Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Strike Three

I used to love FirstTech Credit Union.

I really did. They were one of the first with an online banking system. Now, granted it was a dial-up character-based terminal, but it was the coolest thing around.

But somewhere between then and now, something bad happened. The new version of their online banking website is the archetype of software gone awry. Aside from the horrible, horrible user interface, it just plain doesn't work.

And so, with a heavy heart (and after getting no response from any other correspondence) I sent them one last message.

To whom it may concern,

Yesterday I deposited a check into our FirstTech Checking account and then went home to pay some bills via the FirstTech Online Bill Payer system. After negotiating the frustratingly awkward new system (see my previous eight messages regarding specific bugs and user interface problems -- none of which garnered a single response from FirstTech) I managed to complete my session.

This morning I logged back into the system just to verify that everything had worked properly. As it turns out, my distrust of your system was fully warranted as I noted that four of the transaction had failed with the helpful message "Undefined CU Error". Nice…

Now, I assumed (correctly, as it turns out) that these transactions had failed because you decided to hold some amount of the funds of the deposited check (note: this check was drawn on a bank three blocks away from your Redmond branch -- all technological solutions aside, somebody could've walked down the street, knocked on the window, and said, "say, is this check good?"). Fine -- I understand that. But I got no notification whatsoever that this had happened. I had to take the initiative to go check the log, call support, and ask, "say, what might 'Undefined CE Error' mean in this particular context?"

Now, as it turns out, those transactions are not just being held until the funds are released. They have flat out failed and I now have to go back into that horrible user interface and re-enter them. I will do this. It will be the last time I use your Bill Payer system. I will be transferring my active accounts to another bank.

Ron Craswell
Redmond, Wa
FirstTech member since before you had a dial-up terminal-based online banking system.

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