Why I Think Google Checkout Is A Piece Of Shit

October 19, 2006 · 25 comments

in Rants,Reviews

I buy a lot of stuff online, probably 5-10 orders of something a month, be it gifts, music, toys, computer things, software etc, and most the time when I need computer things I go with buy.com because they are cheap and usually have free shipping or something like that.

I was shopping for an external harddrive and figured I wanted to get the one that looks like a giant lego block, lacie brick series, so I shopped around and saw that buy.com was like the same price as newegg but buy had a $10 off coupon if I use google checkout. I have never used it, and am a cheap prick, so I give it a try, and this is when the AWESOMENESS kicks in.

Google Checkout claims the following:

Want a faster, safer and more convenient way to shop online? You got it.

Stop creating multiple accounts and passwords. – With Google Checkout you can quickly and easily buy from stores across the web and track all your orders and shipping in one place.

Shop with confidence. – Our fraud protection policy covers you against unauthorized purchases made through Google Checkout, and we don’t share your purchase history or full credit card number with sellers.

Control commercial spam. – You can keep your email address confidential, and easily turn off unwanted emails from stores where you use Google Checkout.

I log into buy, choose google checkout as my tool of payment, need to sign up for an account, add all the info and just about finish the order, hit submit and Google gives the good doctor one of these bad boys:

502 Server Error.png

That is a 503 error:

The server is currently unable to handle the request due to a temporary overloading or maintenance of the server. The implication is that this is a temporary condition which will be alleviated after some delay. If known, the length of the delay MAY be indicated in a Retry-After header. If no Retry-After is given, the client SHOULD handle the response as it would for a 500 response.

Note: The existence of the 503 status code does not imply that a server must use it when becoming overloaded. Some servers may wish to simply refuse the connection.

I thought they have billions of dollars and thousands of servers? Regardless, I hit back and try it again a few seconds later and it works. A few minutes later I get 2 emails, one from buy.com like normal and now a second one from google telling me my order went through. Great, more email for the same proces… Anyhow a small price to pay for $10 in savings…

Well today comes around and google emails me telling me my package has shipped. Nice, that is why I love BUY.com..they ship fast as hell…but I notice something is missing. Usually I get a ups or fedex tracking code so I know when to expect this package. No dice in this email. I try and look at my google checkout history to see if it is there and they give me one of these today:


This time it is a 403 Forbidden Error

The server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it. Authorization will not help and the request SHOULD NOT be repeated. If the request method was not HEAD and the server wishes to make public why the request has not been fulfilled, it SHOULD describe the reason for the refusal in the entity. If the server does not wish to make this information available to the client, the status code 404 (Not Found) can be used instead.

After giving it a few minutes I try again and it shows me my order history:

Your order has shipped!
Oct 18 – Buy.com shipped your order.
Oct 18 – Buy.com has sent the following message: “These item(s) on your order have shipped: LaCie Brick Desktop Hard Drive – 250GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive”
Oct 17 – Your credit card (MASTERCARD xxx-0666) was charged for $113.96. “GOOGLE *BUY COM” will appear on your credit card statement.
Oct 17 – Buy.com has sent the following message: “Your Buy.com Order number is: XXXXXXXXX”
Oct 17 – Buy.com received your order.
Oct 17 – Your order was sent to Buy.com. A confirmation email was sent to you by Google.

It does still not mention how to track the order anywhere…

So I try and enter my order number at buy.com and it does not appear to exist there. So something is fishy. I am not worried about not getting the product, I know it will come. I just want to know when. 🙁

To summarize, I feel that Google Checkout is a piece of shit for the following reasons:

  1. It was not faster, as claimed. It actually took longer and more attempts for a simple checkout
  2. Was it Safer? I do not feel to safe when a place taking my money cannot handle the server load, or when it refuses to let me look at the shit I ordered. It should be available 24×7 and I feel there are no excuses for downtime.
  3. Convenience. I guess shopping online has always been a chore… I do not see this being any more convenient at all.
  4. Extra emails. Just what the doctor ordered.
  5. Screws me out of shipment tracking.

Now some of this may be the way buy.com interfaces with Google, but I think it is bullshit. I want to know where my order is so I can be here the day it is supposed to come. Since I do not know who to blame I am blaming Google Checkout and my cheapness, because if it was not for that $10 of savings I would have just used my default info on file at buy.com, gotten one email and known where my package is at.

My advice to Google is slap your (BETA) tag on the thing because it seems like it is not ready for prime time. I am suprised it is not shown as beta? What is going on there?

Was google Checkout easier for me? Hell no, and now Sergey Brin is probably using my CC# to buy more cross dressing accessories. Such is life.

Other than me being anal with wanting to know where my order is, what are your thoughts and experiences with Google Checkout??

