Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Google Checkout lets us back in - we've been approved again!

Reader of my blog from 2 years ago will 'of course' remember the spat I had at the time with Google Checkout which resulted in them suspending my merchant account.

Saying it like that sounds far more grand an event than it actually was, so perhaps I'd better back-track a little and recount the story a little ...

Google checkout launched in the UK in early 2007 (as a competitor to paypal and other e-payment vehicles). I thought they'd be a good alternative way for guests to pay for their rental of our holiday home and so I registered and was approved for a merchant account. Then just as I was about to launch Google Checkout on our Gite website I was informed by Google that my Google Checkout account was being suspended because I had contravened their selling policies, and that selling Travel and Travel related packages was not allowed. I wrote to Google to appeal this decision but was told that Google Checkout determines its policies by focussing on providing a positive user experience, and that they had sole discretion in setting and exercising these policies.

And that was that. After my grumpy Blog postings I removed Google Checkout from the payment options and forgot about them.

So I was somewhat surprised to receive an email from Google a couple of weeks ago:
Subject: You Google Checkout account is now active
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 11:12:52 -0000
From: Google Checkout Team

Hello Geoffrey,

In our continuing effort to make Google Checkout more useful to our users, we review our policies on a regular basis to keep them current and effective.

I am pleased to inform you that we have revised our content policies. Going forward, we will be allowing the sale of Vacation Rentals, Timeshares, and Sight-seeing tours through Google Checkout.

As a result, you are now eligible to use Google Checkout to process transactions for these products and services as permitted by the revised policy. We have therefore reinstated your Google Checkout merchant account.

Please visit for more information on our revised policy.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Please feel free to reply to this email if you have any additional questions.


The Google Checkout Team

Looking on the Google Checkout link to their content policies didn't really tell me much more, it still says that 'Travel packages and offers' are not allowed, and more specifically that Google Checkout doesn't allow the sale of "Travel services, including hotel, flight, cruise and car reservations; travel clubs". Looking back and very carefully comparing against the original Blog entries I wrote I eventually spotted that "Timeshare properties" was removed from the end of dis-allowed sale items. I wish they'd made it a bit clearer as to what is allowed as by not allowing the sale of 'Travel packages and offers' I initially was very confused.

There is also a posting on Google Checkout's Blog about the new Update to checkout policies which repeats much of the email I received but additionally states that sellers must have a valid public business URL (i.e. website) - so not a problem for us with

I'll have to go and do some comparison of the credit card fee structures that Google Checkout charge compared to other providers we use today. I prefer to take rental payment by cheque as it doesn't cost us any merchant fees that way (and most customers seem to be quite happy with sending us a cheque), but we do accept card payments if the customer asks, and especially for overseas customers such as from Ireland it's usually the easier.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home