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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 110445
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I recently transferred Orthodontics offices. When I initially

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I recently transferred Orthodontics offices. When I initially signed on, I had two options...Pay for services as rendered (He was six at that time and only needed a lower holding arch which I was told would cost about $700) or pay monthly to "lock in the price" for complete comprehensive treatment (approx $7800 with $167 monthly payments). In the effort to save some money in the long run I signed the contract for comprehensive services which were to take my son from start to finish (estimated several years) with this provider and was to include all office visits, records, x-rays, etc. I payed into the contract for about a year and a half. During this time my son was seen maybe three times in that office. (They were waiting on some teeth to come in). They did install the lower holding arch (initially quoted in the $700's all inclusive).
Upon transfer I was charged $780 for the appliance and refunded all monies paid in, except for a $450 records fee and a $45 records transfer fee (which is mentioned in the contract as a fee if I or the new office requests the records). Neither I nor my son's current orthodontist has ever requested records from this office. We do not want or need them. I did question these two charges and I was told by the office manager that since my son didn't complete the FULL treatment with them, they are charging that $450 and because I transferred offices (w/o their records) they are keeping the records transfer money. I asked for that money back because nowhere in the contract does it state, that if I transfer I will be charged an extra $450 for records. They did keep the $780 which should have been all inclusive if I would have paid for it individually. Is this legal, and do I have a shot a collecting this money back? I live in AZ. Thanks
(I do have a copy of the brief contract and emails).
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

I understand the $450 records fee is not mentioned in the contract. What does the contract state about termination of the contract or early termination?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How can I attach a PDF?


Thank you for your reply. I apologize in advance that attaching a pdf is not simple. To do so, type in your reply, "Contract" and then highlight the word. When you highlight the word the link tool next to the smiley face on your tool bar in your reply block will activate. Then click on that button and a box will appear and next to the first line of the block click on the little block which will pop up another block where you can attach the file.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I did as requested, please let me know if you have received the two docs.

No, I am sorry, I do not see them above. As I said attaching pdf files can be tricky and I so do apologize because every customer seems to have an issue with it and we have requested a simpler means of doing so that just has not yet been worked out by our tech people.

It may be easier if you just tell me specifically what the early termination clause states.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There is no termination clause.

There is only one clause that states:

Should a transfer to another orthodontist become necessary, Robison Orthodontics will aid in selecting the new orthodontist (did not happen). All records and other info pertinent to the case will be forwarded to the new orhtho upon receiving his/her written request for such info. The fee for duplication and transferring records is $45. (Records were and will never be requested by me or the new ortho) This fee and the remaining financial obligation which is determined by patient treatment status/progress will be deemed due and payable at the termination request. New financial arrangements with another ortho are entirely the patients' responsibility.


They reimbursed me as follows. Everything paid into the plan minus $780 for appliance, $450 records, $45 records transfer. I do not contest the $780, but that price was initially quoted as all inclusive, if I would have chosen to not start paying ahead in the comprehensive plan.

Thank you for your reply. That was just what I needed.

It seems that no mention of any type of "records fee" is discussed here and as such legally they cannot take such a fee from you. When there is a written contract, both parties are bound by the terms of the contract as written unless the contract is deemed to be materially ambiguous and in that case any ambiguity is held to be against the party who wrote the contract. Here it is not ambiguous, the record fee is not mentioned other than the $45 to transfer records. Thus, the office has no legal right under the contract to charge you the $450 or the $45 as no records were transferred. You can send them a demand letter first telling them they are in breach of contract and if they refuse to return the money or remove the charge from you, then you will sue them for breach.

For this amount of money, you could sue in small claims court if you need to sue and you do not need an attorney for that.

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