Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Monday, May 21, 2007

Google Checkout opens for business in the UK (but not for me)

About a month ago Google announced the launch of Google Checkout in the UK and as a special offer (to drum up business no doubt) for sellers they would waive all card handling fees (normally 4%) up to the end of 2007, and for all purchases of £30 or more, they'd give all purchasers an automatic £10 reduction.

Having a quick look round the Google checkout fees and benefits I thought it was a worthwhile alternative to paypal et all as a payment method for taking rental payments for our French holiday home and so I successfully registered for a sellers account.

A couple of the features I liked were being able to have a Google checkout cart on my Google adwords adverts (hopefully drive through a few more customers) and that I'd get a discount on my checkout fees as a result of advertising on adwords. The credit card handling fees that paypal charge are IMHO quite extortionate and I was quite looking forward to being able to offer a more reasonably priced alternative that Google Checkout would offer me.

Since then I've been working on some new pages for the site advertising the benefits of Google Checkout, hoping to encourage some early 2008 bookings by means of the £10 saving.

Everything was finished and I was going to launch the additional site pages on the weekend but didn't quite get round to it for a day or so.

Today when I downloaded my emails I found all my effort was in vain as Google Checkout have suspended my sellers account as my (holiday home) site "contravenes their content policies":
Hello Geoffrey,

During our recent review, we found that one or more products or services on your website ( appear to violate the following Google Checkout content policies:

- Restricted product category: Travel and travel related Services

You may use Google Checkout for any other products or services which do not violate our policies. Currently, however, it appears that all your products or services on your website violate our policies. As a result, your account has been suspended. You may not process any orders at this time. If applicable, any pending orders in your account have been cancelled.

Your final payment will be initiated within two business days. However, your bank may take up to three additional business days to register the payment in your bank account.

If you choose to use Google Checkout for other products or services in compliance with our policies, please let us know so that we can review the status of your account.

For general product or account questions, please review our Help Centre at Alternatively, please do not hesitate to contact me by replying to this email.

Kind regards,

The Google Checkout Team

On searching Google Checkout's policies in detail (and it wasn't at all obvious), I finally found the appropriate page that describes what's allowed and what's not allowed to be sold via Google Checkout.

Google have quite a comprehensive list of things you're not allowed to sell via Google Checkout, many of which are illegal or of questionable morality such as Adult goods, Alcohol, Body parts, Copyrighted software, Endangered species, Drugs, Passports, etc - all of which I have absolutely no problem with at all and personally I'm quite glad that Google does prevent their sale; and then just about at the end of the list, there was the killer item that's caught me out:

Travel packages and offers Tours (including hotel, flight, and car reservations), travel clubs, and timeshare properties

Quite why Google have implemented this specific policy I have no idea but as Google's effectively judge and jury on policies such as this I suspect I have little chance of persuading them to change their mind. I've written to them to try to appeal but don't hold out much hope of getting anywhere.

I'm quite cross about the whole thing really, not just because of a policy that doesn't seem to make any sense, but also because of the time I have wasted in writing new website pages to advertise the option of paying by Google Checkout.

You can have a look at what I wrote over at my 'buy now' using Google Checkout page, which now sadly won't work until such a time as my Google Checkout account is reinstated (if ever).

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