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Google is shipping carrier-locked Pixel 4 units to customers that bought the unlocked version

Google Pixel 4 XL long-term review
Google Pixel 4 XL long-term review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has been shipping Pixel 4 units carrier-locked to Xfinity Mobile.
  • These devices were billed as unlocked devices and sold directly from the Google Store.
  • Some replacement devices have also been shipped with the same carrier lock.

Google's Pixel 4 has stumbled into yet another PR issue. As per a report from 9to5Google, the company has somehow sent out a batch of carrier-locked devices to some Google Store buyers. As these devices were sold with the understanding of being unlocked units, customers were understandably irate at being locked to Xfinity Mobile. Making matters worse, when Google Support sent out new devices to replace the flawed ones, some of those were carrier-locked to Xfinity as well. Whoopsie.

It's not entirely clear how this happened, with the most likely explanation being a mix-up somewhere on the supply chain. With that being said, it has to be frustrating for consumers, especially during the holiday season. For affected buyers, the most immediate solution seems to be to request returns until they get an unlocked one barring a remote fix from Google, but this route is unlikely to be satisfactory past the second or third return for especially unlucky buyers.

The Pixel 4 is a pretty good, albeit flawed device. At the bare minimum, accepting that Google can't fix the specs post-release, one would expect the firm would work hard to solidify the intangibles of the Pixel experience like post-purchase support, reliable replacements, updates, and all that. Stories like this don't inspire faith, especially with the Pixel 4a coming down the pipeline.

In the meantime, let's hope Google figures out the root cause of this issue before more customers fall victim.

Google Pixel 4 XL review, one month later: A love-hate relationship

  • I got that sunshine in my pocket and I’m ready to go. I gotta have it, I gotta have it. Lol.
  • Google just can't seem to get their shipping/distribution pipelines in shape.
  • Could've happened to any company. Samsung, LG, etc have most likely had similar issues in the past.
  • It's a scandal to make Google look bad. It's fake news
  • It's real. I had it happen to me last week. Just got my replacement today and it is actually unlocked this time. There's a bunch of people having the same issue in Google forums and on Reddit.
  • Google doesn't need any help looking bad. Nice theory though.
  • Yes it sucks when this happens (most likely due to a snafu in the supply chain somewhere) but this could happen to any company. I daresay that Samsung, LG, etc have had their fair share of similar snafus.
  • Why can't Google send an unlock code to people who have had this problem?
  • It's especially comical considering you can't even buy an XFinity-locked device on Google's pixel website. It's Verizon or it's Unlocked.