21 March 2017

Nosirree! I Will Not Shop @GooglePlay Not Tomorrow Not Today #PoorCustomerService #Error #Help

In December, I experienced an error with a movie rental on the Google Play service. The movie would not download. I would click [Download] and get a message saying that it was downloading but nothing would actually download. The error was specific to this rental as titles I had rented or purchased both before and after have downloaded without issue.

I tried periodically over a period of weeks to download the title, hoping it was a network "clog" that would clear itself. But as the 30-day window to begin watching the movie rental dwindled with no success in obtaining the download, I contacted Google Play support, which in itself was a convoluted ordeal of a process. (As is the case with many companies nowadays, there is no Customer Service email publicized. One has to ask for a callback or queue for a chat to get help. Ridiculous! I do not have time to sit & wait for support to pickup. There is a reason why email still rules the business day and has not become obsolete despite the myriad promises of many a workflow app: Timeshifting.)

I got in the chat queue and was eventually connected to a CS agent. (I won't say "a human" because it could have been a bot for all I know.) I explained the situation and asked for the download to be "reset" for my device so that it would stop hanging. The agent responded that he could not do this, cancelled the movie rental order and refunded the money (without asking, if I wanted a refund). I responded by saying that a refund wouldn't do me any good, because I had rented the movie under a promotion to "Rent Any Movie for $0.99." Putting $0.99 back into my account would not allow me to rent the movie again --- and ostensibly clear the hang by getting a fresh download --- unless I was also "refunded" the discount movie rental promo code. (It also happens that the $0.99 for the movie rental was paid with a promotional "cash" balance in my account.)

Obviously, the simple solution would have been to give me a "replacement movie rental" instead of automatically generating an order refund, as this would have been the equivalent value of what I received in the order (i.e., I originally rented a movie, refunding the net cost of the order did not give me a movie rental). The CS agent said he understood and would check on getting me another discount rental code. As getting this far in the support process had already taken more than an hour, I was out of time and needed to leave for a meeting. I stated as much and asked the CS agent if he could followup via email. He said he would.

I ended the chat and waited, and waited. I went about my business. I happened to be doing something else in my account when I noticed my Google Play balance was $0.00. I thought, "Where'd the 99-cents I was supposed to be refunded go? And, wait a minute, that support agent never did email me..." So on yesterday, over a month after the first chat, I contacted Google Play support AGAIN --- trying to find out why I did not have $0.99 balance in my account (the refunded amount) and why I never received any followup or discount movie rental code. Again, I had to first wait in the chat queue to be connected to someone. (Some AI chatbot?) I explained the earlier situation and was told in response that the refund had expired (the same say it was issued) because it was a promotional balance. The chatbot pointed to a nice generic "promotional balance offer terms" link. The gaul!

First, I did not ask for a refund and was awaiting the resolution on "getting a replacement movie rental that worked" which had yet to arrive.

Second, if you refund a customer's money and said refund has numerous conditions like a SAME DAY EXPIRATION, it might be HELPFUL to point this out to the customer at the time, especially if the customer is also waiting on a followup from you before he can proceed with a new order. (This omission of terms and the unresolved "bad download" issue were both completely ignored by the agent in the second chat.)

Third, if a customer contacts you with an issue where you've already dropped the ball, a repeated flagrant foul will not gain you a loyal customer.

The (second) agent could only repeat ad nauseum that the refund had expired and point to the "offer terms" link. As I stated (several times), I was not told any such terms by the first agent at the time I was given the refund and I was expecting a followup email from him in order to know how to proceed with getting a fix for the original hung download, so telling me this NOW over a month later was not helpful. The agent finally said "it was outside of her abilities." So I asked for a supervisor. The response was that a supervisor would EMAIL me. I laughed, and not with good humor.

I stated she would have to excuse me if at this point I didn't exactly profess faith in Google Play support. I asked for the supervisor's info and was merely given a name --- heaven forbid, you can't contact him directly! I ended the chat without optimism. I was not disappointed. His response was abysmal.

The email I received merely repeated the same details covered in the unhelpful overlong chat, namely that the refund had expired on THE SAME DAY ISSUED because it was a promotional balance. The supervisor did also tell me (unhelpfully) that I could always check any promotional balance expiration dates in my account under "Payments." Good one. As I was not originally informed that the refund was conditional, why on earth would I have checked for an expiration date? As I was awaiting a followup email (that never arrived) for the original issue (that had yet to be resolved), your blatantly ignoring the actual problem and harping on a "refund" that only existed on my account for less than 24 hours is NOT winning me over. I responded that the information being given NOW would have been helpful, if given at the time the first agent processed a refund without asking. I await the supervisor's response. I am not holding my breath.

Needless to say, this is a perfect example of a customer service FAIL. The original problem was never resolved. (I never got a movie rental download.) I was not contacted with further details as promised. When I am finally able to CONTACT YOU to find out what is going on, you do not apologize, you do not correct the original problem, you instead respond with further incompetence.

And Google Play wonders why I have yet to "add a payment method" to complete my profile. (I keep getting prompts to do so.) There is a reason why I only use promotional credits and gift cards for (most) online services like this, and the "customer service" example above is exemplar of it. Do you honestly think I'd trust the village idiot with my credit card? Sorry, Google Play. Nosirree! I will not shop at Google Play (not with "real" money, anyway) not tomorrow, not today. (Thank you, Dr. Seuss.)

This is what poor customer service begets you. I still haven't seen Sully. The movie was the hung rental download. This entire experience left such a bad taste in my mouth, that I haven't bothered to rent Sully, again, either on Google Play or elsewhere. It has been associated in my mind, unfortunately and unfairly, with a bad experience. I may never see it. Google Play support sucks. There, I said it. (Sadly, this type of "service" seems to be the norm nowadays, especially online.)

I have not received a satisfactory resolution to my case.

1 comment:

  1. This morning I received a survey asking me to give feedback on my experience with Google Play support. Considering I have received no satisfaction (no resolution to any of the myriad issues I experienced was proffered), I could not trust myself to attempt such a survey.

    No, I much prefer to simply continue to spend my "real" money elsewhere and to only take advantage of Google Play for freebies. Unless there are major changes implemented, Google Play will always be a second tier streaming & download service in my household.

    Sometimes companies get "too big for their britches." The right hand might want to find out what the left is doing and coordinate a bit better.

    (Yes, I use Google services, including currently hosting this blog on Blogger. This does not give Google Play a pass.)