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Unexpected Billing Changes by Airtable - A Call for Transparency and Fairness

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Shawn_Miller
4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

Hello Airtable Community,

I hope this post finds everyone well. I'm reaching out to share a recent experience I had with Airtable's billing and support teams, and I'm seeking your insights, opinions, and perhaps similar experiences.

Background: I've been a dedicated Airtable customer since January 2021. My team and I chose the Pro Starter Pack, which catered to our needs perfectly. Over the months, we've integrated Airtable deeply into our business processes, trusting the platform's stability and consistency.

The Issue: To my surprise, I recently discovered a significant spike in my monthly invoice, jumping a staggering 360%. Concerned, I immediately reached out to Airtable's support for clarification.

Airtable's Explanation: The support team informed me that my plan had been switched from the 'Pro Starter Pack' to the 'Pro' plan. The reason? The Pro Starter Pack was deprecated. This transition was executed without any prior notification or my explicit consent. My account was simply upgraded and charged an additonal 360%

Points of Concern:

  1. Lack of Communication: At no point was I informed that the Pro Starter Pack had a limited duration or that it would be deprecated. Transparent communication is the cornerstone of trust, especially when financial transactions are involved.

  2. Unapproved Charges: The sudden and significant billing increase was not only unexpected but also unauthorized. Businesses, especially small ones, operate on tight budgets, and such unforeseen expenses can be detrimental.

  3. Consistency in Commitment: I've been consistent in my commitment to Airtable, paying each and every month. However, the recent changes feel like a breach of the trust I placed in the platform.

  4. Impact on Business: We've built our operations around Airtable. Any abrupt changes to our team's access can severely disrupt our business. This isn't just about the financial aspect; it's about the operational continuity of businesses that rely on Airtable.

The Argument:

While I understand platforms evolve and pricing structures change, customers should never feel blindsided. If a plan is to be deprecated, it's only fair that customers are given ample notice, allowing them to make informed decisions. Moreover, any changes to billing should always be communicated and approved. It's not just a matter of ethics but also of maintaining a positive and trusting customer relationship.

In my case, the lack of clear communication and the unexpected financial burden feels like an oversight on Airtable's part. I believe I have a valid concern about being upgraded without explicit permission, especially when the financial implications are so significant.

Measures Taken to Resolve Issue with Airtable:

  1. Immediate Communication: Upon noticing the unexpected increase in the monthly invoice, I promptly reached out to Airtable's support for clarification. And Airtables support asured me that no changes would be made to my account.

  2. Detailed Inquiry: I provided a clear account of my subscription history, emphasizing that I had been on the Pro Starter Pack since January 2021 and sought an explanation for the sudden jump to the 'Pro' plan.

  3. Reference to Past Communication: I referenced a previous communication with a support representative named Raffy. In that conversation, it was indicated that I would only be billed for the days an additional collaborator was mistakenly added, and no other unexpected charges would occur.

  4. Emphasis on Business Impact: I highlighted the significance of Airtable in my business operations and how any abrupt changes could disrupt our workflow. I also stressed the financial implications of such unexpected charges on a small business, especially during challenging times like we faced during the pandemic.

  5. Seeking Higher-Level Support: Recognizing the gravity of the situation and the potential miscommunication or oversight, I requested the matter be escalated for a more comprehensive resolution.

  6. Artables Final Responce

    Regrettably, this plan is no longer available from our end. This decision was made after a comprehensive review of our offerings, and as much as we'd like to accommodate, our hands are tied due to the deprecation of the plan.

    I truly understand the situation you're in, and I wish there was more we could do to address it directly. I appreciate your understanding and patience as we navigate these changes together. If there's any other way we can assist or provide further clarity, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Seeking Community Insights:

I genuinely value the Airtable community and would love to hear your thoughts.

  • Has anyone else faced similar issues?
  • How did you navigate them?
  • Do you believe customers should be given more agency in such situations?
  • Is there anything else I can do to have my old account reinstated? 

 

2 Replies 2

@Shawn_Miller There has been a huge number of repsonses from the user community here and elsewhere, with no better response from Airtable, starting with 

https://community.airtable.com/t5/announcements/updates-to-our-pricing-plans/bc-p/166210#M3246

There are other threads if you search, and you can find more on 

https://air.tableforums.com

as well as the built on air podcasts.

But perhaps this article sums up the direction better

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2023/09/14/unicorn-startup-airtable-lays-off-27-of-firm-s...

You are not alone, but unfortunately I don't expect that to be reassuring.

Thank you for posting about your experience. When I last asked Airtable about the fate of the pro starter pack when the new pricing came out, I had been told that a decision on how to migrate pro start packs was not decided it. It sound like a decision might have been made.

The change without warning is disappointing.

I am a little curious if you might have been migrated to the Pro plan due to adding a 6th user (even very briefly)? (The 6th user could have been added by any existing paid user.) This would be something that was published when the pro starter pack first came out. Adding a sixth user would automatically convert the starter pack to a traditional pro workspace, with no ability to revert  back to.