Collier Clerk slammed with calls after 50,000 erroneous child support bills mailed to Florida residents

— Some 50,000 erroneous child support billing coupons were mailed to Florida residents, including those who had old or closed cases.

The result has been a flood of concerned people calling state and local court offices looking for answers.

“It began (with staff being) inundated last week,” said Collier County Clerk Dwight Brock. “We’re just getting bogged down in dealing with calls about this.”

The problem originated with ACS, a Xerox company, which handles payments at the state’s child support disbursement unit, under the umbrella of the Department of Revenue.

The error has been blamed on a technical glitch that occurred while fixing a different problem. An incorrect file was swapped for the correct one by accident and people whose cases were listed in the old file received the notices.

Joseph Pilat of ACS, in a Jan. 7 memo to the state’s court clerks office, said the company’s call center was advising callers to throw away the billing coupon.

“We are also offering our apologies for the inconvenience caused,” Pilat said.

The state disbursement unit has handled some types of child support payments since 1999 after a federal law required each state to centralize the process, said Beth Allman, Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers Communications Director.

The error likely cost ACS upwards of $20,000, which will not be paid for by taxpayers, she said. She also said the problem didn’t create any late billings for those meant to get the coupons.

“The State Disbursement Unit vendor has assured us that this was a one-time mistake and has taken steps so that it will not happen again,” Allman said.

The problem didn’t manifest itself everywhere.

Lee County’s staff braced themselves for complaint calls once they learned of the problem.

“They’ve been expecting a barrage of calls because it’s happened before,” said Sandi Sauls, civil division manager, “but they haven’t gotten a single call.”

For questions call 1-877-769-0251.

Connect with Tara E. McLaughlin at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tara-mclaughlin/

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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