I have a free Netlify account and haven’t provided a credit card number. When I ran out of build minutes for the month, I was billed $7 for extra build minutes, then told that my sites would be suspended in 28 days if I didn’t provide a credit card.
This is a very surprising experience for me. On every other service I can think of, if I have a free account, and I run out of what is offered for the free account, nothing is provided for me until if and when I provide my credit card. In this case, I would have expected Netlify to simply stop running any builds, while continuing to keep my sites active. I can’t think of another time I was billed without having provided my credit card, then told that what was offered to me for free would be taken away if I didn’t provide a credit card.
I’m not personally under any burden from this; it’s easy for me to host my sites elsewhere. And I’m not even mainly concerned about the messaging. I got an email that 75% of my build minutes were up, so I had that warning—but it didn’t say that (unlike every other service I’ve used) I would be billed money and my free services would be taken away. And I’m not concerned that this goes against what Netlify said—for all I know, this was in the agreement when I signed up. I’m also not suggesting Netlify is obligated to provide me any particular free services.
My main concern is that this isn’t a common practice for free services. If I needed to watch every free service I used to see if they were going to bill me at some point, I just wouldn’t sign up for these services.
If Netlify continues with this billing practice then I can’t recommend it for any developers in the future. Even if they are planning on paying, promoting Netlify promotes this surprising billing practice that will entrap other users into bills they weren’t expecting.
Could a Netlify support person please clarify whether this billing practice is Netlify’s intentional choice and whether they will persist with it despite how different it is from the way other free services work?