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Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Google Merchant is one of the most frustrating, confusing and time-consuming I have ever seen. We have been trying to add our products XML feed for 1 month but our account keeps getting suspended. Every time we get suspended we receive the generic copy/pasted e-mail that explains it can be due to tons of different reasons, without clearly stating what we need to do to fix the error.

 

We contacted google support over 10 times. 90% of the time the employee will just send the website for review again, then it gets suspended again and we can't get help. So we kept sending messages to Google asking for more information. The last person we talked to provided a hint:

we reached out to the wider team to get your account reviewed and we have just received a reply from them. I do understand that you have added your contact information however, I would like to inform you that the information is not easily accessible on your landing page. So I would suggest you to make the changes and ensure that the contact information or a contact us page is visible. For more go through the information below:

This is very frustrating. We're told that the "contact us page is not visible". The link for the "contact us" page is a FIXED element, which means it ALWAYS stay on the screen even when the page is scrolled down. Our "contact us" link is on EVERY SINGLE PAGE of our website, it is ALWAYS visible no matter where you are.

 

So, how is this even possible to make this link more "easily accessible"? 

What exactly are we supposed to do? Where do you want us to put the contact us link?

 

Merchant ID: 123716417

https://www.defendanimals.com/

contactus.png

3 Expert replyverified_user

Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Keep contacting support - you need to ask them what is wrong so you can fix it. Manual review is a waste of time if nothing is fixed.

 

Some thoughts:

 

You may have certain trigger words on your site that raise flags. I saw shirts that said murder and slavery. If there is any gun-related words anywhere that could be it. Google's bots do not consider context.

 

The contact link is not obvious. I visited your site without seeing your screenshot and couldn't find it. 

Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

Top Contributor
# 3
Top Contributor

I have to agree with Google and Rob, having your contact link in the corner like that is not standard. I recommend you follow eCommerce standards and place it at the header and footer. I too did not find it, simply because its not the norm.

 

I could also not find your privacy policy, returns policy, delivery policy. All which is required.

 

When clicking on the contact page, you have a lot of faq's, I recommend removing this as it should only contain your contact details.

 

I recommend reading this documentation here : https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/4752265?hl=en

 

Hope this helps.

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Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 4
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

I followed all recommendations and i'm still stuck here. I kept contacting google and they kept sending the same generic useless e-mail. Every time I contact them they just send my website for re-verification then it gets suspended again.

 

I added 'contact us' link AND e-mail AND mailing address AND phone number to the footer of the website so it is displayed on every single page.

 

 

Dear Google Merchant Center User,

We've reviewed your Google Merchant Center account (Defend Animals, ID: 123716417), and found policy violations.

Your Merchant Center account has been suspended, and your products are no longer promoted on Shopping ads.

Note that a suspension notification is also displayed in your Merchant Center account. In addition, related Merchant Center accounts may also get suspended.

-- Policy violations to fix Your Merchant Center account (Defend Animals, ID: 123716417) is in violation of the following policies:

Omission of relevant information:
 
Failure to clearly and conspicuously disclose the payment methods and full expense that a user will bear before and after purchase, and disclose all related conditions before and after purchase, such as contact information, shipping information or payment methods.

For more details, please visit https://goo.gl/r1BB2X

Suggestions to fix this issue:

Make sure to provide users with your contact information such as email address or phone number. Please note that a contact form does not suffice. Also, make sure that your site lists all available payment methods accepted, prior to a user starting the checkout process.

 

If you believe there's been an error, we want to help. Contact your Account Manager or find out how to contact us by visiting https://goo.gl/sMaEgy

 

Sincerely,

The Google Merchant Center Team

--------------

Re: Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

Top Contributor
# 5
Top Contributor

note that even if the required information/links are displayed on every page,
if the information is difficult or frustrating to navigate, or not easy to find,
or the content on the page is unclear, in any way whatsoever, google will

likely continue to suspend such a website.

google is the final arbiter of difficult, frustrating, not easy, and unclear.

too many, or too frequent, policy-flags may also result in a
more permanent suspension from the program, at any time.

Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 6
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

If they at least explained what exactly is the problem, then I wouldn't have to go through too many re-verifications. I'm asking for information, and they chose to just send the website for re-verification instead of explaining what's the problem.

 

The information is easy to find on the website (THREE different links to get the information - FAQ in navbar, sticky contact button AND footer). I have compared with other websites using Google Merchant and the information is easier to find on my website. I don't know what more I could do.

Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor

google seems to have indicated --

clearly and conspicuously --

with a list of missing information.

 

clearly and conspicuously are likely critical in this case.

