If you’re like me you couldn’t resist playing with Google Wallet. If you’re also like me, your Google Wallet account was shut down.  Unfortunately there are no clearly defined limits to using GW. Say what you will about the measely $1k a month Amazon allowed us to churn, at least we knew where the line was, and could choose to obey it, or try to skirt it.

Today I’ll cover what I’ve leared about GW shutdowns and how to get your money back when Google Wallet shuts you down.

321 Shutdown3….2….1… Shutdown

When (not if) you’re shutdown ideally you’ll have no money in your wallet account. In practice, since you never know the criteria used to shut accounts, you can’t guarantee money won’t be tied up. Remember to obey the float rule, and assume that your cash will be locked up by Google for 2-4 months.  I spent 3 months getting my money back from them, something to keep in mind.

The common thread with google is an inabilty to speak to someone with a brain. In addition you’ll find that the amount of bad information you’ll be given will outweigh the good.  Know your rights, and fight for your money.  The standard issue response seems to be “You will not be receiving your money back.”

Also Google seems to enjoy shutting down all acounts who’ve done business with each other. This could make things tough if you’ve ever sent money to anyone. Something to consider is the trouble you’ll have explaining why your friend/neighbor/mom/dad’s GW account was shut down even though they only used it once.

The Damage Report

A Partial list of what you lose out on when your Google Wallet account is shut down:

  • Tap to Pay with GW at stores
  • Google Play Store purchases and rentals (including $0 deals)
  • Chromecast deals
  • Google Voice number porting
  • Upgraded Google Drive storage space
  • Sending money or receiving money

In addition there’s a chance that Google will never let you back in. Trying to open new accounts may work, but once you go through account verification you might find this new account shutdown as well. I’ve pushed pretty hard using my most persuasive tone and have not been able to get my GW account reopened. I would call that definitive proof that it is a hard ban.

Today I’ll go over the tips I’ve learned in trying to get my money back from Google.

Tip #1, SAVE EVERYTHING

I can’t stress this tip enough. Google has been known to deposit balances to bank accounts after they shut down accounts. They’ve also been known to refund money to cards, which means keep the card you used to fund your account handy. There isn’t a firm pattern, so assume you’ll be getting a credit and keep anything related to the pending transaction/transactions, including receipts.

Tip #2 Don’t Waste Time with Identity verification

When your account is shut down you’ll be greeted with the following cheery page if you log in online:

Google Wallet Shutdown

This page makes it seem like your account can be reopened. This is not true. Filling out the information and submitting your documents will only result in the following:

“Thank you for submitting your verification information. Unfortunately, in an effort to protect our users, your account will remain closed due to violations of the Google Wallet Terms of Service.

Any previously pending transactions have been canceled. Authorization confirmations for these transactions may still appear on the transaction summary for the payment method you used, but your account has not been charged. These authorizations should be removed within 14 business days, depending on your bank’s schedule.

If you have a positive Google Wallet Balance, we’ll refund your money within 30 days and notify you accordingly.”

Tip #3 The Mobile App Continues to Work.

The good news is that while you’re locked out of wallet.google.com you can log into the app on your phone and pull up previous transactions:

GW App

You can also verify the money is still in your account, which can be helpful in conjunction with Tip #4.

Tip #4 Try This Link

If you can verify money is in your Wallet using the mobile app, try the following link:

https://support.google.com/googleplay/contact/ach

This was a link that one of the second level CS Agents sent me. I don’t know if it will work for everyone, but wanted to share it here.

Tip #5 Chat Continues to Work

I prefer chatting with agents rather than dealing with them over the phone, and one of the annoying parts about your wallet account being shut down is that chat doesn’t seem to work. Clicking on “Start a Chat” only brings you to the above account verification page.  Instead follow these steps to get an agent:

1) Log in

2) Click on HELP:

GW Help

3) Click on any topic, Like “Add a Bank Account”

4) Don’t do anything. After about 30 seconds a Chat popup like this will show in the bottom right corner:

GW CHat popup

Click “Start Chat” and you’ll be connected to a pretty unhelpful CS Agent.

Tip #6: STOP Chatting

After you do chat with an agent, do not chat with anyone else. After you chat you’ll receive an email, instead of chatting again reply via email to the Google Wallet Support Team:

Google Support Team
Emailing back helped me get to an eventual resolution of my issue. The initial chat is important to get the email thread started.

