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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 29549
Experience:  Lawyer
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I have been hounded by an attorney in Miami Fl. being used

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I have been hounded by an attorney in Miami Fl. being used as collection for 300.00 from a doctor for a cosmetic procedure. The reason why I refuse to pay it is because the doctor told me to return to "fix" anything in two weeks from the original procedure which I paid by credit card a fee of $1,000. She did Botox and a filler on Dec.12 2010, I returned as instructed on Jan.04, 2011. She did not tell me I would be charged $300.00 until I was leaving. I did not pay because she told me it was to "fix" her first procedure. I feel it was a deliberate scam to get me to pay more. This doctor calls herself a Dermatologist but she is not an M.D. My question is: do I have the right to refuse to pay, and how do I negotiate with this attorney? Do I have to pay the interest charges?They started charging me a daily interest and my $300.00 is now up to almost $500.00! I called the attorney's office today, told them the story and would be obtaining my credit card charges. The rep said she would put my account on hold till I obtain that information. I signed an agreement to pay for services on Dec.12, but not on Jan. 04. How can I avoid the judgment and are they entitled to force me to pay interest. I have already told them in writing this account was disputed.

I have used your services before and was very pleased.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

If the original contract that you signed when you had the procedure done called for interest on any unpaid balance, then, yes, they are allowed to charge interest. A person cannot charge interest on a debt it was never disclosed to the consumer.

When a person pays to have a service provider, the person providing the service has an obligation to do it correctly for the agreed price. That means that if they make a mistake, they have an obligation to fix it (or to pay damages if they can't). If there was something wrong with the original treatment that you got, such that it required a second visit to correct it, that would be covered under the original agreement. A person would only have to pay for any additional treatment received at later visits.

Florida has a statute specifically prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices. Fl. Stat., Section 501.204. If the doctor is in the habit of suggesting that certain services are covered under an original contract, inducing people to return for follow-up treatments, and then charging them, that could be seen as unfair and deceptive.

Look at the paperwork from the original treatment. If it says that there might be a fee for follow-up visits, then they may be able to charge it as disclosed. But when they suggest or state that it would be free, and then charge for it, that's not really a fair practice. Letting them know that you may sue them for your attorneys fees and damages under the statute if they pursue you further, or that you may file a Complaint with the Attorney General's Office, may make them more willing to negotiate.

If you are able to reach an agreement with the office, that would avoid a judgment against you (if they never file a court case, or it is dismissed). The only other way to avoid a judgment is to pay, let them know that you're paying under protest (you can write that on the check) and sue for a refund. If you send them the original agreement, and evidence that your second visit was to fix issues, that may also help you show that you do not owe the $300 or the interest on it. You would still have to pay any remaining balance on the $1,000.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much Lucy for your informative answer. I did pay for the original treatment of $1,000. There is nothing on the original document that I would have to pay extra to "fix" her original service. Thank you for the statute on unfair and deceptive trade practices. She obviously enticed me to return and charge me extra. There is a 12% annum interest charge. What a crook that P.A is. She flaunts herself as a cosmetic dermatologist which is impossible without an M.D. I do have a question in light of your information. At what point can they charge me interest, and can they do this when I have informed them in writing that the account is disputed. In the agreement it says 45 days after date of services and that was 2 years ago. Thanks

They can only charge you interest if you agreed to it, or if they have a judgment - post-judgment interest is allowed by statute. If the agreement allows for interest to be charged after 45 days, they can start charging it. However, they are only allowed to charge interest on what you owe - if you dispute the charge and owe nothing, that's interest on $0, which is nothing.
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