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!

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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 -
Amelia

cc: Google Checkout
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20 comments:

clem said...

did you eventually get a resolution or contact number from Google?

I'm having a grand old time with them

NEVER AGAIN

D&G said...

I read that you got a $20 credit and a free monitor. Can you distribute the email address and phonenumber of the Google manager, so I can complain too, and get my money back?
If Google is trying to make customers happy by paying their items for them, I guess they will be banckrupt anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

I ahve a similar issue with Google Checkout and thei total lack of customer service. I tried to cancel an order placed thru them because I had information the companywas a bunch of scammers. It wasn't even 24 hours later and money was not taken out of my account yet. Well, they did nothing more than forward my request to the merchant and now I am out $325.00 which they apparently are not tooquick to do anything about. I keep getting e-mails telling me they are checking into this and will contact the merchant on my behalf! This has been the most frustrating experience of the life and I can't help but think that Google is just a guilty of theft as the scammers.

Emil Gnasso said...

horrible experience here as well! ordered from toys r us, and 3 calls to their customer service we horrid!

they took my money, and never intended to send me the item. they also never notified me of the problem, so even though it was 5 weeks before Christmas, my daughter may not get the top item on her list. Needless to say, I want someone from google to talk to. I hope you can post the name number please!

Anonymous said...

Very bad experience with Google Checkout. Purchase and paid for an item from a store which is both online and storefront. One day after my card was charged I received an email from the store saying the item was no longer available. They said Google was advised of the cancelled order and would refund my money. It is now 12 days and 20+ emails later to Google, and I still haven't received the refund. I called the store several times, and they insist that Google knows about the cancelled order and will refund my money. Google, via email, states they are "working with the seller" to process the cancellation and refund. A real live person at Google would be great! Anybody with a phone number? I am currently out $105.

Anonymous said...

From 12/15/06

Awful time with Buy.com and G-Checkout. Scraped together a $50 order to qualify for $20 discount; now G says one of the two items is "no longer available from supplier" BUT the item is still seen as available on Buy.com! Was refunded, but no pro-ration on $20 disco. Paid more for item #1 than I would have at a retail store; glad to know I'm not the only one (misery loves company I guess...)

Dominick//Maryland

Anonymous said...

Stay far far away from Google Checkout. They care nothing about the customers and their suuport staff is totally clueless. I had a similar experience where I got an error message saying the order had not processed, to go back and try again. I did and the order doubled but with only one transaction number. After five credits and rebills they got it right, but not without intervention from the bank.

I tried again on another occassion and apparently Google Checkout does not screen their sellers. They're more interested in protecting THEM against fraudulent purchases than they are in the buyers against fraudulent merchants - DirectSales of Xenia, OH for one. DO NOT buy from that outfit - say goodbye to your money and your product. Again on that one, Google all but told me - "sorry, you lose". The bank stepped in again and got my money back.

Google Checkout is a joke. Spend the extra $10 and buy directly from the merchant.

Anonymous said...

I ordered an in stock item from buy.com on Dec. 6th. Google Checkout charged my credit card immediately. Buy.com never sent my order because it turns out the item is not in stock, it is on indefinite backorder. It took more than a week of contacting buy.com and Google Checkout to find out why my order never shipped.

There seems to be a conflict in the Google Checkout Program policy and what buy.com says Google Checkout policy is.

Google Checkout Program policy:

"As a Google Checkout merchant, you're required to adhere to the Google Checkout policies at all times.

2. Order Management

b. Ship orders before charging the buyer's credit card. You may not attempt to charge the buyer's credit card until you have
shipped the order."

http://checkout.google.com/seller/policies.html

What buy.com says Google Checkout policy is:

"Please note that you are billed though your item has not yet shipped. This is one of the unique policies when purchasing through GoogleCheckout.

For more questions on GoogleCheckout policies, please visit our Buy.com help site. Under Pricing and Billing click on "What are my payment choices?". Then, choose Google check out or you can simply copy paste the following link in your address box:

http://www.buy.com/corp/support/billing/google.asp"

Buy.com policy for customers not using Google Checkout:

"When will my credit card be charged? Since we don't think you should pay for your order until it is actually on its way, Buy.com will not bill you until your products, including backordered or preordered items, are actually shipped. In
the case of Music Downloads we will bill you at the time of purchase."

http://www.buy.com/corp/support/billing/creditcards.asp?what=whencharged

Google Checkout support knows that I (and many others - this is a growing problem, and not just with buy.com) have been charged for merchandise that has not been shipped and that the merchant can’t even give an estimate on when the item will be available, if ever.

They have done nothing about it. The charge is on my credit card statement.

Unless you have extra money to burn, avoid using Google Checkout.

Anonymous said...

Google Checkout responded to me:

"Thanks for bringing this to my attention, JM. All merchants integrate Checkout in different ways, and have unique billing and shipping policies. If you are concerned that your order will not arrive in the timeframe you expected you should contact the merchant to cancel your order. I will follow up with this merchant to make sure their policies work with ours.

GoogleCheckout"

My response to Google Checkout:

So, to clarify, Google Checkout does not require merchants to adhere to Google Checkout Program Policies, and expects customers using Google Checkout to risk their money by paying in advance for orders that may never be filled?

You have got to be kidding.

People who have tried to cancel their orders report that they get nowhere with this; they get no credit to their account, just the runaround. The merchant says to contact Google Checkout because they are
the ones who charged the customers account, not the merchant. Google Checkout says to contact the merchant who then says there's nothing they can do, Google Checkout charged the customer.

When they do finally get someone willing to take responsibility for this, they are then told that it will take 5-10 business days for their refund to process. Why does it take 5-10 days for a refund when the charge was posted to their accounts immediately?