 

as-is the website is unlikely to be approved.

the best likely course is to reply to google and ask for specific suggestions;
then, make those changes, as best as possible, exactly as google indicates.

generally, for google-shopping-ads, google is looking for an extremely
narrow range of website navigation, formatting, content, and display
details that can be easily found and inspected by the policy-teams and

easily found and crawled by all google's crawlers, and by all users in

all locations, using most browsers and devices, including mobile devices.

google has rather strict editorial and professional requirements --
websites that are unnecessarily difficult or frustrating to navigate
are generally not allowed.

for shopping-ads, the link landing-page should
contain a plain-text contact-us href url link;
all such required links should be above-the-fold --
that is, just below the product-details, with little
or no scrolling required.

if the page-footer cannot be navigated without scrolling,
consider a product-footer -- just below the description.

google looks for the same links on all pages -- also
consider adding a header, or similar above-the-fold
set of links, to all non-product pages.

for shopping-ads, all material information related to the purchase
should be within an easy-to-navigate footer, the is obvious and easy
to find, in horizontal, plain (u.s.ascii) text, using html5 standard
href url hyper-links with the following link-labels.

(1) contact-us:

for trust transparency, the contact-us page should only display
information that is directly related to contacting the merchant,

and only information that is relevant to being directly contacted.

google tends to look for trust-related signals, clearly visible: such as
- valid business email-address;
- valid business street-address that will resolve properly on google-maps;
- posted business-hours when a merchant or representative can normally respond;
- a business-phone-number that rings and will be answered during business-hours.

(2) privacy policy;
(3) terms and conditions;
(4) payment information;
(5) shipping information;
(6) billing information;
(7) return and refund policies;

all in plain text, that is easy to navigate by
users, and easy to crawl and verify by google.

each succinct piece of information should be on separate pages, one each for --
contact, privacy policy, terms and conditions, payment information, shipping
information, billing information, return/refund policies; these should usually
not be intermixed on the same page and any other information should typically
not be included on the page.

all with clearly written and easy to understand content.

the same header/footer and links should
be clearly displayed on all website pages.

for example, changing the link landing-page of each shopping-ad submitted:
to show plain-text links that are obvious and easy to find -- typically within

a (product) footer, in addition to being on all website pages -- in horizontal,

plain text, using html-5 standard href url hyper-links, with the above, seven,

labels: contact us, privacy policy, terms and conditions, payment information,
shipping information, billing information, return and refund policies.

only the relevant content, for each, individual,
required, policy, should be included on each page.

if the page-footer cannot be navigated without scrolling;
consider both a product-footer just below the description
and a similar header, on all non-product pages.

google looks for trust-related signals on a website --
which include navigation and easily accessible content.

if a website cannot be constrained by google's guidelines,
then other campaign-types may be a better fit for advertising.

looking to other merchants as examples is not necessarily relevant --
the policy-teams tend to look at each policy-flag individually and other
merchants are not considered.

also, there is usually a limited number of times google allows reinstatement
requests to be considered -- if the first instance of a policy-review-request
does not result in a reinstatement by the policy-teams, then that typically
indicates the issue has not been adequately or appropriately addressed and
google may only consider a reinstatement after substantial, significant,
or meaningful, changes have been made, and those changes, or existing

information that addresses the issues, are succinctly documented to google.

see also
https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6363310
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/fCh9N7gccxdkmo7msqhrrnKCBcFJXGpuIL0nh48lCwtDYH1i7jiu94oLRYMbrME83L...

 

 

 

 

Re: Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Thanks for the reply.

google seems to have indicated --

clearly and conspicuously --

with a list of missing information.

clearly and conspicuously are likely critical in this case.

as-is the website is unlikely to be approved.

The only thing that google have indicated clearly and conspicuously is that we need to update our contact form with e-mail, address and phone. We did. Please read the e-mails from Google that I posted. They only suggest updating contact information.

 

If the website is unlikely to get approved, then why does the website passes the approval process every time, before getting suspended again? I contacted google again asking for more information, and again instead of providing additional information, the website was just sent to re-verification where it was approved again... It's still approved as i'm writing this, but I suspect that our account will probably get suspended again in a couple of hours.

Last mail from Google today:

Great News - Your Merchant Center Account is now Approved!

Hi *******,

As discussed, I have connected with my team to get your Merchant Center Account re-reviewed and the result is that your account is now approved and you can showcase your products on Google Shopping. We appreciate your patience.

Please know that you may need to republish any items you wish to display. This change can take up to a few hours to take effect.

You say we have to contact google, ask for recommendations, then make those changes. This is exactly what we did. Here are the recommendations Google have indicated 'clearly and conspicuously':

How do I fix the issues?

