Google Cloud Platform (aka GCP) has the most insane approach to charging that I've ever seen. I haven't experienced this with any other cloud service provider such as Amazon Web Services, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, IBM Cloud, or Microsoft Azure.

Let's take a look at how GCP invoices you... then charges you.

GCP invoices you every calendar month, which is pretty standard, makes sense, and the cleanest way to billing. But they auto-charge your credit card in a seemingly random cycle, based on when you're first charged.

Essentially, the auto-charged amount will never match the invoice.

In fact, the periods are not even consistent across months!

You can see why this is problematic:

  • It's practically impossible to determine if the charged amount is even accurate.
  • Your expense report will never get approved because the charged amount never matches the invoiced amount.

Google Billing Support seems to think this is completely normal and opt for a "trust us" attitude. When I requested documentation that correlates every charge to the service, I was merely pointed to this link and told to figure it out on my own.

I asked them for a full refund for all charges made in 2020 until I figure out if the charges are accurate. We'll see what they say (I'm not holding my breath).

And for your information, the photo on the top of this blog post is borrowed from 60 insane cloud formations from around the world. Which is exactly how I feel about GCP's billing practices.