By Lauren Victory


CHICAGO (CBS) — Google. It’s become a verb, and a virtual place where we all go for information.

The Google website might be helpful. But dealing with real, live, breathing human beings at the tech giant can be infuriating.

Linda Dimayuga and her son, C.J., know that all too well after more than 50 emails and numerous phone calls to Google, after C.J.’s new Pixel 2 phone stopped working. The company sent him a replacement, but he had to return the broken one to avoid being charged for the new phone.

Unfortunately, that proved to be a bigger ordeal than it should have been. They twice sent him return labels with the wrong information, and ended up charging him for the new phone while he was waiting to be able to return the broken one.

What follows is CBS 2’s nearly weeklong efforts to get answers and ultimately a resolution for what should have been a pretty simple matter.

We first reached out to the Google press email address on November 5. We also left a message on the Google phone hotline for journalists.

Crickets. Nothing.

So two days later (Thursday), Google happened to be having a big PR announcement about its Chicago expansion.  It included contact information for an outside PR person Google had hired.  We e-mailed her.

Within an hour, we finally heard back from a human being who works for Google: “We’re looking into this. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.”

Great, progress, or so we thought.

Then silence again. Nothing the rest of the day Thursday. Nothing on Friday. Lunchtime Monday of this week, we politely reached back to our new contact at Google. Ten minutes later he wrote back: “Sounds like the matter has been resolved.”

We reached out to C.J. and his mother, who had no idea about any resolution.  So we pressed our Google contact for answers.  Two emails and seven hours later, we’re finally told “Yes, we have refunded the customer and offered a $50 Google Store Credit. Thx.”

We asked if the customer knows and also asked Google PR if they’d like to explain how this case got so botched.  And if they had any advice for other customers who might need to make a return.

The answer:  “How much time do we have to get back to you? And yes, the team reached out to the customer with this.”

As of Tuesday morning, C.J. had received an email offering a $50 credit to use in the Google store, but no mention of a refund.

So we went back to our Google contact who now wrote: “We’re urgently looking into this. I appreciate the follow-up, as we’d like to resolve this as quickly as possible. More to follow.”

Finally, later Tuesday morning, C.J. received an email informing him that he received a full credit card refund of $689.56 and a $50 credit to use at the Google store.  Regarding the credit, his mom tells us: “he’s afraid to use. Lol.”

“But we still don’t know what to do with the phone as they have not provided the correct labels or return merchandise authorization slip,” she added.

And we don’t know why this refund proved to be so challenging in the first place, nor what Google might do to improve its customer service, nor what customers like C.J. should do if they find themselves in the same situation.  We’ve asked, but have not heard back.  If only the answer was as simple as a Google search.

Lauren Victory