The complaints are pretty widespread and all involve the use of Google Checkout when buying from several major e-tailers.

A lot of people have just gotten fed up with this and filed a fraudulent charge complaint with their credit card companies, starting the process of a chargeback.
But, they are told it may take as much as 60 days to resolve the issue.

Some people have been socked with credit card interest for merchandise they never received because it was never shipped, and is not likely to ever ship.

Why on earth should buyers trust Google Checkout?

Either Google Checkout or the e-tailers are holding on to a lot of money for
orders that were never filled and merchandise that was never shipped.

Google Checkout just throws buyers into third party payment processing hell.

This is not the "fast, convenient, and safe online shopping experience" that
the Google Checkout program claims as its goal.

J M

Anonymous said...

Regarding above comment...

Google Checkout Happy Ending!

Google came through!

Google helped me get the same item for the same price I would have originally paid - and - my order was delivered ahead of schedule.

I’m very impressed with the help I received from Google on this.
Great job, Google!

Anonymous said...

Google checkout SUCKS bigtime.

Here is my experience
12/23 - Order camera via Google checkout (Ritz Camera)
12/28 - Send enquiry for status : No response from Google
01/05 - Send enquiry again : No response from Google
01/08 - Called Ritz camera directly : they tell the order was cancelled the first day because the camera is out of production
01/08 - Send flaming email to Google
01/08 - Google sends email that order is cancelled.

It takes 15 days for Google to tell that order was cancelled, after 3 enquiry status to Google and one telephone call to Ritz

NEVER NEVER NEVER again any business to Google or Ritz for me.

Anonymous said...

This is the worst yet! I mistakenly trusted the Google name! I opted for 2 business day shipping and it took 12 days for the order to arrive, they more than reclaimed the $10 rebate that sounded good at the time. Never agin is right! Their customer service is horrible!

Anonymous said...

Google checkout works very fine as long as your order is being processed normally.

But it really sucks when the order is cancelled.

I have had used GC for about 8 times and never had any problem. But last time I had to cancel the order as the merchant needed some extra proof which may not be required if I use another card. So I cancelled the order hoping that the item is not shipped and the order is cancelled, so I will not be billed.

But as per Google policy, I was billed even before the Order was approved by merchant. And later on when Google got notification that the Order is cancelled, they updated the Order details in Purchase History to say "xxx has cancelled your order. Your credit card won't be charged."
That sucks. I was already charged for the amount ($778).
I called the merchant, who said I need to contact Google as they are the one who charged me.
I went to Google help to surprise myself by finding that they don't have any live support. Forget about phone, they don't even have chat support. Then after looking at their help documents, I found that I should contact my bank to get the fund released.
Then I contacted my bank and again to give me a shock, they told me that Google has to contact them to release the amount.

Now I am in a dillema, the merchant and Bank do not help without Google contacting them and this great Google does not let us contact them.

Can someone help?
Does anyone have their contact info?
I badly need to get that $778 charge out of my account, which has caused it to overflow and block.

Anonymous said...

Google is by far the worst online shopping experience I ever had. I will take them off my computer as an online search engine, and never again order through Google when shopping online. Online sellers should remove Google from their websites. What a nightmare. Buyer beware. You're in for a very frustrating and time consuming experience.

Anonymous said...

The hellish nighmare is not only for buyers but for sellers as well. Presently Google owes me over $5,700 for a transaction a client and entered it. The order was authroized and I am waiting for them to pay me out on it. 10 days and countless emails later and I still have no resolution. NEVER use Google Checkout. It is a joke and a waste of time. Why do BILLIONAIRE owners need to hold on to my money to just earn interest, "float", on my money?

Dunkley said...

This morning I tried to make a purchase with google checkout. During the process the money was deducted from my card. Google Checkout says that the card was declined. I looked at my online bank statement and the money was taken. I called the bank and they confirmed that the money was taken.

I've sent several emails to google, and got what looks like a form letter telling me to edit my information or use a new card because the card had been declined.

I've just sent another email. I will never use Google Checkout again. They have no direct communication, no telephone support and seem to be unresponsive to problems. Beware.

Anonymous said...

Beware of using Google Checkout. I heard about them not funding purchases and refunding customers and stores having already shipped the goods. So I waited until the funds posted to my account and then sent the customer her purchase. The customer emailed me and asked why she was being refunded. I look at my bank account and 4 days later they had taken the money back out of my account. I received no notice that this was going to happen the only way I knew was by looking at my account.

Google Checkout is a SCAM!!!

Dmatteostudio said...

Google sucks, I paid a $40. restocking fee to Plumbersurplus.com for a rotten looking medicine cabinet. It cost me $33. to return it.
The cost of the item was 89. plus shipping = 118. Total cost for absolutely nothing: $73.00

I will NEVER shop Google AGAIN! Warn your friends!
GOOGLE does not back you up, you are at the mercy of the seller!

Anonymous said...

Next Google Checkout CRISIS:
Fortunately, there was not that much cash involved in my Google Moment. I pay for my Google Apps accounts via Google Checkout... and nothing else! Weeks ago I changed my credit card number as I had received a new credit card due to a fraud risk. Thanks to the credit card company. I dutifully followed all Google online instructions and deleted my old card and set up my new payment method. Then yesterday when they tried to charge for my Google Apps annual fee, I suddenly got an email saying there was an error and can I re-enter info. I have been through this before and so did not do it, and within the same minute I got another email saying it was charge through. BUT ..... ALL of these events occurred on the credit card number I had DELETED weeks earlier.... so this tells me they have SERIOUS SOFTWARE problems... I am not beginning to wonder about my email and other apps security. This is going out on the net!

r said...

very good information .thank you very much