If you’ve got a Mac and a Barclaycard and like to pay your bill online – say at the My Account page – then sorry, chum, but you’re out of luck.
I tried this morning to pay off my bill, as I have done for the past seven years or so. Kept getting bounced off the server. Strange: sometimes it would nearly go through, but it just wouldn’t quite work. It had always worked in the past.
To the phones and the joys of customer ‘service’ (loosely defined). “We changed the logo, we had to change the logo, and now it doesn’t work on Macs,” said the woman, who sounded as though she’d had to say this a few times quite possibly to annoyed Apple users already. “I can only apologise.” Entirely true – that’s all she could do, though eventually she twigged that I was actually complaining. That is, when she stopped trying to overtalk me.
Changed when? June 14. So one month later it’s still not working. Why not roll back to the previous one which did work cross-platform? “We can’t, we changed the logo.”
This is such a typical and infuriating practice: completely ignore the fact that there are other platforms and other browsers. Just ignore complaints. Eurostar and the Odeon sites are other stupid, nose-cutting-off deny-yourself-business examples.
None of these sites is getting my business while they behave this way. And Barclaycard’s press office is going to get a call very soon. I’m truly annoyed about this.
Still waiting meanwhile for the press office to respond to the email I sent them when I first posted. It’s the principle of this more than anything. IE6 and all its inherent flaws, perhaps with a keylogger watching what you type? Welcome to our site! Mac user unaffected by spamware, spyware, adware, viruses? Get the hell out!
Update 13:45: The Register gets an opaque response from the press office. Nicely done, Lucy.
Update 15:07: Bothered the press office, who got back to me. “We upgraded to Netscape 7 which is Windows-only..” No, it isn’t. “Sorry?” Netscape 7 is cross-platform. Or do you mean the server is Netscape 7? “I don’t know, I’m just repeating what the internet people told me. Obviously we’re sorry” (Barclaycard is spending today being sorry; perhaps if they spent more time testing and less being woeful they’d do better) “but we hope to have it fixed in the next, um, in days.” So was it tested on Macs? “Obviously not.” Your customer service people said it was. “Well, they’re only there to serve customer and sell credit cards” – nice admission, that last one – “so of course you can’t hold them to that.” So what is it about Netscape 7? Some argy-bargying now: he clearly doesn’t know, but doesn’t want me to talk to anyone to find out. Mais j’insiste. He goes back to ask the technical department. I go to look at Netcraft’s take on Barclaycard’s Secure Server, which does say it’s Netscape being the server. How crap that the company that brought the Web to the world (Netscape, not Netcraft) should mess up my day like this.
Update (final) 15:58: Another long chat with the press office. “We don’t know why it’s not working at the moment. The reason we don’t know is that we didn’t test it.” So customer services was fibbing. “Because we don’t consciously support Macs.. it’s never been a problem in the past when we’ve updated, but now we’ve got this problem. But we don’t build our site for Macs. It’s a phenomenally small percentage of our online users, just over 1%.” I see. How much were Barclaycard’s profits last year? “Umm. 740 million pounds.” Of which one per cent would be 7.4 million pounds, hmm? “That’s a bit unfair, it’s 1% of online. And does it make sense for us to devote huge amounts of effort to developing for such a tiny percentage? We will throw resources at this” – an empty promise if I ever heard one, but now it’s committed to the Web – “and they know about it and are working on it.” So when did they find out? “Why do you want to know?” Facts – they’re the grist of the journalistic mill. More shilly-shallying. He doesn’t want to tell me. OK, I say, I’ll assume you found out the day after you changed, yet haven’t found the time to put a note on the site explaining that it no longer works for Mac users. “Oh, notes on websites confuse people.” What, something saying it doesn’t work on Macs would confuse Windows users? “….They were notified last week and have been working flat-out on it” – another fib, I suspect – “since then.”
Look, Barclaycard: you could have saved yourself and me so much annoyance and money by just getting one of the graphics artists who drew the new (and completely pointless) logos to try the site. They’d have told you in a breath that it didn’t work.
It’s stuff like this that makes you realise that financial institutions believe we’re all idiots. They lie; they dissemble; they cover up; and they don’t spent money responsibly, because it’ll cost them more to fix this than it would have to get it right in the first place. I’ll return to the site to test it (perhaps I’ll stir myself to set up a “days since the Barclaycard site worked” counter for the sidebar). But in the meantime I’ll use their phone service, which costs *them* more than if I did the transaction through the website. And that, you Barclaycard fools, is why it’s worth writing your website to work with the other 1% – because automation is cheaper for you *and* me.
Oh, and the final irony: at 16:14 the woman from customer services calls back. “I’m afraid the IT department still haven’t got back to me, so I can’t tell you any more at present. I’m sorry.” I thank her and ring off.