Friday 29 June 2012

My Google ‘Wallet/Play/Checkout/Whatever’ account ‘experience’

So what a fantastic blog, a whole year, and no entries! So without further ado, here’s my Google ‘Wallet/Play/Checkout/Whatever’ account ‘experience’. I initially opened a Google Checkout account over seven years ago, and used it time to time, most recently to buy Android Apps.

So how did it start to go wrong?

I tried to buy a book like app, for 80p, that revealed that my credit card had expired. So I put a different credit card on. Tried to buy it again, but it was rejected.

A few hours later I get an e-mail, allegedly from Google, badly written with simple spelling mistakes. Oh, obviously I’ve not put my real name in, I mean Great Furby, really? Though I DO own the address, it’s not my personal Google one.

From: Checkout Compliance []
Sent: 03 June 2012 05:20 AM
Subject: [#1042226094] Your Google Checkout Account


During a recent review of your Google Checkout account, we were unable to verify th information of "Great Furby"

As a result, your account has been temporarily suspended and you will be unable to place orders. In order to resolve this situation, please provide us with the requested information within 3 business days by filling out this form

Please note that failure to provide us with the requested documentation may result in account closure.

Yours Sincerely,

The Google Checkout Team

The link asks for proof of ID, i.e. my passport and proof of address, a bank statement. It has a threat of ‘account closure’ (it was already disabled!) and a ‘3 business days’ time limit. It looked no different to a fraudulent phishing attempt e-mail, although the URL given in it looked OK, I could not get to the same URL if I logged into my Wallet account and then tried to reach it. Besides the whole “we were unable to verify th information” isn’t true, my card had expired, and it was pretty much verified for the best part of a decade, so why not be a bit more truthful about what’s wrong? So I ignored it.  But I was perplexed, how on earth was the timing so good, that I get this odd e-mail, so soon after a failed purchase, had my e-mail been hacked? Are my Google/Android purchases being intercepted?

Next I updated the expiry date on initial credit card that had expired, but it was still rejected. Now I wanted to complain, but there’s no phone number, no e-mail, just a bunch of Q&A’s which lead to an answer which is always that it’s your card issuer, it can never be ‘us’. There’s no mention in ANY Q&A, and or FAQ’s saying that ‘oh we might want to see your passport and credit card bills’.
So  I just used a different ‘issue’ type so at least I can get a form up to fill and send to them. I received a ticket number on the 8th, and then waited. Four days went by, nothing. So I created another ‘issue’ in the same manner.
Then at last, an e-mail, the issue number was there, fantastic, but the e-mail itself, well see for yourself.

From: Google Wallet Support []
Sent: 12 June 2012 03:27 AM
Subject: Re: [#1048299504] Google Wallet Payment and Delivery Information


We understand you have a question about accepted payment methods and we think the information below will be useful. 

For information regarding accepted payment methods, please visit

If this information did not address your question, please feel free to reply to this email and we'll gladly assist. 


The Google Wallet Team

Very useful, so I replied in kind.

From: Great Furby <>
Subject: RE: [#1048299504] Google Wallet Payment and Delivery Information
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2012 01:34:00 +0100

No it does not help one bit. My bank, rather banks, as I have tried to use several different cards, all in good standing, have confirmed that YOU are rejecting the payments that the bank has authorised, for example:-

"In response to your query, I have looked into your credit card account and
 I am able to see that the transactions to Google were approved by Santander.
The merchant was returning the amounts back into your account. I have
checked you account and there are no blocks or restrictions on your account.

If you do have any further queries, please do not hesitate to send us another message, or alternatively you can contact our card services team at your earliest convenience on 0845 602 1582 and any of our advisors will be able to assist you further.

Kind Regards,
Santander Customer Services "

In support of Google, even Santander have dropped a little clanger in there, “you” instead of “yours”, but is doesn’t quite match what Google had sent, and was only readable in their own secure website. So Google replied:-

Subject: Re: [#1048299504] Your Google Checkout Account

Hello Furbian,

Thanks for your email.

However, we were still unable to verify your information.

As a result, your account has been temporarily suspended and you will be unable to place orders. In order to resolve this situation, please provide us with the requested information of "Great Furby" within 3 business days by filling out this form

Please note that failure to provide us with the requested documentation may result in account closure.

If you have any additional questions, please reply to this email and I'll be happy to help.


