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Edited for less mystery. Sorry Google, I wanted to keep your name out of it.

I'm an independent software developer, a solo entrepreneur, publishing apps at Google Play. About a month ago, Google quietly disabled the in-app-purchases without any warning or notification. So while the app is still available for download, it does no longer generate any revenue. Which leads to the first two questions: Is quietly cutting off the revenue, without letting the affected party know about, a righteous behavior according to the legal conception in California? Doesn't this require at least some form of communication?

After contacting 11 (!) support staff members, one was found who started to work on the problem. But for three weeks, nothing has changed. The in app purchasements are still disabled. Contacting support just resulted in pointless, generic replies. Nobody ever answered any questions. Nothing was accomplished. Long story short, by today a full month of revenue is lost, while communication with all the support staff was a total waste of time.

Considering that we're talking about Google, this appears to be a extraordinary long chain of persistent incompetence. Hence these questions:

  • What can be done against it?
  • Is there any legal way to convince (force) them to fix the problem? ASAP?!?
  • At what amount of time wasted (or financial damage done) would it be justified to demand compensation? Right now we're talking about a few thousand euros in damage.
  • At what amount of time wasted (or financial damage done) would it be considered malice rather then just incompetence?
  • What course of action do you recommend?

Any advise on that matter is welcome. Thank you.

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    Your question largely depends on the terms/contract in force, it is too broad, and the references are too generic and therefore confusing (e.g., independent software company, multi-billion corporation, in-app-purchases, ..., whose revenue stream got disabled?). You might want to narrow down your question and make it less mysterious. – Iñaki Viggers May 8 '20 at 11:00
  • Iñaki Viggers, thank you for your feedback. Please excuse the mystery. I was reluctant to mention any names to avoid a potential image damage. I'm going to edit for clarity. – BBMike May 8 '20 at 11:33
  • Have your lawyers check the contracts with the company. – Martin Schröder May 8 '20 at 11:53
  • Get a lawyer. That's the best advice we can practically give and the only advice we can ethically give. – Nij May 8 '20 at 12:19
  • I don't think this is a lawyer situation since legally it's pretty cut and dry. Google doesn't charge for hosting so they have quite a bit of leeway and are in no way obligated to provide "minimum level of quality". Getting a lawyer will just be more money down the drain. Your best bet is to look around on the internet for people in that ran into similar situations and learn what they did. – Hilmar May 8 '20 at 12:53
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You ask ... nicely

Because you no real legal remedy because you agreed to this:

  1. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY.

TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, GOOGLE WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR YOUR LOST REVENUES OR INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES, EVEN IF GOOGLE OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES AND AFFILIATES HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF, KNEW OR SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT SUCH DAMAGES WERE POSSIBLE AND EVEN IF DIRECT DAMAGES DO NOT SATISFY A REMEDY. GOOGLE'S (AND ITS WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARIES' TOTAL CUMULATIVE LIABILITY TO YOU OR ANY OTHER PARTY FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR ACTIONS ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO THIS AGREEMENT WILL NOT EXCEED $500 (USD).

Assuming Google totally fouled up and it’s all their fault (which is by no means a given) the maximum they will legally owe you is USD 500.

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  • Dale, Thanks for sharing this. That's the reason why I'm interested if there's a legal boundary defined between incompetence and malice. – BBMike May 8 '20 at 13:55
  • @BBMike yes. However, despite how you feel about it, what’s happening is not malicious. – Dale M May 8 '20 at 21:48

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