Google Play Gift Cards SUCK!

[Update] See updated addendum at end of article.

If you buy Google Play gift cards with the expectation that you can buy a Nexus 7 tablet or other products from the Google Play store, DON’T BUY THE GIFT CARDS!

Why?  Because you CAN’T buy things like a Nexus 7 tablet.  I just purchased 10 $25 gift cards for a total of $250 to buy my son’s Christmas present… a Google Nexus 7 tablet.  As anyone can clearly see, the Nexus 7 tablet is front and center on the Google Play store home page.


The gift cards say nowhere that you can’t use your store credit from gift cards to buy tablets.  Here’s what the actual gift cards look like:


If you can’t read the text on the back of that card, here it is:

Get music, movies, books, Android apps and more on Google Play. Purchase and enjoy your content on both the web and your Android phone/tablet.

To redeem on the web:

  1. Go to
  2. Scratch label off of card & enter code.
  3. Start shopping – your gift card value will be added to your Google Play balance.

To redeem on an Android phone/tablet:

  1. Launch Google Play Store app on your Android phone or tablet.
  2. Select Redeem.
  3. Scratch label off of card & enter code.
  4. Start shopping – your gift card value will be added to your Google Play balance.

Terms & Conditions

Use of card subject to additional terms and privacy policy: Valid only for users 13+ years of age and resident of U.S. Redemption requires Google Wallet account and internet access. Limits may apply to redemption and use. No fees or expiration dates applicable to this card. Card may be used for purchases of eligible items on Google Play only. Any refunded amount will be credited back to your Google Play balance for future use under same terms. Card is not redeemable for cash or other cards; not reloadable or refundable; cannot be combined with other non-Google Play balances in your Google Wallet account, resold, exchanged or transferred for value (except as required by law). Once card is purchased, risk of loss and title for card passes to purchaser. Google Payment Corp. and its affiliates disclaim all express or implied warranties as to the Google Play card and Google Play. For assistance or to view your Google Play card balance, visit To speak to customer care call us at 1-855-466-4438. Issued and © 2012 by Google Payment Corp. All rights reserved.

As is clearly seen, there’s nothing on here to inform a gift card purchaser, while they’re still in the store, that you can’t use it to buy tablets.

To top it all off, there’s no way to get refunds from these cards.  What the hell and I going to do with $250 credit in the play store?  In 2.5 years in the play store, I’ve spent a total of about $25.  At that rate, it’ll take me 10 years to use up that credit, and I put this credit on my son’s account so that his tablet would arrive already set up with his account.  What’s worse is this was what I had budgeted for my son’s “big” Christmas gift.  Now that money is tied up in a useless place.  I’m not Google… Piles of money don’t just show up in my checking account every night.

[Update] I just got off the phone with a representative at the Google Play store.  He knew what I was going to complain about just as I started.  He was very sympathetic with my position and said he’s aware that this is a HUGE problem!  They’re getting LOTS of calls with this same issue.  He also said there’s absolutely nothing, whatsoever, that he, nor even his supervisors can do.  He felt incredibly bad and said he’s taking the contact information of everyone that calls with this problem so he can contact us as soon as this situation changes.  He said they (his peers) have been complaining up the chain about this problem to no avail.

So, my problem still remains completely unresolved and all my money tied up in their store.

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