Great article, Tiffany. Spot on.

    2 years and 2 months ago, I had similar nightmares with Project Fi. I dared to buy a Google Nexus phone as a birthday gift for my daughter. With extended warranty coverage added, just because Dads do that.

    To do so, I had to use my Gmail email address (a requirement for a Project Fi purchase) and my credit card. We were very excited when it arrived, only to get ducked into a black hole morass of Google bureaucracy when we tried to ACTIVATE the gifted phone. Since it was registered to MY Gmail address, it was virtually impossible to reassign this brand new inactivated phone to HER Gmail account. What should have been a simple database field correction, became a days long mangled up mess. In the process, as absurd as this may seem, Google Support required that we abandon the monthly accidental damage coverage, in order to re-register a brand new inactivated phone. Absurd.

    That’s not the worst of it. 30 days later they charged my card some $175 because I had received a new phone but did NOT activate it! This began a lengthy battle over this overcharge by Google Payments, which as you accurately describe, their US Support group was unable and empowered to resolve. After 8 years as a call center supervisor for an IT company doing worldwide support, I was stunned beyond belief.

    After days of calls, someone from Google -INDIA finally called me and stopped this insanity of charging me for an inactivated phone now reassigned to my daughter.

    Apparently, Project Fi never conceived of anyone buying a phone as a surprise gift, and I was punished for that, and we lost the AD coverage to boot. This took weeks to fix.

    To be fair, my daughter is working in Japan, and the phone service has been working fine for 6 months. The cost is reasonable.

    The problem,though, and we saw this over 2 years ago, is that the polite. Intelligent US support group were not empowered to fix a simple billing overcharge issue. If that support center is now overwhelmed and understaffed, God Help Google Fi customers.

  44. Upgraded my phone to Pixel 3XL, had issues activating the service back, it’s been over a month and still no resolution.

    Support is the worse giving different and irrelevant answers everytime, and non-existent escalation, never got any answer from them. They are prioritizing new deal inquiries rather than support existing customers.

    Moving to another service provider, I had enough.

  45. @JSP – I did the same thing when I bought my wife’s phone, except I had no trouble switching it over to her email account.

  46. As a security specialist for a large consulting firm, I’m surprised each time I encounter an allegedly forward-thinking company, department or user that has put all/most of its eggs in the Google basket. Using Google search, Chrome, Gmail, G Suite, and Fi is not a secure strategy. Remember, you are Google’s product, not its customer.

    T-Mobile offers the best plan for international travelers.

  47. So you’ll be returning all the signup commissions you got after recommending this so strongly just months ago?

  48. I’ve never had an issue with Fi. I was with Verizon for many years, haven’t looked back since switching to Fi. Your mindset as far as how you use data changes with Fi. Instead of mindlessly using data, I only use it when I need it. Last month, my bill was $26. Good luck coming anywhere close to that with any other carrier. I haven’t had a need for their support yet and considering in the 16 or so years I’ve owned a cell phone I’ve never needed support, this article is irrelevant.

  49. Google’s customer service is horrible.
    It makes it even worse considering how great it used to be.

  50. I travel frequently and use a Chinese branded Android phone. I use a data only SIM from Surfroam.com. They charge reasonable rates in most countries and charge by the MB. Their customer service, although only accessible by email or FB messenger is excellent. I wish they would give commissions for recommending them! If i am going to stay in a particular country for a few days I’ll get a local SIM so that I can get a local number and in some cases, they even offer free SIMs at the airport (this was true in both Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands). Try calling a hotel or other business from your Tmobile, Fi phone, etc. and the costs will quickly add up if you are able to call at all.
    Apple forces you to download all apps from their own store. This is non-starter for me. I have found one too many times there are apps that I need that are not available in the country where I am traveling. With Android, I can simply download from another site and sideload them.

  51. W just switched to Google Fi. You have to ask somebody to call back from the Fi app to get good support. E got me SIM cards and it solved the drop call issues. I wouldn’t have chosen Fi if I had known how bad and hard it would be, but hoping our problems are resolved for now.

  52. FedEx “lost” my Pixel 3 and it took them 6 weeks to get me a replacement. They’re definitely doing terrible with customer service right now.

    Honestly, I joined / giving them a try for the travel card promo. If they dont get their sh*t together by the end of the promotion period, I’ll take my (free) phone and go back to TMobile

  53. It’s concerning that the known problems and support ecosystem of ProjectFi(now Google fi) had not deterred you sooner from recommending this service based on your implied standards/needs.

    The issues you reference are not new and while it’s understandable that you would not want to continue with Fi after having to deal with said issues. It’s odd that now after you had to deal with them, the service is not only not good enough for you and those interested in switching to it. But others on the service should consider moving away from it as well.

    This reads to me like someone using their platform as a tool to get their issue with Google resolved. Understandable, as am no stranger to calling out a vendor via social when a ball is dropped. But to use your readeship as a means to an end, in addition to having recommended a service without understanding the short comings….

  54. I stick to tmo and my $30/month 5gig prethrottle plan. You don’t pay anything more by default for international roaming but it’s at 2g speeds. So when I travel I pay them an extra $20 for that month to get 3g international data. It has served me well. I don’t like taking time out of a trip to set up my phone and hope everything goes smooth. Spent an hour once in Thailand getting the phone straighten out.

