Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Google Not Trustworthy With Your Credit Card

I have a domain name I use for professional work to receive email. In order to get reliable email (in light of Apple's abysmal track record with MobileMe and Mac.com email) I pay Google once a year for a professional-grade email service. Benefits include huge-attachment-handling.

I don't use Google to advertise; I don't advertise my day-job online at all. The couple of places I've appeared in professional listings online have, in fact, resulted in nothing at all but wasted time due to low-quality leads from "prospects" who don't understand what I do and have no desire to pay me to do it. So imagine my surprise when I saw Google Inc. on a credit card statement, charging me for AdWords service.

Say what?

Naturally, Google doesn't supply any contact information through which to find out what on Earth was supposedly done for the $4.16 billed me, and how to stop it. And since Google has enrolled in some kind of signature-less service that prevents my credit card from being able to provide itemization, my credit card company's online interface said I needed to contact the merchant directly about the charge.

Um. Google is as opaque as can be. How am I supposed to contact Google about charges, when Google's phone number says "Because Google does not offer live customer support at this time, please visit our web site at www.Google.com/support"...? Google.com has no apparent interface for people who want to know why Google is charging them money. Worse, I can't see a way to limit Google to charging my only for the one service for which I'm actually willing to pay.

Pretending interest as a new customer to get a human resulted in transfers to automated call queues which disclaimed the power to help.

At the end of one of my longer calls to Google (ie, transfers followed by new combinations of numerical responses designed to avoid the areas of the menu tree known to refer me to Google.com), I was asked whether I wanted to take a survey in English. Sure, why not. After spending several minutes giving answers (by pushing numbers) and leaving a recorded message ... I was kicked back to the menu position in which I was asked whether I wanted to take a survey in English.

Google's idea of a customer-friendly interface probably says something about why Apple is making all the money in interfaces.

Solution: I told my credit card to block Google as a merchant. I have about eight months to replace Google for my email service. Any suggestions?

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