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Lawrence residents facing utility shut off notice after paying bills through third party site

LAWRENCE, Ind. -- An online bill payment system is causing confusion in the City of Lawrence.

Some people have gotten shut off notices because their bills weren't paid on time when they used the outside site. We talked to the mayor who says that company did nothing wrong but he still has a warning for consumers.

If you're looking to pay your utility bill online in the city of Lawrence, you might do a quick search to find the web address and that's where things get a little foggy. There's an option to pay through doxo.com that looks like it's affiliated with the city of Lawrence.

"That's the most disconcerting thing about this is that there's been no communication between whoever is running the website and whoever is running this bill clearinghouse has not contacted us," said Mayor Steve Collier.

The city discovered they were listed on this site after a woman called saying she received a shut off notice but paid her bill through doxo. It's an online bill pay system where consumers can manage all of their accounts and pay online all in one place. But in this case the woman's payment reached the city of Lawrence two weeks later and her water was about to get cut off.

"There's nothing illegal about what they are doing it's just in this particular instance it's pretty deceptive in people thinking they've paid their bill on time and won't get any kind of a shut off notice," Mayor Collier said.

The city says they have no idea who listed them on the site. Consumers are free to add companies they use without any sort of notification. It says 240 customers in Lawrence use the payment system. So far three people have complained that they paid their bill through doxo and still got a shut off notice.

"How many other consumers fell under the same trap of clicking on that site being charged what I suppose is a relatively small fee for them to handle it but then finding out their payment had not been received on the day they thought it had been," Mayor Collier said.

The city has issued a warning to customers to only pay their bill through the city's official website cityoflawrence.org. They say until this situation is cleared up they will contact people with shut off notices before disconnecting their service so if it is a misunderstanding they’re not left with the $50 reconnection fee.