Google's new Checkout Service debuted in the UK the month before last to the usual fanfare: "Online shopping will now be faster, easier and more secure with Google Checkout™," said the search colossus.
"If you're tired of waiting online, then try Google Checkout. Online shopping is made easier, faster and safer," enthused Google's Jerry Dischler. "You can surf and shop til your fingers drop...It's also great news for retailers because shoppers will have a better experience."
Or maybe not. Here are a few emails we've received from UK Checkout users:
Google checkout is having major problems transferring money into people's bank accounts. They are ignoring emails and refusing to do comment or acknowledge the matter. I myself have 14,500 pounds stuck in google since the 21st of May and i am not alone. a quick look at their forums shows it's quite widespread.
Other users of the Google forums agree. And there's more:
The [Google Checkout] affiliate program offered by Ebuyer stole my money! I used the Google checkout function, which enticed me with the offer of a £10 discount.
The system refused both of my cards, saying they were declined (they both had plenty of credit).
I decided to shun my £10 discount and just use Ebuyer's standard checkout system. My order went through without a hitch.
Two days later, Google Checkout sent me an email saying that they were sorry about declining my card as this was a fault of theirs and not mine (too right!) and that they were helpfully resubmitting my order.
I now find myself with a duplicate £175 order to the sum of... carry the one, the five.. £350!
Terrible, terrible show.
And still more:
Placed an order using Google Checkout on Friday (so I'd get the £10 off offer they are currently running) but over the weekend have had 2 emails from them.
First said that card payment was denied and I needed to sort out my card within 3 days or they'd cancel the order.
'We sent you an email yesterday (5th May 2007) saying that your payment was declined after you placed an order. This was due to a technical issue with our system, there is no problem with your card. Our engineers have been working hard over the weekend to fix the issue ...' looks like the Google glitches are spreading.
At least they promise it will all be sorted out tomorrow and they'll credit me with an extra £5 for the inconvenience. However, somehow I doubt I'll still be using Google Checkout once they stop knocking £10 off every bill!
Other irate readers wrote in the same vein. Google Checkout may well be more secure, but as for faster and easier - apparently not just yet. As for any of this being good news for retailers, well, that seems unlikely.
A Google spokesman contacted by the Reg had this to say:
"While we cannot comment on specific cases out of respect the privacy of our users, our Dublin support team responds to every retailer support email in a timely manner. In some situations it may be necessary for us to verify certain information in order to begin or continue payout or reconciliation processes, and in order to do so we rely on the retailers we serve providing the information we need in a timely manner. While we regret any delay, our commitment to combat fraud requires us to be thorough." ®