| | | Effective PR

For a tech company, Google is pretty poor at tech - and uses it to keep users' money.

Nigel Morris-Co...

We had an e-mail this morning from Google about our Adsense account. That was a rabbit hole we thought we'd escaped from. But they said they owed us money so we thought we'd claim it.

That's when it all started to go very, very badly wrong.

"Unpaid balance on your AdSense account" it says. Odd, I thought. We closed our AdSense account ages ago because Google's AI misunderstood an article in English, thought it was offensive in American and threatened us. Stuff that, we decided, removed all the ads that we found and told them to close the account.

Except that there is no effective way to tell them to close the account which is how they still owed us the princely sum of GBP27.99 having last made a payment in 2013.

Click here, it says, after you have logged out of Google and cleared your cache. OK, did that.

One of the frustrating things about Google is that you can't tell them to F*** off and leave it at that. They keep coming back and every time they do they insist that you log onto their website and - before you are allowed to go anywhere at all - you MUST agree to their latest terms and conditions. This, you'll recall, is for an account that I had told them to close and remit any outstanding balance. Not that any one reads the mail, it seems.

Apparently, there is a remittance threshold of GBP60. Leave that for later as the bank account number is one that I don't recognise. This is not Google's fault: HSBC in the UK has for reasons that I neither know nor care have moved our accounts to a different sort code and changed the account number. Shame, I liked having "Poultry and Princes" as the account address.

So before fixing the limit so the money would be sent, first I had to change the bank account details. So I completed the form and marked it to be the primary account and...

"An unexpected error has occurred. Please try again later. [OR-IEH-02]"

I tried again. Same. Tried again... without the primary account flag. Same problem.

Tried to find support. Nothing. In fact, worse than nothing: Google says "ask the community" which means "you can f*** right off because we aren't going to provide support despite hoovering up more of the world's money than anyone ever before" or something.

Apparently, according to "the community" this is a long term, widespread, unresolved problem. And Google don't answer, say most people.

Well, I'll never find out because its support system, once I had worked my way through a chatbot that went round in circles, eventually gave me an option of email.

" Something went wrong. Please try again."

Ho hum.

Just remember this, all those of you who think you can use tech to address all your e.g. risk and compliance problems. No matter how big, no matter how rich, all too often the tech fails not because the tech is rubbish but because the people behind it are.

Me? I still haven't updated the bank account, I still haven't managed to contact Google and I still haven't got the GBP27.99 into our company bank account that started all this off.

How many other people are trapped by Google's failures so that Google retains their money? Individually, it might be a small amount but cumulatively it has the potential to be a huge sum.


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