Comment: The need for ‘Reddit Requests’ shows the sorry state of Google Support

When something goes wrong with your Pixel phone, the first thing you’d think to do is contact Google Support. But what do you do when — surprise, surprise — Google Support isn’t as helpful as you’d expect? For many, the answer is to turn to Reddit, and hope that one particular user and their “Reddit Requests” system will sympathize with your plea.

I got the chance to speak with Jason, a Google Store customer, who ran into a battery issue with his Pixel 3 XL and sent it back for a standard RMA exchange using a FedEx label provided by Google. Unfortunately, this is where things went awry, as FedEx lost Jason’s Pixel before it ever made it to Google.

At this point, Jason took up the issue with FedEx, trying to file a claim for the lost phone. However, FedEx support was unwilling to help with his claim, as the phone was shipped with the Google Store’s label, meaning Google needs to make the claim themselves.

Reaching out to Google Store support with what he learned from FedEx, Jason simply was told to talk to FedEx about making a claim. As Google never received the returning device, they refused to send a replacement. This became a cycle of unhelpful support that continued for two months, until Google closed Jason’s support ticket, effectively leaving him to pay hundreds of dollars for a phone lost by FedEx.

Google Store Support

In another, eerily similar example, Redditor “phoneloozer” ordered a Pixel 2 from the Google Store, and went on a vacation that ended three days before FedEx’s estimated delivery date. Upon return, it was discovered that FedEx had delivered the Pixel 2 a full six days ahead of schedule, with no one home to receive the package. And yet the package had somehow been signed for.

As you would expect, Google Support was less than helpful, saying that FedEx showed the package as “successfully delivered,” and that the issue needed to be raised with FedEx. FedEx, for their part, said there was little that could be done other than filing a claim. However, as Google was the shipper, Google also needed to be the one to file the claim. This resulted in the same ping-pong match between FedEx and Google Store Support that Jason experienced.

Both cases were shared publicly on Reddit and caught the eye of Ziggy (or “dmziggy”), a moderator of r/GooglePixel and a Google Product Expert, who seems to have made it their personal mission to help those that Google Support has left behind. Ziggy created a dedicated “Reddit Request” system to catalog, among other things, claims of when Google Support “isn’t providing the level of service you’re expecting.”

In many cases, Ziggy is able to use the Reddit Request system and their connections through the Google Product Experts program to get real support for these people. For example, phoneloozer was able to get a replacement device shipped out without issue.

dmziggy Reddit Requests

It shouldn’t take a community support escalation process for Google to fix a customer’s problem.

These are just a few of many, many tales of incompetence and miscommunication. Looking through the r/GooglePixel and r/GoogleFi subreddits, you’ll find countless horror stories of people’s experiences with Google Support. For whatever reason, Google Support seems unwilling to take certain issues seriously — or even listen to what’s being said — until the person makes a big-enough fuss about it on Reddit or social media.

Hundreds (if not thousands) of these posts pleading for help have been touched on by Ziggy, suggesting that the person fill out a Reddit Request, so it can be escalated to “high tier” support. The fact that it’s even necessary for a volunteer to read through each person’s claim and pass it on to someone who can actually help shows that Google is not ready for Pixel devices to take on a larger market share. It shouldn’t take a community support escalation process for Google to fix a $1,000 problem for a customer.

Unfortunately, even Reddit Requests is not a perfect system, as Jason has still not seen any sign of Google Support being willing to work with him and actually begin the claim process with FedEx. Despite being escalated by Ziggy, his case has now been “flagged due to suspicous [sic] activity.” As it stands now, he’s left to foot the bill for a broken phone that’s lost somewhere in the recesses of FedEx.

As the release of the Pixel 4 is just a few months away, it’s time to start thinking ahead about from who you should purchase. With Google Support’s inability to consistently help their customers, without pressure from Reddit, it’s hard to fully recommend purchasing a Pixel 4 from the Google Store or Google Fi. Instead, it might be wiser to purchase from a carrier store or unlocked from a retailer like Best Buy, Walmart, or Amazon, simply to avoid Google Support.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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