Sunday, February 26, 2006

I Pay Money to...Save You Money?

I deal with a lot of companies. I know that that's a bit of an understatement, as in this modern world we tend to do that. There's the grocery stores, the power company, the drug store, the internet provider, your computer company, and so on and so forth. Since this is the case, I think that I am qualified to voice an opinion on what makes a company good and what makes them bad. The company that I'm currently angry with is Questar Gas. I realize that they heat my home, and for that I am grateful. However, they are so far behind the times as far as payment options are concerned that you'd think they stepped straight out of the days of Standard Oil. There are several ways to pay them. You can give them a check via postal mail. You can drop off a check to a designated drop-off point. Finally, you can call a third party company to pay them money from your bank account. The problem with this last option is that it costs $3.95 to do so. In this day and age who charges you to make an ETF from your bank account? That's pure madness. Every other utility company (including the government monopoly water/sewer/trash company) lets you make your payment over the internet for free. Why? Because it's cheaper for them. They don't have to pay someone to go through and punch in the numbers from the payment slips. They don't have to pay check processing fees. They get their money quicker. Even with credit card payments, it's win/win. I get SkyMiles, they get their money, and we're all happy.
Instead, Questar decided that the best solution was to keep doing what it was doing, making sure that they spend the most money possible instead of cutting out a few middlemen (extra data entry people and that third party payment processor) and lowering my gas bill. Instead, if I lose my bill, I get to pay $3.95 for the privilege of giving them some of my hard earned money at a dicount to them. I've had companies give me money for moving to internet services, but Questar can't seem to pull their heads out and change their ridiculous policy. While I can't boycott them (well, I guess I could if I wanted to spend enough to retrofit my house to run on propane), I'm still going to rant about them. Oh yeah, and Questar? You're on notice!

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