 

Stuck in a Loop

I do not believe Google has a solid procedure in place for returning money to accounts that are being shutdown. More than once I was told that my money would not be refunded, and I was simply “Out” the funds. I can only imagine how many people take them at their word and give up. Such bad advice is borderline criminal in my view. Consider filing CFPB and FDIC complaints if you feel you’ve exhausted your options and are stuck. (Reader Lisa has a great tip on who to complain to instead of the FDIC, be sure to check your state here)

Getting my money back wasn’t easy. In fact, the problem became nearly comical.  The circumstances of my shutdown were simple: I sent money to my wife’s account, and we were both shut down before she could withdraw the funds. My wife chatted with Google and was told different stories by each agent:

  • The money would automatically be returned after 14 days. (Not true)
  • Google would be keeping the money because her account was closed for Violation of ToS. (Pretty sure keeping funds would be illegal)
  • The money could only be refunded to the sender.

We eventually asked for them to return the money to the sender (me). When the money was refunded it no longer showed in her account–but it never came back to my account either. The cash was missing, in limbo. No one at google could see it, no one could refund it, and so I was stuck in a loop.

I’d contact google, they’d claim there was no money in either account. I’d give transaction numbers, and the chat agent would either tell me they had  to have someone above them look into it, or go off on a tangent, telling me things like “Oh well lets just work on getting your account re-opened first, please upload the verification documents needed and we can open your account.” (which again, does not work).

Eventually when I started replying to the emails instead of opening a new chat session I started getting somewhere. My money is safely mine again, and Google Wallet and I have parted ways.

A Big YMMV

I don’t think the 3 months I spent chasing down Google is typical. I had to often put this chase on hold for weeks at a time due to personal issues going on in my life. I know some of you have had a month or two long battle to get your money back. Others seem to have had their money refunded within 14 days after account shutdown.  I can’t detect a pattern, except that google employees seem to have very little training in how to handle accounts shutdown with money in them.

Don’t be surprised if you have to spend a significant amount of time on this. Share any tips you have if you’ve been shut down in the comments section here and I’ll update the post.

– Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I’ll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.

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61 thoughts on “How to Get Your Money Back When Google Wallet Shuts You Down

  1. Just wondering what kind of activity you had on GW. Have had about 10-12K/month over past year. Had to explain nature of activities three times to GW but it has been a smooth ride for at least the past few months.
    Maybe I should be careful…

    • Pierre: I lasted about 4 months doing similar volume as you. I was never asked to explain my activities, just found my account closed one day. I know others who’ve been shut down after 2 months and less than $10k total. I can’t give you any real reassurance, I’ve yet to find a firm pattern. Possible theory is that age of the @gmail account associated with the wallet account helps, both my wife and I have had our accounts 3+ years. How old/new is your Gmail account?

      • Interesting indeed.
        I have had my account for 6 years and my wife is about 1 year old.
        I will make sure to get some regular screenshots.
        Thanks for the post.

      • My account was shut down after receiving $100 dollars from my wife. One transaction and they are trying to keep the money. Then my wife’s account was shut down and she had only $50 in her account and only one transaction had occurred.

    • I had an account for around 6 months or so. I tried to send money to my sister, around 250 dollars, this was the only time I had tried to send this much and the most I had on the account. They canceled the transaction instantly and never refunded me the money. I waited a week or 2 and talked to my bank. After I got my money back google shut down the account. Was incredibly stupid.

  2. Step #2 sounds great to me – it gives you a chance to get a screenshot of the part where it says:

    “If you have a positive Google Wallet Balance, we’ll refund your money within 30 days and notify you accordingly.””

    If/when I get shut, I’ll want that screenshot for the person on the phone/chat/email who says otherwise.

  3. Complaining to the FDIC won’t help, as Google isn’t regulated or backed by the FDIC. I would go to my state’s attorney general and the California AG, since Google is headquartered there. Just mentioning the AG in the state where a company is HQed will often get you bumped to a supervisor who can do something.

  4. nice of you to post this for the 3-month anniversary of my getting shut down!

    still emailing. 3 weeks ago I submitted a refund form.
    still nothing.

