Navigating AWS Billing: A Guide to Waiving Charges

Varun Kumar Manik
7 min readFeb 1, 2024

How to waive off your AWS bills (Charges)/ Cutting AWS Costs: Your Guide to Requesting Charge Waivers

Navigating AWS Billing: A Guide to Waiving Charges

In the dynamic world of cloud computing, understanding and managing billing on platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) can be a crucial skill. This blog post, inspired by a real-life interaction with AWS Support, aims to guide AWS users and the community on how to address billing concerns, particularly in waiving unexpected or incorrect charges.

Background

The journey began when an AWS user, Varun, faced unexpected charges on his account. After careful review, he realized the need to reach out to AWS Support for assistance. What followed was a series of correspondences that led to the successful waiving of several months’ worth of bills.

Steps to Address Billing Concerns on AWS

1. Review Your AWS Billing Dashboard

  • Action: Regularly monitor your AWS Billing Dashboard.
  • Purpose: Early detection of any unexpected charges.

2. Contact AWS Support Promptly

  • Action: If you notice unexpected charges, open a support case immediately.
  • Purpose: Early intervention can prevent further unwanted charges and speed up the resolution process.

3. Provide Detailed Information

  • Action: In your communication, include specific details: account ID, the nature of the concern, and any relevant dates or service usage.
  • Purpose: Helps AWS Support to understand your issue better and provide a tailored solution.

4. Follow AWS Guidance for Resource Management

  • Action: Follow any instructions from AWS Support to manage or terminate resources contributing to the charges.
  • Purpose: Prevents further accrual of charges and demonstrates your proactive approach to resolving the issue.

Example Scenario

In the real-life case of Varun, an AWS Ambassador, he faced unexpected charges and reached out to AWS Support. During the conversation, he clearly explained that he was unaware of the high costs associated with Amazon Q services and had promptly terminated the resources upon discovery. He also mentioned the activation of billing alerts to prevent future surprises. By providing these detailed responses and clarifying his role as an Ambassador, Varun successfully navigated the support process, leading to the waiving of several months’ bills.

Addressing AWS Support Queries Effectively

In the process of resolving billing issues, AWS Support may pose several questions to better understand your situation. How you respond to these queries can significantly impact the outcome. Here’s a continuation of the guide, focusing on effectively addressing AWS Support’s inquiries.

Understanding the Nature of AWS Support Queries

AWS Support may ask questions like:

  • Reasons for inability to pay: Why can’t you settle the charges?
  • Awareness of the charges: Were you aware of the accruing costs, and why was there a delay in reporting?
  • Discovery of the issue: When did you notice the unexpected charges?
  • Actions taken: Have you terminated resources that were accruing these charges?
  • Preventative measures: What steps are you taking to prevent similar issues in the future?

How to Respond

  1. Honesty is Key: Be transparent about your situation. If you were unaware of the charges due to unfamiliarity with a service (like Amazon Q), state this clearly. as mentioned below:
  1. Timely Discovery: Inform them precisely when you noticed the charges. This helps AWS understand the timeline of events.
  2. Proactive Measures: Detail the steps you’ve already taken, such as terminating resources. This demonstrates responsibility and initiative.
  3. Future Prevention: Share the measures you’ve put in place, like setting up billing alerts, to avoid similar situations in the future.
  4. Request for Assistance: If you are part of a special program like AWS Ambassador and have credits or vouchers, explain this and ask for their assistance in applying these to your account.

Having these points in my mind, I (Varun) have responded to the email, as mentioned below:

Proactively Addressing AWS Resources

When facing unexpected charges, taking a thorough inventory of your AWS resources and addressing them proactively is crucial. Here’s how to articulate your actions to AWS Support, drawing from our case study of Varun, an AWS user facing billing challenges:

After Varun’s first response, they (AWS) responded to terminate the resources as mentioned in the screenshot.

