Microsoft needs to stop scamming MSDN Subscriber with Azure RRS feed

  • Question

  • Does this sound familiar to you?


    "I heard that as a MSDN Subscriber,I can have 100 hours of computation time free from Azure service.  I thought, that was a great way to learn Azure, and maybe once I figure out how it works, I will enough knowledge to convince my boss to give Azure a serious consideration.  So I followed the walkthru, and uploaded the default ASP.Net Hello world site. All is well.  But I got busy so I forgot this one night stand with Azure.  No big deal since I got a 100 computation hour for free each month, right?  I am not using it; no one is using it.  No using; no computation.  That make sense.  Then, 3 months later, I got this US$200+ charge suddenly showing up in my credit card.  Turns out, just merely leave the site there will cause you money each day, even when no one does NOTHING with it.  The so called computation hours is actually HOSTING hours, and every minute you leave the site there, you need to pay even if NO ONE TOUCHES IT!   So I got charged for US$200 just because I updated a Hello world ASP.Net app for NO ONE USE that ONE NIGHT!!  I need to cancel this Azure thing forever!"


    That was MY experience, and turns out I was not the only one:


    and then this:


    and then even more.


    They all made the same mistake by assuming that the Azure service for MSDN Subscriber exist for encouraging developer to try out the service.  Instead it's a scam to charge money from those people who were so ready to the be the evangelist but ends up being raped just by uploading ONE default ASP.Net web app.

    Ironically, I was invited to participate in a meeting with the Microsoft account manager tomorrow to talk about the possibility of pushing Azure since our project is probably the first in the industry that utilize all the latest Microsoft technology like Sync Framework, Parallel computing.  I will make sure that our x0 million account won't be wasted on a scam like this. 

    I would also suggest people who got burned by such ridiculous charges to voice out, and so that no one will be hurt by this Azure for MSDN subscriber scam.  Spread the message on Facebook and Twitter will be a good start.





    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 5:23 AM

All replies

  • Hi Daniel,

    Sounds like a pretty crap experience. And you definately aren't alone; I know people who have lost thousands, not hundreds, because of similar mistakes. Its not entirely clear when you first start playing around with the platform exactly what you are commiting to.

    Having said that, if you contact the Azure helpdesk I'm pretty sure they will be able to resolve your issue in a way that is favourable to yourself. I don't work for Microsoft so I can't guarantee a refund, but you should talk to support about it definately.

    In relation to avoiding the platform because of this incident, I don't think this a very professional approach to building applications. As developers we have a responsibility to choose the best platform and technology for our business and our applications. Disregarding a technology because of personal feelings is not a valid design approach. I think you can be more mature about this and assess the platform for what it is; not a simple misunderstanding. No doubt Azure is great for many scenarios and there are just as many that it is not so great for. Don't shoot yourself in the foot and do/say things that will only reflect on your own personal image.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but I hope you can still give the platform an honest appraisal and judge it for what it really is. I seriously doubt Microsoft sunk billions of dollars into this technology just so they could scam a few people out of a few hundred dollars. A mistake is a mistake; talk to the help desk and hopefully they will get your money back. I'll have my fingers crossed for you.



    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 6:01 AM
  • Hi Daniel

    just wanted to add that I have an MSDN subscription and I run one small instance for a longer time and never was charged, because I am below the hours that are included in this subscription. As well I do not work for Microsoft - but this sound like Microsoft made a mistake here. I agree with the comments from Steven - as developers we are challenged with new technology - every 3 to 5 years the IT world seems to look different and many new things need to be learned. Giving these new technologies a fair assessment is one of our major tasks.

    Hope you can fix this issue quickly


    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 6:48 AM
  • Hi! I have a MSDN subscription and i extensively use the MSDN Azure benefits. Just wanted to share a recent experience. Just couple of days back, i crossed the "allowed" base consumption and the next day itself i got this alert mail from the Microsoft online customer portal which clearly alerted me about a web role that i had accidentally kept running: 

    Screenshot of the email

    So my point being if they were here to scam MSDN subscribers, they might have not sent me this email. Honestly, i do not know when this alert mechanism was added but since i got it i believe every MSDN subscriber should get similar alerts.

    And i sincerely hope that you clear the air of misunderstanding with support guys!

    Paras Doshi ( Blog | Twitter )

    • Edited by Paras Doshi Saturday, July 16, 2011 9:49 PM
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 7:27 AM
  • Thank you guys, and I am sure we all share the same passion on Microsoft development technology.  The combination of ease of use, powerful and constant innovation is what keeping us all using Microsoft platform, from DOS batch file, MFC, ASP.Net, C# all the way to Sync Framework.  We are the kind of people that Microsoft should treasure: excited but ration, enthusiastic but not "fanboy".  We need Microsoft to keep innovate so that we have better tools to get our job done, much like Microsoft needs us to help spreading their technology in the corporate world, which is what they MAKE THE MOST MONEY NOW.

