Google Play Saga Becomes A Cautionary Tale For Customer Service Staff

Tim put his faith in Google. He ordered up a Chromecast video streaming device and a Nexus 4 smartphone from the Google Play store, canceling his existing cell phone plan before a planned move. Then his package from Google didn’t come. The Chromecast was backordered, but his phone wasn’t. Still the package didn’t come, even though the phone was supposed to ship separately.

He e-mailed us in a state of frustration: Google had his money and his Chromecast. They charged him for a second order, and he was waiting patiently for the charge to drop off his card to straighten out his finances. The original charge didn’t move, and customer service staff were aggressively unhelpful.

He sent us the whole chain of e-mails, but this summary that he wrote out shows the entire saga.

  1. I purchase a Nexus 4 + Chromecast on July 31st.
  2. Chromecast was backordered and would ship in 2-4 weeks.
  3. However, Nexus 4 was not backordered and showed that it would ship “By August 3rd”.
    On August 8th, it had not shipped.

    I had already cancelled my previous phone plan, so I was sans-phone. At the same time, I had just moved to a new city and also was starting a new job that was an hour’s drive away, and did not have a phone to navigate me there, as I was reliant on GPS to get around.

  4. I called Google on August 8th and they said that the phone would not ship until the Chromecast shipped, and that this was normal.
  5. I explained that the website said that it would have shipped on the 3rd. They questioned me, and I proved it via screenshot.
  6. They CLAIMED that they cancelled and refunded the order for the Nexus 4. I believe that I still have the recording of this call. They told me that I’d have to purchase a second N4 to get it shipped out on time.
  7. To get it here in any reasonable amount of time, I had to pay for additional shipping ($15). They refused to refund that extra cost, even though it was only necessary because of their poorly set up orders system and misleading dates.
  8. The second order arrived (the N4).
  9. I don’t remember if I called or emailed, but I pointed out to them that the charge for the first N4/Chromecast order was still on my fiancee’s card, and now the second charge was on there as well! This was causing serious issues with our finances.
  10. They claimed that it was just a pending authorization, and would drop off even though it had been several days already.
  11. The charge never dropped off.
  12. Recently, the [first order including both] the N4 and Chromecast shipped, so I now know that both the person who said that they refunded the order and the person who said that it was a pending authorization either didn’t actually look into my orders, or blatantly lied to me.
  13. Every time I call customer support about this (even if I talk to a ‘supervisor’), they tell me that I need to talk to a ‘specialist’, and that specialists only communicate over email.
  14. I then get an email days later that, like the most recent one, just says some absolute nonsense that has nothing to do with my case or issue, and makes it clear that they’ve simply copy/pasted it from a script. It is clear that they didn’t read my case notes, didn’t look at my account, don’t understand the issue, and don’t care to know about it.

Well. This sounded very messy and confusing. We took Tim’s story and his contact information to Google’s press office and asked for help. He was stunned to receive a phone call from an actual human being. Who was able to refund the erroneous charge immediately. He wrote to us:

The guy I spoke to also assured me that they have just this month, hired a new QA team to monitor and assure quality in their support centers, and that they would use my case as an example of what NOT to do in training for all agents.

This has really boosted my morale and faith in humanity. Thanks, Consumerist!
And thanks Google!

Hurray! This is one case in which Tim should be happy that he will become a cautionary tale.

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