Google’s Worst Customer Service EVER – An SMB Tale of Woe

Dan Wakefield runs, an innovative Portland based tool rental firm that directly delivers yard tools to homeowners for their use. His firm, being a service business with his address appropriately hidden on Google Places, suffered the “We Do Currently Do  Not Support This Location” problem that inappropriately removed businesses for the second time in a month (yes Google suffered the exact same problem last month but not as badly).

His tale captures the issues that an SMB faces when Google loses their listing and accurately reflects Google’s current (inadequate) response to the recurring problem. He unfortunately learned the hard way that diversification of review and marketing resources is necessary in a Google world. Read what he has to say:

We had our places profile for several years then we got the “We Currently Do Not Support This Location” at the same time everyone else did.

Unfortunately, whatever they did to fix the problem had the opposite affect for us.  We have been in a state of “We Currently Do Not Support This Location” for almost 3 weeks.  When we look at our places dashboard, we see “Being reviewed – Pending” even though we can still edit information.

Fortunately, Google Places support has been corresponding with us and says that it is a Google technical glitch that’s causing the problem and it is not a result of anything we have done.  They won’t tell us when, if ever, this bug will be fixed.  We had 56 (5 star) reviews on this profile.  It took us nearly 3 years to accumulate those reviews and now they are gone.

The support people created a second profile that is incomplete and has no reviews associated with it.  I question the usefulness of a duplicate profile for the same location, but it was their doing, not ours. They have confirmed that the reviews will never re-associate with the new profile, but maybe the old one will come online someday when they fix the bug.  As far I am concerned, this is a data integrity problem.  It’s funny, if Google were to lose customer data for a few free Gmail accounts then we would hear about it on national news, but lose a few Small Business Google Places profiles and nobody cares (except the business owners).

If there is a lesson to be learned here then it’s “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”  Over the years we have sent every customer to our Google Places profile to write a review and many of them did. Why wouldn’t we?  We trusted Google to do no evil.  With the blink of an eye all those precious reviews have been lost.  We embraced Google 100% and have been bitten because of it.

Going forward, we are sending all customers to our Facebook page to “Like” us and share their experience.  Additionally, we intend to fully embrace Apple maps (when they come out), Yelp, Yahoo Local, Bing etc… Spread things around a little.  The online equivalent of market diversification.  Rest assured, based on this nightmare experience with Google, we will likely not be sending customers to participate in Google Places or Google+ review activity. Funny thing, a fair percentage of our customers actually took the time to create a Google account so they could write the reviews.  Yes, they where that happy with our service.

And Dan is probably right. Creating a second listing is likely NOT a good solution to his problems. Your thoughts?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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41 thoughts on “Google’s Worst Customer Service EVER – An SMB Tale of Woe”

  1. Your chances of finding a CSR at Facebook are far less likely than at Google. At least they’re trying to fix the problem. Diversifying advertising shouldn’t necessarily just mean sending people to new online review sites – why not send out a referral letter to your best customers? Or a direct mail piece? Sure, a pay-per-click Yelp ad never hurt anyone, and I suppose you could start populating your Citysearch page with new reviews, but ultimately, Google still holds most of the search cards and the other guys are all fringe players. AdWords maybe?

  2. @Greg

    Diversifying review sites has always been a best practice even if Google is all you care about. Most importantly it’s easier for your clients to have a choice of where to leave reviews but it also provides some cover against loss of Google reviews and review diversity is always a net positive in terms of Google.

    As to his next marketing move there are certainly a number of options for him to consider. The obvious one would be email marketing (hopefully he has been collecting email addresses). Maybe even explaining his dilemma with Google and asking for them to refer a friend.

    Hopefully he will stop by later and share with us his thoughts.

