Thursday, June 09, 2011

Improper Billing for SQL Azure Web Database on Cloud Essentials for Partners Account

Update 6/9/2011 3:00 PM PDT: It appears as if I was right about the possibility of a billing snafu for Windows Azure Platform Cloud Essentials for Partners accounts:


Update 6/9/2011 12:45 PM PDT: The saga continues after I sent a message about my questions to Ram:


The account in question is not Windows Azure Platform Introduction Special for Partners, it’s a Windows Azure Platform Cloud Essentials for Partners account, which requires considerable effort to obtain and enables one to use the Powered By Windows Azure logo (see my live OakLeaf Systems Azure Table Services Sample Project - Paging and Batch Updates Demo project as an example.) Here’s a screen capture for the subscription (at top):


As far a I’ve been able to determine, there is no 90-day limit on use of a free SQL Azure Web database. See the Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud Essentials Pack screen capture below.

Mea Culpa: I was wrong about having no database in the SQL Azure server. I had a single database (plus master, which is free.)

Additional question: Why can’t I get rid of the Deactivated subscriptions?

This issue indicates to me that there is a bug in the billing system for my benefit.

Update 6/9/2011 9:00 AM PDT: Credit takes a surprisingly long time to apply to account and longer to apply to credit card:


My assumption was that the billing system was automated. Perhaps I was wrong.

Update 6/9/2011 7:30 AM PDT: An Azure Support Engineer responded as follows to my service request at 7:12 AM:


Ram’s response didn’t include answers to the three questions I asked in the service request, nor the requested description of the error, which should not have occurred with an automated billing system.

As of 9:15 AM PDT today, there was no indication of a refund for the previous month’s charge on my MOCP account page:


I’ve requested an explanation. Stay tuned.

Today, 6/7/2011, I received a notice from the Microsoft Online Customer Portal (MOCP) that the May 2011 bill for my Windows Azure Platform Cloud Essentials for Partners account was ready. Here’s what I found when I checked my account:


This was the first time I had incurred a charge on this account, which I opened on 1/8/2011. The server provisioned has no database installed.

The Cloud Essentials Pack includes an SQL Azure instance, as shown in the details for the Windows Azure Platform Cloud Essentials for Partners offer from my Microsoft Announces Cloud Essentials for Partners with Free Windows Azure and Office 365 Benefits post of 11/4/2011:


Here are the current benefits from the Microsoft Partner Network page:


I completed a service request form this morning and immediately received three messages from Microsoft Online Customer Services (MOCS) identical to the following (confidential information redacted):


It will be interesting to see how fast MOCS responds with the answers to my questions.

Has anyone else been similarly miss-billed?

Stay tuned.