  55. Some ideas;

    1. Being that they are a NVMO they probably fall ubsee the purview of the FCC, this must violate some rules there. File a complaint

    2. Sue them for breach of contract.

    3. Get in touch with an AP reporter it will go viral but most importantly it will get it resolved really quickly. I got this story in my Google feed but that is only because I have an interest in Google. You need this on the AP wires. Not hard to get on with a story like this

  56. I’m so sorry many of you are having difficulties; often only the bad side gets reported. I have been using Fi for over a year, first with a Pixel 2 XL and now with a Pixel 3 XL. The phones work well; the service works well and the billing has been great. (Just to be clear, I do not work for Google, I do not own Google stock.)

  57. Interesting thought but the problem isn’t Fi. I used Google for other products such as domains and was suddenly unable to login to my account, so my domains were now gone. When it came back I moved everything as fast as I could.

    Fi is different – I just use for international calls while traveling so the number isn’t important and neither is the account. It is the only thing attached and it gets locked I write it off and cancel the card. Using it as your primary number makes no sense because of the inherent danger.

    Still want to find a reasonable replacement for Voice, but have not yet, so keeping my fingers crossed…

  58. I’ve had Fi since inception, two phones in and v had to speak to them just a few times and without saying anything that will cursev my luck I’ll just say that I don’t feel the same way about never using them. Sucks to be those with rotten experiences. Better luck next carrier!

  59. @ Jason — It was more because we were beta testers at first, and I use most technology on the edge cases, so things just come up. Until this phone I didn’t ever feel like it was an excessive number of issues.

  60. @ abe — Yep, exactly. It’s one thing if the free stuff doesn’t work, but when the stuff you pay for (or are trying to pay for) has the same support level, I have concerns.

  61. @ Jorge Piquer — I am glad you have never had issues! Like I said, I haven’t had issues either until very recently, which is why I think it’s important to know how the issues can cascade — especially since it’s different than a typical phone company.

  62. @ Bill — The problem is that it doesn’t matter what cards you have linked to Fi, or how many. He’s never specifically linked his Google Payments account to Fi, they’re just tied through his Google ID. None of the cards in his Payments account are listed in Fi, there are no fraud issues with any of the Fi-associated cards, or anything Fi-related.

    So the crux of the issue is that if you have any Google issues, it can become a Fi issue, which is not good if you rely upon your phone.

  63. @ M.O. — Nope, the cards on the Fi account aren’t even the ones having issues, it’s that Fi takes whatever cards you have linked and runs them through Google Payments. So they can’t process anything.

    We have separate accounts for work reasons; it has historically made things easier, even though it is a smidge more expensive.

  64. @ Will — Did you read the post? I was previously unaware of these issues, and my experience had been great. Upon learning the depth and scale of problems, I’ve changed my opinion. If it were just me having bad luck I wouldn’t say anything here, but as you’ve said — there are a shocking number of people experiencing nonsense with ProjectFi, and that changes the equation for me.

  65. I signed up during the promo in November and my bills so far all show $0 due lol. I guess I am satisfied with them 🙂

  66. I bought a new Samsung in October and tried to remove my Surface to Fi when it was possible in December. Unfortunately the SIM card is not working with my phone. For three weeks I have not been able to get through to the customer support numbers they provided. Does anybody have a customer support number that works?

  67. My Fi tale of woe is not as harrowing as yours, Tiffany, but annoying nonetheless. I started using Fi about a year ago, and it worked very well both at home and abroad. I was so pleased that I moved my wife and kid’s phones to Fi during their big signup promotion. But on a recent trip to Greece, my phone (and my wife’s) Fi-optimized phones refused to connect to LTE. Funnily enough, my daughter’s iPhone always connected to LTE.

    Fi support was completely useless. They told me they had to escalate the issue and I’d get an email in a day or so. Well, the email came 12 days later – long after I returned home. The email did not even contain an apology for the delay. WTF? (Not that I care about an apology, but come on – Google should have some shame.)

    My guess is that Google is just overwhelmed with all the new sign-ups and the accompanying volume of technical and customer service issues. But this had better improve – certainly if I ever experienced a shut-out from phone service like your husband did, Fi would lose me as a customer forever.

  68. Thanks for the detailed write-up. As always, you do a great job of giving the facts.
    So far, I’m pleased with Fi. I have an old Nexus 5, my needs are few, and I’m happy to pay c. $25/month for a phone that works wherever I go. But Customer Service has been unacceptable. I once had a problem with Hangouts. The Customer Service folks simply could not/would not understand that my phone options were different from the options they kept listing for me. I even sent screen prints showing that my options were A-B-C. The reply was: “I see that your options are X-Y-Z, so here’s what you do…” It was surreal. And I guess this was when Customer Service was phenomenal.
    Oh, well. With the help of the internet and some clues from Customer Support, I messed around until I got Hangouts working again.
    But if I ever get a serious problem, I will consider switching asap.

  69. T-Mobile offers basically unlimited worldwide service now!! Add $50/month to your plan and use your phone nearly anywhere in the world and have zero worries. Full high speed data, no charge calls or sms, and unlike their first offering, this can be set to a recurring monthly charge — no re-ordering the service every day like before. Of course that is still available should you choose. I did suggest this to them. Can’t take credit for it, of course, but they did listen.

    At the same time, VZ offers 5 monthly international passes per month on their top plan. So if you travel not too often, then this could be better.

