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Google is charging me for an obvious mistake
google charge for mistake

 4:40 am on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I wanted a few peoples opinions on this, as it has upset me and I am disappointed by Google feeling that their support team has been unreasonable in this matter.

I have an adwords account, I haven used it for some years, as I mainly run accounts for other people, my own account all the campaigns were deleted.

But at the end of December last year, someone on a forum was having a problem with adwords and to assist them I set up a test campaign, which I paused as it was just a test to replicate the conditions of the person I was assisting. It was just some keyword tool problem and I quickly went thorugh campaign setup putting the ad title:test desc: test url: test.com keyword :test

I thought I paused it, but then had access to the keywords tool where I could assist that person I mentioned. I didnt add any keywords, I just set it up testing testing testing kind of thing.

However this month I noticed a $715 charge on my credit card from adwords. The ad had not paused and had run up these charges. I wrote to support explaining the mistake and how I thought I had pressed pause, and how obviously it was a test you could see that.

They refused to refund me saying that it was my mistake and my problem, even though they could see it was a mistake, they said that it was my responsibility and I would have to pay for it.

I feel it is really unfair, plus I cant afford that much money, I was unale to pay my rent this month due to it and as it was obviously a mistake I am surprised that Google, such a large compan, feels it necessary to benefit from my mistake.

Does anyone have any opinion on this?



 4:48 am on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, don't make any more mistakes.

Everyone could claim they made mistakes. "I changed my ad and this one isn't doing as well as my last ad. I made a mistake. Can I have my money back for these clicks Google?"

Blunt but true - You should have made sure the ad was paused or even deleted after the test. Period...


 5:00 am on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

It wasnt that kind of mistake though, it wasnt a test to see if one of my ads was doing well, it was never supposed to run, it wasnt a test ad, it was just a campain i set up to test the keyword tool and I maintain that I pressed the pause button.

How can I prove that I did.


 6:20 am on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sincere condolences, chandrika... it does seem like an honest mistake.

But, I also see Google's standpoint, too. One time... many years ago, I was lowering a bid for a blatantly poor keyword (the #1 searched teen popstar in the world). Instead of entering $0.10, I mistyped it as $10... needless to say, I got my first lesson the extreme hazards of search engine marketing. What I learned was - details are everything, whether it be a bid, a URL, or the status of a campaign or ad group, and one little slip... no matter how honest a mistake or clearly erroneous... can be a bitter pill to swallow.

But, if put in the situation, how would Google decipher between your mistake and mine? Both seemed like honest missteps - with enough supporting evidence to confirm the contention. So, which should they refund? Unfortunately, in my opinion, the answer is neither.


 8:00 am on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry but I have to agree with the other respondents. Any one who has worked in paid search for a while will have made mistakes that cost money. You have to live and learn, but I don't see that Google has any obligation to cancel your bill.


 10:55 am on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree and im sure you wont make the same mistake again!


 11:02 am on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I was under the impression that Google had an ethos, and that they did not only do what was obligated of them, but would look at cases on an individual basis and remain fair.

It could have been their system at fault anyway, as I maintain I pressed the pause button, and Googles system obviously is prone to mistakes, as seen last weekend when it was showing all sites as malware. So it may have been their system failre, not mine.

Anyway, what do large companies care about individuals like me not being able to pay their rent, my circumstances are irelevant to them.

/I used to love google, but today i see them as the Borg


 11:47 am on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes, this is why they should email you when they have charged your card in the same way Yahoo and others do. You possibly would have spotted it much sooner.


 4:02 pm on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

chandrika- I have seen Google give creidts for future ad spend when mistakes have been made, but not a refund. Perhaps you could try that route, ask for a credit on your future spend?


 5:28 pm on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry for what happened to you, but unfortunately, I don't think there's anything to be done. To say that Google is either unethical or unfair in this case is just plain wrong - it was *your* mistake, they displayed the ads *you* left running as per (what they thought) was your instruction. Those were ad spots that maybe could have gone to someone who wanted the spots - where's the fairness to them?

It's an expensive lesson to learn (I too have had mistakes with typos early in my AdWords career) but it's also a question of personal responsibility. When you make a mistake, you have to own up to it and pay for it.

If Google had actually made the mistake, you'd sure as heck expect them to pay for it.

Also, if Google were a much smaller company with many fewer advertisers, looking at individual cases such as yours might scale. But you must be able to see that at their size, they simply can't.


 5:43 pm on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I maintain I pressed the pause button

If you press a button to pause or unpause a campaign, the change in status shows clearly at both the ad group and campaign level.

Even if there was a glitch, the problem would have been immediately obvious if you were paying attention.


 8:44 pm on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

And I still maintain that I pressed the pause button, you are assuming that the Google system is incapable of any error, even though clearly Googles system makes mistakes, as I already pointed out.


