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Google kills Pixel Pass and people aren't happy about it


In October 2021, Google introduced the Pixel Pass subscription program alongside the launch of the Pixel 6 series phones. This program offered three key benefits for a single monthly payment of $45 for the Pixel 6 or $55 for the 6 Pro: access to Google's premier mobile services, device protection, and regular device upgrades.

However, on a recent Tuesday, Google sent emails to Pixel Pass customers announcing that they would no longer be accepting new Pixel Pass subscriptions or renewals.

Customers who had already subscribed weren't losing any special privileges since the subscription fee covered the cost of the phone and a discounted rate for bundled services over a two-year period. Nevertheless, some disappointed customers in the Google Pixel subreddit expressed concerns about losing certain perks, such as a lower rate they had previously locked in from Google Play Music to join the Play Pass and losing access to bundled services that were part of the package.

The Pixel Pass subscription package was initially marketed as a convenient way to ensure a hassle-free upgrade process two years down the line. However, this option has now become uncertain for loyal Pixel customers, especially as Google prepares to launch the new Pixel 8 lineup on October 4th.

The promised "regular device upgrades" will not materialize for any Pixel Pass subscribers, even for those who raced to order a Pixel 6 as soon as it became available (like the author of this article). This is because there is still more than a month to go before the earliest subscribers hit the two-year mark and become eligible for an upgrade. While it's not entirely surprising that Google has added Pixel Pass to its list of discontinued products and services, the timing of this news is noteworthy.

The Pixel Pass offering remained available through the launch of last year's Pixel 7 series. However, by May of this year, its Twitter account informed a potential Pixel Fold owner that the package would not be available for that device. This aligns with the explanation provided to current subscribers this week.

Google's official FAQ, as of August 29th, 2023, explains the discontinuation of Pixel Pass as follows:

Why is Pixel Pass being discontinued?

We offer the best value for our hardware products and provide users with the flexibility to purchase their preferred services. We continuously evaluate our offerings based on customer feedback and offer different ways for users to access the best of Google.

In the FAQ, Google asserts that users can still upgrade their Pixel device after 24 months with 0 percent APR financing available through either Google Fi or the Google Store, utilizing the same partner as Pixel Pass, Synchrony Bank. However, this can't be done while maintaining the Pixel Pass package once it expires.

Regarding refunds, the FAQ clarifies that Google won't issue them:

Refunds aren't issued because we're committed to fulfilling our promise for the full 2-year term on the Pixel Pass subscription. However, a $100 loyalty reward credit is issued to all active subscribers.

Subscribers who signed up through the Google Store receive $100 Google Store credit, which can be used for any Google Store purchase. Subscribers who subscribed through Google Fi Wireless receive a $100 coupon code, redeemable toward a Pixel device purchase on Google Fi Wireless.

While a $100 credit is not insignificant, it may still disappoint subscribers, especially since it requires engaging with the company for another subscription term after the initial agreement was altered 22 months into the two-year term.

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