    • Thom: Could you elaborate on the refund form you submitted? Was it the link I have in this post? Or something else? I’m trying to be as thorough as possible with this post.

        • Best of luck Thom, let me know how you make out. The form did nothing for me, I had better luck emailing the chat agent back over and over–but I agree you need to follow all possible leads. Google doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing with this service. Scary…

  5. Personally, I have loaded a few gift cards and withdrawn them to my account…Stopped doing that because I knew Google would shut me down…I am glad that I didn’t continue with this MS strategy

    Would hate losing access to Google play…

  6. GOOGLE TOLD ME I WOULD BE REFUNDED BACK IN JANUARY APRIL 10TH…TODAY IS APRIL 10TH & IM STILL OUT OF OVER $1500 DUE TO THEM BLOCKING MY SELLERS ACCOUNT…ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEAS ON HOW TO GO AROUND

  7. I started dealing with this nightmare run around April 7th. $1270 balance from P to P transfers. At noon on the 7th I received a $20 transfer and next thing my account was shut down for violation of ToS. Everything submitted 3 times and many many emails, chats and phone calls just to be told nothing useful. Even the “specialist/supervisor” Joel has stopped responding to my emails. Everything in this write up has been happening to me. I filed a complaint with the BBB last week and will be filing one with the Commissioner of Financial Regulation in Baltimore MD later this week. I used Google Wallet for 6 months without issue for P to P. Today I decided to call back and asked to speak with another supervisor (named April this time) she told me she is going to escalate the department handling my case to see if that moves things faster (funny…I was under the impression that Joel did the same thing 4 days ago) Also in regards to my money (my only real concern here) refunds and transfers seem to be handled my another department. It is really bush league that none of these departments can simply call each other for answers…This April chick has promised me a follow up call back and email. We will see…

    • Jason, I genuinely feel your pain. CFPB is another good resource to try. As with anything at google it seems like the robots/computers are in control of the ship!

      • Thanks for the info! I am filling out a complaint with the CFPB now. FYI incase anyone does not understand Google Wallet terminology. Suspended/disabled/locked out wallet accounts mean “closed”. I have yet to find anything in writing that gives any information on a positive account balance refund policy or time frame. I also think that I did not go above the float rule but instead was shut down because some idiot who sent me money included a message that sounded like I was using p to p transactions to sell items. Which is also a violation of the ToS. One of these jokers did tell me it could take up to 30 days for my money but then again I have been told so much conflicting bullshit from Google that I have a very hard time depending on the validity of that statement. I will keep you updated.

        • Sounds just like the BS you get when PayPal shuts you down. You get the same fishing expedition for information and the same incompetent/conflicting CSR responses.

  8. Sadly, it appears I’m one of the latest victims. The agent was clear on the phone that they were unsure what was going to happen. This was prior to me sending in identity verification. I’m not sure what I did to get my account closed either. No clear answers. No one would transfer me. 36 minutes later they escalated and ended the call. Within an hour I had the not so wonderful email verbiage listed above, however mine mentioned 15 days.

  9. I have been going through this since Sept. 22, 2014 and after it is escalated to a department they will say due to violations of terms of use we will not issue you any funds that is in your account. Understanding I had already been told the money would be returned with 14 business days and it never happened then was told the refund was initiated but that was a lie. I have every email Google Wallet Support Team has sent me and I am thinking of speaking to a lawyer in regards to this matter. Even when I contacted the corporate office they told me they can not help me because it is Google Wallet I need to speak with. I have tried everything I have spoken to over 100 representative since my account has been closed and I assume I will never get my $654.84 back

      • I am actually doing that right now thank you so much for your assistance and posting this here so that everyone can see. I have seen so many comments on other sites in regards to Google Wallet doing this and no one is doing anything they are just giving up hope. You gave me hope and I will be sharing that with others I know who have been having the same issue.

  10. I didn’t lose any money. I just tried to buy some gems for Clash of Clans. I am just curious why they would suspend/close my GW.

    Thanks for the info.

    • Same problems here.And the joke I wanted to use my EE PAY AS YOU GO mobile balance.After I provided my IDs documents(actually they knows my whole life) still nothing still blocked and cant get access for MY account.

