Thursday, June 5, 2008

New Online City Citation Payment System

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New on the city website... "Online Court (Citation) Payment System" powered by, the company who does a lot of advertising around the tax season trying to convince/confuse you into using their system for paying your taxes.

While the system says Court (Citation), when you get to the site, it immediately brands your payment as "Parking/Moving Citation." The system accepts payments up to $230 and adds a $3.65 "convenience fee."

You start by entering the amount you want to pay, then you agree to their legal disclaimer and then you fill out a lot of information.

At the end of the day, doesn't offer anything special for online citation payment over, say, or PayPal or Google Checkout. There's no connection to any official city database (as far as I can tell - I didn't have any citation to pay) and no sort of error or fact-checking (again, as far as I can tell) to make sure you've entered a legitimate citation number and paid an amount that matches the amount on the ticket.

Sadly, I have experience with Los Angeles' system. Can't remember if it was sheriff or police, but their system is much more straight-forward and easy to use. You start by entering your citation. It returns the amount and asks you a few simple questions to verify you are indeed paying your own citation and not someone else's. You enter your credit card information, and in the end, you're reassured that your payment is correctly applied to your citation.

I'm not convinced OfficialPayment's offering on the City of Federal Way website offers that same kind of closed-loop reassurance. If I'm wrong, please post a comment below.

The system accepts American Express, Discover, Mastercard and VISA and OfficialPayments does offer customer service via a toll-free number 12-1/2 hours every weekday.


Anonymous said...

The online payment system is a joke, to add an additional $3.65 to pay a fine is ridiculous. And why doesn't the court open during noon to allow a common person the opportunity to pay their fine during lunch hour? And to close the door at 4pm to payments is such poor service


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