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Google Goes With Cash Over Credit

Google is switching gears on how to refund customers of its now-defunct Google Video download-to-own service. They will get cash as well as credit.

Customers who purchased the video downloads can also keep the Google Checkout credit Google originally offered instead of a refund. Google said it would continue to support playing purchased videos for another six months.

On top of it all, Google offered up an apology on its blog, saying sorry about all the confusion over how to give customers their money back.

Earlier this month, Google announced plans to shutter its download-to-own/download-to-rent (DTO/DTR) business.

But instead of offering a full refund, Google decided that all users who purchased any video content after the service's inception in early 2006 through July 17 would receive credit equal to a full refund to spend on any of the multitude of merchants registered with Google Checkout. Any user with purchases after July 18 will receive a full refund.

Users were upset.

"Congratulations for just taking a big f**ing crap on my trust in you," one user wrote on Google's discussion boards.

"I am seriously looking into options to get my Gmail archives out of your system. Obviously I can never be able to entrust anything remotely important to Google Docs. I either own my data, or I don't. Obviously it is Google's opinion that I don't," this user wrote.

Attorney Thomas Ciarlone of Shalove Stone Bonner & Rocco told internetnews.com his firm was investigating the fairness of Google's rebate.

Today, Google owned up to its mistake.

"We make mistakes; we do our best not to repeat them -- and we really do try to fix the ones we make," Google Video Product Manager Bindu Reddy wrote on the company's official blog.

Reddy explained that Google went with the Google Checkout refund because "we weren't sure if we had all the correct addresses, latest credit card information, and other billing challenges. We thought offering the refund in the form of Google Checkout credits would entail fewer steps and offer a better user experience. Our bad."

But for many customers' experiences, Google found, cash is preferred over credit.