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Google suspended my shopping account for mentioning shipping delays due to Covid-19.

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  • Google suspended my shopping account for mentioning shipping delays due to Covid-19.

    I am so upset right now. Earlier this month one of my family members was exposed to a positive Covid-19 person. We were in the first wave of folks here affected by it in CO. Two of my family members were tested and we were all put on 14 day quarantine. We have received negative test results but are still completing the 14 day quarantine. We are a home based business and because of this we cannot break quarantine to go to the post office or come in contact with other folks. We can stay open, take orders, field calls, answer emails etc. We just cannot leave to ship orders.

    So we updated the shipping area and the cart etc. to state "PLEASE NOTE: Due to the coronavirus, there will be a shipping delay for all website orders. You can continue to place orders on the website 24/7 and we will begin shipping orders out again on 3/25/20. Thank you very much for your understanding!" Google recommends that you notify customers of changes to your hours etc. due to the coronavirus. I did exactly that and they just suspended my account for it.

    I didn't get an explanation of any sort or warning via e-mail. All I can see is that all of our products were removed from Google shopping because of "Account suspended due to policy violation: Misrepresentation of self or product (Untrustworthy promotions)". I searched and searched and we have done nothing to violate that policy at all. I dug deeper and found three products that were flagged just before the account was suspended for "Offensive or inappropriate content (Capitalizing on sensitive events)". One of those items is a sterling silver football helmet charm. It makes zero sense. We have made no other changes to our website other than notifying customers before they place an order that there will be a shipping delay due to coronavirus.

    I cannot reach anyone at Google because due to the coronavirus nobody is available to answer the phone and all requests are now done via email and we should expect delays. So Google is allowed to warn people of delays due to the coronavirus but if we do the same, they suspend our account!

    I have been reading that often times these out of the blue suspensions with no way provided to fix it are permanent and there is nothing you can do about it. I have tried submitting their form to get them to review the suspension and who knows when they will get back to me. Lots of folks say they never hear back from them at all. This is a nightmare!

    Be very careful about informing your customers of any delays etc. due to Covid-19 on your website. Or word it in some way that Google will not see it and suspend your account.

  • #2
    I removed the "C" word from my shopping cart etc. and just said there will be a shipping delay. I don't know if it will help but at this point I am willing to try anything. Aaaaarrrrghhhhh =(


    • #3
      Im very sorry. WoW :( your just doing your job and letting others know. Everyone is/will be affected, but we'll make through it. Small business need to support each other especially during this hard time for sure.


      • #4
        Please keep us posted on the Google issue. We hope it resolves quickly.


        • #5
          Choice Checks LLC Thanks so much! This has been a very difficult situation for us. We have two at risk people in our home so it has been rather horrible waiting for our test results etc. My sales have understandably tanked and now that we are kicked out of Google shopping they are non-existent. I did nothing wrong and I have been completely blindsided by this. I sell jewelry and craft supplies. I don't even sell masks, or toilet paper or hand sanitizer. I sell mostly costume jewelry and vintage items.

          I was honest and I let my customers know there would be a shipping delay because of the Coronavirus and now all my products are being flagged like this even though there was never even even a mention of the coronavirus on my individual product pages. Just mentioning the shipping delay was due to Coronavirus on my shipping page, the cart and checkout was enough to get my entire account shut down. I don't even know if I will be able to get my account re-activated. I wanted to make sure anyone reading this would not make the same mistake.
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          • #6
            FYI. Here is a screenshot of what I had up on my shopping cart to let my customers know there would be a shipping delay due to the coronavirus. Apparently this is some sort of a huge Google shopping no-no. And they are saying I was somehow capitalizing on sensitive events and therefore untrustworthy. :(
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            This gallery has 1 photos.


            • #7
              Davef I will be sure to update if I hear back from them. =(


              • #8
                Sorry to hear about this.

                This is certainly understandable since many companies are taking advantage people during this time. Google is just trying to protect consumers from scams and price gouging by taking advantage of the coronavirus name. Your products don’t relate to anything with the virus, but if they block one they have to do it to everyone. A notice in the cart or checkout should be fine since those are blocked by robots.txt. Putting it in your shipping policy page is probably what flagged your site. Perhaps you can also use a 3rd party widget popup (getsitecontrol) to display a message in your checkout.


                • #9
                  I feel your pain. I am in a niche that deals primarily with event planners. Business is dismal. Today I saw that Google has disallowed a large number of my products for possible price gouging issues. The prices have not changed. I am discouraged. Google is making it worse.


                  • #10
                    JoeBTI on the Google My business help page for Covid-19 they actually encourage you to notify your customers and give them the most accurate information by making posts etc.. They even mention to do it if you are experiencing delays. "Explain whether or not your business operations are affected by COVID-19. You can share information about any extra precautions your business is taking, such as moving to takeout or delivery only. You can also share if you’re providing any extra services to the community, or whether you’re experiencing delays."

                    If they were going to suspend all shopping accounts that even mention "coronavirus" without taking the time to look actually at them and what they are selling, they should have provided some sort of guidance or warning about it. I would have worded my shipping delay notice differently had I known. I was just trying to be as honest and as transparent as possible instead of hiding the fact that we were legitimately affected. I've already removed the word coronavirus from my shipping delay notices but it may be too late.

                    Google has posted that due to the coronavirus they are not taking any phone calls and they are basically working with a skeleton crew so we should experience delays. It is so hypocritical.

                    celebra1 I'm not even sure how they would come to that conclusion about price gouging. I am also very discouraged. Google shopping is my main source of traffic. I have no idea if Bing would get us enough traffic to keep us in the black. Nobody wants to buy from a mom and pop company that has been exposed to Covid-19 right now and we were prepared for that. We were not prepared for being punished for our honesty by Google. I hope you can get things straightened out with them.


                    • #11
                      Since sales are down. Make sure your doing blogs, and updating content on your site. Small business or not. It can help and lets help each other. We will make it through this hard time..


                      • #12
                        They’re referring to your “google my business” listing that appears when searching local businesses (retail stores, bars, restaurants). You have the ability to make posts within the google my business listing for customers to see. Show info like closures or updated hours.

                        Sadly it’s just an absolute crazy time right now for all companies big and small. Rules and policies are changing on fly in response to media and government rules/recommendations.

                        Hope everything works out for everyone!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Danab View Post
                          Google suspended my shopping account
                          I do not understand. What are you using Google for ?


                          • #14
                            nicolas_t We pay to advertise our products in Google Shopping. At least we did until their overly heavy-handed algorithm to root out people who are doing things like ripping folks off on gloves, hand sanitizer and face masks due to coronavirus suspended our account.

                            We do not and never have sold any products that violate their policy but we can't even get a person to review our account. The products they flagged were earrings, pins, charms and cuff links (with no mention of coronavirus on the product pages or in our feed) so if someone would just take the time to review them, they would see that they made a mistake.


                            • #15
                              Google is apparently very messed up at the moment. My account suspension was finally lifted after a manual review yesterday morning at 6am. I log in this morning and they suspended it again at 2 am. Less than 24 hours from when they re-activated it. There is no reason given, no flagged products and no request for review button. We also did not change anything after they lifted the suspension so we didn't do anything new to piss them off again. We have no policy violations. I sent them yet another request for an explanation through their contact form. This time I asked them to call me vs. email me. I am hoping that if I talk to a live person I might be able to figure out what the heck they are doing. This whole ordeal is so frustrating and makes no sense!