    Thanks for the info about Fi.

  70. I have a Moto Z2 Force on Sprint. I know Sprint is not the best for LTE, but I’m paying $55/month + $5 phone lease, get free Hulu and they recently upped hotspot from 10gb to 50gb! If I’m out of service, I’m out of service….it’s not gonna kill me. I know what I’m paying or.

  71. I have no love for Google due to their widespread censorship on YouTube, but Google Fi is the best phone service. Just had to order a replacement phone since my screen got cracked and the transaction was flawless. Your experience was a fluke.

  72. Hi Tiffany! My name is Cameron, and I am a volunteer Product Expert! I would like to help get your case escalated. If you would not mind could you provide me with the case ID you received from FI support in a DM?

  73. It is absolutely miserable to deal with Google Fi Support. I kept thinking I was talking to chatbots. My family had been with Project Fi for a few years. We upgraded two Nexus devices to two Pixel 3 devices recently. One of them is lemon. That’s when the nightmares began.

  74. I’ve had Google fi since day one. On three different Google phones. I use it internationally successfully. But mostly I use it in Vermont where I can’t get a cell signal but can get WiFi inside my house. So Fi let’s the 3XL phone behave as if it were getting a cell signal.

  75. I too have had an awful experience with their FedEx preference for signature to deliver before even having a chance to start the service! I was looking forward to trying out Google Fi, as well as the pixel 3 since I was in the market for a new phone and a carrier and will also be traveling internationally soon. I made the order and was told to expect delivery 2 1/2 to 3 weeks, and if that wasn’t bad enough, I was not given the expectation that I needed to be home during the day when everyone is at work and sign for the delivery. By the end of the second week it was great that they were delivering sooner then there original promise however no one was home and FedEx did not allow me the option to pick up at FedEx do to Sender preference. After FedEx’s failed second attempt, subsequent comments indicated some other vague reason why they did not make more attempts, they were supposed to try for at least one more, but sent the phone back to the sender. Mind you this whole time everyday when I checked the FedEx website that I registered for, it was stated that delivery would be made by the end of the next day. Considering that my last phone had become inoperable, I had been extremely patient but ultimately decided enough was enough and went with a budget carrier , MetroPCS, a low to mid-grade LG Android phone, and so far I am very surprised and satisfied. Amazon makes expensive deliveries every day without needing a signature. Google had a great opportunity for a customer and lost .

  76. Have purchased 4 phones thru Google (Project) Fi and been with them for over 3 years. Never experienced any of the problems discussed by the author and commenters. Fi was a real benefit used in Europe and Mexico and I watched my Verizon friend struggle with their phone in Puerto Vallarta. Often these type of personal experiences bring out the complaint departments in all of us. I hope the author isn’t using her soapbox vindictively.

  77. @ Amitoj — Yes, we do too. But then Fi takes those credit cards, and runs them through Google Payments, which is where the problems start.

  78. I too have had issues with Google Pay and I am blocked. I’ve managed to survive without it. My biggest issue with Fi is that it does not play nice with Google voice which I use in my home. That was a deal breaker.

  79. @ Michael Monteleone — I’ve also had great experiences with the product, and the network! It’s the changes to the support team and the bonkers payment processing system that have me concerned.

  80. Change your card pay your bill port your number. I used FI for two years. They didn’t turn off your service without warning before contacting you first. I would update this article to say this. I guarantee you didn’t ask for much help because I had to do this once during my time with fi and support was fast and efficient.

  81. @ Jon — Welcome to OMAAT! The issue here is that when your Google Pay account is locked, it doesn’t matter how many times you try to change your card or pay your Fi bill; they literally have no way to process your payment. And you can’t port your number with a delinquent account. So everyone is just stuck.

  82. You need to email a google VP of customer service and stop spinning your wheels. Whenever I’ve exhausted ALL the normal channels with no success and no hope in sight, I email an executive email address and they reach out within a few hours. Works every time.

  83. I am a huge Google fan and use most of their products. I was excited to use Fi on my Pixel but after 6 months I had to switch back to my legacy carrier. The customer service was great but the service was spotty and unreliable. I had more dropped calls than I have ever had and as much as I wanted to love Fi I had to give up.

  84. Tiffany,
    So sorry to read about your troubles with Fi. Thank you for writing!
    I was just about to sign up when I read your story. I will keep looking. I don’t need those kinds of troubles. Lots of MVNO’s and $1k phones out there!
    Listen up folks if it sounds too good to be true, it probably IS too good to be true!!
    If it wasn’t flawed somehow, everybody would be using it!!!
    I feel like I dodged a bullet by reading this article.
    Thanks again!
    Tippany, I would abandon ship,, call it a lesson learned, buy an iphone, get set up with a different MVNO, and consider myself lucky it didn’t cost me more $$$.
    God bless

  85. What does any of this have to do with the actual Google fi service itself? The first complaint is about the phone (welcome to the world of today’s phone almost every phone you buy now is guaranteed to have some problem miniscule or not). The second is about the payments screwup. Neither has anything to do with the quality or availability or cost or whatever of the service itself. Im sticking with Google fi for now

  86. I have issues with my Pixel 3 and my home wifi. A bunch of simple apps like Amazon and eBay don’t work without having the VON turned on. Worked great with my Pixel 2.