  3. This is going to sound harsh, but it’s really just a bit of tough love. Google Places, now Google+page are free entities, the business owner is under no obligation to Google and Google is under no obligation to the business owner. Sure, Google wants to own the most accurate data; they want to have the ability to return the most accurate search results, all well and good. If you are a business owner and you make the effort to build out and build up your free profile that is awesome, but never lose sight of the fact that you are doing so in an environment where you virtually have no control. This holds true for your FB Business Page, Yelp, Citysearch, Superpages, YP, etc., etc. If you want control all these guys sell advertising, that is how they pay their bills and continue to exist.
    As an old telco guy this reminds of the days when some businesses would create a “Yellow Pages” name like “AAAAAA Acme whatever” so their SRL (free listing) could appear first in their respective Heading. Sorry friends, recall the old saying, “there is no free lunch”.
    Your the best Mike,

    1. @TD
      I am not sure that blaming the victim is quite the right approach. Whether a product is free or paid or fremium, there needs to be an underlying trust that it is fit for service. Even if it had been paid, all that any company would have done is refund the money. Commerce is predicated on this basic idea that products will perform as advertised.

      I totally agree with you that a business owner needs to understand that he or she has no control over many of these resources and that their best use is to reinforce the things that the business owner does control (see my Web Equity infographic) but that doesn’t free Google or any provider of services from being obligated to provide digital tools that work and that don’t trash an owner’s data.

  4. Unfortunately, several of the alternatives he is considering also are risky. Yahoo local, merchant verified listings are a joke. The upgrade is $10 per month for most businesses there is scant lead generation. Additionally, they are in bed with the YP and what you find in many cases is that somewhere along the line, YP has gained control of a business listing which locks out a business owner’s ability to claim and enhance. (and just try to get a hold of a person at YP who can resend their control, it is like entering a maze). Meantime, YP does nothing to maintain the listing, so outdated information, they make no use of adding content, photos and content. Truthfully, they are a poor excuse for a local search engine (directory) and where customer support arrogance is the norm – Finally, there is Bing, where publishing changes can take the better part of a year and there is no one to communicate with. We feel your pain Dan.

  5. @Jim

    I am sure, that in the pain of the moment, that Dan has not thoroughly thought thru his next steps.

    As Greg pointed out above, you wouldn’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water as he moves forward. He needs to develop a well rounded plan that provides good returns for his investment.

  6. Mike: Very interesting story. I’m about to have a story published about one of our own smb’s that took a “mysterious hit” via google places/ google maps/ now known as google+local.

    It ultimately recovered.

    But being subject to the vagueries, or mysteries, or simple blatent disfunction of google places is a miserable experience. Often as in Dan’s case above, how and why the problem occurs has nothing to do with the business itself.

    As to TD’s commentary: True: There is no free lunch. OTOH: Google is unlike all the other directories/ local portals out there.

    Its the monopoly. Its not an emerging monopoly, nor one that is just slightly a monopoly.

    Its a huge overwhelming monopoly on eyeballs.

    We have a variety of smbs. They are of some totally different types and in different markets. We make very extensive efforts that are expensive in some cases to expand visibility outside of google. Its an ongoing process over a lot of years with lots of different efforts.

    After all of that, when we add in the things that have worked and we look at the sum total of all our leads for these diverse smbs and after a lot of efforts to expand visibility….what is the net result?

    Google still has a monopoly on leads.

    So when google screws up its a big problem. Many of us have seen the overwhelming despondency of smb’s who have suffered from the problems in the google+local backend. They were in existence 6-7 years ago when google pushed maps results onto the first page of

    They are still there. In some ways things might be better. In some ways they could be worse.

    After all these years though, there is no commitment from google to emphasize getting things corrected. They do have a commitment to generating new products and new programs to increase traffic to google.

    Its not a great environment.

    1. @Dave

      Google has done such a good job of sending leads that the alternatives are not at all clear. That’s for sure. I think in this case a great email list might be useful but it is very hard to find viable alternatives.

  7. I think diversification is the way to go. A new customer for me just did 2 Google reviews that never showed up. I do think businesses have the right to expect quality service from Google and at the same time, having reviews in multiple locations is a good way to hedge against this kind of thing.
    The other thing for me when I hear this is I’m not sure if I should change an existing account to hide the address to comply with the policy for service companies. If I make the change will there be a ‘technical glitch’? This stuff makes me nervous and I feel strange when telling customers that Google is the best and most unreliable option!