  11. ‘Any previously pending transactions have been canceled. Authorization confirmations for these transactions may still appear on the transaction summary for the payment method you used, but your account has not been charged. These authorizations should be removed within 15 business days, depending on your bank’s schedule.’ what does this mean actually ? does it mean they will refund all transactions made under this account google wallet?

    • Jason: I would never try to translate Google’s lies for you. They very well could refund the transactions, or they also might not. The number of people who have been burned by Google is growing… So keep a close eye on your cards and make sure all your money is refunded.

      • okay should i call or email them to refund all transactions made under this google wallet . i want to get get my money and part ways with google ever .

        • My advice is to email and keep replying to the same email. You’ll soon learn just how bad Google customer support is…

          • ya i already know that . im getting pissed by them too. im requesting refunds for the transactions made under the account .

  12. I’m just getting started with process. After 1 week of responses as described above (or lack there of) I’m going straight to legal action. Additionally I’m going to contact media source to see if they would like to follow this story with me. I’ll post updates here.

  13. Word for word exactly like my case. Just hit the 5 week mark. I guess I’ll just be patient. It baffles me that they can not provide real support. This seems like it will snowball and more people will learn that it is a very bad service.

  14. How many transactions were you guys going through a day approx? I just had my account suspended for the second time but they seem to reopen it.

  15. I’ve been deeling with the same thing on 3 different accounts now. 2 are personal, and one is actually a bisiness account tied to my Google Developer account. I’m one of the few approved google wallet developers outside of Google, but the closed my account which basically kills my last 6 months of software development and my ability to sell apps on the Google Play store, or sell products in my apps.

    I was able to finally get an email address and mailing address. I told them i needed it to have my attorney contact theirs.

    Google Inc.
    Attn: Google Payments
    1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
    Mountain View, CA 94043

    googlepayments@google.com

  16. My account was closed September 11th,2014. I was told I was getting a refund in December 2014. That was a bullshit lie. Google will send you through a damn loop before you can get anything back. I have talked to 1000s (I’m NOT even kidding) of reps and they stop responding when they can’t help (or are told to back off by their higher ups). It’s like you are completely stuck. I was pissed and stressed out. There is a total of 5,***.97 in the account still. I received a message from google back in April 2015 this year and they said i was NOT getting a refund because i broke some tos crap. I gave google a call 11 days ago to see if I could still have a chance to get my funds. So tonight 11/6/15 I received an email 1 year and 2 months since the account was “hard closed”, that they wanted me to send over my most current bank account information and that I will definitely be getting a refund. Those of you in the early stages of this, I wish you all the best. This has been a nightmare!! Hopefully now we will be getting somewhere and heads up to you all my brother who is an IT says he did some looking and after a year or when you stop contacting they will take the funds and put them into an account of theirs. (completely Illegal btw.) Just beware. Keep contacting and don’t give up hope. Keep pushing!!

    Also i may add that i used a nick name to set up my email account in 2011 and every time i call in they refer to me by that name. I think they were trying to use that against me and say that was the reason my account was closed and a refund will not be issued (although they say that they can’t say what ToS i broke) They are now calling me by my correct name which will show up on my google wallet card address information and bank account information. GW is one BIG joke. It’s truly sad. Once again I wish you all the best. Good luck.

    P.S. Has anyone gotten their refund and how long did it take once bank information was sent?

  17. I tried using GW for Google Play. They claim I did not have enough funds on the GW, but they fronted me the purchases, which is BS! I asked for confirmation showing I got credit for the purchases-nothing! now they claim I owe them $43.91—I want to buy something on GP-can they take money from my credit card?

  18. Whatever is described in this article just happened to me suddenly! Now I am stuck. My google drive payment has been shutdown. I am traveling in Asia and internet is slow in hotels. I want to transfer my data to Microsoft One drive but because of the expensive and slow internet I can not do so. Please be careful with google. Identification is totally useless. After submitting my passport copy and bank statement, they immediately rejected it.

    As this article says, verification is useless.

    I will NOT advise anyone to use google wallet or any google service for that matter. For example, I offered google to pay $24 sent by paypal or bank check or anyway for my google drive storage. The customer service said that they could not accept .

