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After summarily shutting down the buy-rent feature on Google Video, leaving customers unable to watch videos they paid good money for over the past 19 months, the world's most popular search engine has defended its less-than-satisfying refund policy.

In a recent conversation with The Reg, Google said that customers stripped of their video libraries have received Google-serving online credits (rather than out-and-out refunds) in part because the company can't deal with changing credit card numbers.

If you "purchased" a Google video on or after July 18, the company has indeed given you a full refund. But if you paid for "eternal access" to a clip anytime before that, you get a credit on Google Checkout, the online payment system that lets you buy things from Google partners like Yarn Country and ChristianBookBibles.com.

No doubt, the company is aware that some users will take issue with this policy, and in many cases, it's providing credits that exceed the cost of original purchases. Having spent 99 cents on an episode of The Charlie Rose Show that he assumed would be available for viewing on his death bed, one El Reg hack must now settle for a $2 Checkout credit. Come his dying day, this may or may not provide the same entertainment value.

Arguing that many customers are no longer using the credit cards and billing addresses used to purchase Google videos, the company explained that providing everyone with a true refund would have been much too difficult. Of course, you could also argue that there's nothing preventing the company from sending customers an email asking them to update their credit card info. Regardless, we're not sure that even a full refund would make up for the loss of Charlie Rose. ®

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