I’ve been getting a number of letters from Contact Energy recently, so I decided to actually open one of them on Saturday afternoon. Turns out they are gas bills, and I’m well overdue. Time to pay the bill then.
So off I went to the Contact website – contact.co.nz. <update www.contact.co.nz. The page fails completely without the www. Thanks Velofille> Imagine my surprise:
There are two things wrong with this – the first is that Fairfax is cybersquatting on the property, and the second is that they are not redirecting it to Stuff.co.nz. It would be a good idea to do so.
So next I tried contactenergy.co.nz, and had more luck. well – at least I managed to get the right company, but I struggled to find how to pay amidst the sea of red. None of the circled links said “pay your bill”, and the amount of red together with the tiny font size made the whole page quite frustrating.
I tried the most likely link, and got this, which talks about switching from paper to electronic billing. I have a simple rule though – if I cannot pay my bill online easily then I will probably have a lousy experience with online delivered invoices. This was very true with both Vodafone NZ and Telstra in Australia.
So I went back to the home page, and tried another link. This page talked about direct debit (too much trouble to set up) and smoothing pay (too much trouble again), but maybe the link on the bottom under “other ways to pay” will help?
Well, as it turns out, no. It seems that I simply cannot pay my overduepayimmediatelyorwewilldisconnectyourgasforceyoutohavecoldshowers bill on the Contact Energy website – I have to jump through hoops at my bank to do so. (My bank is BNZ, and their hoops involve that stupid netguard card.)
It would have been nice to provide inks to the banks, phone numbers for the telebanking, and most of all, the 0800 number for calling to pay by credit card. Sure there is a Customer Service number on top of the page – but can I use it to pay my bill by credit card?
So overall Contact Energy has failed to help me pay my bill and pay it now, and I headed off to BNZ’s site feeling more than a little frustrated.
I’ve placed a phrase on top of the page in the above screenshot that I suggest they put on the website until this problem is sorted.
And sort it they can. Let’s head to Western Australia to see how to do this properly. Synergy is WA’s largest retailer, apparently, and being from Australia and a giant company you’d expect them to be pretty backward.
Indeed they are – they don’t believe in monthly billing (it’s every 2 or 3 months), but they do understand that making it easy for you to pay is important. There are two prominent links from their home page:
Click on the top link, and you get a popup and the ability to pay instantly. Simply enter a payment number from your bill, your credit card number and amount. There’s no security required – if someone wants to pay your bill by entering your number, then good for them. You can also overpay your bill (as I usually do) so that you don’t have to go through the hassle of paying next month.
So how about it Contact? Until Powershop moves into gas (which is tough) I guess we are stuck together.