Google AdWords is still staffed by poorly trained monkeys

By | May 18, 2011

Last month, I wrote about Google’s surreal attempts to collect from me a debt I don’t actually owe, and my unsuccessful attempts to make it stop.

Things have gotten much worse since then.

I sent a letter (appended below) to the office of Google’s CEO over a month ago. There has been no response.

Today, I received notice that Google has turned the bogus debt over to a collection agency.

It’s looking like I’m going to have to hire a lawyer to sue Google for defamation of credit to make this stop.

I just can’t believe this is going on. It’s totally absurd.

April 11, 2011

Eric Schmidt, CEO
Google, Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Dear Mr. Schmidt:

Several months ago, Google emailed me a promotional offer for $100 in free AdWords advertising. I used that offer to run some ads to support a charity fundraiser. I didn’t make a single penny off of the ads, which makes the story I am about to tell you all the more ironic.

Somehow, the Google sales rep failed to apply the promotional credit to my account. As a result, some time after the end of my fundraiser, Google charged my credit card for around $60 in AdWords fees.

I contacted Google’s customer service department via email several times in an effort to get the credit applied to my Google account and the charge to my credit card refunded. Each time, I was told that someone from the appropriate department would contact me to work it out. No one ever did.

Finally, I disputed the charge on my credit card and sent the credit card company a copy of the email in which Google offered me $100 in free advertising.

In response, Google sent me a form letter asking me to explain why I had disputed the charge. I responded, and received another form letter which made it clear that no one from Google had actually read my explanation, even though it was Google that had asked me to send it. The same thing happened a second time – Google sent me email asking me to explain myself, I responded, and no one ever read my response.

Finally, Google sent a form-letter response to the credit-card company which said that my dispute should be denied because I had received the services for which I was charged. Google’s response completely ignored the essence of my dispute, i.e., that I had been promised a promotional credit I did not receive. I sent a response to the credit-card company asking them to uphold the dispute.

Today, I was notified by Google that my AdWords account has been suspended.

Your promotional offer, which was presumably intended to get me to continue to buy ads after the credit was used up, has instead done exactly the opposite, convincing me that I will never give Google a cent of my money if there’s any way I can possibly avoid it. Is this good for your business?

I understand the importance to your bottom line of handling as many customer service issues as possible with little or no human involvement. However, if something like this can happen without an intelligent, thinking person being pulled into the loop at any point, then frankly, you’ve got a big problem .


Jonathan Kamens

Ref: AdWords account number XXX-XXX-XXXX

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4 thoughts on “Google AdWords is still staffed by poorly trained monkeys

  1. Rachel

    Just today, I got a mysterious collections letter as well. It is from the collection agency “Euler Hermes”. It states my account was referred to them by Google AdWords, only..I can’t see a thing under ‘billing summary’ when I sign into my adwords account. I also don’t remember actually launching any adwords campaigns.

    I e mailed the collection agency asking for more information about the account they are referring to so that I can verify it.

    Something seems fishy..because Google themselves has no such amount owed displayed on the site when I log in.

  2. Rob

    does your city’s newspaper have any kind of consumer support/relations column where the columnist attempts to resolve the issue for you? Just a thought, they usually love stories like these and sometimes can help…

    Hopefully they get their act together — I’m fairly sure you’ll win in any case.

    1. jik Post author

      For what it’s worth, I finally got the attention of someone at Google by contacting a friend of mine who works there and asking him to forward my email internally, and I’ve been working with an AdWords manager for a month now to try to get this resolved. With any luck it’ll all be over soon, and I’ll post another blog entry with the final story after that.


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