Google Play In-app Billing - tester credit card actually got billed (what to do ?)

I have been testing a new app which I uploaded for Alpha Testing and then tested purchase using a real credit card (as outlined by Google).

The google account for the phone I was using has been entered as Tester for the Alpha Testing APK on Google Developer Console.

This allows purchases to go through (you cannot purchase from phones that are not in the tester list). And in-app billing is working fine.

The problem is that the credit card I was using on the tester phone - just got the bill for that.

Now these were never supposed to appear on the actual credit card - according to assurances that Google gives about the tester google accounts.

Testing In-app Billing | Android Developers


Test Purchases (In-app Billing Sandbox)

Test purchases offer a secure, convenient way to enable larger-scale testing of your In-app Billing implementation during development or in preparation for launch. They let authorized user accounts make purchases of your in-app products through Google Play without incurring any actual charges to the user accounts.

Once authorized for testing access, those users can make purchases without being charged. Test purchases are real orders and Google Play processes them in the same way as other orders. When purchases are complete, Google Play prevents the orders from going to financial processing, ensuring that there are no actual charges to user accounts, and automatically canceling the completed orders after 14 days.

Now how do I refund the purchases which are now on the credit card ?

That is, what is the best option:

  • e-mail Google and ask them “why are tester purchases not being intercepted as promised and are instead showing up on credit card as real payments ?”

  • Just let the payments go through - pay the credit card bill - and pocket the payment from Google (thereby losing 30% of the whole payment to Google which will get their money from it)

  • Do the refunds yourself by going into Google Payments Merchant Center and just click View and Refund for each of the payments (though if refund too many that may freeze your ability to refund if Google sees that as high risk behavior):

So what do folks here suggest is the best option for dealing with this (obviously I also need to inform Google that their promise of intercepting those “tester” credit card purchases is not being followed).


How do you know that your credit card has been charged actually? I think you should send them an email about your reservations and wait for your monthly statement ( If you haven’t received yet). Pay your bill and they will back charge you which you will see in your next statement.

Well it has been a few days since I purchased using the “Tester” phone (which has the google account which has been added as “Tester” for that Alpha Testing APK on Google Developer Console).

And I got the bill and it shows the charges.

I posted an e-mail to google via their support page.

What I have done now though is I went into Google Payments Merchant Account webpage and one-by-one clicked Refund for each of those “sales”.

And it is saying the refunds have gone through. I was wondering if Google may block - as there were like 30-40 purchases (while testing). But all went through.

For the credit card, I will pay the minimum payment (thus incurring the monthly interest on that full balance). And hopefully by the next bills, the refunds will have come through and neutralized the balance.

It is 1 or 2 days and still the charges have not been reversed on the credit card.

So now I am exploring if the orders in the Google Payment Merchant Center if one needs to do more there.

For each order you get a Refund button. You press it and Google says it has refunded the order. But then the Refund button is replaced by a Cancel order button.

I thought the Cancel order may be to cancel the Refund or something.

But now I have gone ahead and pressed Cancel on a few of those orders. To see if that causes the refunds to actually go through.

Anyone has experience in this - do you have to do Refund, and then Cancel order for each order. Or does clicking Refund button suffice ?

What is interesting is that this Google help page says that pressing the Refund button is enough to refund the order:

It also says that:

Once you issue a refund, the refund cannot be cancelled.

So what is the Cancel button there for then ?

I decided to refund an order once and i just had to press the button and it happened. (not remember how much it took, but i think it was almost instantaneously). But I also refunded a second order to that same person and she claimed she never got the money back, but she could have been lying… I never received that money either of course.

Thanks Baksai,

She may not have been lying.

When I pressed the Refund button it too happened immediately.

The point is if the refund actually happens back to the payer.

It hasn’t happened so far - let me see how it goes.

Also the second question is still unanswered - i.e. how did Google manage to bill my credit card when my google account making the purchase was listed as a Tester (otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to buy the product in the first place using the Alpha Testing app).

Also once a product has been Refunded … what is the meaning of the Cancel order button after that - does it cancel the Refund then or what ?

I have asked Google support but they still haven’t gotten back yet.

Checking emails i can confirm that she got the money back in less than 5 minutes. (She´s from UK).

We have never had such a problem that test orders are actually charged… :frowning:

I don´t know about the cancel button either.

Good luck with the refunds, please keep us informed :wink:

I don’t know why I didn’t do this before - but there is a Live Chat option in the Help (top-right button in Google Payments Merchant Account webpage).

Chatted with a support person - and they were very helpful. Well, basically they said don’t worry the refunds have been done … they will show up (eventually). And to get an estimate of turnaround time to goto:

So clicked on the Help on that page - and they have a callback (via phone I guess) and Email option. So I posted a note using the Email option asking about turnaround times etc.

So it could just be that the reversals take 2 days or something. Perhaps if I had done this earlier it may have been easier (?) - since I hadn’t checked if the test purchases were winding up in my credit card and could possibly have refunded them earlier before the credit card bill came due.

Although from my understanding the time frame does not matter for refunds i.e. could refund after 10 days even etc.

Ok, all the charges that I had Refunded using Google Payments Merchant Account webpage, have now been refunded.

That is, now I can see the credits for all those purchases in my credit card online transactions history for the unbilled transactions.

So this concludes the story, and at least suggests that Refunds will go through for purchases.

What it does not fully answer is how the “Tester” google accounts which were testing the Alpha Testing APK wound up getting charged, when Google explicitly states that “Tester” accounts will not get billed.

In analyzing why this may have happened, one factor should be pointed out. That after I had uploaded one APK to the Google Developer Console - Alpha Testing tab for the APK, and added the “Tester” google account to that.

Then after that I had not downloaded the APK from Google, but had started using locally produced (but signed correctly with the production keystore so that testing would work).

So the APKs I was later using were never uploaded after the first upload. They were the same version, but all locally created and then transferred to phone as APK file and then installed manually that way.

I wonder if this may have played a role in them being not seen as a legitimate Alpha Testing user - although all Google should worry about is making sure the device google account is in the Tester e-mail list and that should be ok.

So that is the only unresolved question in this regard. I guess I will have to do further purchases after downloading APK and then using that one. And see if that makes a difference i.e. if that appears on the bill as happened with the first batch of purchases as mentioned above.

I dont know how google works, but credit card companies don’t process refund immediately. When google post the refunds, it should usually take 2-3 or even more like 7 days to process the refund on your credit card. This changes for every bank but usually 7 days should be enough