Google’s latest promotion for its newly launched standalone Pixel Tablet went off the rails in spectacular fashion last week, forcing the tech giant to swiftly retract an unexpectedly generous trade-in offer that savvy bargain hunters were exploiting.

The deal, which kicked off on May 10 alongside the unveiling of the Pixel 8a smartphone, allowed customers to trade in certain older iPad models and receive a $399 credit towards the purchase of the $399 Pixel Tablet. In essence, Google was practically giving away the tablet for free to anyone willing to part with an aging Apple device.

At first glance, the promotion seemed like a clever tactic to lure iPad owners into Google’s hardware ecosystem. However, it didn’t take long for enterprising shoppers to uncover a lucrative arbitrage opportunity. Tech-savvy consumers quickly realized they could scoop up old, sixth-generation iPads on marketplaces like eBay and Swappa for a fraction of the $399 trade-in value, essentially scoring a brand-new Pixel Tablet at a massive discount – or even free in some cases.

“I literally did this today… I got a used 1st Gen iPad Pro for $75 on FB marketplace and I am trading it for the new pixel tablet. Order is in place and should be here in a few days!,” one eager Redditor proudly proclaimed, exemplifying the frenzy that ensued as word of the too-good-to-be-true deal spread like wildfire across online forums and social media.

Google, seemingly caught off guard by the overwhelming response, found itself inundated with a deluge of aging iPads from bargain hunters taking full advantage of the oversized trade-in credits. According to Forbes, online searches for terms like “Swappa,” “eBay,” and “sixth-generation iPad” skyrocketed as consumers scrambled to cash in on the unintentionally lucrative promotion.

Faced with the prospect of hemorrhaging money, Google was forced to pull an abrupt about-face, curtailing the deal just days after its launch. On May 11, the company slashed the trade-in value for sixth-generation iPads from the original $399 figure down to a mere $75 – a far cry from the tablet’s $399 sticker price.


The sudden reversal left some customers who had already taken advantage of the initial offer concerned that Google might renege on its terms. However, the tech behemoth has since reassured those early birds, stating that it “will honor the original trade-in price for people who bought the Pixel Tablet when the offer was still active.”

While the short-lived promotion may have been an expensive misstep for Google, it served as a potent reminder of the tech-savvy bargain-hunting prowess of modern consumers. As for the company’s future hardware launches, one can only hope that any enticing trade-in offers will be scrutinized a bit more carefully to avoid a repeat of this pricing pandemonium.

Dwayne Cubbins
1157 Posts

My fascination with Android phones began the moment I got my hands on one. Since then, I've been on a journey to decode the ever-evolving tech landscape, fueled by a passion for both the "how" and the "why." Since 2018, I've been crafting content that empowers users and demystifies the tech world. From in-depth how-to guides that unlock your phone's potential to breaking news based on original research, I strive to make tech accessible and engaging.

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