No/Insufficient Contact Information

To resolve, I recommend adding a Contact Us page to your site that includes the following: business phone number, email address, and physical business address. These updates will ensure your site provides sufficient contact information. Also, please ensure your site has a secure checkout process, a clear return policy and transparent terms and conditions.

I know that your site does have a form to fill out if customers need assistance, but we do require 2 of the 3 following options:

- Business phone number

- Email address

- Physical business address

These updates will ensure your site provides sufficient contact information.

As you can see all the recommendations were just about the contact form. We DO display the phone number, email address and physical business address on the contact page AND footer. So according to what Google said "These updates will ensure your site provides sufficient contact information"

 

if the page-footer cannot be navigated without scrolling,
consider a product-footer -- just below the description.

Never seen this anywhere on any website. 3 links for contact is enough, we are not going to add a fourth link as this doesn't make any sense. There's always at least 2 contact buttons on the screen even with scrolling, due to sticky contact button and sticky top navbar.

 

Spreadshirt is displaying their products with Google Merchant. They have a "help" link in the navbar (same place as us) and the other contact link is in the footer. https://www.spreadshirt.com/study+and+chill+men-s+t-shirt-D13508513

 

 

google looks for the same links on all pages -- also
consider adding a header, or similar above-the-fold
set of links, to all non-product pages.

We have a sticky navbar with a help/faq link where you can find ALL the information and contact

 

for shopping-ads, all material information related to the purchase
should be within an easy-to-navigate footer, the is obvious and easy 
to find, in horizontal, plain (u.s.ascii) text, using html5 standard 
href url hyper-links with the following link-labels.

The link in navbar and footer is plain text html5 hyper-link with the correct link labels

 

- valid business email-address;
- valid business street-address that will resolve properly on google-maps;
- posted business-hours when a merchant or representative can normally respond;
- a business-phone-number that rings and will be answered during business-hours.

All of this information is available in footer and contact page.

 

(2) privacy policy;
(3) terms and conditions; 
(4) payment information;
(5) shipping information;
(6) billing information; 
(7) return and refund policies;

All of this information is available in the FAQ except privacy policy, but Google never specifically asked for it during verification process. We will add it to the website today. We will also add the links to the footer, but Google may complain because users need to scroll to see the links (just like the whole internet)

 

if the page-footer cannot be navigated without scrolling;
consider both a product-footer just below the description
and a similar header, on all non-product pages.

Can you give me an example of a notorious website that displays 7 links for T&C and policies in 3 different places on the same page?

+7 links in header

+7 links in product footer

+7 links in footer

That's 21 links total. It doesn't make any sense.

 

also, there is usually a limited number of times google allows reinstatement
requests to be considered

... yet everyone tells me I have to keep contacting Google to get more information (including you and other replies). But contacting them could get me suspended permanently because they just send me to the re-verification process.

Re: Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 9
Top Contributor

first, you're welcome.

google seems to have also mentioned --
return policy and transparent terms and conditions --
not just contact-us.

return and refund policies and terms and conditions
were also mentioned -- in the required seven-links.

transparency is another critical factor required, to stay approved, long-term.

typically, each of the seven links should point to a separate page,
that includes only information related to that link -- not any general
faq of ancillary or other details; for example, the contact-us link
should point to a page that includes only information about contacting
the merchant and possibly some minimal, site-wide, header and footer
navigation, nothing else.

normally, only a footer is required with only seven links --
given the website's current structure, some adjustments
may need to be made, or such structure reconsidered.

the seven links should be clearly visible and easy to find on each site-page --
each of the seven pages, individually, should be clearly written, easy to read,
easy to understand, thorough, concise, and transparent.

google does not check all potential issues or policy violations, all the time --
passing the approval process every time, before getting suspended again --
typically indicates there are multiple issues outside of what google is
currently flagging; a best-practice is to review all rules and policies,
against physical inventory, the entire website, product landing-pages,
and all submitted data, regardless of google flagging a particular issue,
or not.

then, make all the appropriate changes, based on google's
feedback and published requirements in their help articles,
possibly with recommendations made here, in public, by

merchant forum-members -- before requesting a re-review.

asking google, by phone or in chat,
before requesting a formal re-review,
may also help.

the spreadshirt layout and details look to be closer to what google wants --
although, the similar-designs and more-products should likely be removed
with respect to a shopping-ad landing-page.

forum-members can mainly offer suggestions --
google is the final arbiter of all policies.

 

if there is no suspension-flag, then there is nothing to do --

if there is another suspension-flag, then possibly consider

some fundamental changes to the site.

 

 

 

 

Re: Merchant account suspended over and over again even if we comply with google requirements

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 10
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Suspended again -_- Something about refund policy this time, but the policy
is already on the website.