Turns out that a few hundred people in New Hampshire purchased Pixels on behalf of a reseller, who then turned around and sold them at a profit to others. New Hampshire has no sales tax, which means the people buying them could sell them to the reseller at a profit, and the reseller could do the same. Oh, industry. That, according to the Google Store terms of service, is not allowed, and ended in the unceremonious ban and blocking of those accounts, some legitimate and some not. This lead to many people unable to access their Gmail or Google Drive content, with no immediate explanation.
There is good news, though: Google has restored the accounts of those who didn't realize they were doing anything wrong. In a statement sent to Android Central, Google explains:
We identified a scheme in which consumers were asked to purchase Pixel devices on behalf of a reseller, who then marked-up the cost of those devices in order to resell them to other customers. We prohibit the commercial resale of devices purchased through Project Fi or the Google Store so everyone has an equal opportunity to purchase devices at a fair price. Many of the accounts suspended were created for the sole purpose of this scheme, but since some customers were not aware of these Terms of Sale and are now locked out of many Google services they rely on, we're restoring access to these customers' accounts.
A happy ending to a strange story, one that emphasizes how Google is trying to take more control over its product distribution as it inches more towards being a hardware vendor.