Let me pay my bill Contact Energy

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:
contact
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.
Contact Energy

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.
Contact Energy

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?
Contact Energy

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.)
Contact Energy

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:
Contact Energy

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.

Synergy Energy

So how about it Contact? Until Powershop moves into gas (which is tough) I guess we are stuck together.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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7 Responses to Let me pay my bill Contact Energy

  1. James says:

    I love these posts :)

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  2. Poor Contact Energy – they’re not feeling the love at the moment… I wrote a post this weekend as well about my experience I had with them that lead me to switch to Powershop as soon as I could:

    http://www.mathewsanders.com/touchpoints/how-contact-energy-lost-97275-by-chasing-25-182.html

    Like

  3. tylersdad says:

    You should switch to Genesis. you get electrickery and gas from the one place, and you get a prompt payment discount (you might not get this by the sounds of it- ha ha). and you get brownie points to buy stuff (don;t ask me what but its free), and i am getting a daily charge rebate off the gas of .45c . and they charge pretty much what the others charge.
    but best of all, i am on smooth pay, and i still get the early payment discount even though sometimes i still owe in mid winter.
    now you’ll ask about when i’m in credit in summer – swings and roundabouts – so as long as i know i pay $109 a f/nite 26 times in a row then i know i;ll be having long hot showers year round.

    but don’t get me started on vodafone – GRRRRRRRR.

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    • Lance Wiggs says:

      I’m with Powershop – and you can be too if you follow the yellow flower on the top right. You can even buy FlowerPower from PowerKiwi – which is a company I co-founded. Powershop only do electricity, but the prices are turning out to be a lot cheaper overall, especially as gas consumption is so low. It just makes sense that in the long run Powershop, with a web based approach, will be able to deliver at a lower cost of service.

      While the discounts are increasing from the competition after Powershop’s entry, the prices are still better as far as I am aware.

      Enough advertising. Contact do the payment smoothing as well – but that’s not interesting to me. What’s interesting is being able to pay quickly – which is where Contract failed. Vodafone is appalling at this stuff – their website is unusable and their online billing was pathetic. What’s wrong with emailing me a PDF?

      L

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  4. Iain says:

    Contact Energy – surely must suffer eventually.

    As a new resident in the Wellington region, I thought it would be easier to go with the current power supplier rather than open a new account with my past supplier Mercury.

    Contact have an online application so that seemed reasonable. However during the process they say they may have to charge a bond, but will contact me if this is required. Having had decades of power and phone accounts, and a clean credit record, I was pretty sure this wouldn’t be needed.

    Eventually I got a letter saying that my account had been opened and that a $150 bond would be charged with my first account. Is this what they mean by “contacting me”. Not much point once they have already opened the account?

    I get miffed putting a bond in the bank of a supplier. I like my money staying in my bank! Anyway I just let it roll and waited to see my first account. Sure enough, the $150 bond was charged.

    Being surly I only paid the power usage, after much difficulty as their online system hides information (as mentioned by others). This led to my being threatened that if not paid within 7 days they would charge me a $25 recovery fee.

    I think that this is poor and enough is enough.

    Perhaps mercury weren’t so bad after all!

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    • Lance Wiggs says:

      Horrible Sounds like it’s time to consider switching to Powershop. Clicking the Flower on the top right of this blog is a first step to remove the pain of the legacy companies, and you’ll get given money ($50 of credit) rather than asked for a bond

      Lance

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  5. Bill says:

    I am also about to change to another power company. I just did a search to see how I can pay my bill online and found this blog.

    Contact sucks bigtime! We moved here a year ago and our first bill for about half a month was 450$ and that was in summer and we did not have much turned on at the time. They are very happy to take the early payment bonus off, effectively a 1000% interest each time you miss a payment by their date. This time they have added on a 25$ debt management fee (it must be really expensive to print an automatic message on a piece of paper and then mail it out automatically). It is a license to steal. There are also threats of a disconnection fee and then a reconnection fee. And remember I have not missed a payment in just over a year.

    Oh just one other thing. After a bit of browsing on their site I found my usage stats. Very cute bar graphs. However, I do not believe the data is accurate. You can view monthly, daily and hourly usage. The data is pure fiction, they must use a random number generator. We have been home all this month doing exactly the same thing each day yet the usage varies but not in accordance with what power we actually used. They need to be very careful as people may actually look at their usage and realise what is happening.

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