    That's why I was so extremely furious about "being charged for just uploading ASP.Net wizard generated site one night in the whole lifetime of the subscription".  This is what ANYONE who wanted to give Azure a try WILL DO: just following the MSDN Azure lab document.  Since Microsoft has the technology to host that crazy huge server farm, they should have technology to figure out that that darn less than 1Mb sample app was NOT being used at all.  And yet they dare to charge for hosting those files?  Whoever come up with that term "Computation Time" INSTEAD of "Hosting Time", and then slap that with the words "100 Free Hours" and thus tricking people to put Hello World app there just so that they can keep charging for MERELY hosting that UNUSED, ZERO BANDWIDTH consumed Hello World app by doing the super math "Hosting Time == Computation Time" is totally genius.  I've seen tech scams since the AOL free $10 days, and this is by far the MOST AMAZING one.

    Besides being able to distinguish a IDLE HELLO WORLD app from a production app, Microsoft can EASY clear it up by define that freaking Computation Time term in a better way, and constant remind those who are still learning Azure to DELETE the darn sample exercise app AS SOON AS POSSIBLE one the lab is done?  Is it that hard to put that warning in that SAME DAMN MSDN Azure Lab document?  It's been a freaking one year since the first developer victim start bitching on the web!  Do they realize that there is a REASON why Azure was NOT TAKING OFF among the developer community?  Is the whole company that slow, that stubborn, that office politics driven, that they only wake up AFTER THEY LOST THE BATTLE, From Microsoft Bob to Windows Mobile 6.5 to "very soon" Office 365?

    It hurts the most when the one you love hurt you, like when your fathe...  never mind I am not going that route.

    P.S. the lady at customer support was helping, but based on all other post and blog I read, I am not that optimistic.  I will, though, definitely keep you guys posted.  And yes I am so looking forward to see that Microsoft Account Manager today.


    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 2:22 PM
  • And let's be clear: it MIGHT NOT set up to be a SCAM, and the end result is a TOTAL SCAM.  Just like putting a bunch of kids in a woodshop with tons of heavy machinery running without protective shield may not be a group homicide, but wait until the little brother wave a chainsaw to his little sister.
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 3:08 PM
  • This is why I strongly encourage anyone looking into a subscription based offering to fully understand the pricing model.

    Dan, I hope they are able to get the charges reversed for you. I know its been done for others.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 7:32 PM
  • We've generally been pretty good about not charging people if they had a legitimate misunderstanding about the pricing model, so hopefully support will work things out with you, Daniel.

    If you can point me to the getting started documentation that failed to point out that you should delete the app when you're done testing, I'll try to get that updated to help people avoid this pitfall in the future.

    • Proposed as answer by Wenchao Zeng Thursday, July 21, 2011 5:36 AM
    Wednesday, July 13, 2011 10:04 PM
  • Steve, this is just not true. I have had close to $1000 taken from my account in the past year. I just now caught the charges as the card I signed up with expired. You somehow managed to still get the money. I have talked to support and they told me that I was out of luck because I obviously used the platform since my compute time changed from month to month. This is nonsense! I did not even remember that it was there. I was evaluating the platform for a week, and then I just left it up as it was a pay for use model...meaning that I would not be billed unless I used the platform! I never expected this from Microsoft. I am trying to fight using the bank now and I am wasting massive amounts of time.


    My confidence in Microsoft is completely shaken. I do not want to give them another dime for any reason. I have been a developer since VB 6 and have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with MS in my career...and this is how I am treated! With scams on the scale of magazine subscriptions that I cannot get rid of!

    My experience with support on this issue has been miserable. Their attitude has been something like, "you are a liar, and too bad but these are legitimate charges...just look at your compute time". I do not even know what compute time is. 

    Monday, December 19, 2011 4:48 PM
  • @Heath.  I would like the answer to the ACH also.  I don't remember during trial setup if I did or had to supply a checking account as a backup.  I would rather see a model where if they can't charge a card for some reason, they send an email and then shutdown your service as last option with an optional check box agreement or something. So at least the user has the option.  I remember having same issue with AOL long time ago. As for compute time, I don't see your confusion on this point. That is spelled out fairly clear. If the web role(s) are running, it is compute time. Even if nobody hits it.  I do agree the original setup was very confusing.  Current stuff is better.
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 4:37 AM
  • If you put this on you credit card and they charged you after it has expired, then your gripe should be wiht the CC company not MS.  Also, any other complaints you have about the charge (and not being responsible for them) should have also been directed to you CC company if MS did not give you a satisfactory answer.  All CC give their customers buyer protection, so if you are charged something you shouldn't of been they will fight it for you and get you money back.  Probably to late now if you did not do that already, but now at least everyone else knows their CC can help in situations like this.

    Monday, September 10, 2012 8:40 PM
  • As of now any new MSDN subscription are created with a CAP so that developers cannot go over the free usage.  The downside is that to implement this any instances you have when you go over your limit will be deleted and you will have to redploy anything you had running under your Azure account. This should not be an issue for a pure development use.

    That being said, you can turn this limit off but if you do you will be billed for any overages.  By doing so you can deploy a live site, mobile services, etc an not be afraid that the site/ services will be shut down use your MSDN subscription to lessen the initial cost of going live with the site (you only pay for overages).  IMO you would only want to do this if the site / mobile services were revenue generating for you. I would not do this for a free site I wanted to be hosted, since there are many .Net hosting services you can get to host a site and single SQL Database for  $10-$15 a month.

    Monday, September 10, 2012 8:43 PM