  8. Echoing some tough love as stated above.

    It’s the daily grind of making sure you’re everywhere and anywhere!

    That’s also why knowing your traffic from your Analytics tools, are key to telling the story and adjust as needed.

    1. @Dennis
      Surely a small business should attempt to diversify but as Jeff points out there are not many options that are as fruitful as Google AND the obligation for the SMB to do it right, in no way excuses Google’s obligation to deliver products that are fit for service. Just because Google gives this particular one away as a competitive strategy in no way lessens their responsibility.

  9. I feel for Dan. Reviews are more than simply a search ranking factor or marketing asset, they are signposts that let entrepreneurs (and most readers of this know exactly how difficult that road can be) know how they are doing. That makes their loss seem some how more personal.

    OK, I recognize that it is self-serving for me to chime in on this but…

    In addition to the diversification value of spreading your reviews around, 3rd party reviews are a key local search ranking factor. Those links at the bottom of your +Local reviews page are increasing your local ranking.

    1. @Ted
      Your POV is always welcome here and you can trust that if I THINK someone is out of line in the self serving department I will step in. No worries on that front.

  10. I don’t know that I agree with the tough love either. I’ve had merged listings, dupes and have less reviews on Google than I had a year ago. All from customers that took the time to create accounts and write thoughtful reviews.

    I’d like to think that Google has SOME obligation to treat me right/fix problems as I’ve dropped over $50K in Adwords spending over my time with them. Not a lot of money to Google, but a significant amount to me, a small business owner. Anyone else I’ve spent that much with has a number I can call, makes things right (or attempts to) when there is an issue, and generally puts in some effort to keep my business. Google, not so much.

  11. I was discussing the whole Google relationship with SMB’s with another consultant the other day. We concluded that, like the current establishment in DC, Google has no small business owners in the building. They have no idea what it is like from our perspective. No one there understands that these screw ups might cause some family to miss a house payment or worse.

    Sure, it is offered for free of a financial payment to them. But it is hardly free, and without the SMB involvement, the financial benefit to Google is lost. Therefore they do have an obligation to get it right. Maybe even a legal one.

    1. @Randy
      Google has gotten better at trying to understand what it is like but you are right, they are still pretty clueless.

      I agree with you that just because Google charges for some things and not others in no way frees them from their obligation to do it right.

  12. I have yet so see a case like this end well. I definitely agree with “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, because all to often business rely on one channel that is working really well.

  13. @TD

    The problem is that SMBs do not have a choice of whether to use Google Places or not. This free service is a monopoly that dominates the market. There are no alternatives that come close to the reach of this service, and we as users are effectively forced to use it regardless of the quality of their customer service or even if we just don’t like it. i.e. because it’s so dominant, if our competitors are using the service and we don’t, we’ll get killed in the marketplace. Adwords helps and should be a part of every SMBs campaign along with Google Places, but it doesn’t replace the need for Google Places. In terms of Google making money off places for those folks who don’t use adwords, i think the coming fees for people who click on the phone #, etc are great solutions to that issue.

    My business which is a storefront has also worked very hard to get reviews on various sites and perform all the right tasks to help give us a good presence on Google Places. We ranked #1 for several years. Unfortunately, we were a victim of the most recent problem and have been down for over a month. Note our listing on Places hadn’t changed other than updating Offers and messages. We got the technical issue message but no follow up and no action taken unlike Yardrents.

    I think Google offers a great service with Google Places, but they are sure shooting themselves in the foot with their customer support and the timeline with which they operate. i.e. a bad month for an SMB could put them out of business if it’s bad enough where Google could take 4-6mos to fix a problem.

    Thanks Mike for continuing to shine the spotlight on these issues.



    1. @Jeffrey

      Google is unique in that they do listen. To their credit they are trying to put in place many of the suggestions that have been made over the years. I never found Apple to give a hoot in the past, although I have no idea now what they are like. It will be interesting to see what they bring to the table and whether they do any better.

