Note: This article originally published on June 24, but was updated June 25 with additional information.
Not many people splurged for Google’s Chromebook Pixel with 4G LTE, but those who did are discovering that Verizon Wireless has cut off its free data service earlier than promised.
Google’s luxury Chromebook launched in February 2013, and the 4G LTE model, which cost $1,450, included 100 MB of data per month on Verizon’s network. Originally, Google promised three years of free data with the laptop, and later shrunk the offer to two years for new buyers.
One of those buyers was Computerworld’s JR Raphael, who picked up a Pixel with 4G LTE in the spring of 2013. Despite being promised two years of service, he’s no longer getting any free data. His only option now is to buy a postpaid data plan for the device.
So far, Raphael’s attempts to resolve the matter with customer service—both Verizon’s and Google’s—have gone nowhere. The companies’ PR teams haven’t responded either. Right now, Pixel users are stuck with no solutions and no straight answers, and various complaints across the web suggest other Pixel owners are running into the same problem as Raphael.
Update: Scratch that. Late Tuesday, Google began offering $150 Visa gift cards to early Chromebook Pixel buyers (while firmly placing the blame for this on Verizon). Any Pixel owner who purchased the device while the 2 years of free data was being offered should contact the Play Store. You can read the full details over at Computerworld.
Of course, that may change once the lawsuits start flying. One legal firm, Boston-based Block & Leviton, already says it’s investigating the matter, and is asking Pixel buyers to e-mail any information they might have.
In the meantime, this move certainly sets a bad precedent for devices with bundled data offers—especially those coming from Verizon. It also hints at more friction between Google and Verizon, who have previously clashed over availability of Google’s Nexus 7 tablet with 4G LTE.