Turn-off notice



A turn-off notice, cut-off notice, or shut-off notice is a warning letter sent out by the provider of a service for a residence or other building, such as utility, phone service, or
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, that if payment is not sent by the date indicated in the notice, the service will be interrupted. Turn-off notices, which are sent after a regular
bill Bill(s) may refer to: Common meanings * Banknote, paper cash (especially in the United States) * Bill (law), a proposed law put before a legislature * Invoice, commercial document issued by a seller to a buyer * Bill, a bird or animal's beak P ...
has been sent, but may resemble a bill, are generally sent several days to weeks before the planned date, giving the customer a sufficient amount of time to make a payment that would avert the interruption. Turn-off notices are often sent to those who are economically struggling, thereby having difficulty paying their bills on time, the absent-minded who are able to afford their bills but are disorganized in making timely payments, and to those who are out of commission to pay bills due to personal unforeseen circumstances, such as illness. In some cases, the turnoff notice may be necessary to obtain government or private aid in paying the bills. Many turn-off notices encourage the customer to make a payment by some method other than the
postal service The mail or post is a system for physically transporting postcards, letter (message), letters, and parcel (package), parcels. A postal service can be private or public, though many governments place restrictions on private systems. Since the mid ...
to ensure that the payment is received before the cut-off date. Some methods of payment that are commonly accepted include check or
credit card A credit card is a payment card issued to users (cardholders) to enable the cardholder to pay a merchant for goods and services based on the cardholder's accrued debt (i.e., promise to the card issuer to pay them for the amounts plus the ot ...
over the phone or online, or payment at the main office or a satellite location of the service provider, which may charge a fee for accepting the bill.

Averting the turnoff

It is not uncommon for a customer who receives a turnoff notice to panic or to attempt to avoid the provider while silently dealing with the matter. But the general recommendation is to contact the service provider, which may be willing to grant an extension or otherwise work with the customer to keep payments up to date. For certain types of utilities, such as
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, limited assistance may be available in some places to help customers pay their bills.

Moratoriums and laws

Some local governments have placed temporary moratoriums on utility turnoffs under certain conditions, such as cold weather, the presence of a child, elderly, or sick person, or political controversies. Some places have laws prohibiting or restricting certain turnoffs altogether. In the U.S. state of
Idaho Idaho ( ) is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. To the north, it shares a small portion of the Canada–United States border with the province of British Columbia. It borders the states of Montana and Wyomi ...
, the law prohibits utilities from turning off service in a residence where a child or dependent elderly person lives, though proof of this is required.Moscow-Pullman Daily News - Nov 25, 2004Browse this newspaper »

See also

Grace period A grace period is a period immediately after the deadline for an obligation during which a late fee, or other action that would have been taken as a result of failing to meet the deadline, is waived provided that the obligation is satisfied durin ...
Late fee A late fee, also known as an ''overdue fine'', ''late fine'', or ''past due fee'', is a charge fined against a client by a company or organization for not paying a bill or returning a rented or borrowed item by its due date. Its use is most commonl ...
* Cold weather rule * Collection agency *
Eviction Eviction is the removal of a tenant from rental property by the landlord. In some jurisdictions it may also involve the removal of persons from premises that were foreclosed by a mortgagee (often, the prior owners who defaulted on a mortga ...


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