    Also the last time I talked to support about two weeks ago about issues with my account credits. The agent on chat repeatedly told me to contact Experian regarding my credit. Clearly not understanding my simple explanations. In my opinion I was talking with a highly skilled yet still obviously flawed A. I. Of course it wouldn’t admit that it was. But some red flags made it obvious.

  87. I did the mistake of leaving my 2 year Verizon carrier and joining Fi. I can not agree more with you regarding awful customer service. I feel like going there and personally shaking them to wake up and do something with issues i have been facing. Its only been 15 days that i joined, but i have had it with them ! Never had such lousy support from cell phone carrier! I m getting out.. so much time wasted!

  88. Google, why oh why? I have everything on Google drive and use all there service. My phone bill is automatically taken out on the 8th, received an email telling me my auto pay is received. Weird it’s only the 1st but whatever. Whatever turned into WTF. Not only did my payment went through but they stopped my service for non payment and after I sent them my account info verifying it was charged they still can’t turn my service on.

  89. I’d switched to Google FI during the recent big promo. Even while in the US, the strength of the cellular signal and the clarity of voice calls were unmistakably inferior to what I got with Verizon. Then shortly after starting the service, I went overseas and things fell apart. I was in Singapore and could not get a consistent cellular service, even when there was a strong signal/connection. That was simply not what I thought I’d signed up for so I decided to contact Google FI support. I could not reach anyone by phone so sent them an email. What I got in response so horrified me that I immediately contacted Verizon and asked them to switch me back (which they were able to do rather easily because I was still within the time window during which switchbacks could be done easily):

    “Thanks for contacting Google Fi support.

    We are receiving a lot of emails right now, so it may take up to 5 business days for us to get back to you.

    Please note that you may be able to find answers on support.google.com/fi/community to questions such as:
    ……
    ……
    The Google Fi Support Team”

    To wait 5 days before getting urgently needed support on my mobile phone was simply unacceptable, especially since I got used to getting Verizon phone support 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

  90. Sorry you had trouble with Google Fi. I have no statistics to refute your experience but my guess is your discuss are less than normal and more than likely isolated. I have owned a Pixel 1, 2 and 3 and I love them without hesitation. They work flawlessly. After 30+years in Verizon I switched to Google Fi and love it. I use Google Pay (tap n pay) for everything I possible can and it has always works with zero issues. When I once experienced a minor glitch with a Google Pay transaction tech support was exceptional at resolving my problem. That has been my experience.

  91. get a cheap plan, that lets you have free call received, then get magic jack, works for me, I,m on three in the uk, $11 dollars(yes eleven) unlimted text, unlimited talk 5gig, plus 6 dollars a month for another 5 gig if needed, all in uk, but allows cqlls from most countries , to a uk number> USA Canada, Spain, thren to call USA, on wi fi,(and again, you can use you 5 g, say in spain) you use say messenger, and others works for me , plus they let you cap fee,s ,

  92. I had to leave Google Fi because of the dropped calls. I went with Total wireless which has bad customer service too but the calls don’t drop and the call quality is so much better. Verizon towers seem to work better for me.

  93. Stumbled upon this article. Maybe we are the lucky ones but we have not had a single problem at all. We started with Project Fi and have only noticed improvements with the transition to Google Fi. My wife and I both have the Pixel XL. She did have to return her first pixel for a display issue but that was covered under warranty. Surprised to hear of all these complaints after the positive experience we have had.

  94. The service definitely took a nosedive when it rebranded. I’ve used Fi done it was invite only and while I’ve had issues, I’ve been and to get in touch with somebody via chat instantly or email in a few hours. Since November it’s taking days for emails to be answered, some of them have been answered with an emails that just asks you to reply if you still need help, and I’ve gone to the chat and there have been over 100 people in front of me.

    I’ve also had issues with international service. One of the great features was being able to use WiFi calling to call the US for free and use the US based rates for international calls. I was recently in the UK and I couldn’t make a WiFi call. Nothing would work. The things that work in the US to force it, airplane mode and turning WiFi on for example, wouldn’t work and I was forced to pay the 20c a minute cellular rate. I going back to the support issues, I tried to get help but even though I contacted them over a week before I left the UK, I didn’t get any sorry if resolution until I was back in the US where WiFi calling worked just fine.

    Support and international coverage are two of the top things that sold me on Fi and with those not being what they were, I’m starting to wonder if Fi is worth it now. It’s not like the price is a distinguishing thing anymore either, there are many options that are the same or cheaper.

  95. I have experienced most of the same issues and also noticed the sudden downhill change in support with pixel 3 and this phones issues. On top of all this my trade in of my pixel 2 xl and my husband’s pixel 1 were ripped off with bogus claims that they had damaged screens so we both got way lower trade in values than they are worth with zero response from service team except they are “looking into it”… For 4 weeks now. I’m disappointed that after 2 years I need to call it quits with Google fi., It was great until it wasn’t.

  96. That is why you should always travel with 2 phones with 2 or different carrier, many great dual SIM phones out there.

  97. So, basically you hate Fi because you can’t use you credit card points? I agree, customer service went from amazing to awful. But everything you started your article with is still true. Cheapest plan, unmatched international service. Sorry you don’t know how to use your phone and have to call tech support all the time. As a service member living in Japan, nothing beats Fi.