 10:18 pm on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

And I still maintain that I pressed the pause button, you are assuming that the Google system is incapable of any error, even though clearly Googles system makes mistakes, as I already pointed out.

No offense, but don't play with fire if you're worried about being burnt. There have been many stories like yours with much higher stakes.


 10:19 pm on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

I wanted a few peoples opinions on this

chandrika, not sure you wanted these opinions, but the feedback seems to be quite consistent. Good luck to you.


 10:43 pm on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks appreciated :)

I am just going to do a chargeback on my cc and let the bank and google sort out whose mistake it was. I may as well make them work for the $715 seeing as they want it that badly.


 12:25 am on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

FWIW, if you do the chargeback, don't plan on using AdWords again in the future. Ever.


 1:59 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

The think that gets me about this is the poster admits he made a mistake, and then starts to "maintain" it's google's fault, and then, talks about ethos, and then, finally says he will do a chargeback.

I wonder who has what ethics. And what happened to having personal responsibility for one's actions and mistakes. And since when did an inability to manage one's own money somehow entitle one to someone else's money?

...just wonderin.


 2:18 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I am a she not a he, so that shows how much you know, and I did not say I made a mistake, I said that adwords say I made the mistake but that I maintain I pressed pause.

Anyway, go do your wondering somewhere else coachm.


 2:33 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

It will cost adwords more in the long run to deal with the chargeback, and I have been checking this out and it is not just me who has found themselves in this situation, others have paused campaigns and then been charged and adwords policy is no refunds, which when considering that it will cost them more to deal with the chargeback, even if I dont get my money back as I should, it seems a dopey system to me.


 2:52 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

We sympathize with your pain here, but we do not sympathize with your proposed course of action.

Think very, very hard about trying to weasel out of paying for your own lack of diligence by doing a chargeback. The business possibilities you would destroy in the process could cost you a lot more in the long run than the pain you're feeling right now.


 3:01 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

What exactly are Google supposed to do? Debit every AdSense publisher who displayed your ads in good faith so they can compensate for your mistake?


 3:03 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

It was not due to my lack of diligence or inability to handle money, it was due to adwords chargin me for a paused campain, and I will not be destroying any business possibilities, I already have several adwords accounts that I run for other people, from diferent ips and emails and in their names, so what do I lose...nothing.

And the only pain I am getting is in my neck from the silly replies I am getting.

It doesnt matter whether anyone sympathises with my course of action, that is what is being done.


 3:07 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

And 2lame2rank, no ads were displayed on content network, so there a no adsense publishers to debit, they just need gie me my mone back.


 3:30 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Another thing is that my own sites do ok in organic search, hence why I had not used the a/c for over a year and was only using it on this one obvious test that i was actually doing to test the adwords keyword tool that someone on another forum was slating and this test being done, was no more than a test to take a screen shot of the results from the keyword tool, to prove it that the adwords keyword tool was not faking its results. That was my only mistake, to do a test in defense of adwords and then have them run the paused test campaign and charge me for it, I should have just let the guy slate adwords.

Sure Google never asked me to defend their keyword tool, so I am guilty of being stupid enough to have done that, I just never expected them to run a paused campaign, so did not think it was that much of a risk.

Ironic really.


 3:36 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

You did not verify whether the status had actually changed, which would have been easy to see in a number of places.

That is indeed lack of diligence.


 3:45 am on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I agree with most people in this thread, that a chargeback is not the way to go. Even if we look at the title of this thread...
Google is charging me for an obvious mistake

This implies you made a mistake, and if it was obvious, then you should have spotted it. I am sorry this has happened, but I don't see how you can make out, Google is at fault.

If you do decide to go down the charge back road Google will just supply the facts they have, you had the account, you created the ads and you ran the ads.

Honestly, I don't think it is in your interests to go after this in that manner.



 3:24 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I already have several adwords accounts that I run for other people, from diferent ips and emails and in their names

I think that pretty much says it all.


 3:50 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

The title of the thread does not imply that I made the mistake, you are just assuming that.

I lose nothing by doing a chargeback at all and netmeg, your little quote says nothing except that I sometimes work for other people not from my own premises.

You guys need some rest as it seems your minds are playing tricks on you and you seeing stuff that isnt there. So take break, and I will go ahead and I will go ahead with the chargeback, because its out of order, even if noone else here is caable of seeing that.


 4:41 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

I lose nothing by doing a chargeback

Wrong. The first thing you lose is your status as a grownup.


 4:52 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just because you clicked Pause doesn't mean Google received it. There may have been a hiccup in the Internet somewhere along the way that prevented it from being getting through, and that's certainly not Google's fault.

Does your Change History [adwords.google.com] show that the ad was paused?

[edited by: Rehan at 4:53 pm (utc) on Feb. 9, 2009]

This 39 message thread spans 2 pages: 39 ( [1] 2 > >
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