  14. I deal with Google Places all the time on the behalf of small business owners, and it is a constant battle. Names, phone numbers, and categories all change frequently, listings disappear, and the always fun part when listings merge with competitors listings. Not to mention the hide and go seek game of reviews. Its a bad product, not two ways about it.

    Unfortunately, Google has a monopoly. Other review directories are much easier to deal with, like Yelp, who has a customer support team who actually fixes problems. Then again, with Google support team, its not that they don’t want to help, but that the whole thing is so broken there isn’t a lot anyone can do.

    I don’t think any company can afford to ignore Google, but I would definitely recommend embracing alternatives. If for nothing else then taking a break from the endless frustration of trying to get Google Places/Local to work.

    1. @Katie

      There you go… do Yelp so life is less crazy!

      I am hoping that in the move to Plus Google has been fixing a number of the underlying issues. Here’s hoping!

  15. As to the reality of not counting on Google: My practice is across the board, from trade shows to bus bench ads, and Google+ to email blasts. Almost every client still says referrals are #1. But the products and services have to be fresh, the distribution channels have to be right, the staff needs to be providing amazing customer service, costs have to be kept in line, etc., ad infinitum. I have done more good for clients by a serious analysis of their P & L than by any online effort. It is all marketing.

  16. Hi everyone. Thanks for your comments. I think a little clarification is necessary here. My comments are in the context of local search and Google Places. I was not sharing our entire marketing and advertising strategy and I would hate for anyone to assume that we use Google Places as our primary lead generator. SEO, email marketing, traditional advertising and (of course) paid search and Facebook advertising are mainstays of our marketing and advertising activities. From this perspective, we have always been diversified and I personally manage all of this. We do not outsource these activities. I’m of the opinion that it’s important for every small business owner to be able closely manage two things: 1. The financial books of the business. 2. All marketing and advertising activities, especially internet activities.

    Yes, Google Places is free. Or is it? Our annual advertising budget for Google alone (primarily Adwords) is in the thousands of dollars, but we pay extremely close attention to where our traffic is coming from (ads vs organic etc…) and we are always adjusting things accordingly. Everything in local search is intertwined. Our Adwords advertisements are (were) tied to a useful Google Places profile (via extensions) to add credibility to our ads. I will admit that we are second guessing some of our Google ad budget now that our extensions are useless, but Google will always receive a share of our advertising spending. From your comments it seems many of you want to dismiss this misery because Google Places is a free service. That’s fine. At least we are having this conversation in public so that other business owners can learn from what has transpired. Hopefully other business owners can come up with a local search and review strategy that can help them avoid the painful sting of our Google Places experience. Personally I wish Google Places were a paid service so that we could then demand some level of accountability.

    Now, back to my original point. From a local business credibility standpoint we did make a mistake by sending all customers (almost exclusively) to our Google Places profile. Why was it a mistake? Because the profile got dumped/lost/deleted/un-indexed/left behind. Whatever you want to call it, the profile is no longer there and none of the reviews are there either. To Jim and “old telco guy”: are you advocating that we embrace the second (empty) profile and start all over again? There is an old saying, “fool me once, shame on you…” In the context of local search on Google, the baby and the bathwater have already been thrown out by Google.

    I take full responsibility for our lack of local search diversification as it pertains to reviews. I should have known better. I should have know that a free service would not treasure my customer feedback the same way that we do. And what about our customers? Yes, we lost our reviews, but think of those customers who’s time was wasted. They put significant thought and detail into communicating their experiences with our business and they also felt that Google was going to live up to an assumed obligation to store that review.

    What I did was the equivalent of writing a 56 page term paper while never saving my work. When the power went out, I lost everything. Yes, I am frustrated and angry, but I should have protected myself. Most of all I am afraid to trust Google with this priceless data (customer reviews), but I disagree with those that think a strategy of diversification is a dead end.

