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User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

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Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

This evening I've had the, err, 'pleasure' of experiencing PlusNet's failed billing procedures for the first time since my mother and I set up the account several years ago. However, whilst nothing has gone drastically wrong I've found the whole process rather user-unfriendly and prone to contradictions and problems, so I thought it a good idea to detail my experience here.
First, to explain: the failed billing ended up being because the card we normally use to pay for our service had expired. I thought I had updated the card details, but it turns out I hadn't, and I think I've realised why. A couple of weeks ago I went to the payment details section of my account to update the details. I hit 'update details' under the primary card, then filled in all the details and clicked on 'confirm card'. However, it would seem I didn't click on the 'add card' button on the following screen. The reason for this I suspect was because by clicking 'confirm card' I thought that was submitting the details, and that the page that followed was merely showing me what'd happened. I interpreted the 'add card' button to actually mean 'add another [i.e. secondary] card', because in my eyes I wasn't actually adding a card myself at the time - I was updating the previous one.
I admit that's partly my fault for reading things differently to how they're meant - I often do that, sometimes to humorous results. However, the fact that I did interpret things differently means that there is, at the same time, room for improvement to remove ambiguity - perhaps something as simple as a message saying 'Click "add card" to add the above card details to your account' on the page reached after clicking 'confirm card'.
Anyway, the stuff above isn't the main issue, but it explains why, this evening, I received an e-mail from PlusNet to say my account was overdue for payment. Like anyone else who doesn't want their broadband to be cut off I attempted to follow through the failed billing process as prompted by the e-mail, and here are my observations. I'm providing as much detail as possible not because I think it'll make a riveting read, but because I think some of these things could do with being looked in to:

  • The e-mail about the overdue payment says my account will be disabled in 14 days, whereas the failed billing page on the portal said it would be a mere 3 days (!).

  • After updating my payment details, I clicked on the button on the failed billing page to tell it to take payment by card. I got the little alert to tell me I should wait for the confirmation page and not click the button to take payment twice etc... but then after a minute, I got shown a portal page with the standard headers and sidebar but no content. Nothing to tell me if payment had been taken or not - very irritating.

  • For some rather silly reason, because I'd failed billing PlusNet wouldn't allow me to check the account details section of the portal - if I clicked on the 'account details' link in the sidebar, I just got taken to the failed billing page. This meant that I had no way to check the transaction history or anything, to see if payment had been successful - which I needed to do because of the bullet point above. (Although Matt did check for me on IRC that it had been successful whilst I was eating dinner - thanks.)

  • As of now, a couple of hours after trying to pay, I still haven't received a confirmation e-mail - which would have been rather helpful considering the above two points and if Matt hadn't checked things for me.

  • The aforementioned Comms Team member also told me that my account hadn't been 're-enabled' by PlusNet's systems. So after all that, he still needed to actually tick a box on my account to get it working normally again - I suppose this is related to the fact that even after submitting the payment (which turned out to be successful), I still hadn't been able to get to my account details because of the failed billing page.


Ok, that's a lot of writing. Don't get me wrong; I'm not up-in-arms about anything - you've got my payment, I've got my internet, so everyone's happy. But I feel that the failed billing process I went through was very buggy, completely unhelpful, and is in need of some serious QA, as I've hopefully demonstrated above.
15 REPLIES 15
ddunford
Grafter
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Interesting... i didn't realise our Failed Billing Process was this difficult for our customers. The failed billing page is forced upon the user from a network level so its a little hard to test this process from a QA Perspective.
Thanks for given us the feedback on this, i'll definitely bring it up with Pete on Monday and see what we can do about this, even if we sort out the adding a credit card process first (which should solve some confusion issues and hopefully stop some billing failures like your self). Then think about how we'll fix the next process should a customer fail billing, which as said above can be tricky to actually test.
mcgurka
Grafter
Posts: 764
Registered: ‎09-10-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Yeah, I know how this can be. A few years ago, the DD for my account mysteriously 'vanished' (see: was deleted) after a quick rant at CSC for telling us things shouldnt be working, when they had for the past 4 years or so... but enough about that.
I got hit with the 'Failed. Make a payment now.' page. No notifications (of which I dont seem to be getting any from PN) that it had failed... and guess what... I called to make a payment.. and was then told it would be up to 5 days to come back on!
Needless to say, 1 agent, and 1 supervisor later it was back on.
How about a team who attempts to phone people, this gets around the lost emails issue, and makes the company seem more customer focused, and "friendly"?
Scott
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 3,737
Thanks: 2,200
Fixes: 14
Registered: ‎10-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

I've added this to the PUGIT database here as issue 396.
Go there to Vote on its priority.  (Remember to add your details under the 'Pref' tab if this is your first visit.
or
To add comments for the Dev't team  go here
MauriceC
ddunford
Grafter
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Failed billing payments should re-enable your account instantly if the payment is successful, thats how it worked when i was i last checked anyway! So i'm a little surprised you got told it would take 5 days to be re-enabled?!
As for the failed billing team, we already have one (or atleast we did a few months back) that contacts customers when they fail payment so that we can quickly advise the customer and get them back online asap.
Thanks for the feedback guys, keep it coming!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,850
Registered: ‎04-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Interesting and valuable feedback Thomas.
I'm not sure if Dan picked this one up this morning but I'll check it out when I get in tomorrow and ensure your feedback is heard by the right people.
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,366
Thanks: 15
Registered: ‎06-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Quote from: ddunford
Failed billing payments should re-enable your account instantly if the payment is successful ... i'm a little surprised you got told it would take 5 days to be re-enabled?!

