Nov 20 AT 12:32 PM Dustin Earley 164 Comments

My no-good, rotten Google Play experience

google play faded rotten

Google is relatively new at this whole online store for physical goods thing. Sure, they’ve been selling physical goods like the occasional developer phone or Google mug for a couple years now, but the recent launch of the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 3G,  and Nexus 10 is unlike anything Google has dealt with before. I understand that, and I know that means there could be hiccups throughout the process. That doesn’t make my ongoing struggle in trying to purchase a Nexus 4 any better.

On November 12th, I stayed up until roughly 6 AM waiting to buy a Nexus 4. I figured that being here on the East side of the US, I’d probably be able to buy one by 3 AM. It wasn’t until roughly 6 AM that news of a noon Eastern time release was circulating the web. That was my first indication that Google had no idea what they were in for.

Google said the Nexus 4 would release on November 13th. And it did. All around the globe. At different times. Whenever Google felt like it. Normally, if a product is given a November 13th launch date, and is accessible to be purchased as soon as the clock hits midnight, it will be made available. Apple does it with preorders, theaters do it with high-profile movie releases and Gamestop does it with ultra popular video game titles.

Google made no effort whatsoever to announce exactly when the Nexus 4 and 10 would go on sale. I made a big deal about this in a post titled, “When will you be able to buy the Nexus 4?” My reasoning as to why it would matter so much? Because if you couldn’t get one a Nexus 4 as soon as they were made available, you were in for a wait. I had no idea just how incredibly bad it would be.

By now there’s no way you haven’t heard, or experienced first hand, the horror stories from anyone who tried to buy a new Nexus device right when it went on sale. Connection errors. Misinformation on being sold out. Double purchases.

Some people, though it doesn’t seem like many, were able to purchase a Nexus 4 and some have actually received their device by now. Some were sent an email saying something along the lines of, “whoops, we oversold the Nexus 4! Sorry, you’ll have to wait three weeks.” Some are in my position of having an ever pending purchase.

I bought my Nexus 4 on November 13th, at about 11:45 AM. I saw a couple errors, but nothing major. I thought I was lucky. I received a receipt from Google via email. The order showed up in my order history on Google Play. My card has a pending charge on it from Google for the full amount of the order. I never received a shipping delay email or anything similar, so I figured it had to be on the way. Here we are, almost a week later, and nothing.

If I go to my order history in Google Play, it lists a shipping estimate of November 15th. If I click the info link near the shipping estimate date, it sends me to a Google Wallet page saying, “Nov 13 Google Inc received your order.” Only if I then click through to my transactions by using the left side menu bar, do I see that the order is still pending.

What does pending mean? At this point I figured, OK, maybe I should call Google and see what’s up. After a few connection errors, it was ringing. While the representative who handled my call seemed nice enough, she was full of excuses that didn’t make sense. She told me that my order was still pending (as I had just found out), and she had no idea why. She said it was most likely because UPS got slammed with orders. She said she couldn’t do anything else, and that my order would have to be escalated to a shipping specialist. Unfortunately, that specialist works in another building. So it might be awhile until I hear from anyone or know what’s going on. That’s where I’m at now.

In defense of the Google service rep, she said that anything that may have or could still happen is no excuse. Even though I maintained a positive attitude throughout the call, and was polite as possible, she said I must be understandably upset, and that the situation was unacceptable. But that doesn’t change the fact that a week after purchasing a Nexus 4 directly from Google, my order is mysteriously in limbo.

I am no stranger to online shopping. This is by far the worst experience I’ve ever had. I can look past the errors, shipping delays, and seemingly random availability. I cannot look past being told the company I ordered a $400 product from has no idea what’s going on with my order.

I know Google is going to get better at this, constantly working to improve the entire experience. That does nothing for anyone who has already had to deal with the problems that have popped up. The time when dealing with Google and their services meant dealing with a beta experience is over. Anyone ordering the Nexus 4 has no reason to believe they aren’t ordering a problem free Android phone that will ship in the two to three days as originally stated. And yet some people imply that software, hardware, ordering and shipping problems are just a part of the process in dealing with Google. Not anymore. It needs to end now.

Giving Google a break for the botched Nexus release seems to be a common sentiment. When is enough, enough? I’ve already reached my breaking point. Which is why I’m sharing this story with you. I know I’m not alone in my frustrations, and neither are you. If I receive any updates on the status of my order. Or if, by some miracle, I receive a shipping notification, I’ll be sure to share. But let’s just say I’m not holding my breath.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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