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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10237
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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Dr. charged fee not performed

Customer Question

Dr. charged fee for services not performed
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

If a provider charged for fees not performed, they are in breach of contract (you can also claim that they defrauded you).

There is a series of escalating things you can do to deal with this situation.

  • *First: start with the physician's billing department, or customer service, and dispute the claim. Keep your complaint in writing. If you speak to someone by phone, follow up promptly with a "confirmation letter" (see my note below).
  • *Second: (you can do this at the same time), if you paid by credit card (not debit card) you can open a dispute with your credit card carrier (follow the instructions with your credit card company). (Some banks do allow for charge disputes on your debit card - but not all, the laws are not the same and debit card purchases do not have the same protections, if you paid by debit card, contact your bank and see if they do have dispute resolution remedies).
  • *Third: open a dispute with the BBB. The BBB offers consumer dispute resolution that is fast, free to consumers, and is usually effective, they have no enforcement authority, but all BBB disputes result in a public report regarding resolution so businesses do respond to them. You can open a BBB dispute here: https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
  • *Fourth: if you believe that the company is acting fraudulently (not just charging high rates), you can report them to the state Attorney General. The AG's office does not prosecute individual claims (so they will not get your money back for you), but they will investigate and potentially take administrative and/or criminal action against the company. Florida AG: http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/Main/60FD9BD8FA71A5B185256CD1005EE5C5
  • *Finally: you can file a small claims action against them for breach of contract, and fraud. (As the party disputing the bill, you are going to be seeking what is called "declaratory relief" - asking the court to determine the validity of the disputed bill). Small claims actions take approximately 3-8 months to go to trial. There is no guarantee of success in these disputes, but filing a small claims action does open an opportunity to negotiate a resolution (in addition to the above opportunities and can lead to mediation - many courts offer mediation programs for their small claims docket). Florida Small Claims: http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/family-courts/family-law-self-help-information/small-claims.stml

Confirmation letters: Keep written records of all communications - so if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a follow up "confirmation letter" summarizing your conversation, who you spoke to, when, and any agreements you reached. Keep copies of your outgoing correspondence, as well as anything that you receive.

I wish you the best of luck with this dispute, and hopefully a speedy resolution.

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