The Google Wallet Team

Why am I receiving an email from Google Wallet?
Google Checkout is now part of Google Wallet. Checkout users can now manage their accounts at To find out more about this transition, visit

Again, the usual phishing attempt e-mail type, with threat a of account closure, and suspension, again, on an account, that, wait for it, I couldn’t make payments from anyway and the appalling English “your information”, OK, next sentence “the information of”. Grief. Part of me was thinking, well it’s them, but then I thought, Google, the multibillion dollar giant, working for whom requires one to go through 11 interviews, yes I knew someone who does work them, cannot be producing this. Is this a rouge employee in call centre, in the country that is the mother of all call centres trying to get documents for himself or herself, I thought? Why did I think it came from this ‘country’ because the grammar was structured as if written by someone from there, I am quite familiar with the cringe worthy, “Please be informed..” type of English they use. What followed was quite self-explanatory.
So time to ask some questions, and let them know that I’m not comfortable sending them “the information of”...

From: Great Furby []
Sent: 16 June 2012 06:42 AM
To: 'Checkout Compliance'
Subject: RE: [#1048299504] Your Google Checkout Account

Dear Google or phishing artist,

You do realise that the last messages you sent like this looked exactly like spam phishing e-mail, it even had spelling mistakes in it, e.g. " verify th information of "Great Furby""

A multi-billion dollar company sending out e-mails asking for your personal details that haven't even been spell checked, never mind having a grammar check? Doesn't seem likely.

Even this message is badly written and vague, e.g. " However, we were still unable to verify your information." Which 'information' needs to be verified? Then you say ".. us with the requested information of "Great Furby" within...", first you address me as 'you' then as "Great Furby", not very consistent is it?

So if I don't give you ALL of my personal details (what you are asking for is sufficient for a criminal to steal my identity with) you will close my account within three days, please explains the ramifications of this. What happens to my Android applications, ones that I have purchased? Do you steal them back?

I've had google checkout account since before 2008, what has prompted this extra need for information all of a sudden, just because I tried to make a purchase for 80p?

Is this a phishing attempt to steal my identity? My bank card statement, has the exact card details and address you already have. So why do you need a printed copy of it? Is it really going to google 'wallet', or google 'checkout'. Again no consistency, or do you use both names interchangeably? Why is it that when I log into my google wallet account, are no issues highlighted there, no warnings, no threat of account closure, no poor grammar, no spelling mistakes?

How come a company regulated by the FSA in the UK can requested driving license and/or a passport to be faxed outside not only the UK, but outside Europe, to what looks like a US, Californian number? Yet there is no phone contact in any of the e-mails you have sent?

I need clear answers to these to questions before I give out details that could easily be used to steal my identity.

The web page your e-mail directs to states " Google Checkout was unable to verify the account information you provided during the sign-up process". However the account only went through the "sign-up process" over five years ago, the only recent change was the addition of a credit card, and the updating of two expired cards. Doesn't quite add up.

If you cannot, or will not answers these questions, I will make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman, using the enclosed form.

OK, it was typed in anger and haste, even I’ve manged two typos, then again, I don’t work for a multibillion dollar company. But still I felt that I had posed perfectly valid questions.

Then I got this in return:-

From: Checkout Compliance []
Sent: 16 June 2012 03:19 PM
To: Great Furby
Subject: Re: [#1048299504] Your Google Checkout Account

Hello Furbian,

Thanks for your email.But Unfortunately, we were unable to verify the information of "Great Furby".

In order to complete the verification process, we would request that you send copies of the requested documents, and we also promise that the documents you will send us will be secure and confidential. Please note that after you send the requested documents only, we will be able to make necessary changes in your account.

We appreciate your cooperation and apologize for any inconvenience caused.

As a result, your account has been temporarily suspended and you will be unable to place orders. In order to resolve this situation, please provide us with the requested information within 3 business days by filling out this form

Please note that failure to provide us with the requested documentation may result in account closure.

Yours Sincerely,

The Google Checkout Team

It was looking as if someone in the call/processing centre was doing this for fun. Wouldn’t someone at Google would ‘click’, “grief that junior moron sent an e-mail THAT badly written, let’s say sorry and sent a correct one, and reassure the guy”. So it was time to get my ‘issues’ out in the open.

From: Great Furby []
Sent: 16 June 2012 04:14 PM
To: 'Checkout Compliance'
Subject: RE: [#1048299504] Your Google Checkout Account

Dear Google/Fraudster,

Again, a billion dollar company, allegedly, sends another e-mail that is littered with poor grammar, i.e. written by someone who doesn't even know how to put one sentence together properly, e.g. " email. But" is clearly mean to be "e-mail, but", the comma isn't strictly needed. Again I must ask are you some scam artist trying to pull a phishing attempt? You haven't denied it have you?

