Not True: "You have not been charged" for failed transfers

I transfer a lot of domains to Cloudflare. Sometimes transfers fail and I get this error:

Please retry transferring this domain. You have not been charged.

Until now, I have not worried about it because I always presumed that this was true. Today, however, I noticed during my first tranche of 10 transfers that 3 had failed but my bank account showed that I had been charged for 9 instead of 7.

I continued transferring more tranches in case the system would correct this mistake by applying the overcharge to other transfers but, by the end of the hour, I had been still charged for 2 more transfers than had actually happened.

This is frustrating because it means there is a problem with Cloudflare’s system - it actually does sometimes charge for failed transfers when it says it hasn’t - and that means I now have to go back over a thousand transfers this year to figure how often I have been overcharged.

Just mentioning this here in case other customers have ever received the “You have not been charged” message. I do see now that members of this community have reported this bug as back as February and April of this year but it has not been fixed.

UPDATE: Based on previous posts by other customers this year noticing the same problem, I believe that the Cloudflare Registrar system has a bug that causing it to tell users that failed transfers have not been charged when, in some case, they have.

Any Cloudflare Registrar customer who has come across this error message in the past should go back and make sure that the number of $8.03 charges on any given day match the number of transfers they actually did.

I would presume it would revert itself after a few days. In any case I would contact billing support by opening a ticket and mentioning it to them. If they see a bunch of these complaints I expect them to escalate it.

@cloonan may do something to escalate it regardless.

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Thanks @matteo

My main hope is that they might fix the bug whereby the “You have not been charged” message is displayed in instances where a charge has actually occurred. As I transfer so many domains, it would be a relief to be able to trust the system and not feel obliged to double-check.

From my recollection, Cloudflare only does a pre-authorization, I didn’t see the actual charges go through until the domains were transferred.

It could have been coincidence as it takes a bit of time for settlements to travel across the credit card networks, but it did seem to line up when I last transferred a few domains.

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Thanks @thedaveCA

At this stage, about 18 hours later, I am still seeing the 35 individual charges for 33 actual transfers. I suppose 2 of those could just be pre-authorizations, I have no idea how long such phantom transactions would keep being displayed in my bank account, but the full amount, $281.05, does appear to have been deducted from my balance.

I’m guessing nothing will be done about this until after the weekend anyway, so, I will check on Monday to see if two Cloudflare transactions have disappeared.

Sadly, I found posts in this forum by other customers, stretching back to February, reporting the same problem, so, it seems that the billing system does sometimes charge the transaction before the actual transfer and, then, does not credit the amount back to the user (for their next transfer) when a transfer fails.

Also received a surprisingly bad cut n’ paste response to my support ticket. Either no one bothered to read my ticket or they simply did not understand that I was reported a serious problem. This reminds me of when the Registrar service began, it was a real chore to get the Cloudflare to understand that there were actual problems they needed to be aware of.

I believe it changes depending on country and credit card issuer, but it can be up to 7-10 days until it’s actually removed. I believe not even Cloudflare can do anything more than to revert it and wait for the issuer to do its job.

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Just a quick update. Six days later, I have yet to receive a human response to my support ticket.

At this time, it appears that all the charges were “real” rather than pre-authorizations.

For a company that relies on billing customers, it is worrying that they are willing to leave billing errors unaddressed for so long. This is something that any company should be pro-active on: once you have been made you aware of the problem, you should be all over it. It should not be necessary for the over-billed customer to keep chasing a resolution.

It is hard to avoid the conclusion, based on the past reports of the same over-billing error, that this is something they would rather just ignore until the over-billed customer gives up and goes away.

Disappointed in Cloudflare, and embarrassed to have recommended them to so many clients.

This seems really strange, I have had to deal with their billing team once, the reply was slower than normal support (they do operate only out of the SF office at their normal office hours, as far as I know), but they were quick and helpful. They tend to be pretty forgiving even on customers’ errors, I can imagine this being their error would go very well.

I presume something happened to the specific ticket. Three things:

  1. try replying again, it will nudge it a bit so that someone has to take a look at it.
  2. ping again @cloonan, he can help usually once he knows the ticket number (please post it here).
  3. if all else fails open a new ticket, this will start from scratch.

Thanks, @matteo, I see the ticket and have spoken to the Engineer that’s on the ticket. I will keep an eye out on progress. Sorry for the issues, @imappoet.

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Thank you @matteo and @cloonan, I greatly appreciate your help.

They did take a look, but seemed to miss my key point: If a customer does 33 transfers but gets charged for 35, that means there is a BILLING BUG.

I have replied again to the ticket, trying to make that clearer. This isn’t about getting a refund at this stage, it has chewed up way more of my time than that is worth. This is about Cloudflare having a real problem.

Based on previous posts by other customers this year noticing the same problem, I believe that the Cloudflare Registrar system has a bug that causing it to tell users that failed transfers have not been charged when, in some case, they have. Any Cloudflare Registrar customer who has come across this error message in the past should go back and make sure that the number of $8.03 charges on any given day match the number of transfers.

Okay, so, after multiple support tickets and posts here on the community forum, I have been told that the two transfers will be refunded back to my card but

  1. No acknowledgement that there is a billing bug.

  2. No indication that they are taking any steps to fix the billing bug.

  3. No acknowledgement that a customer should not have to waste so much time and energy to get an obvious overcharge refunded.

It is unfortunate that, on the handful of occasions when I have run into bugs and submitted a support ticket, the ticket is not read properly or replied to by a human until I post here on the forum. It is likely that most users have no idea that these forums exist.

Again, anyone who receives the “You have not been charged” message for failed transfers should check, it is clearly not always true.

Despite having been alerted to the bug several times since February, it appears that the billing engineers are not going to fix it or proactively refund all the users who have been overcharged since then. They may consider it to be an inconsequential amount of money, but this is not an ethical approach to business.