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Google sprays customers with cash in AdWords cockup

£100 voucher morphs into gigantic £75,000 bonanza

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Google mistakenly credited huge sums of money into an unknown number of UK customers' AdWords accounts, after some were handed a £100 voucher from Mountain View to redeem on the service.

AdWords user Pete Williams told The Register that Google wrongly plonked £75,000 into his account after he redeemed the voucher.

"I got one of these and let Google know via their @AdWords twitter account – no response yet. Obviously I've not spent a penny of it, but it appears other people have!" he said.

To add to the balls-up, Google, having heard from various AdWords customers about the gaffe, then credited various accounts with another £75,000.

Williams said the company eventually spotted the sizable accounting error and "finally" charged him £150,000 to reset the balance to zero.

Despite all the weird bumps and dips of cash showing up in his account, Williams told us he "still [had] no word from Google on what's going on."

Indeed, El Reg has asked the Google UK team to explain the blunder. It's yet to return comment at time of writing, however.

Meanwhile, others who were also wrongly credited with great wads of cash in their AdWords accounts after redeeming the £100 voucher, have been questioning what went wrong on this thread.

A US-based Google employee eventually provided some insight into why the money was credited into their accounts.

"Those of us who post in this forum are not connected in any way with the folks that handle AdWords promotions," noted the unnamed Google wonk in the early hours of this morning.

"Moreover, the Google employees who post here have typically supported US-based advertisers and we will have not Google contacts in other parts of the world who work with advertisers using currencies other than the US dollar. For these reasons, I am not able to speak to what you are experiencing."

Later, however, the Google staffer offered this more helpful update:

"I am happy to say that I was able to reach the proper team, and was pleased to learn that they were already fully aware of the issue – and working to communicate directly with those folks who had an incorrect amount applied to their account.

"I do certainly apologise on behalf of the team for any bad moments that this has caused you."

But some found that Google had credited their account with £75,000 and then removed £150,000, leaving some customers in the red.

Others are getting a small £50 compensation from Google, after the company made a clear hash of its £100 voucher promotion.

"We recently emailed you a credit for £100 of free Google AdWords advertising. Unfortunately, due to a technical issue you will not be able to redeem this credit. Instead, please find below a new AdWords credit giving you a credit of £150. The extra £50 is by way of apology for our error," reads an email sent out to some customers. ®

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