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 option to pay for data remains, but the free 100MB per month mysteriously vanished just one year into the promised two-year period."
Rafael should know – he owns one of the pricey-but-nice Chromebook Pixels, and says that "I was able to confirm firsthand what consumers are experiencing," referring to the reports of data cutoffs that "started popping up around the Web in April."
He has proof of the two-year promise, including a link to a Google Play page on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine that refers to "100 MB/month of mobile broadband service from Verizon Wireless, free for 2 years," and – oddly enough – a Google press release that touts "100 MB/month of mobile broadband service from Verizon Wireless, free for three years."
Since that page may not be available for long, here's a screenshot of that more lengthy promise:
'Two years? Three years? Oh, hell with it – let's make it one year'
When The Reg reviewed the Chromebook Pixel shortly after its release last February, we were also told that its free 100MB-per-month promise was for two years – but that's only to our reviewer's best recollection. Sadly, we couldn't turn up any smoking-gun documentation of our own.
Rafael says that he has attempted to get clarification from both Google and Verizon, but to no avail. Perhaps, however, the fact that a Boston law firm has announced that it "has commenced an investigation into potential breaches of contract, fraudulent misrepresentations, and/or violations of state consumer protection laws committed by Google, Inc. (GOOGL) and Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ)" will get their attention.
To be sure, 100MB per month is not one heck of a lot of data, seeing as how a Chromebook needs to be connected to the internet to get work done, but that's not the point.
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.
Although to be fair, neither Verizon nor Google explicitly stated what planet they were talking about – after all, Mercury orbits the Sun every 87.97 Earth days. Looked at that way, two or three years of free Mercurian data was used up a long time ago. ®