    Since we have confirmation that this is the result of a Google bug and there is no acceptable use violation, I’m not sure “Tough Love” is a fair term to use. “Tough Luck” is probably more appropriate and we certainly don’t deserve a comparison to business that change their name to show up first in a phonebook. We play by the rules. We read the acceptable use policy front to back and forward again. Then we read it again 20 more times once the profile starting blinking on and off.

    One of the greatest things about small startups is that we can be nimble and flexible. If something fails, work around it or go a different direction, but don’t ever make the same mistake twice. Sure, Google currently has a monopoly on search, but other players like Apple and Facebook are sneaking up quickly to at least capture more of local search on the device side of things. I want take this setback and turn it into something positive. Sure, we will have little luck getting a CSR to call us back from Facebook, but Facebook has NEVER lost any of our data and when there is a major change (such as eliminating the review app or re-structuing to Timeline) they at least gave us 30 days notice of that change so we could plan for it.

    I continue to hold out hope that our original Google Places profile will come back online and we can re-address local search review strategies again at that time. The following has been our latest strategy for the last 4 weeks. It’s seems to be working out well. We already know we didn’t need 56 5-star reviews with google places. That’s the equivalent of investing your entire retirement portfolio into one equity (say GOOG). It’s a smart strategy when the stock is going up, but bad when it’s time to retire and the stock takes a nose dive. 15 or 20 reviews would have been more than adequate since we started to see the same type of customer comments repeated. We should have only sent about 20% of our customers to Google Places. Going forward, we are in a tough spot because any customers we send to the new (empty shell) Google Places profile will have their reviews associate with the new profile. I’m tempted to delete the profile entirely so this won’t happen. It would be bad if the old profile came online because then we would get flagged as having 2 profiles at the same address/number. More though needs to go into this.

    Facebook 30%:
    As noted before, we have been sending customers to Facebook to share their YardRents experience on our Facebook page. The upshot, more customers have been sharing reviews since they don’t have to work so hard to share a few sentences of their thoughts. Additionally, all of their friends can see their activity, look in on what’s happening and anybody can share/re-post. We have been getting a lot of new interest as a result of this. The downside, while we have a great volume of reviews, the average length of the review has diminished. Not a big deal though. For Facebook, customer “chatter” is most important and it seems to be working. We have coded other tools for Facebook (apps) to connect with users and capture permissions to actually post back on their wall. That’s another story:)

    Angie’s List 10%:
    Some customers don’t have a Facebook account, but will have an Angie’s List account so we will send them to Angie’s List. The upside, we have top placement in several Angie’s List categories for the Portland area. The downside, lots of sales calls from Angie’s List and none of those reviews will get indexed on the internet by the search engines. If you want to and can operate within the Angie’s List sub domain of the internet then it’s a great strategy. We are one foot in, one foot out. Every Angie’s List review is one less review that will help SEO.

    Yelp 30%:
    Since we are a service based business, we have a hard time with Yelp. Yes, we will probably have to pay them something in the near term to get the most out of their service, but again, a little leverage would be nice. The downside, Yelp also has a hard time with our reviews, probably because they are so good:) Nearly 50% of our reviews have been quarantined by the Yelp review Algorithm. Similar to Google, a lot of our reviews are from customer that created a new account simply to post a single review. I’m guessing that has a lot to do with it. At least the reviews are not getting lost entirely. The upside, when Apple comes out with Apple Maps, the rumor is that it’s going to pull it’s places date from Yelp and Facebook and a few other local directories. Again, just a rumor, but I want to get ahead of that.

    Bing, Yahoo, Merchant Circle, Citisearch, etc: 10%
    Not much more to be said here. Citisearch is paid also, but those reviews get indexed by the search engines and I think Google Places still accepts them as legitimate reviews that it will associate with your Google Places profile. The nice thing is that when Google Places drops your profile, you will still have reviews in place at Citisearch.

    Obviously all of this is fluid and should be re-addressed from month to month, but I think it’s a great allocation of target locations where we should be sending customers to do reviews.