How does that 'work' if paying by DD, clearly that transaction is not instant?
Of course a DD should not fail ... but what if it does?
SW.
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3Mb FTTC
https://portal.plus.net/my.html?action=data_transfer_speed
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Thanks Dan/Mark. If anyone wants to enquire for more details feel free to, although in reality I'm not sure there's much more information I can provide than was already supplied in the original post.
Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Hi guys,
Just to let you know I'm going through this feedback this morning, and will be passing feedback through the business as necessary.
mcgurka, we do have a failed billing team, who make outbound calls to customers who have failed billing, although this is not an immediate call. 
lucasdigital
Dabbler
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎19-06-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Quote from: Be3G
Ok, that's a lot of writing. Don't get me wrong; I'm not up-in-arms about anything - you've got my payment, I've got my internet, so everyone's happy. But I feel that the failed billing process I went through was very buggy, completely unhelpful, and is in need of some serious QA, as I've hopefully demonstrated above.

Thomas,
Thanks for taking the time to provide such detailed and constructive feedback. We are very lucky to have customers who take the time and care to let us know where we are getting it wrong. This may be a situation where we created lots of neat elements, but ended up sewing them together into a user experience that is a bit of a 'Frankenstein's monster'.
I'm going to take a look at how we can make the process less confused.

Mark
Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 2
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Hi,
As Mark has said this is not what we intend the process to be, and it is very valuable to have a user review if you like of the whole process.
I have identified three specific problems with the systems used from the notes above, and have raised these to be resolved ASAP.
There are other items which have started discussion internally, and with Mark on the case I'm sure the content side will be sorted. Smiley
whinny
Newbie
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎27-07-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

How does that 'work' if paying by DD, clearly that transaction is not instant?
You are correct in saying that a DD payment will not go through instantly, this can take up to 5 days to process, but the account would be instantly reactivated. If the DD failed again, the account would go into failed billing again.
Currently, if a payment fails, there is a 14 day window where the account is left active, and the failed billing will try and call customers to arrange a payment. I was unaware of a message on the portal saying the account would deactivate in 3 days. this is not the case and needs looking at.
Thank you for your feedback. The failed billing process should be a lot simpler than you've made it sound, and clearly needs looking at.
Fiona
ddunford
Grafter
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Credit Card:
If payment is successful account is activated straigth away, if its unsuccessful the account is not reactviated until payment is made.
Direct Debit:
If this initally fails, we can resubmit the direct debit payment at which point your account is renabled, i believe if this comes back as rejected then your account will go back into a failed billing state. (If have a credit card on the account, you can also pay via this means if the dd fails).
If its successful then no further action is needed.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

Cool, well it's good to see the feedback being taken on board. Smiley I guess this goes back to what lucasdigital and others were saying about taking the time to provide the feedback (although I'm a fast typist so it didn't take that long): I only did so because I was pretty certain PN would be genuinely interested in it and in investigating what went wrong, so it's a two-way thing really.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,111
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎05-04-2007

Re: User-unfriendly failed billing & payment detail issues

The plot thickens - to the point that I am now somewhat annoyed. Reason being that I have now been invoiced and charged twice for the current billing period. One shows a date of the 1st, whilst another shows a date of the 3rd. Interestingly enough, it was on the 3rd that I finally received an e-mail from PlusNet confirming that payment had been taken... alas, I naïvely thought that was the one I should have received on the 1st.
So, to recap/continue on from my original post, here's what appears to have happened:

  • I fought my way through the failed billing process on the evening of the 1st (my normal billing date), and tried to make a payment, but had the white-paging problem etc. that I mentioned in the OP.

  • I received no e-mail or webpage confirmation that PlusNet had received payment, but Matt confirmed that the payment had gone through successfully.

  • However, it seems that PlusNet's payment system itself was not aware of the fact that it'd already received payment, because it then took another payment by itself on the 3rd.


What I don't understand is why PlusNet's payment system seemed to think it hadn't already received payment, because my transaction history clearly shows the payment on the 1st as well as the payment on 3rd. If I can see that, surely PlusNet's payment system should have been able to too?
Either way, I'm not particularly impressed - this failed billing process has been pretty shambolic. I've raised a ticket (24126852) to get my money back, although I realise I'll probably have to wait for finances to get to work tomorrow before it's even looked at.
Edit: actually just got a ticket reply and the agent has arranged for the refund.