[UPDATED] FIXED: Legacy GSuite users unable to redeem digital codes can now do so once again

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Ever since Google moved their free Google Apps program into their paid, business-use GSuite, legacy Google Apps users have encountered various issues from time to time. To backtrack slightly, there was a time when Google offered free Google Apps accounts for individuals and organizations under 50 users. All you had to do was grab a domain, sign up, and you had your own personalized email addresses which used Gmail as the back end. To be honest, it was the perfect solution for small business and many tech-savvy people I know jumped on board and set up their families on GApps as well.

UPDATED (06/13/2018 4:15 p.m. ET): After applying a temporary fix yesterday, Google has indicated that the fix is permanently in place.

Hi everyone,

To close the loop here, promo codes for Play Movies redemption have been fixed & should be working again for G Suite accounts.
If you continue to experience any issues with this, please reply to this thread for our team to review. Thanks for your patience as we investigated this!
AJ, Google Play Community Manager
While Google specifically mentions Play Movies, we can confirm IAP promo codes are redeemable again as well. While this fix is welcome news, the bigger issue of legacy GSuite users not being able to take advantage of other standard Google Account features like family sharing remains.


A few years ago, Google decided to shutter the free Google Apps program and grandfather and migrate existing users over to their base GSuite packages. Of course, this also meant that these legacy GSuite users, as we’ll call them, now fell under the business-oriented GSuite rules. The biggest issue to date is the inability to sign up for and use the Google Play Family functionality which allows you to assign up to five people to your Google family and share app purchases. Another issue, which is slightly related, is that legacy GSuite users can’t sign up for the Google Play Music family plan.

An even bigger issue for legacy GSuite users has recently surfaced. A number of users, myself included, found out that they could no longer redeem digital movie or app codes in the Google Play Store. When these users try to enter a digital movie code or a promo or IAP code into Google Play, they are given an error message stating that “This account cannot redeem Play balance promotion codes and promotional items.”

When I personally encountered this issue when trying to redeem an IAP promo code for a mobile game I was set to review, I Googled the issue and came across a forum post in which other users were complaining that they couldn’t redeem their digital movie codes. After adding my two cents, a couple other users also noted it wasn’t limited to digital movie codes but for those who mentioned it, it seems as though the issue is only affecting legacy GSuite users.

At first, Google blamed Fox and Fox blamed Google Play and it seemed like those having issues were going to be caught in a never-ending “it’s not our fault” loop. Of course, considering I was having issues with redeeming an IAP game code, the issue was clearly Google Play/GSuite related. On May 25th, Eva, a Community Specialist, gave us a bit of hope when she stated that the issue was being looked into. However, a couple days later when she responded with a fix, her response was pretty unacceptable.

Hi All,

Thanks for posting on the Google Play Help Forum.

To assist you better, I’d like to let you know that Google Play gift cards and promotional codes can be redeemed online to purchase digital content in the Google Play Store at play.google.com or in the Play Store app.

You need to make sure that you’re signed in to a regular Google account (***.@gmail.com) to redeem the code. You can also learn in this useful help center article about how to redeem a gift card, gift code, or promotional code.

Here are the available payment options for your Google service for G Suite account.

Reach out if you have any other questions.


Of course, users were up in arms with this “tone deaf” solution. Suggesting legacy GSuite users sign up for a standard Gmail account and start redeeming their codes there, thus splitting up their movie and app/game collections across accounts is definitely not acceptable. I do understand that Google decided to sunset a particular program to make way for a newer, more robust, business-oriented one. However, taking away features or limiting the features that legacy GSuite users have had access to in the past is unacceptable. Personally, I do partially understand why these accounts don’t have access to the family sharing, but being unable to redeem a code for a purchase is simply ludacris.

At this point, I really could care less about having a legacy GSuite account. The only thing keeping me using one is because my entire family is set up on it and has years of app and game purchases invested in the ecosystem. Not to mention the pain it’s going to be to transfer logins and accounts for four users to a new Gmail account. To make matters worse, Google currently doesn’t have a tool for legacy GSuite users to convert their existing accounts to a standard Gmail account. I do have a Gmail account currently (it’s an old one that predates my legacy GSuite account) and truth be told, if there was some way I could associate it with my legacy GSuite account and transfer my purchases and data over to it, I’d definitely take my lumps and being the painful process of updating anything that had my GSuite email address.

At any rate, there is some hope that Google will be coming up with a fix as a new post the other day from another Community Manager, AJ, stated that Google is looking into the issue.

Hi everyone,

Thanks for writing in on our forum. I’m sharing your reports with the product team, and will post again on this thread when there are updates to share. Thanks for your patience as we look into this.

AJ, Google Play Community Manager

Personally, I’m not holding my breath, and while I do hope that Google does fix this issue soon, I’d much rather they admit they’re giving up on legacy GSuite users and come up with a way for those users to migrate their accounts to standard Gmail ones.

Are you a legacy GSuite user who is affected by this bug or feature rollback? If Google gave you an option to migrate your GSuite account to a standard Gmail account, would you? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

[button link=”https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/play/jx5R43sx25U” icon=”fa-external-link” side=”left” target=”blank” color=”285b5e” textcolor=”ffffff”]Source: Google Forums[/button]

Last Updated on June 13, 2018.


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