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nitr021 10.19.06 at 2:59 pm

You might want to stick to paypal, When i was developing my own checkout for my site I wanted to try google checkout but it seemed that on US users could use it, even though it wasn’t in beta it still restricted to US, how released is that? internation company = global? not really

paypal for life, much secured.

2 mikey 10.19.06 at 9:01 pm

Nitro21, what’s the motivation for developing your own check out system? There are an abundent number of shopping cart systems available for free (67 according to freshmeat.net). I am a security researcher, and I see the same mistakes over and over again in every one of these things, and I often wonder why people don’t just settle on a few, and just make them really good. for every new shopping cart system that someone developes, customers are put at risk, imho.

3 bhartzer 10.20.06 at 7:26 am

Google is a search engine, not an ecommerce company. They need to stick to what they do best, which is be a search engine.

4 Kel in Ohio 11.02.06 at 10:58 am

I just attempted to make a purchase on BUY.COM using google checkout, and as I hit the final submit button to place my order, the screen just refreshes and nothing else happens. STUPID ME, I tried it about 6 times hoping something else would happen – like the order would actually go thru. NOW I’m afraid that I’m going to get 6 or 7 printers via ups in a few days! YIKES! Google-checkout – what a joke!

5 sp 11.16.06 at 8:18 pm

Yeah you’re not alone …. precisely same story here – no way to track shipment. doesnt seem to exist on my account at buy.com
Google checkout is a crappy uncalled-for-layer intended solely to capture the spending patterns of ppl.

6 Adam 12.09.06 at 8:55 pm

Ok, Google will work out all these petty details overtime, in the mean time an automatic savings on everything you purchase. I have purchase 3 items at an average of %35 off the already lowest price on the internet. So, you couldn’t track the order. Go buy it at the electronics store. A little risk and inconvenience for savings, I can afford for my next product to not even arrive and I have saved money.

7 Vasy 12.11.06 at 12:16 pm

It is easy to check status of your order:
1. Go to
2. Enter your Buy.com order number, Billing last name and Billing phone number.
3. Push button “Find Order”
I do not see the reason do not save 30%-40% ($10off$30 and $20off$50).

8 indianboy 12.21.06 at 3:44 pm

Hey thanks for the link to track my order. They sure have not provided an easy way to track. Again, thank you.

9 indianboy 12.21.06 at 4:19 pm

I just realized that if you have auto-login turned on at buy.com, you do not see the buttons/links to track Google Checkout purchases. So as stated by VASY above, use this direct link


I cannot believe Buy.com has not thought of this scenario or maybe I am just too stupid to figure out how else to track my shipment. Oh well…

10 Spread The Word 04.25.07 at 5:23 pm

When they perfect google checkout, it will be a welcome downfall to paypal, the worst eccomerce site in existence. You call this a horror story . . . . search for paypal horror stories. They are holding millions of legitimate people’s money for nothing other than their own self interest. I’ll stick with google any day.

11 depth 11.24.07 at 6:13 pm

this is not a horror story, paypal is way worse…

12 JM Ross 01.27.08 at 8:03 am

Google checkout is H O R R I B L E!!!!
Your order goes directly into oblivion and NO ONE will ever have any record of your orders–though your cards will be charged PROMPTLY!!

13 Mohammed 02.19.08 at 6:11 pm

You cannot track your Google checkout shipment. Yes I ordered from buy.com which of course give me a tracking number,
# Feb 18
Full shipment – Buy.com has shipped your order.
Carrier: Other – Tracking #: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX9485

But doesn’t say my carrier information. I tried at usps, ups, fedex. it doesn’t work.

Google checkout yet doesn’t handle your money safe!

14 Mohammed 02.19.08 at 6:13 pm

The funniest thing is I tried searching on Google to track my Google checkout product shipment.

In an answer it gives me this link which says there is no tracking option!!!!

15 Hal 10.12.08 at 10:43 am

Google locked me out of my email saying my own security answer was wrong. What was your first phone number? Please, I’ve known that number since my mother was still buttoning my coat for me. To get back into gmail, they want to know if i use Google checkout, and other Google crap that to me is useless. They must have hired old eBay staff to complicate the system. Hey, Google, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” Yahoo!.

16 Jake Somerville 02.17.09 at 2:51 am

No Google Checkout without credit card?
16 February, 2009

Google Checkout Terms of Service, Canada – English portion, first paragraph:

“In order to use the Service, you hereby consent to provide and agree to complete all required information elements on the Service registration web pages. You must register a valid credit or debit card as a Payment Instrument…”

Yet, on the sign up page, only credit-card specific fields are provided (including credit-card only number fields such as “Expiration date” and “CVC”) – none to allow entry of a debit card’s information. If the credit-card specific fields are left blank, and all other fields filled, I am greeted by a prompt window containing the text: “Enter your card number” when the Create my account… button is clicked.

