Google Screwed Me Over?

I hate Paypal. In the early days of gambling I used Paypal to send money to casinos, and Paypal would occasionally screw me over. They held all deposits to casinos for 30 days so that if the casino went under, players wouldn’t get screwed. That was nice of them.

One time I deposited $10k and a casino went under. They never gave me any money despite a number of calls and e-mails. Oh well.

I use paypal when I absolutely have to, and that’s it. Google checkout came along, and I was happy about that. I like Adwords, Adsense is ok, Search is awesome, etc. I figure with their “Don’t be evil” motto, I’d have nothing to worry about.

Wrong.

About a month ago I released my book to a few people on my forum. I didn’t have a merchant account all set up, so I set up a payment page through Google checkout. It was easy and convenient and there weren’t any charges for using the service. Perfect!

Then tonight I get this e-mail :

Hey Tynan, Just wondering why this came? I was actually going to write and ask if I could get the final version once things settled down from your release, but I see no reason to get my money back. Hit me back if you get this, I can re-initiate the transaction (so long as I can still get the pre-order price.) I loved your book, looking forward to seeing the final.

-XXXXX

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Google Checkout
Date: Mar 2, 2007 4:48 PM
Subject: Your order from Tynan: Refund information
To: XXXXXXXXXXXXX@gmail.com

Tynan has issued a refund for $29.00 to your VISA xxx-2229 . Please note that the refund may not appear in your credit card account for several days.

* Refund reason: Other (describe below)

* Comments from Tynan: ” refunded by Google 02″

Let me make a few things clear. I haven’t logged into my Google checkout account in weeks. No one who paid through Google has ever requested a refund. I use a very long alphanumeric password that’s unique to Google checkout. I encrypt all of my web traffic and have my computer locked whenever I’m not using it. There’s no way that ANYONE has issued a refund.

I figure it’s an isolated incident.

Then I get an IM saying that someone else got a refund. Then a close friend of mine who sent me $100 for something else told me he got refunded.

I go to log in to my Google checkout account and it brings me to the “My Account” screen. I click the link for Google checkout again and it stays there. Apparently I don’t have a Google checkout account anymore.

I double check my e-mail. I check my spam folder and my trash folder. Nothing from Google in any of my accounts. So now all of my charges are refunded by “Google 02” apparently without me ever being notified. Worse, it’s saying that I refunded them. Awesome.

17 comments

  1. Man, this is rough. Google are notoriously bad at responding to emails, so good luck if you try and get in contact with one of their staff.

  2. You might want to use BMT Micro (www.bmtmicro.com). Sure, they will take 9.5% … _BUT_ they are the MOST responsive and helpful you can imagine. They will do literally anything for you if it helps you in any way to make more money. You just have to love them. I think that the comission is well worth it. If angry customer calls them and request a refund, they will contact you first to request a permission.

  3. That is really weird. I also had problems with Google Checkout — they kicked me off the program for adult content and stopped me from making sales. But, they did send me the money for the book sales I had already made.

    I suspect that it’s a computer glitch — I can’t see why Google would wantonly screw you over like that. Unless they’re super-cracking down on the adult content, in which case a few instances of the word “sex” on your sales page might be enough for them to close your account.

    I have my tech guy setting up payments with PayPal right now, which I think is the best solution until I get a merchant account. They do take a percentage, but it’s pretty low and worth it to not have to deal with Google headaches. I’m really looking forward to having the shopping cart set up, so I don’t have to worry about payment logistics for a long time and can concentrate on writing and blogging.

    On a side note, I’m re-starting the positivity challenge today! Got any tips for that?

    -Dan
    The Sex Revolution Blog

  4. Google thought that your services are either
    https://checkout.google.com/seller/content_policies.html
    a) Miracle cure (Unsubstantiated cures, remedies or other items marketed as quick health fixes)
    I can see how your sales later reads like a Miracle cure. (maybe you even tried to sell your Vegan book through google?)
    b) Adult goods and services (Pornography and other sexually suggestive materials (including literature, imagery and other media); escort or prostitution services)
    Some people might see a book about getting into bed with woman as adult content.

