Thursday, October 12, 2006

Comedy & Illinois Update

I just posted a big deal to me blog on my site about my first show in Springfield and the after effects.

Check it out!
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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Google Checkout Catastrophy or: Buyer Beware!

So I had a horrible day - and it was all because of Google Checkout.

Please share this with EVERYONE you know - I don't want what happened to me to happen to them!

Dear eCost

I know this isn't eCost's fault - but I thought you guys should know about my experience shopping with you today (Order #xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx), and, subsequently, choosing to checkout with Google Checkout.

I have shopped with eCost before and have had a great experience, previously. The products have been fairly priced, if not WONDERFULLY priced, and the shipping and delivery has been great. Today, I thought of eCost as I was ready to order a new LCD monitor. I found the FujiPlus (eCost part 3481400) on your bargain countdown and, immediately, purchased it.

As an incentive, the checkout offered the ability to get $10 if you used Google Checkout. I've been very fond of Google products, until today, so I thought - "Why not!" and I placed the order. I went about my morning and found an email later saying my credit card information was declined and that I needed to re-enter it.

Figuring I had made a typo, I promply updated the information only to find my card was, again marked invalid by Google and my purchase not finalized.

I then looked at my Wells Fargo online statement and found not one, not two, but a total of 5 charges equalling the amount for my eCost order. All of them marked pending, and all of them, obvioulsy, approved by my bank.

That's nearly $1000! Now, because I used my debit card - my card and my checking account were frozen. The timing could not have been worse, as I had dozens of errands to run today, before I pull out of Texas tomorrow to relocate to Illinois to start my new job on Monday. Adding to the issue was that my rent check is to clear tonight - with no problem - until Google Checkout processed charges over and over again on my account.

I phoned my bank and they were unable to release the pending charges that Google had said were never authorized. Wells Fargo verified that they were, in fact, authorized and that the problem was with Google Checkout.

Then began the nightmare that I am still going through. There I was, in my car, driving around Dallas with tons of errands to do, trying to figure out how to get a hold of someone at Google to call my bank to release the pending charges. I found a main contact number at Google and it turns out Google does not have anyone you can talk to in real life - only via email. At 12:30 I sent an email via Google's help system - and when I got a receptionist on the phone at Google, I was told that I had to have a first and last name to be connected to anyone.

So, I'm stranded, in Dallas, my moving funds completely tied up - unable to use my bank account and panicking about losing my new job, as I will be unable to relocate as planned without my money being returned.

After getting back home, I phoned eCost and spoke with one of the kindest, most wonderful customer service poeple I've ever talked to. I let her know the issue and all but begged her to get me on the line with someone who could help me find a contact at Google - surely eCost has a person who has a name of someone at Google. I'm sure the customer service person was following protocol - and by the end of the call, she had let me know that Jill at the Corporate Office was going to call Google to get things worked out. That was at about 2:45CST today.

According to my bank records, none of the funds have been removed from
pending on my account - there are still 5 charges showing up as approved by my bank.

I have not been able to reach anyone at Google. I have sent 3 emails
and 2 messages through Google's "help" center.

After spending nearly 4 hours on my cell phone and getting none of my errands done today (tires fixed, oil change in my car, etc) - the $10 coupon that I was offered to use Google Checkout has cost me nearly $100... not to mention the time and stress of trying to get this remedied.

As of this email my monies have not been returned - nor has anyone from Google called me or returned my contact email or messages. If Google is going to be acting as a merchant processor, there needs to be a way to reach them in the event of such an "emergency". And I do not use the word emergency lightly here, as it has, in fact, ruined not only my day, but potentially jeopardized my relocation and my new job.

I would strongly suggest to eCost to re-evaluate its relationship with Google Checkout. I would hate for this to happen to another customer.

Thank you -

cc: Google Checkout
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