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Dear utilities companies

2006-11-30 16:10:45.072521+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

Hi there. I recently dropped a bunch of bills in the mailbox with two cents too little postage on them, and, foolishly, hadn't filled out my return address on each and every envelope. So here's what I want to do. I want to pay my bill online. Give you a credit card, a bank account, whatever.

I know you can do this, because you keep trying to get me to enroll in your automated online payment service, but here's the thing: I still want to get paper bills, I'm not yet ready to go entirely electronic, I just want to pay one bill online.

I know what the amount is, 'cause I wrote it in my checkbook. I can eventually figure out from the remaining bill stub what the identifying information of the account is (it's freakin' great that you tell me how to find it on the part that I mailed to you, how about telling me how to find it on the part I actually have?), I don't want to set up a whole bloody "relationship" with you guys, I don't want to go digging through obscure paperwork to enter ridiculous numbers while standing on my head and holding my left ear between my right pinky and index finger, I just want you to debit my bank account or credit card, and credit the account number that I give to you, is that so hard? Especially since I'm not the owner of one or two of those accounts (Charlene is), but I still want to pay them.

Furthermore, I have successfully bought and paid for products from a gazillion different online stores with this web browser. Is it so hard for you to make a site that works with it? In fact, your site probably would work with it, but you persist in checking to see if you can provide me with the "ultimate customer experience" and telling me I've got an unsupported browser.

Well, yeah, if you assholes weren't a monopoly this would be my ultimate customer experience with you, 'cause I'd freakin' cancel my account and leave!

And I've no bloody idea at all why you want to be running a Java applet in a page where I'm just trying to enter my billing information.

Finally, SBC/AT&T/whatever the hell y'all are calling yourselves these days: Do you think you could possibly get your stories straight about which database my phone number and account is in?

That is all.

[ related topics: Software Engineering moron Work, productivity and environment Databases ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: [Entry #9532] Dear utilities companies made: 2006-11-30 18:26:02.646195+00 by: Unknown, from NNTP

Dan Lyke <danlyke@flutterby.com> writes:

> That is all.

<fx:wild applause>

that should be cross-posted on http://we.hates-software.com/.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-30 18:48:56.014456+00 by: ebradway

Hmmm... Qwest and Xcel energy both take credit cards over the phone and I think they even have a web-interface. But a more personal gripe... The dot-com I was working for in 2001 was doing a great job of bringing utilities online with payment over the phone and payment by web. We were also doing the "Check21" trick long before Congress removed the barriers to make electronic check truncation easier...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-11-30 21:27:18.702999+00 by: Shawn [edit history]

I think all of the bills I pay online have a checkbox / option to continue receiving paper invoices. I do have to establish an online "account" (i.e. login) with them, but I do all my bill payment itself through my credit unions (BECU) web site.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-12-01 13:00:34.994676+00 by: radix

www.presidential.com requires $1500 to open, then $1000 minimum balance; also you have to have them on direct deposit for at least $200/month.

The internet checking with bill-pay is free under those conditions. The account is paying 4.5%APY now.

I've been using them for almost two years now, no problems. Best online checking account I've found.

They recently added ACH online capabilities. Free to put money in, costs money to ACH out. (but you can always use the bill pay to get money out)

Hope this helps