  5. A book on picking up women is CLEARLY not a Miracle Cure. I don’t even see how a bloody-minded and vindictive Google worker could come to that conclusion. I’d love to see him argue it, too.

    A book on picking up women should not be classed as adult content. Anyway, even if you’re breaking the letter of that rule, you’re not breaking the spirit of it. It’s there to stop the sale of porn.

    It just sounds like Google have fucked up. Good luck contacting them. They’re fuckwits.

  6. I hate PayPal with a vengence also. Back in high school my hatred prompted me to create a competing payment site called http://www.fusionpay.com. The site actually gained a fair amount of users but it got over run by people trying launder money through it so I had to shut it down.

    Before I was even 18 I tried almost every payment system out there and ended up hating them all. I finally realized that the only way to go was with a full blown merchant account. It is a hassle to set it up and almost requires a full time employee for handling red tape, but at least you get your money.

  7. I’m happy with PayPal.

    It is a waste of time and energy to be angry at PayPal or Google, they are just companies. Companies are designed to take money from you, when they do that, you shouldn’t be surprised.

    I transfer money from my paypal account to my bank account any time there is more than the minimum required for a free transfer.

    As John has found, running a payment site is a big hassle – PayPal and Google put a lot of effort into stopping scams and money-laundering. If you want to take over that hassle then get a merchant account. Personally I’d rather let them deal with it.

  8. Actually I’m really happy with my merchant account through authorize.net. Maybe too early to tell, but so far they’re pretty great.

    Tynan

  9. authorize.net seems to work well. I support clients with it and also have an account for newrocktees.com so you shouldn’t have any trouble

  10. Ya, this same thing just happened to me today. Had so customers emailing me wanting to know why they received a refund. I go to investigate. My account no longer exists. I received nothing from google explaining be why. I have never had a bad order, refund request, email complaining about a product or service, etc.

    I had only made 4 sales with the account, i received payment for 2 no problem. A few weeks later I had another 2 sales, and before they posted the funds, poof, I and the money no longer exist anymore.

    I guess the internet’s trusted companion can only be trusted for services not involving profitability.

  11. This happened to me but I was the customer. I bought a laptop, the order was confirmed through a personal reply to an email, and they satated that the payment had gone through and that the order had gone to the warehouse.

    9 Days later I get an email saying I have a full refund with the reason being the same as yours “Refunded by Google 02”

    I have emailed the company through google twice but have not had a reply.

    Im just hoping that they have send it off already, and will arrive in the post sometime soon for free!

  12. Just had Google close my Account with no reasoning. All customer sales totalling more than £3,000 were refunded to my new customers with the reason of ” Refunded by Google 02″.
    We’ve had no chargebacks, no complaints and have signed agreements with out customers before we take payment.
    Google have cost effectively bankrupted our business by destroying our hard earned cashflow.

    As pointed our earlier, they are a large corporation that just dont care.

    I’m dissapointed and would ask anyone that is considering taking payment with Google Check out to look at the alternatives as they just dont care and are of no help.

  13. I am going through this as a customer right now. I purchased a Crystal Cake Topper from Jodi with The Crystal Topper for my wedding cake. “Refunded by Google 02″…what the hell??? So I try to call Jodi to ask is my order still valid because she saw an order for 2 cake toppers….NO ANSWER!!! I left messages through her Google account and her email AND her answering machine…NO RESPONSE YET!!!! I just need to know if the order is still valid and if I will have a Cake Topper on my wedding cake.

    Anica

  14. I got mail from google checkout saying that my supplier has refunded my money but it may take several days to appear in your bank statement.
    reason described below.
    Google 02

    Does any one know how long it could be.

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