Chargeback Management, Chargebacks, Chargeback Recovery

Google Chargebacks Are Breaking You


Table of Contents

  1. What is a Google Chargeback?
  2. How Much Money Is Google Losing To Chargebacks?
  3. Who’s Filing These Google Chargebacks?
  4. What Can Chargeback Gurus Do for You?
  5. Conclusion
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone who’s spent any time running an online business has probably stopped for a moment to imagine what it must be like to be Google. To be at the absolute top of your industry, with virtually unlimited resources at your disposal, you could accomplish almost anything you wanted to, and who could stop you?

New call-to-actionAnd yet, the word going around in the card payments industry is that Google—or to be more specific, many of the Google companies owned by Alphabet—does not fight their chargebacks. But why not? It’s not a lack of resources. If they wanted to, they could probably develop one of the most efficient chargeback-fighting operations in the world. To Google, the chargebacks they receive must seem like little toy tanks and airplanes shooting at Godzilla—annoying at times, but never an existential threat.

However, just because Google can afford to shrug off chargebacks doesn’t mean that they aren’t harmful to them, or that fighting them would be a waste of their time.

According to our sources, the two Google companies being targeted the most right now are Google Fiber and Google Ads. Fraudsters sign up for these services, then request a chargeback, then sign up again with a new account to repeat the process.

What is a Google Chargeback?

Simply put, a Google chargeback is just like a normal chargeback that is instigated due to a transaction on or through a Google product.

The chargeback is for a transaction through a service like Google play, which affects merchants and app developers launching and maintaining products on these platforms. 

Google chargebacks, along with Apple chargebacks, are proving to be the most difficult to win. As chargebacks rise overall, Google and Apple chargebacks are seeing a huge 40% increase overall.

All in all, this has ramifications for multiple parties:

  1. First, the merchant (probably you). A merchant selling services online through a Google platform who suffers from chargebacks are facing.
  2. Second, Google themselves, who are losing revenue from sales that customers are charging back (part of every transaction is a fee or some other method for Google to profit from it). 

The big increase in chargebacks on these platforms are tied to the rise of friendly fraud. Experts are stating that because it is easy to contest purchases made through apps, then it is much harder for merchants to contest these disputes. New technologies like biometrics, which make it that much easier to make accidental purchases, are only driving up these chargeback numbers. 

How Much Money Is Google Losing To Chargebacks?

Alphabet’s revenues were over $115 billion in 2018, with the vast majority of that coming from Google Ads and a much smaller portion—less than $1 billion—coming from “other bets” like Google Fiber. If we very conservatively estimate that these revenues are taking a hit of half a percentage point from uncontested chargebacks, that could be well over half a billion dollars they’re losing each year, while making little effort to hold on to it.

It's important to note that Google is not usually in the business of contesting disputes because their profit model doesn't make it worthwhile. When customers are making millions of purchases per day on disparate Google systems, disputing them all is more costly then letting them go... at least, in the short run. 

By declining to fight chargebacks, Google is passing up the opportunity to learn more about them and gather data that can be rigorously analyzed. This has implications for them that go beyond lost revenue.

Google may be unchallenged when it comes to internet search engines, but businesses like Google Fiber are not without serious competition.

Who’s Filing These Google Chargebacks?

While it’s likely that Google’s passive attitude toward chargebacks make them a Download the eGuide, 4 Reasons to Hire a Chargeback Management Companylucrative target for fraudsters, certainly many of their chargebacks will be coming from legitimate customers who have some sort of complaint or issue with Google’s products. If they don’t fight their chargebacks for a company like Google Fiber, they’re not seeing the detailed reasons for why customers are filing those chargebacks, and they are losing out on the chance to learn more about their customers’ experiences and how they could improve their products, services, and processes.

Every chargeback tells a story. When you don’t take the time to fight your chargebacks, you can’t learn the stories behind them, and you’re missing out on opportunities to really make your business better. Google might be able to afford to pass up these opportunities, but they’re missing them just the same.


What Can Chargeback Gurus Do for You?

So the question we like to ask ourselves at Chargeback Gurus is, what would it be like to handle Google’s chargebacks for them? We think the fraudsters would be the easiest ones to handle—when you take a look at fraudulent chargebacks, it is often the case that the fraudster has failed to follow the correct procedures by contacting the company before requesting a chargeback, and we would be able to win those disputes by providing the relevant documentation. We expect Google’s rates of fraudulent chargebacks would plummet once fraudsters realize they’re no longer a pushover that doesn’t fight back.

As for the chargebacks with a legitimate basis, we would be able to provide Google with both the granular data and high-level statistical analysis that would show them why these chargebacks were happening, and it would be up to them to make the necessary changes and improvements to prevent them from recurring.

The end result would be for Google to have yet more money in their pockets at year’s end, which they could then use to acquire additional value-added companies that would complement their services, growing their user base and expanding the breadth and depth of their market reach.


Smaller companies might not be able to acquire a whole new enterprise with the money they save by fighting chargebacks, but we think that no matter how small (or big) your company, the advantages you gain from fighting chargebacks are too important to ignore.


Is a Google Chargeback Illlegal?

No. Customers can call their issuing banks to chargeback transactions made on your apps or other products, even if those purchases are made through a platform like Google Play. The line between True Fraud and Friendly Fraud is harder to see, however, because things like biometrics and other technologies are providing different ways for customers to mistakenly buy things--or claim they did.



Do I Pay Chargeback Fees for Google Chargebacks?

Yes. Google also includes a higher tier of fees for merchants using software like Google Checkout for high-risk merchants or merchants with a high chargeback ratio.



What is the Difference Between a Chargeback and a Refund?

A refund is handled between the merchant and the customer, whereas a chargeback is initiated by a cardholder with their issuing bank. All in all, it is always better to work with the customer if there was a case of true fraud or legitimate dissatisfaction. Refunds can keep customers happy without impacting your chargeback ratio.


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