Based on the above questions, Varun responded to the below points:

  • Elastic Compute Cloud: I’ve successfully deleted all unassociated Elastic IPs and EBS volumes, ensuring that no unnecessary charges are accrued from these services.
  • Virtual Private Cloud: All customer VPCs that were no longer in use have been removed. This step was crucial in minimizing the overhead and potential costs associated with unused network resources.
  • Route 53: The hosted zone, which was not actively being used, has been deleted to further streamline my account’s resource utilization.
  • Simple Storage Service: I’ve made efforts to delete multiple S3 buckets. However, I encountered challenges with a few buckets due to versioning policies that prevented immediate deletion. I’m seeking guidance on how to proceed with these versioned buckets.

Here is my Second response screenshot:

Leveraging Automation to Manage AWS S3 Buckets: A Practical Approach

In the world of cloud computing, efficiently managing resources is key to optimizing both costs and operations. This is particularly true when dealing with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Simple Storage Service (S3), where the accumulation of unused buckets can lead to unnecessary charges. In my journey, I discovered the power of automation for managing multiple S3 buckets — a task that can be daunting if done manually.

The Challenge: Bulk Deletion of S3 Buckets

During an audit of my AWS account, I identified several S3 buckets that were no longer in use. These buckets varied in their content and configuration, including some with versioning enabled, which added complexity to their deletion. The manual process was not only time-consuming but also prone to errors.

The Solution: A Python Script for Bulk Deletion

To address this challenge, I utilized the AWS SDK for Python (Boto3) to create a script that could empty and delete multiple S3 buckets in one go. The script streamlined the process, ensuring that each bucket was thoroughly emptied before deletion, thus avoiding any potential issues with versioned buckets or those with policies preventing their immediate removal.

Here’s a generalized version of the script, with the bucket names replaced by placeholders (demo1, demo2, ..., demoN) for demonstration purposes:

https://github.com/manikcloud/aws-s3-deletion/tree/main

import boto3
from botocore.exceptions import ClientError

# Create an S3 resource and client
s3_resource = boto3.resource('s3')
s3_client = boto3.client('s3')

# List of bucket names to delete (Replace 'demo1', 'demo2', ..., 'demoN' with actual bucket names)
buckets_to_delete = [
'demo1',
'demo2',
# Add more bucket names as needed
'demoN'
]

def empty_and_delete_bucket(bucket_name):
try:
# Emptying the bucket
bucket = s3_resource.Bucket(bucket_name)
bucket.objects.all().delete()

# Deleting the bucket
s3_client.delete_bucket(Bucket=bucket_name)
print(f"Bucket {bucket_name} emptied and deleted successfully.")
except ClientError as e:
print(f"Error: {e.response['Error']['Message']}")

for bucket in buckets_to_delete:
empty_and_delete_bucket(bucket)
  • Automation is Essential: For repetitive and scalable tasks, automation not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors.
  • Customization is Key: The script can be customized to suit any number of buckets and specific requirements, making it a versatile tool in the AWS toolkit.
  • Handle With Care: Automated scripts, especially those that delete resources, should be used with caution. Always ensure you have backups or snapshots if needed.

Achieving Resolution: A Successful Dialogue with AWS Support

As we delve deeper into the intricacies of managing AWS resources and navigating billing concerns, it’s crucial to highlight the role of effective communication with AWS Support. The journey through addressing unexpected charges and seeking waivers for those charges culminates in a constructive dialogue with AWS Support, demonstrating the importance of persistence and clear communication.

The Turning Point

After a series of exchanges and detailed discussions regarding the AWS billing concerns, the moment of resolution finally arrived. AWS Support provided a promising update, marking a significant milestone in this journey. As mentioned in the below screenshot.

Key Takeaways

  • Proactive Monitoring: Regularly reviewing your AWS account can preempt many billing issues.
  • Effective Communication: Clear, detailed communication with AWS Support is crucial.
  • Patience and Persistence: Resolving billing issues can take time; patience and polite follow-ups are key.

Conclusion

Effective communication with AWS Support, especially when responding to their specific queries, is crucial in resolving billing issues. Being clear, honest, and detailed in your responses can greatly aid in finding a favorable solution. Remember, AWS Support is there to assist, and your cooperation and clarity can make a significant difference in resolving any billing concerns.

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Varun Kumar Manik

AWS APN Ambassador | SME of DevOps DevSecOps | Cloud Architect & Trainer | Blogger | Youtuber |Chef