Thursday, May 29, 2008

Google Checkout = BROKEN

As I was perusing my feeds this morning, I stumbled upon a hot deal for a SanDisk 4GB Cruzer Titanium USB flash drive for $22 with free shipping. I noticed that you could get the drive for $11.99 (a $10 discount) if you signed up for Google Checkout through Buy.com. Being a Google fanboy, I figured it would be a great time to sign up, since I already have a Google account, and I just couldn't pass up such a sweet deal. I added my credit card to my Google Checkout account, placed the order, and received a confirmation e-mail. Unfortunately, about thirty minutes later I got an e-mail saying that the order had been canceled. I tried it again, and the order was canceled again. I tried using a different credit card, but the order was canceled again. I called my bank and I made sure I had all of the right information. It turns out that I entered an incorrect credit card expiration date for the second credit card. So, I entered the correct information again, but the order was denied again.

I tried to see if I could contact someone at Google Checkout. I dug up a phone number from Gethuman for Google Support (650-623-4000), but when I reached a representative she informed me that there was no support for Google Checkout. No support? Nice. Why was my credit card still being denied, even after checking with my bank and verifying all of my information?

I scoured the Google Checkout help pages and tried placing the order five times total, using two different credit cards. Every time, the order was canceled. After digging some more on the Google Checkout help pages (and beginning to wonder if this is worth my precious time), I was able to find a contact form after eight tricky clicks. Hopefully, I'll get a response soon.

After trying all day, I noticed that the much-coveted flash drive is now out of stock. It really shouldn't be this difficult. Google Checkout is broken. If Google hopes to succeed with their Checkout service, they must improve their customer support and the usability of this product which has great potential. I hope you have better luck with Google Checkout than I did.
Comments? Suggestions?

3 comments:

Brian said...

Apparently the reason Google was canceling my order was because I signed up for two Google Checkout accounts (since my first attempt to sign up for the Buy.com $10 promotional discount failed). When I tried to order using my second Google Checkout account, the orders were canceled every time. It would have been nice if Google Checkout had sent me just a quick note to let me know. However, I am satisfied that customer support representatives (yes, they really have them) have replied to me after a day or so of me submitting a help request via their elusive web form.

The bottom line is, they have granted me the Buy.com new sign up discount to my original Google Checkout account and have advised me to not use the second one I created.

Am I satisfied from a customer perspective? Well, yes, and no. I'm glad Google Checkout support responded in a reasonably timely manner via email, but it was so hard to get in touch with them initially. And, they could've sent me a message telling me why all my orders were canceled repeatedly. I had such a horrible time figuring out why I couldn't order, and after toiling for hours, the item I originally wanted to purchase sold out. I had a bad first experience, but I think that going forward, my experience with Google Checkout will be better.

Doug Taylor said...

Hey Brian, good feedback on Google Checkout. I tried it an abandoned it (for now) a few weeks ago for a different reason: on one of my web projects I was going to offer Google Checkout and/or PayPal as checkout options, but discovered that Google Checkout currently doesn't support any postback functionality. In other words there wounldn't be an automated way for your site to know the transaction had been completed successfully. Seems like a basic feature so I'd guess they'll get there, but for now I'm not going to use them.

Brian said...

Interesting, I would think that their API would provide for some sort of notification feature. If they do have it, it's probably hidden somewhere. :-)

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