/ Google

This phone number cannot be used for verification.

If you have not seen this error message from Google consider yourself fortunate. It happened to me while setting up a new Gmail account as I had done before countless times. You will quickly learn how annoying this message is because no matter what phone number you enter there is no way you will be able to gain access to your account.
On the Google Help Forum https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/gmail/c6d8cSWI95E;context-place=forum/gmail this issue has over 3838 views, making it by far one of the most “popular”.

3838 views. I call that a “hot” topic.

You might think that contacting Google is the next step, but it’s not so easy. As you may see below the Contact us page has no means of contacting anyone. To be honest I lost it when I saw the message: “It’s possible that you may still not be able to recover your account after finishing the process. We are very sorry…”

The Contact us page without any means of contacting them. A genius move.

WOW!?!?! Google is “very sorry” but does not provide a contact form, email address, ticketing system, smoke signals, anything?
After hours spent on forums I found this troubleshooting page (screenshot below) https://support.google.com/mail/troubleshooter/2943007?hl=en&ref_topic=3394244#ts=2402626%2C2402728 . By that time I was so skeptical (and pissed off) that it seemed like another dead end.

The first useful page.

But as you may see in the screenshot above there is a link to an account recovery form. After you fill in the form you might find yourself looking at the screen below. This is when I found out that in fact the account had been disabled and it was not just an issue with the Google phone validation mechanism.

That moment when you find out that your account is in fact disabled.

If you look at the screen above you’ll see a question sign at the end of the text in red. After clicking that I landed on the page below. Finally, a form! (fireworks)

Finally, a FORM!

After filling in the form, with hope in my heart and tears in my eyes, I clicked the Submit button. Nothing happened. Just a stupid gif that doesn’t go away. Time to switch on Firebug.

A little debugging to understand how to submit a form. Must be some new UX approach :(

What do we have here? Looks like the form is not submitted because I am not logged in. But there is no error message on the page. Yet another “textbook” move. So I logged in with another Google account and was able to submit the form.

Dear Google Developers, please FIX YOUR SH*T!!!

Kind regards,



Five days later I received the email below. Now everything is back to normal and I have access to the account.

Victory goes to the most persevering!