There’s a certain level of absurdest humor to the following story, and I’m posting it publicly in case anyone else is in the same boat. Also, I’m fairly certain I’m going to eventually need to use this post as evidence at some point that I really do want to pay Google the money I owe them. 

I’ve documented my shutdown with Google Wallet here on the blog before.  I had a great run with them, using their service to send my wife money to pay her bills. I’m not bitter, and I don’t dispute that the shutdown wasn’t warranted.  The timeline of my use of the service is loosely:

August: Courtship phase; Google Wallet woos me.

September-October: Honeymoon; I found my love and it is Google Wallet

November: The first signs of trouble–Failure to complete (transactions).

Mid November: A trial separation.  Google Wallet keeps $500 of my money as we sort out the details of our breakup

December-January: Give me my money back.

February: It gets nasty. I’m ready to go CFPB on them.  All the threats seem to work, and my $500 is returned to me.

That should be the end of the story. Divorce is never easy, and Google Wallet had made this one painful, but ultimately agreeable.

Or so I thought…

Google Wallet Wants Pay-Back

The email came a few weeks ago, and when I saw it I instantly knew I was in for an uphill battle:GW PayBack

I immediately thought there had to be a mistake. How could owe Google Wallet money? We settled all our differences when they paid me.

I fired back a reply asking what in the world they were talking about.  It took me a few days to unravel what really happened.  Eventually I was told that three different transactions were refunded by three different Google Wallet Reps.  Two of the three transactions had already been deposited into my wife’s checking account. Apparently in trying to clear my $500 credit I was refunded $500 x 3, pushing my account to -$1,000.

Fortunately I kept every card used with Google Wallet, and found the cards in question. I verified that they were, indeed, refunded erroneously.

Hilarity Ensues

As you can see in the above email, the Google Wallet collections team suggested I log into my Wallet account, add money to the account, and close out the balance.  Sounds simple, and it would be–had my account not been shut down. 

Logging into my account and trying to add money only results in a warning:

“Your Wallet account has been suspended. Please contact Support to Verify your account.”

Contacting Support I’m told I need to verify my account to before I can add money to it.  Verification documents are uploaded, and a response is received:

GW PayBack2
I’m glad that they are concerned for my safety and security.



At which point I would then reply to the original request from Google to clear my negative balance saying that I cannot do so.  The reply? You guessed it: Log in and add money to my wallet account.

Around and around we go, doing the dance of $1,000 dollars:

GW PayBack2

Not an Isolated Incident

I’ve heard from other readers that this is happening to them as well.  The support staff at Google Wallet are tripping over themselves to refund money, and causing closed accounts to go into the negative.  I continue to stress that emailing one single support person with Google wallet is the best way to get a quick resolution to your shutdown and refund requests.  Keeping all cards and documents is a MUST.

I’ll update with the final resolution, but if anyone at Google wants their $1,000 back, and is reading this; let’s talk!  I’m willing to pay in Money Order, Amex Gift Card, or any other agreeable instrument you might want.

Oh, and I’d love if this little $1,000 issue is enough for us to get back together Google Wallet. If you’d only reopen my account I would fall in love with you all over again…

– 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.

11 thoughts on “Public Declaration: Google, I Really, Really, Really Want to Pay You the $1,000 I Owe You

  1. man, i hope your next chapter isn’t mine, as i finally got my 3k back!

    (they did it in maximum ‘screw you’ fashion, withdrawing $100 30 times, causing me to freak that they were putting $100 back on each debit card I’d used, but didn’t have all of; then they said they’d sent it to my bank account, but it didn’t show for 2 weeks, when the transfers I used to make happened overnight…)

  2. What sort of volume were you doing on your GW account? And how about total volume?

    Just trying to get a sense of what is “acceptable” vs “too much”…

    • Paul: I was doing as much as I could really. I ended up pushing about 70 transactions through for a total of about $35k before shutdown. However, from discussions with other readers others have been shut down well below $10k in total volume. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern that I can discern. I used a very seasoned Gmail account for both sender and receiver (both approx 8 years old) and I only went A->B, never reversed the stream.

  3. I have been battling with Google Wallet for the past month for this same exact issue. My Google Wallet account was shut down and I got the same exact response; for my safety and security it will remain closed. I owe them 2k and I WANT TO PAY THEM, BADLY! I’ve emailed about five times since this all started and no one has ever replied to me. I’ve posted on their twitter, and reddit, nothing. I was thinking my next steps should be either finding a way to contact their execs or creating a public blog (that is how I found yours.)

    I can no longer use Project Fi, Android Pay, purchase any apps, music, movies, games, nor continue my Music Subscription because of this. I wouldn’t even be able to order any new devices off their online store. They have shunned us from the Android/Google Community. I am not taking this break up too well. :'(

    My question to you is, has your issue been resolved? Have they sent you to a third party collections agency? Have they reported anything to the three credit bureau agencies?

    Best of luck

    • Manny: I was able to get someone to approve a manual payment from the checking account linked to the Google wallet account. I continued emailing one email thread until someone realized it and asked me for written approval to pull $1000 out of my checking account. Best of luck to you.

      You can create a new Gmail account to access most of the services you’re now locked out of.

  4. My nightmare is just beginning. Someone got into my google account last week by getting into my desktop through Microsoft remote desktop. From there the chrome browser had all my logins saved. The person sent over $1000 to people in google wallet ($1600 via paypal as well). The google wallet support people stopped 2 of the transactions but $800 went through. Google’s response to the identity theft/fraud was to shut down my google payments account even though I have it properly secured with 2step authorization now. Now today I got an email saying my balance is -$800 and I need to pay up. I also had drive/music subscriptions I will miss since I cannot renew them. Did yours ever go to collections and did your actual google services get banned, such as gmail use?

    • First off, good luck. I hope they’ve improved in the last year, but I don’t hold out much hope that they have.

      Mine never went to collections. I kept replying to a single email thread until someone finally said they would take the money from my account.

      Your situation is very different. You may want to get you back and CC companies involved.

      Either way, yes to this day I have not been able to buy anything from Google with my main Gmail account. I made a new account and was able to use that for future purchases. Total pain but that’s how it works with a company like Google.

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