Does Giving A Google Chromebook As A Gift Void The Warranty? Well, No

pixelSometimes, buying an item that would otherwise have warranty coverage from a retailer who isn’t an authorized retailer means you don’t get protection from the manufacturer’s warranty or other perks. Reader Dan didn’t think that he would encounter an issue like this when he bought an unused, sealed Chromebook Pixel from an Amazon Marketplace seller. The computer itself was fine: its included Google Drive subscription was not.

That Drive subscription isn’t just some freebie that Google tosses in. At $50 per month for three years, its sticker price is $1,800. That’s more than the retail cost of the computer: the higher-end version of the Pixel with 4G LTE mobile Internet access costs $1,450. Having a terabyte of cloud storage constantly at your fingertips is sort of the point of the device.

When Dan decided that he would keep the computer, he went to activate that Drive offer. Why? After going back and forth over e-mail, the Chrome Ninjas’ answer was that he couldn’t activate it because he didn’t buy it from the Google Play store or an authorized retailer. Here’s their e-mail that he sent on to Consumerist:

Hi Daniel,

In this case, you have stated that you received your Chromebook Pixel as a gift. The Limited Warranty for the Chromebook Pixel only applies to the individual who purchased the device from an authorized Pixel reseller.

Per the Chromebook Pixel’s Limited Warranty:

“This Limited Warranty is only valid and enforceable in locations the Chromebook Pixel is sold and will apply only if you purchased your Chromebook Pixel from Google or its authorized resellers.” (Line 1, Paragraph 2)

“In certain situations, you may also be required to provide a purchase receipt.” (Line 1, Paragraph 6)

I do want to help you. However, the original purchaser must contact us in regards to this Drive offer issue.

Sincerely,
[redacted]
Chrome Ninja Team

That seems like a very unfair policy for an electronic device. Plus, Dan wanted to know whether he had been defrauded. Had the Amazon seller swiped his Drive subscription? Did someone else steal the code? He wanted to know, but the ninjas wouldn’t tell him. “The message was: tough luck, buddy,” Dan wrote.

Was that really the policy? We wrote to Google’s Chromebook public relations team to find out. They contacted Dan to straight out the situation, and a Chromebook rep sent us this statement:

We will provide support to anyone who needs help with their Chromebook, whether it was purchased new, secondhand, received as a gift or you are an alchemist; we’ll endeavor to help you out.

Google did help Dan out: they straightened out the Drive subscription that was supposed to come with his computer. That subscription is indeed only supposed to belong to the original purchaser of the computer or whomever first opens the box. That’s why the ninjas asked for a receipt when the Drive activation came into question.