LG Nexus 4

The Nexus 4 isn’t available for purchase for the time being, but as soon as Google starts taking orders again, make sure you have an alternative payment method to Google Play Store credit. Because no matter how much credit you may have accumulated to make sure you have enough money to purchase a new Nexus device, Google won’t take your money that way.

The Consumerist tells Michael’s story, a potential Nexus 4 buyer that was prevented from buying Nexus devices from the Play Store using his Google Play Store credit worth $350.

He tried placing orders for a 16GB Nexus 4 version, but was unsuccessful. He then tried to order a 32G Nexus 7 3G for his wife, but Google would not take money from his Play Store balance.

According to his research, Google isn’t making it clear to consumers that Play Store credit can’t be used to purchase the new Nexus 4:

Google Play Balance $350.06 – Unsupported Payment Method (entire line was greyed out)

After talking to the Play Store support team they told me that I would need to contact customer service for the gift cards at 1-855-466-4438. Before calling I looked at the terms of service I was able to find. They are as follows:

Devices on Google Play Terms of Sale: “To place an order, you must have a Google Wallet account.” Every purchase I’ve made through the Play store has used Google Wallet for checkout, so how is the average consumer supposed to know the difference between a Play Store balance and Google Wallet?

Google Play Gift Card Terms of Service: “Google Play Gift Cards must be redeemed toward the purchase of eligible products on http://play.google.com.” Has anyone been able to find a listing of which products are eligible? I spent half an hour looking this morning, and I have yet to find this information on their site.

When I called the customer service line for the gift cards they told me that this was a known issue that has been reported starting about five days ago and the terms of service state that you cannot buy a device using the Play Store balance. Really now? Per my research on the site there is nothing that specifically excludes devices. And the worst part of this call? They have no ability to refund me for the balance!

Then again maybe not that many buyers have as much balance left to actually buy devices, not that would be an excuse for Google’s failure to foresee such potential problems.

The company should at least try to fix issues such as this one. After all this particular customer does have a lot of cash at his disposal inside Google Play that he’d like to use to buy Google stuff. Furthermore, he made it clear that he wants to buy more than one Nexus device in the near future, so why not just take his money and ship his desired products?

Did anybody else experience anything similar? Let us know in the comments section!

  • cybik

    http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2715125&topic=1689236&ctx=topic and http://support.google.com/googleplay/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2670129 clearly state “No device buying with Play Store Credit”. Dude tries to blame Google for his own stupid. Come on AA, post some real news.

    • J Torres

      They should at least make it easier for other people to find out, as not everyone is knowledgeable about technology or how Google Play fully works. My uncle won an S3 at work as well as a $50 Play Card and wanted to use the $50 towards a Nexus 7, but he couldn’t figure out how to do so and called me for advice. He wasn’t very happy to learn that he couldn’t use the credit to shave off $50 from his purchase after he had already redeemed the code.

    • The word clearly I beg to differ you found that I on a support page which was a answer to question not clear at all. The gift card says nothing about devices not being able to be purchased also the links to terms and conditions on the gift cards also don’t state devices can’t be purchased. Should be made clear on the card. An yes I’m also one of those stupid people you talk about, now I’m stuck with $400 play store credit total waste of my money, an yes I plan on a law suit as card nor direct links mention devices can’t be purchased.

  • Boaz Thomassie

    I asked customer service before it released if google credits were able to purchase devices. He should have checked before hand.

  • Chaos Spectre

    Really? This man is not very smart. Thats like trying to buy a new xbox with microsoft points. Its a market credit, not real money.

  • j@ck

    This is like saying you cant buy google stuff with google gift card after all you use real money to buy google gift card

    • Mike Reid

      The problem is that Google, like everyone else, sells gift cards to stores at a discount to Walmart etc, perhaps 10-20%, I don’t recall.

      This is intended for apps, which Google normally makes 30% on and can afford to take a bit of a hit.

      Their hardware Nexus devices are sold at low, perhaps even 0 or negative margin. So they’d lose money for these sales.

      Granted, the higher storage option Nexus’s have a profit margin.

      • Google don’t directly profit from the Play Store, here’s a sample of their documentation on profit distribution http://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=112622 “For applications that you choose to sell in Google Play, the transaction fee is equivalent to 30% of the application price. You receive 70% of the payment and the remaining 30% goes to the distribution partner and operating fees.”

        Unless of course you mean that Google profits from the cards themselves.

        I do think that it is misleading that Google Play gitftcards disallow the purchase of physical hardware (also from Google Play).

        And I do agree with you that Google would use a business model similar to video games consoles (sell the hardware at a loss and recoup costs/gain profit with software)

  • Pete

    Do you people have an Idea on how many devices can you buy with 1 ID ?
    Like if I would like to gift lets say 10 Nexuses 4, am I able to do that with play store?

  • This has been made clear as day. Article is a waste of time….

  • Trevor S.

    I am in a similar situation. For my birthday and Christmas recently I got ~$150 in Google Play gift cards. For months I’ve been ranting about the Nexus 7 and how much I want it. I love that my family bought me these for me until I went to purchase the Nexus 7 and the gift card payment section was blocked off. I mean my family got these I didn’t purchase these. I don’t even own a Nexus or an Android device to use the credit! I’m stuck. Google NEEDS to change their policy on the matter! It doesn’t make sense to me. For those who don’t like to read an entire post before they start commenting THESE WERE A GIFT I DID NOT PURCHASE THESE!!

  • Tgeo

    My girlfriend (who meant well) bought me $150 in google play gift cards after I told her I was think about purchasing the Nexus 4. The only relevant fine print I can see on the gift cards themselves says “Card may be used for purchases of eligible items on Google Play only.” It does not specifically mention the hardware devices aren’t eligible, which I think it should.

    I understand why they are doing this (discounts on gift cards and all) but if they wanted the hardware to be separate from the software, they shouldn’t have put the Nexus devices in the “Google Play” store while also selling “Google Play” gift cards. Most would suspect they are one in the same.

  • Anthony Tarantino

    You can use Amazon cards to buy Kindle devices from Amazon.com …

  • Nik

    I’m stuck with $1000 amount in google play store account… wanted to buy 3 nexus phone

  • snvyas

    Probably a bit late reading this but I bought $700 worth of Google Play money from Lowe’s in an attempt to take advantage of credit card bonus there (Chase Freedom) and then found this post. Called Google play and they are mailing me a check for the money in my play account! Max they can refund is $750 so just fyi…