Web brokers Google and PayPal don’t believe in human-to-human communication, and one place where you really need that is when you’re troubleshooting financial transactions. An interface designer/developer who used Google Checkout to sell an ebook has just been given a huge serving of suck by the “don’t be evil” company—they closed her account on her without warning and refuse to tell her why the closed it. The $200 in earnings that hadn’t been paid out yet are unretrievable, and she can’t open a new one.
The simple truth is, online transaction brokers aren’t held accountable to the same rules as banks, and resolving fraud and billing issues doesn’t appear to be scalable, or machine-solvable, to the degree Google and eBay would like. I’m as guilty as anyone of using both PayPal and Google Checkout to quickly pay for online transactions, but as of today I’m turning my back on both. Until they agree to staff resolution centers with real people who can resolve issues, there’s zero reason to trust them. If I pay with a credit card—and a single-use card if possible—then at least I know I have some rights should something go wrong. And the merchant, too, can trust that she’ll receive her money or have some legal recourse.
“Google is Evil, Worse than PayPal: Don’t use Google Checkout for your business” [slash7] (Thanks to Joshua and Heather!)