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RMAing a Google Nexus 5X, dying in Account hell… – via +Kristian Köhntopp

Posted by jpluimers on 2016/11/22

Google does react:

Google Nederland

Noted. Contacting the right teams. And now trying to find Kim :)
Thanks for the writeup +Kristian Köhntopp

Source: RMAing a Google Nexus 5X, dying in Account hell …

Full story (comments in the above thread):

Kristian Köhntopp

RMAing a Google Nexus 5X, dying in Account hell

I purchased my Google Nexus 5X on November 11, 2015, almost exactly one year ago. The device died on November 15, 2016 during the morning commute, when it froze. Right now, when I try to power it on, I get a single red LED blink from the lower grille.

When I bought that device, I have been living in Berlin, Germany. I am living now in a village close to Amsterdam, Netherlands. I am a GPMAA subscriber with a family subscription, and I am managing the play family setup for my family from my account.

I called the Netherlands support number, and got an agent almost immediately. She’s speaking excellent English.

We are going through the device validation routine and establish that the device is indeed broken. Then she’s trying to find my Google account, but me having the name I have, I have to spell it about five times.

She’s ready to RMA, but wants to validate my address. That’s the old Berlin address.

Easy to fix. New Tab. Go find your face in the upper right, click on it, click on “My Account” and… Nope. That’s a link to, and you can’t find or set your address there.

Ok, new attempt. Go to, and hit Account. That’s “Account” in the left hand menu of Play, not “Account” on the top bar where your face is. It’s showing Payment methods, which has nothing to do at all with addresses. Edit payment methods.

That links to, which has nothing to do with account at all, and is also different from, which has all the other account details, but has nothing to do with payments or addresses. Anyway, I disgress, in, there’s an address.

It has no country. Country is two lines higher. And while there is a pen next to my address so I could edit it, I can’t edit my country, because… Well, at least there is an info bubble.

It says:

»You can’t change your country because of the following reasons:
– One or more Google services you’re using does not allow you to change your country
– You manage a Google family account«

I read that as “Because you are giving us money we won’t allow you to update your data so that in the future you can continue to give us money.” Well.

“Can we detach the current payments from you account, so I can migrate it to the Netherlands?” “No, you can’t, that will break the Family setup, disable all my Sonos boxes which are running on this account, and will kill several software subscriptions attached to my account. Also, there is money on it, because I am participating in the Survey program, and there is about 400 local guides points attached to it as well.”

Kim, the support specialist handling my case, has been on the phone with me at this point for 40 minutes now. She’s put me on hold half a dozen times and consulted with as many payment, account and security specialists. She’s awesome. She’s kicking ass. She’s not giving up.

“Ok, are you in front of a laptop of desktop machine running a Chrome browser” “Indeed, I am, Kim.” “Ok, please open an incognito tab, I am going to walk you through the process of creating a new Gmail account, and if you have a Netherlands payment method, adding that to it.” “Thanks, Kim, I know how to do this. Let me quickly do this, and get back to you.” I put the phone away and make me another Gmail, add NL and my address to it in Payment methods, and she’s now handling the RMA through that.

Yeah, so if all goes well I am getting a replacement phone this week, and am sending back my broken phone to Google.

But, Google, it’s not actually just the phone that is broken. Your maze of security, payments, play and so on, it does not just suck. It borders on the insane.

And the way you are totally not handling country-as-a-living-addess vs country-for-RIAA-and-MPAA-suckage as two different things, it’s really, really hurting you.

Also, not handling the EU as one country, that’s only going to hurt more in the future as well.

So, if you are reading this and are in a position to change this mess. Do so. I don’t care if it is hard, or what the actual factual reasons for ending up with mess are. It’s broken. Fix it. Now. That would actually almost be too late.

My call started at 09:19 and took 54 minutes and 26 seconds to resolve. And just for the record, Kim is awesome and should be given a pay rise. It the tools and processes she has to work with that suck.


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