Sunday, 30 December 2012

WTF Google

tl;dr: Google charged me 5$ for a Chrome Developer's account two months ago and I still can't get into my account, although I've reported the problem right away. Apparently going public is the only way to get their attention.

Two months ago I created my first Chrome Extension. I had an itch using a crappy website. With a Chrome Extension you can run your own javascript in other websites which can greatly improve their user experience. That doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I could not publish the extension.

I have an Android app for another itch that had to be scratched. When I created that, I had to pay $25 to sign up for a Developers Account. This was for administration purposes and as a measure to prevent fraudulent applications or whatever. Ok, I get that. Besides, $25 is peanuts. So I paid.

But now Google wants even more peanuts. I thought having a Google Account meant being able to use it on all Google Services. Silly me. Of course I only had my *Android* Developer account verified! Now I needed to pay $5 to have a *Chrome Extensions* Developer account.

Nevertheless, I clicked the "Pay now for your Chrome Developers account" button, because well, $5 would not really break the bank. I entered my credit card code. After about five seconds I got a popup saying: "Uh oh. There was a problem." - "We couldn't complete your purchase because of a technical issue."

Fair enough. Being a programmer I can be very patient. I tried again, same error. Now what? More patience. Days later the problem persisted. In the meantime I had filed a ticket with Google support. Here is the entire transcript of the e-mail exchange.


-----  Oct 21, 2012
Question regarding order #xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx:
I got a "There was an error processing this order" error. I've tried again but with the same results. I would like to publish my chrome extensions, please let me know what the problem is.


----- Oct 22, 2012
Hello
Thanks for contacting the Chrome Web Store fee team. It looks like this order has been successfully charged.
Let us know if you have any other questions about this specific order.
Regards,
[name],
The Chrome Web Store Team


----- Oct 23, 2012
Hello,
14 hours ago I added new comments to the order, stating that I still had a problem. I've not received any reply and I'm not happy.
I can't proceed in the developer dashboard. I still get the Developer Registration page whenever I try to publish something. When I try paying I see: "Uh oh. There was a problem." - "We couldn't complete your purchase because of a technical issue."
I am getting somewhat annoyed, could you please activate my account?
By the way, I have already paid an Android Developers fee that's linked to my Google Account almost two years ago. Seems kind of strange that I have to do the same for a Chrome Developers account.
--
Jouke


----- Oct 23, 2012
Hello Jouke,
Apologies for the delayed response. I have forwarded your concern to our specialists. I'll update you know once I hear from them. We appreciate your patience as we work to resolve your concern.
Sincerely,
[name],
The Chrome Web Store Team


----- Nov 3, 2012
I AM STILL WAITING!


-----  Nov 6, 2012
Hello Jouke,
Apologies for the delayed response. I'm still waiting for to hear back from the relevant department. . I'll update you once I hear from them. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to resolve your concern

So now it's almost 2013, and I'm still waiting.
The amount has been charged  from my card by the way, so technically, they stole my $5. The Extension I developed would be useful to thousands of people, and it'd be a great example of why Chrome Extensions are a good idea. So I'd say that it'd be very good for Google if I could publish it. Instead, Google is creating frustration with developers.

Oh, and it has been discussed by others on the Chromium apps Google Group as well.

Hopefully this will generate a bit of noise and Google will do something. You can discuss this on Hacker News

27 comments:

  1. Outrageous, and not surprising at all. Here's a short list of companies that have stolen petty cash from me for which I have never been compensated:
    Sprint, AOL, T-Mobile (and their previous incarnation VoiceStream), Amazon, Paypal, eBay, Qwest, Century Link, Bank of America, and a couple of web-hosting companies that are no longer in business.

    Seems like a pretty good policy to steal from people, they're getting away with it, and the consumer has to put in the effort to get it back, which they make difficult. An immoral business model, certainly, but clearly successful. White collar theft enrages me to no end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww shucks, I forgot Apple. Yes, them too.

