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21 Aug 2007

by Noel

S3 Doesn’t Count the Pennies (Yet)

I use Amazon S3 as an off-site backup for data on my desktop
computer. S3 has two principle advantages: there’s no upper limit on
the amount of data you can transmit or store, and it’s very cheap…
sometimes a little too cheap.

Two days ago I received an auto-generated warning from S3 about my
account status:

Greetings from Amazon Web Services,

AWS was unable to charge your account based on the payment
information you provided. Please update your payment method
information using the Your Web Services Account section of the AWS web
site.

Sincerely,

Amazon Web Services

There were a few extra details in there that convinced me that this
wasn’t spam, but that was the gist of it. I logged on to my account to
find that my balance was a whopping $0.01. A single cent!

I checked my credit card details and they seemed to be okay. I
re-entered them to be on the safe side, and then emailed AWS asking
them to re-try the payment and let me know if it failed again. I
received this response:

Thank you for contacting AWS regarding the payment issue related to
your August 1st bill. We have found that some credit card issuers
decline charges of $0.01 (USD), especially when the amount is
converted to another currency. AWS is working on a solution for this
issue. In the meantime, please contact AWS
directly at webservices@amazon.com if this issue should occur again.

The $0.01 (USD) charge on your August 1st bill has been forgiven,
and your account is in good standing.

A month’s backups, totally free of charge – that’s value
for money. I shall be recommending S3 to all my friends.

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