  98. I don’t get people complaining for low cost services. If you aren’t happy, Verizon or AT&T will be happy to have you. Everything has a price.
    I am also shocked how often you seem to use the support service, I don’t think you represent the normal average user.

  99. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s only through publicly aired feedback that maybe Google will listen and respond. I’m a new Google Fiber user. So far so good, generally speaking. I’ve had a few hiccups that make we weary, particularly in light of your article. Google Fi is on a “short leash” as far as I’m concerned, meaning I will not hesitate to drop them if I don’t get the support expected of a company of their stature.

  100. This article is useless. Change the title. This is not about the Fi service. This article is about Google support and billing. The Fi and Pixel 3 have been great for me. I also ordered through the travel promo (and so did my friends) without problems. Please don’t knock the service or the phone. They have been great for most of us.

  101. I thought about jumping from Tmobile to Googly Fi, due to faster data speed, but getting an actual support person on the phone toll free, when I have issues abroad really cannot substituted. I had issues in tmobile while in Peru and Brazil, I got a person on the phone in a matter of minutes and they solved data problems I had. They even called back to make sure the fix worked.
    I also did not like that not having a “google fi” phone would require me tinkering with the phone or working with caveats. That text message you get from Tmobile saying welcome to country X, without having to make any changes to the phone is what I want.
    While the international 256kb speed is not much to talk about, but it is sufficient for google maps, facebook, web browsing, and even uploading photos to facebook and instagram. Also, the other perks like inflight data, messaging, etc..
    Tmobile raised the voice call rate, but I bypass that by forwarding all my calls to my Google voice number before departing on international trip. Then I use Google hangouts to receive and make calls using the Tmobile free international data, but at Google voice rates. The speed is sufficient to make voice calls on hangouts and skype. Not sure about the tmobile plan with 128kb, but definitely sufficient on 256kb plan.

  102. Phone companies are required by law to port your number out when you start service with a new carrier. According to the FCC, a company can’t refuse to port your number even if you have an outstanding balance or unpaid termination fees.Oct 30, 2015

  103. I keep two credit cards in my Google Pay account and I never have issues laying my bill. Been a Fi customer since the invite-only beta and have never, ever experienced a problem like this. I even had both of my linked cards cancelled due to theft and misuse and never had my whole account locked. No service is perfect, but this clearly angry article is bashing the entirety of Google Fi because of this one bad experience about suspected fraud. An experience which, by the way, is a clear outlier and not at all a common theme for Google Fi users. It’s a bit like saying, “well my house burned down from an electrical malfunction and the insurance company didn’t pay out immediately so they could investigate for possible fraud, so no one move to Chicago ever again and anyone currently living there should move ASAP.” Your one bad experience, which isn’t Google’s fault at all, is just that. One bad experience.

  104. @ Mark B — Welcome to OMAAT! I don’t hate Fi at all, and have happily given them a few thousand dollars over the past three years. The problem is that they’ve made it impossible to give them an additional $27, no matter how hard I try.

  105. I must say that I am not particularly shocked that this service has stopped being as great as you previously felt it was. It seems that happens a lot with Google services. They do search very well – better than anyone. I have used Gmail for, I suppose, a decade now. But a lot of their ancillary offerings seem to come and go. For example, Google Plus – it was THE next big thing, now it’s gone. To me their Android approach to mobility is fractured across different providers (you may better understand that with my next statement below! 🙂 )

    I am a die-hard Apple guy and I appreciate Apple going all-in on the things they do do. That being said, I am considering doing some home automation this year and I am not sure that Siri/HomeKit is the best option. But if I go another route, I cannot see going Google Home for the reasons above: I don’t have the confidence that, even if it’s the best choice now, that it will be supported for years to come. Frankly, I am interested in the Alexa option, but that’s a different discussion.

  106. First and formost. If you have a credit card, cash card, or any payment medium hacked, used fraudulently. Stop using it immediately and report it to the issuer and credit bureau. No mater how important it is or needed to have access to financial resources. The nightmare you cast by continued use will make it more difficult that can not be imagined. And I’m not talking about Google. If you don’t believe me, ask the credit bureau.

  107. @Mark: “This is not about the Fi service. This article is about Google support and billing. … Please don’t knock the service or the phone. ”

    Read the article. Nowhere does Tiffany knock the phone, and she forthrightly says she’s very happy with the service – as long as it works. If Google’s support and billing are incapable of letting her actually use the service, then it’s perfectly legitimate to complain that the service is non-functional.

    Frankly, the radio silence from Google regarding the disastrous customer service and support failures over the last few weeks is incredibly arrogant. They need to acknowledge that they have a problem and tell us what they’re doing to fix it.

  108. I chose Google Fi because I travel outside of the US about 20-30 days out of the year and got tired of paying $10 per day with Verizon. And in Europe, when you change countries, you are charged per day and per country $10 so at times, I paid $20 since I was in two countries in one day! That’s Verizon for you!

    My monthly fee with Verizon with 2GB of data was $65/mo and with Google Fi, I have been paying $25-30 per month. That’s a big difference including the no roaming fee outside of US!

    Google Fi’s service can be frustrating but there were few moments with Verizon as well. I think ALL mobile carriers have their great locations and bad locations. I saved the codes to change from T-Mobile to Sprint and back for Google Fi. This helps at times when one service is weak and it does not change automatically.

