Dunning Emails in Real Life: Google Cloud Platform.

Man, Google is doing things all wrong here. I just got this email from them. This is the kind of email that gets sent out when the company doesn’t make their money from a particular service. I’m betting that when your credit card expires for one of their actual money-makers, like AdSense, you get a much better email.

Let’s take a look.

Subject: Google Cloud Platform: Credit card or debit card has expired


Body:

The credit or debit card that you have on file with us has expired. 

To update your payment information: 

1. Sign in to the Google Cloud Console, select your project, and go to "Billing"
2. Click "Billing settings".
3. Click 'Edit' and update the expiration date. If you want to use a new card that has a different number to the expired card, click on 'Add a new form of payment' in 'Billing settings'.

Please note that it may take some time for your form of payment to be automatically charged after it has been updated.

Your Google Cloud Platform ID: NEBULA|818711851605 | Your Billing ID: 3784-3919-9798

This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message. If you have more questions or would like to contact us, please visit the Google Cloud Platform Help Center.

Where do I even start with this one?

Google knows everything these days, so I’m sure that they know what project I entered billing information for. I definitely don’t remember. They make no attempt to remind me. It would be great if they mentioned what I was paying them for, ideally in the subject of the email.

They then make me deal with a multi-step process to update my billing information, which gives me all sorts of chances to decide not to update my information. First I have to sign in to the Google console. But where’s the link to it? I guess they want for me to search Google for it? Then I have to remember my username and password, sign in, find the “Billing Settings” link, click it, and then edit my card. You should always make this process as easy as possible. Ideally, a customer should be able to click a link and immediately update their credit card. Don’t throw barriers into their path.

Crazy.

They also include some strange looking IDs at the bottom, which mean absolutely nothing to me. My first thought was that maybe they’re in there so that if I reply to this email, the person on the other end will be able to look up my account more easily.

But that definitely isn’t the case. The next line says that they sent it from a notification-only email address that doesn’t accept incoming email. So if I’m confused by this email and need help, I need to go to a website (which they kindly linked to) instead of just hitting reply on this email.

Bad form, Google.