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Call Kurtis: How To Avoid A Costly Mistake When Using Online Bill Pay

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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Many of us pay our bills online. It’s fast, easy and convenient. But a Modesto woman called Kurtis after the DMV fees she paid through her bank didn’t end up renewing her car registration.

Many companies are pushing people toward online bill pay through their banks. But the DMV says this woman left out some key information that caused her a headache.

Paula Billings has proof she paid her registration renewal, using her bank’s online bill pay.

“I’m going, ‘What’s the problem? Here’s my check,'” said Paula.

She showed a copy of the cashed check her bank sent to the DMV last summer for $155.

But her DMV tags never arrived.

Paula had to go to a DMV office every few months to get temporary tags so cops wouldn’t pull her over.

She says a DMV worker told her that her payment was credited to someone else and she’d have to wait until they could get the money back.

“I said, ‘That doesn’t make sense,'” said Paula.

Then the DMV garnished her bank account for $296 to cover the registration, late fee and bank processing fee.

“They’ve got a lot of nerve. Then I was really mad. I was really mad,” said Paula.

We asked the DMV what went wrong.

“It was a simple miss key, if you will, of a transaction and the funds were applied to a different vehicle,” said DMV spokesman Mike Marando.

Marando says a technician did make a mistake but the problem started when Paula paid her fee through her bank’s bill pay and not the DMV’s website.

Because Paula didn’t provide her license plate number, when the bank sent the check to the DMV, the technician didn’t know where it was supposed to go and it somehow ended up in the wrong place.

But after 10 months and three visits to the DMV, shouldn’t they have been more helpful figuring this out?

“If any customer feels they’re getting the runaround, or their satisfaction is not being met, absolutely ask for a manager. We have trained managers at all of our field offices,” said Marando.

After we got involved, the DMV credited Paula’s bank account $296 and her tags finally showed up.

“It’s a big relief,” said Paula.

Paula just paid her renewal fees for the coming year and this time, she did it at a field office in person to make sure there was no mix-up.

The DMV tells us if you’re paying online, make sure your bank account information is correct and you indicate your license number with your payment.

If you’re paying by check, write your license number on it.

The DMV says 99 percent of the time, you should get your tags within 30 days.

If not, give them a call.

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