    Recently my phone switched to Android 9 and issues started to happen. But I expect that there will be a software upgrade to fix these issues. One way is to revert back to Android 8 and your issues will be resolved. IMO

    Everyone calm down! There is no perfect service! It will get better!

  109. I too have had major issues with the customer service of this company. I tried to get there Black Friday deal for a pixel 3 and I joined Google fiber to get it. My life has been a mess since! The phone never came and that is not Google’s fault because they did ship it. The problem was someone stole it before it even got to my house. As I said, this is not Google’s fault, but they needed to help in the investigation so I could get a case going. I called them for a week straight and no one could help me. They told me my situation was sent to the shipping department which apparently has no phone because they can only email out and the customer service can only email them. This has been so frustrating to deal with. I needed to activate my phone by the 28th of December to get there promotion I asked for and paid for, but it took nine days for this Google fi shipping department to finally email me on Christmas day. The email said they did their part, which I agreed with, and now it is my fault if I gave them the wrong address. By this time I was being Angy. Had they even read my report? So I emailed back and let them know that I just needed them to contact those that were supposed to ship my phone and help them with the case. The next day they responded that they would send me another phone. They cancelled my plan cause I couldn’t activate a phone I never had by the 28th. I received my phone but now I got a bill saying I need to pay over $200 dollars by the 12th because I cancelled services with them. They cancelled the service because I didn’t have a phone yet!!!! Now I am waiting again on this department that was supposed to email me within 24 to 48 hours to get this resolved, but just like before, they have not emailed me and it will be a week Friday. I hate this service with a passion. I wish I would have stick with att. I just wanted cheaper service and now I can see that this is a case of ” you get what you paid for”. The whitest service I have ever encountered. I would never recommend it to anyone.

  110. @John Amen! I used to have to try to find wifi everywhere as I refused to pay $10 a day with Verizon. As I mentioned before, I think Verizon’s data usage count is also skewed. My first month on Fi it said I used 1/3 the data compared to Verizon. I did not change my phone usage routine.

  111. Yes! I was sent a replacement device for my Pixel 3 which I would up returning. I have proof that it was received, even who signed for it, but I kept getting email messages about returning it–which I replied to with links to the proof of delivery. Then, they charged me the full price if the phone which THEY HAVE. I am going on a week trying to resolve this. My next step is going to be letting my credit card company dispute it–although it sounds from your article, that will lead to even more issues.

  112. Google builds a system, and expects everything to work around that system like a clock. If the system has faults, they will try to find workarounds rather than fixing it because that means changing the system which is already volatile. So they would rather have thousands of agents coming up with workarounds and excuses than hiring engineers who can fix it quickly. I understand their point though. They are eveywhere, so even the smallest change could lead to a catastrophic failure. I can only pray and hope that the bad experience you had does not happen to me.

  113. No issues here whatsoever. And I never give out my “real” number–I’ve had a GV number for several years. If Google flubbed things up on this account, no biggie–I just dump one account, move to another, start over. Done. That is far better than dishing out 4x as much per month for greedy Verizon, or dumbing myself way down to the level of stupidty for a farking iphone. Or especially, whining about it on the Internet.

  114. I appreciate reading of Tiffany’s experiences. But it does sound as if the largest issue is with Google Pay. Our house is 100% Pixel and Fi. No issues so far. But obviously reason for concern. Thanks for the warning.

  115. This is EXACTLY why you never use Google services for mission critical items when payments are involved. This EXACT same scenario occurred for Google Cloud Services! The entire business was taken down due associating a debit card to the GCP account which runs through Google Wallet/Pay. The entire business was taken down for days while we tried unsuccessfully to get the situation resolved by uploading identification, account info, on an on SEVERAL TIMES. We had to transition to AWS and the situation was still left unresolved!!!

  116. I’ve had fi for years, have had some dropped call issues at the start, but three phones later still no problems. I did have a similar payment issue but it wasn’t that complicated to solve – and what you described can happen on any android device regardless of carrier if you have payment issues.

    Its not perfect, and obviously not for everyone, but love how simply it works overseas.

    No more buying Sim cards every country I go.

  117. I am having the same issue. When I asked for $80 dollars they promised if I move to Google Fi I was told that promotion was not from them. I was passed around Google eco system and I never saw the money
    I let it go. Recently I bought a Pixel book and then cancelled it within hours because I thought slate is what I want. They send me cancellation notice and everything was fine. Then I bought a slate with pen and earphone. A day later I got am email saying my purchase was cancelled due to non payment. I called my credit card company and and they told me they didn’t stop payment that the merchant is allowed to charge the amount when they chose to.
    Then I got an email saying my Google Fi (which is on auto pay) will be suspended due to non payment. Since mine is prepay I have ten more days to is this service any way. Non of the people I talked to would hear what I tell them and insisted I didn’t pay! When I asked for a manager they don’t have the power to it but I was told a manager will contact me via email within 24 hours. There was no email but they suspended my service. My next bill is not due for about ten days when they suspended it. Now I live in limbo. I am so frustrated I am not adverse to thoughts of jumping off a cliff just to illustrate how unfair big corporations are.
    Oh and now I got an email saying they are shipping Pixelbook (which I had cancelled) and have included with it the pen and the earphone I tried to by with the Slate!

