How inefficient can a website be? What a lot of time I spent working out what to put in my basket: meals or money. Thinking back to that dark day in the summer holidays when I first used the site I seem to recall that I couldn't pause the tutorial and, because of the confusion about what goes into the basket, it was simply impossible to make sense of what was being said. Once it appeared that I did have a balance (of money) in my basket, it was difficult to work out whether I'd actually ordered the meals or just highlighted my choices.
Using the website since that time has been less infuriating, now that I think I know what I'm doing. However, it is anything but 'user-friendly' and needs to be improved so that everyone can access it.
Every time I have to order new meals, I get a feeling of doom. This website feels clumpy and confusing. Having to keep switching between children, getting strange messages about empty baskets when you're certain you've clicked on your choices, setting a minimum amount for each child - all unnecessary. Each week I just cross my fingers that there will be a meal for them. I had a similar experience to another reviewer - no response at all to an email enquiry. Good idea but let down by the website. Bring back the cheques!
With the government winning awards for its websites I had high hopes when my childrens' school started to use ParentPay to pay for school meals. The concept is a great one but oh dear, is it poorly executed. As with the previous review, the website is from a different era and lacks so many of the usability features we expect. For example: 1. Everything is very sequential - you order meals for each child separately rather than quickly performing the ordering of school meals for all your children at one time 2. There is no way to print out or email a summary of the meals ordered (unless you print the webpage or screen shots and you will need to print out several pages rather than having one neat summary); what happened to generating pdf summary documents? 3. The menu is often out of date - I received an email update from Nourish saying the menu had been changed. These changes were never reflected in the menu on the parent pay site and even worse the email was sent out so late that if you didn't cancel the meal on the day of the email then the site wouldn't let you cancel. 4. There is a minimum spend to your credit card which is not great for those less well off families and I would imagine that parent pay make a reasonable amount of money sitting on all the extra cash balances. 5. The allocation of money to meals is very confusing as the site seems more set up for older (rather than primary) school children with no linkage between your cash balance and meals you've committed your child to. 6. And if you send an email complaint about any of the above all you receive is total silence...
In summary it is a poorly designed process and website aimed at making parent pay's life easier and not reflecting how parents will actually use the site and trying to make it easier for them. If you have the opportunity to avoid this site then please do and encourage your school to find a better way of implementing what is a great idea!
My son's school has pleaded with me to use Parentpay for transactions, so I relented and logged on to pay for a school trip. The website is dire with a design from the 1990's and not at all user friendly and it's worse because I can't find the school trip that I have to pay for this week on the Parentpay website. I am left with the clear opinion that this firm has been adopted by councils simply to get the parents to do the financial donkey work so that schools can sack office support staff. I will be sending the cheque to school.
Having this website forced upon us seemed to me like a good idea until I had to use it. Why do the local council who force this upon us not road test the thing before spending our tax on such a bad service? The website is badly laid out, there is so much going on it is hard to find what you want. Selecting the food from the menu is fine if you get the right menu as there are several in several locations. However after tying all of them and selecting the meals we want it keeps saying '0 items in basket'. We selected what we wanted and thought we had paid (no email to confirm our actions) only to find only one meal of the three has booked. With £14 credit there should be no problem. Now it will not let me book for next week or the week after and there is no way I am adding more money till the website is sorted. There is nowhere to complain, sending unanswered emails to them is not a complaints procedure. The website says if you have any problems call the school office. The poor school like this less than I do and are inundated with complaints for parents with similar problems. There is a lot more for me to complain about but quite frankly I have spent enough time getting frustrated with the website I can no longer afford to waste my time! I am so unhappy with this service I fully intend to complain to the local authority and let them know how bad the service is and how badly it is letting down our children. Parentpay; sounds more like a revenge sect against parents for some reason. Sort this website out and certainly do not over promote yourselves on facebook and twitter falsely claiming how good you are! If I sound frustrated it is because I am!
our sons school started using ParentPay in September and I have to be honest it's really helped -before we were sending in money for school dinners in his bag as the school requested and on 3 occassions the school said the money didn't arrive...He's 7 so to be expected probably various envolopes of our money in random places in the school! But since they have taken on ParentPay no arguments anymore it's been great I just top up online and no more lost money or envelopes. Shame to see others have had problems in the past but hasn't failed me yet and I even get balance alerts by email...all very 21st century!
In the past 3 days I have been unable to log in to top-up my son's dinner money account.... the "new improved" parentpay website simply hangs or, on the rare occasions I get to the payment page, it crashes.
Very time-consuming. Incredibly frustrating. Having to send cash payments in to school.
To top it all there is absolutely no point of contact to try and resolve problems.
This company has a track record of it's website falling over just when you need to top up dinner money and especially at the beginning of each new term when there is a lot of demand.
What makes it worse is that they keep saying it's fixed or even that they have a new system only for it to fail AGAIN! In my opinion this system is clearly inadequate for the volume of customers they have and their new systems amounts to 'wallpapering over the cracks' and treats their customers as if they were stupid.
Their customer service is non-existent and it's nigh on impossible to get any kind of response quickly.
Used parentpay a few times, slow processing was one thing but having a letter arrive home in your 7 year old's bag that had your log-in details on is another. Comforting to know that the school office and any of the kids they use as runners can now access my account. My advice - not with a barge pole!
Submitted £50 to sons sixth form college meals account. Money charged straight to credit card, now 5 weeks later and the money still hasn't arrived with the college. Tried using the Parent Pay contact form to contact them on several occassions but they fail to respond. Sons college are trying their best and have credited his account with £50 while they also chase Parent Pay. College have said that lots of parents have had problems. I will not be using them again and would urge anyone to think twice before using them.
I've been using ParentPay for about 5 years and it's great. At no point have I had any problems. I simply login to my children's account, add the funds and everything works fine, lunch money, school trips, charity events. A big benefit is not having to find cash/change every day and reassuringly our boys don't have to worry about carrying money around all day, plus we can see or control what they spend and what they eat! The key is to keep topping up so there are always enough funds in place especially after weekends or school holidays. This has to be one of the best online services we use.
Average- You offer schools no choice service - you cannot complain as you sight child privacy as a 'hide behind' rule - your servers are always down resulting in cash payments to children to take to school - I hope you CR schools when your service is down and not available - your company should go back to school to learn some basics on how to operate a company and provide some care in your customer service which is ZERO! Again 7/9 as 6/9 and 5/9 no access to LOG IN and pay CREDITS a sham company - SCHOOLS ok if technical glitches fixed.
Getting sorted but beware if topping up just after any holidays!