Billing and Collections Frequently Asked Questions

I received a final notice from the City.  What should I do?

You’ve received a final notice because the City’s records show that your account is delinquent.  Contact the City Department that sent you the notice immediately before the due date on the notice.  If the delinquency is not resolved by the due date, your account may be referred to an external collection agency which may affect your credit. 

Why am I receiving a collections notice from an external collection agency?

The City of Santa Monica entered into contract with a collection agency to help reduce the City’s delinquent accounts.  The collections notice and/or call you received follows several unsuccessful attempts by the City to obtain payment for services, taxes, and other types of accounts that are delinquent.

Will my personal account information remain confidential?

Absolutely.  The contract with the external collection agency stipulates that any information provided by the City on delinquent accounts will be used solely for the purpose of collections. This information is to be held in the strictest of confidence and used for no other purpose.  The collection agency must operate within applicable guidelines set forth by Federal and State regulations governing fair debt collection practices.

How do I contact the City’s external collection agency, Transworld Systems Inc. (aka, TSI)?

If TSI contacted you, you can reach them via the following methods to make a payment, discuss a payment arrangement, confirm receipt of payment, and/or inquire about the delinquent balance:  

What happens if I do not respond to the City’s internal collections unit notice and/or call?

Collections efforts will continue and your account may accrue additional penalties and/or interest.  The delinquent account may be referred to the external collection agency for further action and or the City may elect to take legal action.

What happens if I do not respond to the external collections agency notice?

Collections efforts will continue and your account may accrue additional penalties and/or interest.  The collection agency may report your delinquency to the various credit bureaus, which may affect your credit score.  The City of Santa Monica may also elect to file legal action to reclaim the funds owed.

Is the collections agency authorized to offer payment plans?

Yes, the collection agency may offer and negotiate payment plans.  The decision to grant payment plans will be made on a case-by-case basis.

How do I verify that the City received my payment?

Contact the Billing & Collections Office by email at Billing.Collections@smgov.net or phone at 310-458-8224 ext.1.  Please be prepared to provide your City account number.

If I pay the external collections agency, how long will it take for my account to be credited and closed?

Please be advised that cash, money order, cashier’s check and credit card payments will be credited to your account upon receipt by the collections agency.  If your account is paid in full, their collections efforts will cease.  However, if you pay by personal check, the collections agency will only post payment to your account once the check has cleared.

Are penalties and interest included in the amount of the external collection notice?

Yes, unless prohibited by City Ordinance, City departments may charge penalty and/or interest on delinquent accounts.

How do I provide feedback, report abuses by the external collections agency, or file a formal complaint?

Contact the City of Santa Monica Billing & Collections Office by email at Billing.Collections@smgov.net or write to 1717 4th Street, Suite 150, Santa Monica, CA 90401.  Please include your City account number and your contact information.