  118. I switched to Fi in August and have had a hell of a time with their service and the brand new LG V35 Thinq I purchased from them. I financed it. And it arrived broken. A hairline crack across the screen, barely visible. I called them immediately to get a replacement: turns out they want to put a $900 hold on one of my accounts to send me a new phone. Mind you, I also am paying for the protection plan. But I am also disabled. I cannot a) put $900 worth of my very fixed income aside until they decide to release it, or b) try their other “solution”, send back my phone first, meaning i’m disabled without a phone which can’t happen, and I have no ability to transfer any of my data to the new device. Said phone also has major issues. Fi switching is not working at all. My phone inevitably lands on the Sprint network and stays there even when the signal is poor, which is pretty much everywhere. I have been trying for six months to get a replacement phone. I have explained over and over that I’m disabled and can’t be without a phone as it could put me at risk. The agents I’ve talked to have revealed that they have zero ability to escalate the situation or do anything different to help accommodate me. I’m disgusted and stuck now.

  119. I tried it
    For a month but it is way more expensive than T-Mobile when you compare data cost. It’s not a good deal and other phones don’t work well with it

  120. They are cheap for sure. But once you are securely in their talons and you make a mistake, or in my case if they make a mistake then you’re screwed. Even if you didn’t consolidate your information, they do it and it affects all your purchases.

  121. I switched from Verizon to T-Mobile in late 2014 due to Verizon reducing their coverage in the areas I was most frequently in. I’ve never looked back and haven’t had to — T-Mobile’s been awesome. We signed up for a business plan and we have our own rep.

    Even in multiple hurricanes now, T-Mobile’s been up when Verizon’s been down. T-Mobile’s coverage has been good, international works great. My office’s systems were designed with 56k modems in mind, so 256kbps unlimited international’s fine for me. Free GoGo Wifi on the plane is a nice bonus. I could pay less, but doubt I could get more for the money.

    @Jorge Piquer: Perhaps you don’t use your phone for business — I do. Just in the past month I’ve had time-sensitive telephone calls which: prevented laying off 400 workers, got critical medications to villages and med-evac sick villagers to hospitals. Also dealt with a natural disaster and recovery from it. When you’re dealing with >100 different parties, a change of phone numbers or lack of service is highly disruptive in a time-critical environment.

  122. I ordered Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL on launch day from Google Store, for my wife and I, respectively. But instead of receiving the white Pixel 3, a black XL 3 arrived instead. The run-around that followed reminds of your story with Fi, Tiffany.

    I kept the phone because Google Store couldn’t process a return authorization, being that the IMEI on order didn’t match the phone possessed. Not long later, I dropped the XL 3 and shattered the screen. But Assurant couldn’t process a replacement because Google Store updated the IMEI but not the model in the insurer’s system. Strangely, no one could change the information.

    Only after six weeks, a bazillion support calls, and my writing two stories for a tech site news site where I contribute did Google Store escalate my case beyond the government-like, Catch-22 processes and end my customer service nightmare.

    Here’s the thing that may sound familiar to you. Later I learned, regarding Google Store’s forensic analysis, that, like your husband, a rejected credit card charge caused the problem. In my case, the misshipment occurred. On the day I ordered the Pixels, I also ordered several other new products from Google Store. The quick succession of charges tripped an Amex fraud hold, which cleared within a few minutes but apparently was delay enough.

    I had been ready to switch to Fi before reading your story. But when comparing the like bureaucratic mayhem of our experiences and the potential disaster losing my phone number attached to two-factor authentication across sites, I can’t take the risk.

    Thanks for you warning, but I am also sorry to read it. Fans are every company’s best marketing evangelists, and the last people who should go through the experience that you describe.

  123. While I haven’t had the payments mess that you’ve described (ugh!) I have seen the service level fall off a cliff over the last 3 months. I’m a 3 year Fi user and huge advocate, until now. I’ve had a number of emails fall into the customer service abyss. It’s bad.

  124. My iphone was activated for Fi before the number had been ported over from my current carrier. I gave up after 3 weeks trying to get it to work but my Fi account is still live and I’m being charged monthly. I’ve asked Fi support to cancel my account and refund all the charges since I haven’t used the Fi sim ever but they keep saying they’re unable to.

  125. I share Verizon service with 3 of my friends, for a total of $35/month. Verizon is not as easy as T-Mo or Fi when traveling, but it’s by far the best service I’ve found here within the USA. My iPad has a $20/month T-Mo SIM which gives me all the 4G data service I need in Canada or Mexico and my phone connects for WiFi calling. Worldwide I get T-Mo’s 128Kbps service included in my $20/month or can buy high speed packages. For 4G data I swap in my Apple SIM and use GigSky for Data and WiFI call through them from my iPhone.

    It’s not at all as easy as Google Fi, but there are no weird payment issues as you describe. And while Google talks a good game, MNVO service in general just isn’t as good as what T-Mo, Verizon or AT&T provide to their “primary” customers.

    Otherwise I’d be trying Google Fi or Xfinity Mobile…

    But I check every year nonetheless. Maybe one day…..

  126. I got a Google Fi sim but I won’t be using the service because if you have to replace your phone for any reason while you’re not in the USA, you’ll have to come back to the USA to get the new phone working. I spend most of my time travelling, so it’s just too much of a risk to have this as my only sim.