So you can't write basic English, and yet I should just trust you with my documents because you say so? Would you send your information on the basis of badly written e-mails?

Also again you makes vague threats of account closure, that not handing over my details may result in account closure', be more specific. Again you don't specify what happens with my Android purchases. Life is far easier with Apple I may have made the mistake of buying an Android based phone, but I still own iPad's. There too my card expired, and I had to update my card expiry and CVV number, no problems there.

If you really are the " Google Checkout Team" it seems astonishing that you are running a global business is such a poor manner.

I'll ask again for a phone number, if you want my 'details' I want to speak to someone about it.

If you don't answer my questions, I'm making a complaint to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), you can ignore my questions, but you won't be able ignore theirs.

This exchange is worthy of a blog "The Android/Google Wallet experience".


Great Furby
BSc. (Hons.) MSc.

Like a broken record player (to young 'uns out there, these are big round discs that have music scratched onto them, when they go wrong, the same bit of the music plays back again and again, a bit like what Google were telling me), I received more of the same.
From: Checkout Compliance []
Sent: 17 June 2012 07:04 AM
To: Great Furby
Subject: Re: [#1048299504] Your Google Checkout Account


Thanks for your e-mail and sorry for the inconvenience caused.

However during our recent review of your account we found that your Google wallet account needs to be verified to comply Google policies, we focus on providing a positive user experience while placing orders online. Hence kindly provide us requested documents to validate your Google wallet account.

In addition, at this time, we don't offer phone support for Google Payments. If you have specific questions, please reply to this email, and we'll be happy to help you.

We look forward to providing additional support options in the future.

To review frequently asked questions about Google Payments, you can also visit the Merchant Help Center at!forum/checkout-merchant.
Note: Google Payments includes seller payment solutions such as Google Checkout and In-App Payments. In the future, you’ll start seeing your Checkout account referred to as a Google Payments account.

If you have additional questions, please visit our Help Center at


The Google Checkout Team

If anything it appeared that the chap/chapess was actually quite keen to get my ‘details’ and ‘information’, more the behaviour of a con artist than a multibillion dollar American company. So again, more specifics from me.
From: Great Furby []
Sent: 17 June 2012 03:16 PM
To: 'Checkout Compliance'
Subject: RE: [#1048299504] Your Google Checkout Account

Again, another badly worded e-mail asking me for 'details' that would allow someone to apply for credit cards in my name with ease. I am again expect to believe that someone who can't write basic English sentences properly works for Google.

Some examples:-

"comply Google policies", I think you meant "comply with Google policies".

"provide us requested documents ", probably meant "provide us the requested documents", unless there's only one set of documents in the whole world.

For the THIRD time, what happens to my Android applications? Answer this one simple question, if you can, or rather if these e-mails are genuinely from Google.

Anyway, as you have refused to answer my questions, a complaint to the FSA will determine whether this is a phishing attempt or if Google really is expecting us to use a prepaid on-line service that it runs so appallingly that it can't even employ people who can write English.

Then, their final word on the subject, forget the warning, 'there, were doing it now because you asked too many questions, and we’ll continue to communicating in what we consider is correct English, or should that be, “What we are thinking is being the correct English”.'


Thank you for your mail,

During a recent review of your Google Checkout account, we were unable to verify your information and also had requested for the Documents. As a result, your account has been suspended and you will be unable to place orders.

In order to resolve this situation, please provide us with the requested information within 3 business days by filling out this form

Yours Sincerely,

The Google Checkout Team

Oh come on, now you’re asking for it, even more mistakes, I just had to let them know.

From: Great Furby []
Sent: 17 June 2012 09:49 PM
To: 'Checkout Compliance'
Subject: RE: [#1048299504] Your Google Checkout Account

How about answering some of my concerns about why I'm being sent e-mail, apparently from 'google' that have simple mistakes a ten year would be able to spot?

Anyway, keep your 'Google Checkout account', I don't really need it, as Android allows the installing of unsigned code, I can get what I need elsewhere, and I've paying for goods and services using Paypal for years, as most vendors don't accept Google Checkout, judging by your e-mails, I can see why.

It seems odd how your requests seem genuine, but are so amateurishly written, they seem like scam. Maybe you’re a google employee who's stealing details for him/herself? Seems rational considering the way the e-mails have been written.

" had requested for the Documents", wow, "requested for"? A tip for free, the 'for' shouldn't be there. A capital 'D' for 'Documents', in the middle of the sentence?

