Google

Google AdSense Address Verification PIN/letters Not Received (What to Do)

This has been an enormous frustration for myself as a blogger using Google AdSense for monetization on some of my websites. Earnings start accruing right away once ads start showing on your site, but you can’t actually withdraw any earnings to your bank account until you verify your address by entering a PIN you receive in a letter they are meant to send to you in the post to a physical address you specify.

The problem is, these letters often don’t arrive, especially for publishers based outside the United States. You get a chance to order 3-4 replacement letters, but they often don’t arrive either. You can be waiting 3-4 months or longer, not receiving any of these address verification PIN letters, even after ordering multiple times and with 100% correct details. In the meantime, you can have AdSense earnings accruing into the hundreds of pounds/dollars/euros, that you can’t access, through no fault of your own.

It’s a really frustrating problem to deal with, and something Google needs to drastically improve, so in this guide we’re going to cover what steps you can take to at least try and get this issue resolved, based on my recent experience submitting feedback to Google via the (limited) channels they have available.

If your AdSense address verification letters do not arrive, firstly check the address you provided is 100% correct, then order a replacement letter via the verification menu. If these also don’t arrive, submit feedback via the menu available, explaining your issue. Eventually, you may be allowed to submit bank documents to verify your address.

In other words, you just have to either be patient and/or get on Google’s back via the very limited communication options they leave open to you and get them to sort the issue out. Let’s look at how to deal with this issue in more detail.

Why Does This Problem Occur?

I don’t know for certain what’s going on with these address verification letters not arriving, but putting together different accounts of publishers with this problem, it seems to be far more common with publishers based outside the United States. For instance, I’m in the UK, and the first 3 letters I ordered never arrived. I found similar accounts from other publishers also based outside America, in Asia and Europe. US based publishers can sometimes also have problems, but seem to get their letters more easily.

Therefore, it’s reasonable to surmise that whatever mailing system they’re using to send these address verification letters isn’t very effective in getting letters outside the United States. Perhaps it’s a 100% automated system that assumes all recipients are based in the US, and therefore the letters just ping back and forth inside the US mailing system, unable to reach international addresses because the postal service/tariff Google is using to send them doesn’t allow international mailing, or is very slow for international mail.

Whatever the reason is for this problem though, it’s unacceptable from Google, as publishers are left hanging, unable to collect accrued earnings not because they’ve done anything wrong, but because Google’s own mailing system isn’t working properly in getting these letters to non-US publishers. They claim on some menus that the letters may be delayed because of “Covid”, but this isn’t true, because you can find accounts of it happening before 2020.

They can be left waiting 3-4 months or longer (you can find some accounts of these letters NEVER arriving), and what makes it even more unacceptable is that as with most things with Google, there’s no way to open up a ticket or speak directly to a real person to try and get it sorted. Google’s obsession with automation means they don’t open up any channels that allow publishers to interact with a real person.

You’re just left being pinged back and forth among a series of help pages by the PIN troubleshooter, which doesn’t help and already tells you a load of information you already know. The issue isn’t moved any closer to resolution.

Let’s look at first some basic steps you can take to try and resolve this, and then some other things you can at least try to nudge Google to get it sorted

Initial Steps to Take

Let’s run through some basic troubleshooting “check box” steps you can try – you’ve already probably done this but here goes:

1. Check address – Make sure the address you’ve entered is 100% correct (with full postal/ZIP code), would be recognized if mailing internationally as well as domestically, and you can receive mail at that address.

2. Order Replacement – There is an option in the Verification menu to order a replacement PIN letter 3 weeks after the first/previous one was sent. My understanding is you can do this up to 4 times (initial letter, plus 3 replacement ones, with 3 week gaps in between).

Go to the Verification menu on the left hand sidebar, under Payments:

3. Other Verification Method – Thankfully, I didn’t need to get to this stage, but if after ordering all 3/4 letters, you don’t receive any of them, then depending on your country, the verification menu may then allow you to upload a bank statement or other proof of address to verify your identity instead (why doesn’t Google just offer non-US publishers this method in the first place?). This may take 3-5 months to become available however, as you have to order all 3/4 letters, and waiting at least 3 weeks in between, and isn’t available for users in all countries.

Submitting Feedback/Complaints To Google

If you’re still not receiving these letters after ordering several of them, then there is a Feedback tool within the AdSense menus that doesn’t allow you to open up a dialogue with someone at Google, but at least allows you to submit some feedback to them to hopefully improve. This seems to be what moved the issue a bit more for me.

Go to the Feedback menu right at the bottom of the sidebar on the left:

A box opens up where you can type in notes – give them as much detail as possible about what your problem is, what you have already tried, how long you’ve been waiting, and how unacceptable it is.

Include as much as possible, including:

  • That you’ve already checked all the obvious things – address is 100% correct, waited at least 3 weeks, ordered multiple verification letters etc.
  • Include your AdSense publisher ID
  • Include your country, including the country of your mailing address (especially if outside the USA)
  • Explain how this is a recurring problem especially for publishers based outside the USA, and that they need to work to fix it.
  • Emphasize that it’s NOT due to Covid, because it was happening before that.
  • Emphasize how long you’ve been waiting, and how much in accrued earnings are being withheld from you because their mailing process doesn’t work properly (NOT your fault).
  • Ask them to post the verification PIN letter from the SAME COUNTRY as your listed address. When they finally did this with me on the last letter, it arrived in a few days no problems.
  • Complain about the lack of ability to open up a ticket and speak to a real person to get it sorted quicker (not acceptable from a company that has as many resources as Google does – they could easily hire support staff to help interact with publishers directly and get issues resolved much quicker).

In short, tell them what you think! Without being rude or abusive, but also placing the responsibility where it lies – with them.

The vast majority of publishers with this problem are doing everything right by Google’s processes – it’s their address verification letter mailing system that doesn’t work. And they still haven’t fixed it despite loads of forum entries online from publishers who have this exact same problem. It really bugs me (in case you haven’t already noticed!). So they need making aware of this, and the more people that can submit feedback though this feature, the better.

My Experience With This Problem

I myself have only just managed to resolve this issue after ordering 4 letters and waiting 4+ months, but the way it resolved is quite interesting.

I submitted a couple of rantey feedback comments via their feature, as I detailed above. And after ordering my fourth letter, was getting ready for another lengthy wait to see that one not turn up as well.

Then it suddenly arrived, 4 months after I started ordering them.

Looking at the PIN letter that finally arrived, it seems that the last one ordered was the one that arrived, just several days after being ordered. The first 3 I ordered are god-knows-where, but the most recent one ordered actually seemed to arrive in just a few days, and the postmark and post date indicated that it was posted locally and recently.

Perhaps all my ranting on their feedback menu finally got them to do something, and post the letter TO the UK FROM the UK as well, to make sure it got there? (why don’t they just do this anyway for publishers based outside the US?) Perhaps the previous ones were posted from the US, and just got stuck in the system there.

Either way, the fact that the last letter arrived first, and within just a few days, shows it’s nothing to do with “Covid” or supply chains; it’s to do with their mailing system, and I suspect someone at Google has intervened and posted the letter from the UK instead because I’ve complained so much.

So my advice is to “get your elbows out” in whatever way you can with Google, and send detailed feedback through their menus to let them know how unacceptable their current PIN letter mailing system is, and what they need to do to improve it. Mega-sized tech companies like this are frustratingly cold and impersonal to deal with, but make your feelings known in whatever ways you can. In my case at least, it seems to have moved things a bit quicker.