  127. I have sung the praises of Google Fi ever since signing up in 2017…. until tonight.
    1 out of 5 Stars. Called over a week ago regarding device protection issue. The rep said they would consult with the next level up and send an email. No email after a week.
    Tonight I called again. After a lengthy conversation and several long periods of holding, she said they would call back within 40 minutes. After an hour and a half, I called back. The problem, they said, had been “resolved”. NO! It hadn’t.
    He asked if I would stay on the line to give feedback on the call. Sure! Then I was disconnected…. what a surprise!
    So much for the great customer service — totally disappointed!!
    Google had a good thing going. They are destroying it.

  128. I had a comparably ridiculous problem with Fi a few days ago and ended up screwed out of $800…

    I messaged Google Fi support after buying two Pixel 3’s and adding a friend to my group plan and, in a logged text chat, they confirmed very clearly that I was eligible for the promotion and would receive the $800 Fi credit after a month elapsed. Then fast forward to today…I contacted them again because I hadn’t seen the promotional credit yet, and they told me I wasn’t eligible because I bought the phones from the Google Store and not the Google Fi Store (my bad, but it’s an honest mistake and they literally had looked at my exact order and told me I was eligible). Except now I’m past my return window and can’t even return the phones, and they offered me zero recourse. No Fi credit, no store credit, no refund, no returns. I talked to several low-level people in foreign call centers, got passed around for an hour, and eventually ended up talking to the “highest level customer-facing support person” in the US. He even acknowledged my case made total sense and that they had screwed up, and then told me there was literally nothing he could do. For what it’s worth, I believe him. He sounded depressed as hell and probably is forced to tell customers bad news all day without having the power to do anything about it…

    I like the cost/features/etc of Fi generally speaking, but honestly the main reason I use it is because Google has historically acted “less evil” than most other carriers and it felt like the ethically superior choice. Not sure I’ll be able to view them in the same light after all of this…

  129. I have been a customer since it was known as Grandcentral. Over 20 years, I have had the same phone number. I have been very happy with google. However, everything changed last year and I will no longer do business with google ever again. I am in the process of leaving their ecosystem and I block all IP addresses that have anything to do with google.

    I purchase the new pixelbook, top of the line, the pen, the bluetooth earbuds and the pixel 3. Absolutely nothing worked as promised. Nothing. Google gave everybody an extended warranty and so I felt good about everything. How wrong I was. They took away my warranty and told me I had to seek a third party repair service from an authorized repair service. I was not happy about this naturally, give than I received a defective phone, but I need it for work and the fact that it would not place calls was a complete show stopper. Working at additional cost was something I would write off of my taxes as a business expense – like I say not happy – but at least a serviceable. None of the authorized third party ‘repair services’ will service customers in my state. Bluetooth doesn’t work at all, and when it does it is very unreliably… Wifi doesn’t work at all – and the pixelbook will never pair with the phone. The phone can only make calls over wifi and can not be used as a hot-spot and much more.

    I know this isn’t typical – but it is what I received and all I sought was a working device from google. Additionally, the supervisor I spoke with changed my warranty so that I was out of warranty. I have never experienced such a careless about the customer attitude in my life and I used to work for CenturyLink. I ended up giving all the google stuff away to Charity so I can write off my bad purchases, but I feel bad about it as I can no longer recommend google for anything…

    Google cost me a lot in false promises and bad customer service, I recommend you get away from them before you have issues like some of the others of us have had. Once things go wrong it is to late.

  130. I travel a ton overseas and signed up for Google FI for their overseas data plan primarily. I’m using an iPhone X’s Max with the dual SIM. So my e Sim is my Verizon number and the physical Sim is my Google fi number. Before I go overseas I have my Google FI handle all data and my Verizon just for calls. Works great and I’m not throttled at. 5gigs and paying 10 bucks a day with Verizon travel pass. Also I keep my number with Verizon. It’s a little more expensive to do it this way but it works great for me who spends a majority of my life on the road.

  131. Tiffany

    Appreciate you posting this.

    I’ve had my credit card that’s tied tied to Google Pay stolen 3x in the past two years, and while stolen CCs are a hassle in their own right, I haven’t had any issues related to Google. And I’m a heavy user. I use Google Pay, purchased my Pixels/Google Homes/etc through the Google store, subscribe to Play, use Google storage, Adwords, etc, and in all of my stolen card cases never had any such issues. And the cards stopped working temporarily.

    For me it’s always come down to getting the new credit card number into Google Pay, and then everything sorted itself out.

    So I like to stay on top of issues like you’ve had, and am curious what bullet I unwittingly dodged in my instances.

  132. What’s more – they (Google) will close your Pay account if you simply dispute an erroneous charge – even if the company that generated the erroneous charge was Google itself!!!!
    “When you dispute a charge from Google with your credit or debit card issuer, we automatically close your payments profile. We do this in case of fraud.”
    https://support.google.com/pay/answer/9039712?hl=en
    I think it is egregious that Google penalizes the customer when they make a billing error – rather than owning the problem and resolving it without undeserved consequences to the customer!
    Case in point – When Google sends a replacement device on a warranty claim, they put a hold on your CC for the replacement item, you send in the old device on time and in good condition, they take too long to process the return and charge your CC account for the replacement – when they have already have received the return!! You cannot dispute that charge on your CC account as that will cause Google to close your Pay account risking ALL Google services.
    Apparently a company with 100 BILLION $s in the bank can’t afford to hire enough people to process returns in a timely fashion.

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