      Delete
  2. I've actually had the same issue with Google for over a year. I can't use Google Wallet to pay for anything (including Android apps on the phone)! I've tried removing and adding my card back. It gives me the same error. I've resorted to asking family members to use their accounts to purchase items on my devices. This is really frustrating!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The amount isn't the issue, obviously; it's the principle and it looks like Google's lacking a bit as evidenced by the issues others are having.

    Being evil is a byproduct of being big.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, they CAN get away with it, so they do get away with it. What are you going to do? Stop using Google? No you're not, you're going to take it in the butt quietly and continue asking your Googler masters for more.

      Delete
    2. I think you are right: being evil *is* a byproduct of being big. Perhaps instead of "Don't be evil", they should have told themselves "Don't be big" instead?

      Delete
  4. Dispute the charge with the CC company till they fix their problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That may not work at this point since this is over 30 days. Credit card companies are just as adept at not giving a ###

      Delete
  5. I'm afraid Google will block my account (temporarily) which would inconvenience me a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Doesn't matter if it was $5 or $500. Surely it can't be a hard fix?!
    Quite disappointed on Googles half considering I've never had any problems with them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yall Anonymous, probably using only their "free" product/services that's why getting no trouble with them. Respect the $5 and see you will prosper and won't have to panhandle anytime.

      Delete
  7. You seem like the kind of guy who loses a dollar at a vending machine, punches the machine, calls over the manager, demands he opens the register for a non paying customer, refunds his dollar, and then calls the police to oversee that transaction for good measure.

    I fucking hate you so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah, except that guy would get his dollar back.

      This guy didn't..

      Delete
    2. Except that he paid the 5$ for the possibility of publishing his chrome extension, and is still not able to do this. This is what his primary problem is, the secondary is the amount.

      Delete
    3. You're right! That's exactly how I am! Thank you for sharing your insights into my personality, kind anonymous hero.

      Delete
    4. And you, Anonymous guy, sound like the person I would have punched in the balls halfway through that tirade on account of being such a colossal cockmongler. Eat shit and die.

      Delete
  8. Since you used your credit card, just call the credit card company and explain the situation. They'll give you your money back (not that it's much as you say), but more importantly Google will get a black mark on its credit history.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Should have chargeback'd them.

    Now it sure won't hurt Google much, if at all, but like Kyle said above, they're getting bad rep with the credit card companies.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Call the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint.

    and if that doesn't work, keep the documentation from BBB and then take them to small claims court. Claim $5 plus your time and hassle spent on the phone, inability to publish your app, etc.





    ReplyDelete
  11. Being in a customer service myself I have to say your way of contacting support team is not really helpful. Instead of just telling how annoyed you are, you should actually describe more carefully what have you done and what is the actual problem.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have similar trouble with Google Wallet. Initially they claimed my account was closed and couldn't be used for anything, but then I bought a game whilst on a call to the wallet support team and they were amazed to see the transaction go through.

    They have now discovered that I have two wallet accounts, both with the same e-mail address (something which I'm assured is 'impossible'). It seems that one account is open and one is closed. They accept money using the open account and use the closed account to provide service (which of course means no service).

    I managed to get the CC charge refunded, but they then sent me an e-mail saying 'We see the purchase has been refunded, so the problem is solved'. They now ignore any further e-mails on the subject.

    Not a good service here from google...

    ReplyDelete
  13. hi i am the guy at google who stole your 5 bucks, i spent it on hookers and crack and had a good time
    kthnxbai

    ReplyDelete
  14. Interested to hear word on this.

    ReplyDelete
  15. It's not much of a revelation that Google doesn't really do customer support, it's usually the only part of a business that doesn't directly contribute to the balance sheet. Basic b-school wisdom sez that you can compete on (pick 2) quality, price, or scale, and Google's chosen price and scale.

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  16. Small claims court. Cheapo, quick, easy, and it'll get their attention. /

    ReplyDelete