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I usually keep my public shaming of corporations confined to my Twitter, but sometimes I encounter an experience so egregiously bad that I have to blog about it. For your consideration today, I present what’s probably the worst UX I’ve ever witnessed on an online payment form. This embarrassment belongs to Con Edison.

Typically, when you’re asking customers for money, you want the payment process to be as seamless and frictionless as possible. But Con Ed decided to go in the extreme opposite direction and provide the most disjointed and unintuitive system imaginable. It’s like they don’t actually want their customers’ money.

Below are screenshots detailing each major step of the process. An important note is that in order to pay your bill by credit card, you need to complete the following steps every single time. So you can see how this might get annoying. Click the images below for additional commentary.

Step 1 of the online payment system of ConEd
Step 1: From the start, ConEd tries to limit what you can do. Here, the links are coded in Javascript, so you can’t open them in new windows/tabs via conventional methods. This becomes increasingly annoying later on when you realize that you needed some information from your main account homepage.

Step 1a of the online payment system of ConEd
Step 1a: Even after you click on the link to pay by credit card, you’re asked two more times if this is what you want to do. Why the process needs three clicks to confirm your payment method is beyond me. But what you’ll see later on is that this doesn’t actually matter.

Step 2 of the online payment system of ConEd
Step 2: You’re taken to a secondary domain for payment, and this site has absolutely none of your account information pre-populated.

Step 3 of the online payment system of ConEd
Step 3: In one of the more puzzling steps (and that’s saying a lot), you have to input your home address where you’re receiving Con Edison’s services. Mind you, this is after you’ve already provided them with your account number.

Step 4 of the online payment system of ConEd
Step 4: Once again, you need to specify that you’re paying with a card. This form isn’t even specific to credit cards, despite the fact that you’ve confirmed on three separate occasions that that was your payment preference. They could’ve asked you how you wanted to pay in this step.

Step 4a of the online payment system of ConEd
Step 4a: Now you have to input all of your credit card information in some weird self-refreshing form. Text boxes appear only when you’ve input previous data, which makes no sense. Then you have to input your billing address. There’s no way to save any of this information, so you have to do it every single time you want to pay by credit card.

Step 5 of the online payment system of ConEd
Step 5: As a final low blow, Con Ed charges you a “convenience fee” of $4.75 even though you had to go through 5 excruciating steps to give them your money. Talk about a con.

I hate you, Con Ed.

One Response to “The Mindblowingly Bad User Experience of the Con Ed Payment Website”

  1. TresChic

    I know this is 2 years old but this info still remains true in 2015! The UX is horrible. All that you mention above and more have annoyed me to no end. I am so angered by their system that I did a search to see if other people shared my abhorrence for this company and landed on this blog. I just finished sending them an unforgettable email letting them know how loathsome their system is.

    I pay all my bills online. They have made updates at least 2 times to their prehistoric system in the past 15 years, yet it still remains outdated. It’s like using a site from 1999. Each time I’m locked out, the system tells me my email doesn’t exist so I can’t login, but yet send the bills to said non-existent email address anyway. It wouldn’t allow me to re-register either since it tells me my account number is already in their database.

    A few years ago after the lockout I started paying by phone (which I hate), then my significant other took over the phone payments. Now I’m taking over again and the same problem. You have to contact support to update anything. When you update it will not make the change. 2 weeks is how long I’ve been trying to pay a bill but can’t due to some type of nuisance on that site.

    Even after support reset my login info so I can re-register it refuses to update my email address. Now it refuses to update my checking account info and I wait some more. These are all very simple things I can do on all other bill payment platforms but I can’t do on Con Ed’s pre-historic site.

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