    Bottom line, please don’t think any of our planning is a result of a knee jerk reaction. Rather it’s the implementation of a review strategy that has been devised over the course of many months.

  17. Like many have said before me diversification is key in any good business plan. Technology is technology and there is always a glitch or a bug! It is just the nature of the game even though it is very unfortunate.

    I am a small business owner and I understand how devastating something like this can be and how hard it is to recover. I also know that forming a good solid come back strategy is key and to move on as quickly as possible.

    To move forward I would spread the reviews out a bit on Yelp and the other sites to make sure in the future all of my reviews were not on one site. I would also get to work ranking organically while the Google+ situation is figured out. As much as we hate it Google has a monopoly and all most all of your traffic is coming from Google. If Google is going to take this long to figure out the problem can you delete the damaged account and start fresh with the new account Google created? Starting over might be their only option. How long is a suitable time frame to wait for the old account to be resurrected and if they do will the reviews still be connected to the profile?

    If they do loose all of the reviews did they save any contact information from any of their past clients to ask for another review? Its a shot in the dark but a few of the clients just might come through with a great review on Yelp or some where else.

    Most of the time these glitches makes us scream and hate Google but it also teaches us to be a little bit better next time. I would appreciate a follow up story so we can see how this one will end. I wish Yardrents success in recovering from this Google glitch.

  18. there is thousands of business owner like dan going through same thing. Last week Google suspended millions of listings for silly reasons, policy violation, didn’t hide the address. blah blah reason. Dan’s story should be published on mainstream media. Someone please pass this URL to new york times and wall street journal.

  19. @Mike

    thanks re well said 🙂

    re other marketing, we actually first start by sticking to basics of off-line marketing. i.e. passing out business cards to every customer with a logo’d freebie of some sort and talk about all of the services we provide. We still advertise in the yellow pages although that spend has gone down considerably. We setup contests w various service providers to see who can refer the most business to us, etc i.e. guerrilla marketing. We try to get articles written about us in trade magazines and to win relevant awards.

    In terms of online marketing, we try to have a presence on as many places on the web as possible — pretty standard stuff — re consistency of listing, breadth of listing, reviews, etc. We utilize seo and paid advertising too. We are just in the midst of kicking off a social marketing campaign but are behind in that area.

    Is there an area of our marketing effort you’d like to hear about in more depth? Are you looking for something specific?



  20. @Dan: That was an interesting, engaging, thoughtful, and interesting response. And above all it was informative. As an owner of smb’s I frankly never want to publish any of my hard numbers. I simply don’t want competitors to get a feel for it. I love it when I see any kind of hard numbers from any competitor in any form or format. (ha ha….I search for them!!!!). Always looking for insights.

    I assume your percentages have to do with spreading reviews. Somewhat less telling than harder numbers…but still insights. Helpful for me. Possibly more helpful for your competitors.

    I do agree though that spreading reviews is a wise policy. I too have learned the hard way.

    @Mike: Yes I agree a good email list is helpful. But it is far more involved than just an email list.

    I find the email vendors to be very helpful. Costs are reasonable. The tools are effective for creating artistic emails. There are some fairly helpful metrics.

    But the real skill is implementation. Implementation is too broad a term.

    You have to try a variety of email type messages. You have to experiment a lot to come up with emails that work better than others.

    One little interesting fact we have discovered in a general sense: it goes beyond email.

    A message type that works in one medium might just strike out in a different medium. For instance a message that works well on the phone might strike out in email or sms…..and a message that works in sms or email might be useless over the phone.

    Its about implementation…and in our book that means study study study, experiment-measure, experiment–measure.

    but…yeah email is a mechanism to diversify away from google’s monopoly on search.

  21. I have been dealing with this issue here in Dallas for 2 months now. They finally told me that I would have to start all over (After having the listing since Places started) and lose all my reviews (Which are not easy to come by). I worked with yelp for awhile but they are no better at doing reviews, had most of the reviews filtered with no help from Yelp to get them back. Oh, and Yelp punishes you for asking customers to review your services, how they know that you are asking is beyond me. I have lost 50% of my income due to Google’s little bug and have started telling my customers to switch to Bing when looking for anything, hitting them in their pocket book is the only way to get their attention. Feel your pain, hope everything turns out better for you than it has me.