As for the account being suspended, it was already blocked in the first place! Oh but you have extra levels of blocking, and this is super doper, double triple, blocking.

So purely out of spite, i.e. we won’t answer any of your questions, and we don’t like being told that we can’t string a sentence together in correct English and/or we don’t’ like being asked such question, they didn’t bother waiting for 3 days to super disable the account, they blocked the account from even attempting a purchase soon afterwards, no warning, no nothing.  The message appeared to be, there we did it, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So there was a super/ultra-locking they could do after all, not that it made any real difference.

Complaining to the FSA, well you can’t, you complain to the financial ombudsman, and that’s done using a form, that appears to be ‘settle a claim for money’ type of affair. Not very useful. I might do it, I might not.

Well we have 4 Android phones in the house all linked to my account. What did I do? Something I really wanted to avoid, turn on the setting to allow code from ‘unknown sources’, and ‘obtained’ a few apps for the sake of being able to do so. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but I will not provide enough details for someone to commit identify fraud to anyone who writes such poor e-mails, I can’t trust them as it stands.

Even the ‘we’re regulated by the FSA’ notice has a problem, the URL they give you, i.e. 'regulated by the Financial Services Authority' is a dead link that goes back to a Google page.

Way to go Google! I was looking at some Android tablet reviews lately, maybe we could replace one of the iPad’s with one, or add one to the household. Fat chance of that now. It’s only a few sales, and I doubt Google would give a ….

Late addendum, I can a be total sucker for punishment, their new Nexus tablet thing, looked cheap, and I thought why not buy and try, if I don't like it, easy to sell it off cheaply if done quickly. Oh you can pre-order it, and how to you pay for it? Oh that's right, only one payment option...

Nexus 7 (8GB) - The first tablet from Google. Thin, light, and designed for Google Play.
Shipping (Two Day Shipping):
(includes VAT UK£28.16)
Your account is not available at this time. Please contact our support team to resolve the issue.
Pay with:

VISA xxx-yyyy

Final irony, this is hosted by Google, so they could kill it I suppose, c'est la vie.


  1. I hate Google. I verified my account. After two months I tried buying an app for £0.99p. The transaction was successful but I couldn't download the app. Later on I received an email from Google that they couldn't verify my account. I asked them if they hate money. There is no way I am verifying my account again just because I tried buying a 99p app. I hate them. I wanted to buy Nexus 4 as a Christmas gift for someone. Forget that. Instead, now I have bought Galaxy S3. I am telling you that my next phone will be an Apple. I hate Apple very much but not as much as I hate Google.

  2. Some advice, I will post this in more detail soon.

    Sign up for Amazon App store, if you have an Amazon account it just links it. They also offer a free paid for App every day, not always good, but makes you look daily.


    1. Go to, look my recent blog entry. Works fine.

  4. Google and big companies have to verify your idendity to avoid money laundering.

  5. Money laundering via 80p Apps?

    I have old (over ten years old) accounts with Apple, Amazon, eBay, Paypal to name a few, none of them want a copy of my passport, or send me spam like e-mails whenever there's a been a problem.

    Anyway, money launderers don't used credit cards, traceable, and defeats the object.

  6. I have had a similar problem, my account was hacked in 2006, and some-one tried to purchase a watch via google checkout (long time ago now, i think google checkout later turned into google wallet) the payment was rejected and I changed the password to my gmail and I thought that was resolved.
    I recently bought a Galaxy S3 and tried purchasing an app and it did not let me. I got an email from Google saying I need to verify my account, it has been suspended because of a transaction in 2006! (wtf, almost 7 years ago now and I have never been contacted about it). Sent off driving licence and bank statement as they asked and they told me they could not verify my details... :-S so sent them on TWO more times with no success, they have just stop replying... I don't get them, they really need UK support and a UK number you can ring them. Where is their customer service!?!?

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience, in effect even sending them your ID didn't work! Beggars belief really.

    Sign up for Amazon's app store, their app shopping application is REALLY slow, but it works, and the free app a day is really spoiling me. I should put a banner up for plugging Amazon, at the moment I'm just plugging them for free!

    I haven't tried any of these, but there are other 'stores' too:-

  8. So... I shouldn't waaste my time sending them documents? I really wanted the Nexus 10! :(

  9. Maybe, if someone would share having managed to get them to "confirm the details of .." then it'd be nice if they would let us know. I could easily sign up another account, but the previous purchases would be 'stuck' with the old account.

    Oh more on this in my new blog entry.. worth a read for a quick laugh/giggle/smirk etc.

  10. Hello Frndz....
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