An accidental £1.7k bill from Google Cloud Platform - a story

Posted on Nov 25, 2019.

As I'm writing this I've just got off a live chat with a Google Cloud Platform support agent who helped me escape this accidental bill. I can't say thank you enough for the agent that helped me out during this very stressful situation.

So a week or so ago I was using ReadCast and I ran a command to manually run all of ReadCast's subscriptions, there is only 15 or so of them. While I ran the command, I was watching Laravel Horizon, a tool I use to monitor my backend jobs.

I saw that the number of jobs that my server was processing was getting higher and higher and then I started getting Slack notifications telling me MySQL had 'gone away' and that my server had high memory usage.

Right enough, when I checked my server in Digital Ocean's dashboard, I saw that my server was using 100% of it's memory. I restarted the server a few times but it kept trying to reprocess all my jobs, not a good thing.

I restarted the server one more time and managed to get into the Redis command line and flush everything. Suddenly, everything was back to normal.

A few days later, I actually experienced exactly the same issue, where high numbers of jobs were being processed by my server so I knew how to kill it.

Fast forward to today. I was looking through my phone, in the Google Pay app, as you do and I looked at my 'Subscriptions' screen. However I looked at my Google Cloud Platform subscription and it came up with me having a £1,700 balance. I thought that any balance here would be particularly unexpected as a few months back, before I started using GCP I got some startup credit so I could use GCP for free for a few months and its been lasting me since then.

For context I use Google Cloud Platform for ReadCast to do the audio generation.

Anyway, I contacted an agent through Google Cloud Platform's support centre and they confirmed that I was due to be billed as I had run out of credit.

The first question that came into my head was - how on earth had I run out of credit and how on earth had I racked up that much money? But after talking to Peter from Branch, who's actually a customer of mine, he pointed out that it could have been caused from the high loads of jobs that were being processed a week or so ago.

I begged to the agent at Google and they said that they would file for an adjustment to my bill as long as I deleted my project and disabled my billing account and that I would not open an account with them in the future. So here's hoping I don't get charged when my bill for the month's due.