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Google Checkout is a merchant checkout solution which allows online merchants to accept credit cards and other payment types through their Google account. Designed to compete with popular checkout solutions such as PayPal and Bill Me Later, Google Checkout has enjoyed a modest adoption rate since its introduction in 2006; estimates suggest that up to 38% of all online retailers offer Google Checkout as a payment processing option.
Unfortunately, Google's foray into online payment services has been plagued with customer complaints and a number of service problems. Though several Google Checkout problems have been reported since the service was introduced, some problems seem to be more common than others.
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Google Checkout enjoyed a strong initial adoption rate, causing the service to grow beyond the ability of its processing servers to handle its transactions. This is a common problem with online services, and is usually corrected by adding additional server hardware or upgrading the existing machines. Unfortunately, these upgrades have caused service outages for Google Checkout which rendered shoppers unable to use the service to make purchase while the servers were offline. Some Google Checkout service outages have lasted for several days at a time, effectively shutting down businesses that only used Google Checkout during these periods.
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Google is dedicated to protecting shoppers from online fraud, keeping their customers safe while reducing their costs that would result from chargebacks and refunds. The extensive fraud checking that they perform for online purchases takes this protection and turns it into delays and other problems for those using credit cards with the service. Processing delays can range from hours to days, and charges that Google finds questionable get queued for manual review which can add several more days to the process. Some charges may even be cancelled by Google Checkout without informing the merchant or the customer until the cancellation is complete. These problems become even worse for those using corporate credit cards, since the name on the card typically doesn't match the business name on the invoice.
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Recurring Payment Problems
One major problem that has occurred with Google Checkout involves an inability to properly handle recurring payments. Subscriptions and other forms of recurring payment have been cancelled while attempts at creating new subscriptions have failed, and these recurring payment problems have been known to stretch out for weeks on end. This creates a major problem for websites that offer a subscription service, since it cuts them off from their main source of revenue. Problems with recurring payments also inconvenience customers since they are unable to subscribe to website content or services which require them to submit a payment each month.
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Customer Service Problems
Many Google Checkout problems would be easy to resolve if Google's customer service could deal with the problems quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to contact Google Checkout's customer service due to Google's preference of online knowledge bases and forum support over call centers and human contact. It can sometimes take days of trying to get beyond automated email responses, days which online merchants don't have to spare if there are problems with payments that they have received. The lack of easy-to-use customer service can make other Google Checkout problems seem much worse, sometimes causing enough frustration to lead merchants and customers to other checkout solutions.