Google has fixed a bug in its Checkout software that exposed customer phone numbers to merchants in more than two dozen countries that charge a value-added tax--mostly in Europe and Asia.
"We had a bug in our Google Checkout merchant center and API. This meant that merchants selling digital goods may have seen buyer phone numbers which are normally provided only when users buy physical goods," a Google spokesman said in a statement.
"We fixed the problem in the merchant center and we're rolling out a fix to the API over the next few days," he said. "We apologize to those impacted by this issue and appreciate their patience as we work to resolve it."
Basically, the Google Checkout bug mistakenly categorized digital goods as physical goods, which require the buyers to provide their phone numbers to the merchant for shipping purposes, Google said.
The problem lasted about a month and affected Google Checkout users in Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Spain, France, Italy, Australia, Japan, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, Portugal, Israel, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, India, Taiwan, Poland and Czech Republic, the company said.