  22. I have a client who decided about two years ago to update his Places profile and he has been on a roller coaster ride with Google ever since. He recently suffered the same problem as many others and his listing has vanished from search, even though it’s still active on his dashboard. Competitors who have done nothing – few reviews, unclaimed listing and so forth – appear to be unaffected.

    The thing is, he’s always worked hard at being in compliance. He’s a very straight forward guy and tries to do everything right.

    He believes that if he had done nothing and just left his listing alone, he wouldn’t be having so many problems. I don’t know if that’s true, but it is so ironic to me that it seems those who are trying use Google products, paid or free, tend to be the ones getting penalized.

  23. Definitely shouldn’t have put all of his eggs in one basket, and hopefully he’ll follow through with his plans to diversify reviews etc. to different locations. This could also be a good thing for him actually, because his site will now be found in different searches than they would have been before. Bad customer service by Google though, and sad actually that they couldn’t even give him an answer as to whether or not it would ever come back online.

  24. I bet all the “tough loves” out there didn’t take the same financial hit that some of us did, especially those of us with seasonal businesses. Google makes money off of us one way or another, we are entitled and they are obligated. But it’s going to take more than a rock and slingshot to drop this giant a few notches so that diversification becomes a lemon worth squeezing. I hope some savvy law firm will someday make this nightmare go away.
    But enough business man woes what about our customers who depend on these reviews from their neighbors to lead them to just the right company, whom for the first time in history have a tool that will promote good honest businesses and drive the crooks out of business with no money involved to taint the outcome, a tool that picks up where the BBB left off before they became in my opinion just another PAID advertising Co. Google is as obligated to their readers as they are to us.
    I’m sure that most of us would gladly pay to get our reviews back considering what it takes to impress a customer to the point of going on line, registering with Google and posting a favorable review. An unhappy customer will gladly take a day off work to post a bad review.
    This is actually more than a tool it is a concept free of subliminal manipulation as with TV etc. and the fact that it’s free info. makes it the way of the Web. Imagine this concept creeping into our way of voting for people who can freely represent the people. Good people and good business practices what a concept.

  25. I posted a comment about an appalling service I received from a plumber/gas fitter on his website but my comment can only be seen by me because google is sending me an automated message that my comment is inappropriate. I did not use bad language, and cannot see for the life of me what is wrong with my comment. I edited a few things in the hope it would be accepted but to no avail. I wrote to google customer service but have never had a reply. I agree “google – worst customer service”

  26. To summarize my problem as best as possible. For a reason that google could never explain, my google account had a hold that prevented me to buy apps through credit/debit cards and also did not allow me to redeem gift cards.

    It all started on a Wednesday where I made my first call. In that call they told me that they had to pass the case to another department and the process to solve it would take about 24 hours when they would send me an email indicating the solution. 24 hours later I call again since I had not heard from them. At this time I was told the same thing as the first time. I told them that my impatient to resolve the case was to buy some apps that were special for thanksgiving dates, but they tried to reassure me by saying that these specials usually lasted throughout the Christmas season. Again they told me to wait 24 hours where they were supposed to contact me with the solution. 24 hours later they did not answer. I go back and I call, on this occasion I was told “Wait always has its rewards” to fall in love with they… This time I was told to wait 12 hours for the final answer. 12 hours later I call again, this time the customer service told me sharply “anyone who calls every day will not expedite or solve the problem” and to top this he told me to wait 3 days for the solution. LOL, I laugh because to summarize, I had to create another account to redeem the gift card but it was to late, the apps had gone up in price. Ironically, within 2 days of doing this I get an email from google saying that they had already solved the problem of my account … 2 WEEKS AND HALF to solve this. THAT’S WHY APPLE IS APPLE …

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