    So you are stuck and doomed. No questions asked. No questions answered. Their decision is final. AVOID GOOGLE

    • Marcus: I feel your pain. The real moral of the story is to never use your “real” gmail address for google wallet payments. There’s just too much of a risk that it could be shut down. Google’s Customer Service is terrible, and there are little things, like extra storage space, and GV porting that you may need to pay them for in the future.

  19. my gmail wallet account was closed.

    i think my phone has a ip or whatever ban. or maybe theyve flagged my credit card..?

    what do i do in order to be able to buy things again including in app purchases?

      • The issue with a new account is-:
        I tried making a purchase on a game I play, and i get the high risk please wait 30 mins error.

        I’ve decided to wait for 48 hours. But f they ask for government id and credit card copy like they did and I provided before getting shut out, I’m screwed.

        This is a new credit card, my name, never linked to Google wallet. However the credit card details such as address and mobile number is the same like the last card which was linked to the email they banned.

  20. What I was doing was requesting refunds through Google for in app purchases. I set up multiple emails linked to my primary(I know, stupid!) and they ultimately ‘temporarily’ suspended my account..asked for documents and once I submitted it to them..promptly replied saying the account has been closed and tos they don’t need to give me a reason.

    Now I feel even the card and phone have been flagged on their system to be blocked if I try a new account etc.

    The other issue with a new account is, I created a new account with another credit card and I’m getting the high risk please try again after 30 minutes extra error message. I’ve read online that if I have patience the issue should get sorted out within 48 hours automatically once Google does the verification with my bank or else it has to be done manually which means I have to mail Google. The problem about this is that they will request documentation (government id and credit card copy) which I already submitted to them before they closed my primary account. With the new account I’ve tried linking a secondary credit card from the same bank account but the problem is the address and mobile number on the billing information for the cards is the same and I’m concerned that they may have possibly flagged those details as high risk on heir system. If I provide the details to them there is a high chance they block the new account too.

    I’ve been in situations like this Google is on the lookout for new accounts created by blocked users

    • Jack: consider buying Google play gift cards… You could keep your name and address masked and not even have a cc attached to the new account.

      • Yes, now I’ll have to do that.

        Turns out, another account I made entirely new and linked with a card I have never used has also received the sweet and dandy please reactivate your temporarily suspended email..lol

        So guys be careful, they’re tracking and hunting down new accounts.

  21. I just recently turned my wallet card on not even a week ago and so did my husband. Immediately after my husband added $100 to his card they suspend it saying they can’t speak of why it just had unusual activity.. Wtf? He sent in every ID, bank info government ID you name it.. They refused to turn it back on. Well I added $40 yep that’s it lol bam suspended so I sent in every document known to man thank God they turned my card back on, that is until I added $60 more to card now they refuse to turn it on and we closed our bank account because of this our who financial situation is f***ed because of them claiming we were being fraudulent and they won’t return the money. I mean it’s only $163.87 but that’s our money so does anybody have any suggestions I have exhausted every option it feels like. TIA

  22. I found this on a search for TOS violations. I’ve had the same Google account since they started gmail (back when you had to get someone to send you an invite) but I only went to set up wallet last month. I’ve been back and forth with them on the phone and by email, submitting verification docs, everything, and just got the form email about TOS violations. I’ve literally NEVER used the service, never even had it set up to violate! Now I feel lucky that this occurred right away after reading all this. I’m not into them for any money, just frustration and time.

  23. There bound to be a law to sue GW for your money when they one day shut down our account. They say Violation of TOS, yet refuse to tell you why it was shut down. Sounds like a fraud scam to me.

  24. 18 months I have argued, called, cussed, emailed, and despite all that bitching the efforts get me nowhere. Google owes me $4.03, lol. I begun the effort out of spite, but I continue as I won’t let a company worth so much steal a dime from me, why dont we all band together and start a class action, charge interest? The very least it would get the media’s attention and get their crap together. Lol

  25. Hey guys, do you know if it’s safe using Onevanilla giftcards with GW? I mean attaching them to GW and then buying stuff in stores. Will this get the account shut down and if so, will it affect the cards linked to it?

  26. I feel lucky now. My account was closed last Friday when I don’t have a balance there. Hard to believe google is having such a terrible service. I believe we should band together and file a class action against them. There got to be a lot more people out there having similar problems!

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