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Why was I charged that?: Your bill explained

⭐️ This article applies to anyone on our pay-per-channel pricing, released to new customers in August of 2021. If you're an existing customer on our Pro, Premium, or Business plans, this article won't yet apply to your bill. We'll send over more information soon about how to move to our pay-per-channel pricing.

Buffer pricing is based upon the exact number of social channels you have connected to your account at any given time, so you only pay for what you need. This means that every time you connect or disconnect a social channel from Buffer, your invoice will automatically adjust, and your credit card will automatically be charged for the new total.

This article contains the following sections:

  1. An overview of your Buffer invoice
  2. Billing for customers paying monthly
  3. Billing for customers paying annually
  4. What happens when I remove social channels?

An overview of your Buffer invoice

Your Buffer invoice will include the total amount paid for the billing period, as well as all individual adjustments to your bill. All charges are prorated, so you won’t pay extra for adding new social channels part of the way through the month. Each adjustment to your pricing for adding or removing social channels will be reflected as a line item in your invoice.

Also on your invoice, you’ll see any credits or discounts applied to that month.

📝 Your billing dates always remain the same, even if your plan was altered by adding or removing social channels. So, if you are on a monthly plan and your free trial moved to the paid plan on March 17th, your bill will always come on the 17th of each month. If you are on the annual plan, and your free trial moved to the paid annual plan on January 21st, your billing period would always be January 21st of this year through January 20th of the following year.

Billing for customers paying monthly

As a customer paying monthly, whenever you add a new channel, you'll be charged a prorated amount on your next billing date.

As an example, if you are a customer on the monthly Essentials plan with one social channel connected to Buffer when your trial moves to the paid plan, your total would come to $6. If you then add two additional social channels, the prorated cost for those additional social channels would be applied to the next month’s bill.

This is what it might look like in your billing dashboard.

And, this is what your invoice might look like.

Let’s go through the invoice line-by-line.

      1. The first line item includes the prorated charge for an Essentials plan with three social channels connected from today through the end of this month's billing period. Since the channels were added at the very beginning of the billing period, the total comes to $18 for the month.
      2. The second line item compensates for the unused time with just one social channel connected. That total is prorated, and since you added the additional channels at the very start of the billing period, that proration comes out to a clean $6.
      3. The final line on the invoice is a charge for the next billing period on the Essentials plan. Since you have three social channels connected currently, that line item comes to $18 ($6 for each of the three social channels).

If no additional channels are added or removed between July 28th and August 28th (the following billing period), your next month’s bill on August 28th will be for the normal cost for an Essentials plan with 3 social channels: $18.

📝 If you add additional channels part way through your billing cycle, the additional charges will be prorated based on the date they were added. For example, if you start your plan with one channel on January 1st and then add two more channels on January 15th, you would be charged around $3/channel instead of $6/channel, since they were added roughly halfway through the billing cycle.

Let’s go through another example.

If you ended your monthly Essentials plan trial on July 5th with one social channel connected, you would be charged $6 on July 5th for the billing period of July 5th - August 5th. Although you already paid for your plan, you might decide that you need to add additional channels after that charge was made. If you add more social channels to a plan you already paid for, you’ll see a few line items on the following month’s bill (the one that comes on August 5th) to reflect the new charges. Later in the month (but before the next charge) you may decide to add an additional channel yet again. This would also show up on the next invoice, prorated based on when it was added in the month.

This is what those line items reflect:

    1. On the first line item, you were charged the prorated Essentials plan with four channels. Since you added the additional three channels at the very start of your billing period, that proration came to $23.99 (almost $6 for each of the four social channels). This is almost the full price of $6 per channel, however it is prorated as one cent less because the change was made minutes after the original charge happened.
    2. The second line item shows that you were credited a prorated amount for the unused time on your plan with one channel, which in this case is -$6.
    3. On July 12th, one additional channel was added. Since you added this channel seven days into your billing cycle, the proration on the third line item came to $23.20 which is the cost of five social channels for the remainder of the billing cycle.
    4. On the fourth line item, you can see that you were also credited a prorated amount for unused time on your plan with four channels, which in this case is -$18.56.
    5. Lastly, you would see your next month’s payment for an Essentials plan with five channels, which comes to $30 ($6 for each of the five social channels).

When we add all of those line items together, your bill comes to a total of $52.64. If no additional channels are added or removed between August 5th and September 5th (the following billing period), your next month’s bill on September 5th will be for the normal cost for an Essentials plan with five social channels: $30.

Billing for customers paying annually

While the payment for additional social channels added to a monthly plan show on the next month's bill, changes to your annual plan result in an immediate charge. If paying annually, whenever you add a new social channel, you’ll immediately be charged a prorated amount for that channel in order to pay for that channel’s use across the remainder of your billing period.

As an example, if you are on the Essentials plan with the Team Pack add-on, your social channels are each $120/year. If you start your billing period on June 1st with five social channels connected, your bill will be $600 for the year.

Let’s say that six months later, on December 1st, you connect three more social channels. Right then, you will be charged for the prorated use of those social channels between December 1st and the end of your billing period; June 1st. Since we’re using nice clean numbers here, each of those three new social channels would come out to exactly half of the normal annual social channel cost, which is $60 each. The total, then, on December 1st would come to $180.

Now let’s look at a real example.

This customer started their annual plan on June 29th with four social channels. On July 27th, they added one more social channel, to equal five total social channels on their annual plan.

Here’s a breakdown of those line items:

      1. The first line item is the prorated charge for the remainder of the year on an Essentials plan with the Team Pack add-on for 5 social channels. The prorated cost from July 27th through June 29th of the following year is $554.57.
      2. The second line item reflects the subtraction of the original plan, which was the Essentials plan with the Team Pack add-on for four social channels. The prorated deduction from July 27th to June 29th of the following year comes out to -$443.65.

When those two line items are added together, the final mid-billing period payment is created. The final cost for this customer to add an additional social channel to their existing annual plan came to $110.92.

What happens when I remove social channels?

Just as we charge in prorated amounts when you add social channels, we apply credits in prorated amounts when you remove social channels. 

On the monthly plan, your credit will be applied to next month's bill.

On the annual plan, your credit will be applied to next year's bill. However, it's important to note that if--over the year-- you add more social channels than you remove, the credit might be absorbed by the charges incurred due to your social channel additions.

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