Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps I really don’t understand how to work a computer. To be honest, I’m certain that’s part of the problem.

But not when it comes to paying bills.

For example; I was recently invited to go “paperless” when receiving my bill from BT. I could “save money”, they said. Seemed fair – except it wasn’t, because actually they were going to start charging extra if I DIDN’T go paperless.

But let’s leave that little swindle aside for a moment.

When the latest bill came in by email, I simply opened the link, typed in my username, password and hit “enter”. Wrong username name or password. Well, it wasn’t the username that was wrong, because that was on the email BT had sent me. So I tired the password again. And again. And again.

Eventually I became so frustrated with it all I tried a flurry of random swear words, and pressing a jumble of keys. That didn’t work either.

This needed a more measured response. “Forgotten password?” Yes. A moment later, a message containing a pin number popped into my inbox. All I had to do was type that in, and select a new password. Easy.

Except it wasn’t, because the screen flashed red with the message: “An unexpected error has occurred please try again later.” So I did. Again and again and again. Each time, having to go through the whole rigmarole from the start. Over and over, continually getting the error message. Throughout the day.

Then I had a brainwave. There was an option to pay the bill without actually registering or logging in. All I had to do was to give them my account number – a 350-digit number. And where would I find this number? On the e-mail? Oh, no, that would be too simple.

According to the instructions, the only place you could find your account number… was at the top left corner of the paper bill. A paper bill which I didn’t have, because BT had forced me to go paperless!

It was nuts. All this nonsense, when I’m trying to give THEM money!

You know, there was a time when I could just take my bill to the Post Office and pay it there and then. Quick, painless and simple. No clerk telling you that an unexpected error had occurred and you would have to spend your entire day stuck in a loop, repeating the same tedious process.

And then I realised. All this palaver with account numbers and screen names and passwords, just so I could prove that I really was the bill holder. Crazy.

I mean, what is the worst that could have happened if somebody had impersonated me and hacked into my account? The only thing they would be able to do is pay my bill for me!

I live in hope.

Drew McAdam


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