The User Agreement states, “You must register a valid credit or debit card” and other advertisements on the site also indicate that either a credit card or debit card may be used.

There is no information anywhere on the Site (checkout.google.com) to indicate that a person may not sign up (and thus use) the Service without providing the details of a valid credit card.

The assertion by the Google Checkout service that it can be used with either a debit or credit card in advertisements on its site and in addition, the lack of any material on said Site to indicate otherwise, both implies by omission and states outrightly that the service may be used with either a debit card or a credit card.

The debit card user without a credit card is frustrated by the impossibility of creating an account and cannot use the service as advertised: current online sign-up procedure requires the entry of a valid credit card number and corresponding details.

Such a state of affairs constitutes an actionable claim of false advertising in my country. As this Service is provided to Canadian residents, and I am a Canadian, I will pursue action against Google Checkout Service for false and misleading advertising as noted above, should neither Remedy One nor Remedy Two be honoured within a reasonable course of time.

Remedy One

The Google Checkout service shall henceforth provide means to sign-up with either a Credit or Debit card as specified in the Terms of Service, Section 2, Paragraph 1 and elsewhere on the Site:

“2. Requirements for Registration

In order to use the Service, you hereby consent to provide and agree to complete all required information elements on the Service registration web pages. You must register a valid credit or debit card as a Payment Instrument to make Payment Transactions and pay fees and other obligations arising from your use of the Service. You undertake and agree to provide current, complete and accurate information and maintain it as current and accurate. We may require you to provide additional information as a condition of continued use of the Service, or to assist in determining whether to permit you to continue to use the Service.”

Remedy Two

The Google Checkout service shall modify all advertisements, promotional materials and guidance (“Help”, etc.) to indicate that a valid Credit Card is required to register an account with the Service.

(Name and personal details omitted from public version. Feedback sent via online feedback to Google Checkout service on 16 February 2009)

17 Fuck Google checkout in the ear 07.10.09 at 8:29 am

Google checkout is a massive turd… and not in a good way.

Trying to order some kicks off of Crooked Tongues and the only option of payment is Google ‘I’m a pile of shit’ checkout.

And it wont accept my HSBC Solo debit card, saying that ”Your current payment method is not valid”. For no other reason other than the fact that google ‘I’ve got one thumb up my ass and the other on my balls’ checkout is a pile of shit.

Anyone else had problems paying using HSBC Solo Debit card??

18 farley c 10.08.09 at 8:57 pm

what did you want for nothing something?

19 farley c 10.08.09 at 8:57 pm

for nothing you want something?

20 Senthil Prabhu 03.27.10 at 2:22 pm

I had order a camera from Tigerdirect and payed it though google checkout (My most stupid decision) and accidently gave in a wrong phone number.

Right after the order was placed, i logged in a request with google to update the correct phone number. Seems it was not in their procedure to update the details after the order has been placed and their suggestion was cancel the order and reorder. But there is no option in google checkout to cancel the order. So, i had requested for the procedure for order cancellation and the timeline for my money to be remitted back to my bank account.

Meanwhile, i had called up tiger directly and they were happy to update the phone number to the order and even the credit check was completed.

NOw the shocking mail i received from google checkout is on the cancelation of order and shitty thing is i have clue clue of my money. It has not remitted back to my bank account.

I have no idea to contact the google on phone to have a physical complaint and their response in person.

Lesson for everybody+ Never deal with Google, when you have to pay money. Google is good for free (Search, maps)

21 Kira Aranow 07.05.10 at 8:23 am

I want to complain to google and google checkout for being a peice of shit, but I just can’t figure out how to get to them. They are leading me in circles. Isn’t there a freaking phone number?

22 Laurie 09.28.10 at 10:57 pm

What is the alternative to Google Checkout? Am trying to set up an account with them, wanting to use a debit card instead of a credit card, for making payments, and there doesn’t seem to be that option available, even though they say they take debit cards as a method of payment. I’m Canadian, living in Canada. I thought I’de set up this account in hopes of getting a smartphone and accessing the applications available on Android Market, so now what?

23 Laurie 09.30.10 at 5:48 pm

Is there an alternative to Google Checkout, if I happen to get an Android phone, In order to access Android Market?

24 tangramsoft 01.13.12 at 10:05 pm

If you have lost your money in google checkout, you never can find it back. Since google checkout has no phone number service, they only response with useless email which said they are checking, but actually not. I have spend half year to get my 1600$ back, but guess what, nothing happen now. Every email support said they are checking… Not sure what they are checking…

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