Pay for Nexus 4 with Google Play Store balance? You can’t!

November 21, 2012
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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!

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