Third-party billing website causing headaches for utility company
PLAQUEMINE - A few thousand people recently opened up their mailboxes to a warning from Iberville Parish. It's because Iberville Parish says utility payments made through a third-party website aren't arriving on time. The notice was in the same envelope as the utility bill.
Some residents using website Doxo.com are experiencing late fees or having their services turned off because their payments aren't being made on time.
The notice was mailed to about 5,000 utility customers in Iberville Parish. Financial Director Randall Dunn says the parish is not affiliated with Doxo and says people using the site should be aware that their payments aren't always arriving on time.
"In some cases they're making those payments before the due date, some cases they're making those payments right at the cut-off date," said Dunn.
There are approximately 300 Iberville Parish Utility customers that pay their bills through Doxo. When an Iberville Parish Utility customer uses the third-party site, the company cuts a check and puts it in the mail to the utility company. That customer is at the mercy of the mail carrier.
"I mean, we're relying on the mail system," said Dunn. "It could be a month later and by then we've already sent someone out to disconnect."
Doxo reports there are 162 Iberville Parish Utility users and 196 Water District users.
Both Doxo and the parish website charge a fee for customers making a payment online. With Doxo, a customer is prompted to check a box alerting them to when their payment arrives before they can submit the page. The parish argues that if you make a payment by credit card through its website, that payment counts for that day. A representative for Doxo tells 2 On Your Side it's offered to send payments by direct deposit instead of check to the parish, but the parish has not accepted.
It's causing a headache for the parish, which has been visiting households to turn off services for people who have actually paid their bills only to turn around a few days later to turn those services back on.
Iberville Parish Utilities says in addition to paying online, a customer can drop off a check or mail a check to the office.
Iberville Parish says if you can prove you paid through Doxo before your bill is due, it will waive the late charges or fees.