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Steinlaw
Steinlaw, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 1811
Experience:  Consumer law attorney, author of California Debt Blog, Businessweek.com top foreclosure attorney
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Hi, I am back again with another question a few years ago I

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Hi, I am back again with another question a few years ago I went to a Psychatrist for depression during a time of matrimonial problems. After a few visits the doctor told me that I would have to find another care giver to do "talk theraphy" with he just writes prescriptions. I was very unhappy with the treatment and told the doctor that I would not be continuing treatment. The next day I called and left a message on the doctors office voice mail cancelling and future appointments. The doctors answering machine seemed to be malfunctioning and not accepting messages. I call up on Monday to make sure I got they got the message and to get my file and I was told I would have to pay $25.00 because the next appointment was that late that day and that I wasn't giving them 24hours notice. I future was told I have to pay $25.00 to get my medical record whwn the maximun allowed by HIPPA is $.75 a page. My file could only consist of several pages at best. I told the office when they sent a bill that this was unacceptable and asked to speak to the doctor and he refused to come to the phone. The upshod of all this is that they turned my bill to a collection agency for $25,00 The agency added $50.00 to the $25.00 and sent5 a report to the credit bureaus and for 5 years I have been unable to get this derogatory information expunged. I won't pay the $75.00 because its is wrong and it won't correct tjhe damaged done. I have been refused credit several times mention degorgatory claims information and this is the only matter on file. I should have consulted an expert sooner. I am thinking of pressuring the Doctor by taking him to small claims court and sue for damages. However, I don't believe that would clear the problem with the credit agency reports. I don't know what action I can take against the collection agency they have been obstient. What can you advise.
When did this happen?
Did you ever receive the records?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

 

Suffolk County, New York. No I never received the records. I refuse to pay and they wouldn't release the records without payment I did with out the medical records and started over with a new caregiver who would provide total care. The $25.00 that they were turned me over to collection was for an appoint that I cancelled first by telling the doctor that I would not be continuing with him and secondly with his office staff proir to the actual appointment, but not according to them with 24 hours notice although I attempted to do so on the previous Friday when the office was closed but the answering device they were using was not accepting messages.

I am sorry you are going through this.

A few thoughts:

1. The statute of limitations to sue the doctor has expired. You can't pursue him now.
2. Dispute the charge with the credit bureaus again. Tell them that you left a message cancelling and that the charge is not authorized. Also tell them that the collection fee of $50 was never authorized. See what they do.
3. Dispute this with the collection agency. Explain that you left a message cancelling and that there is no basis in law for the collection fee. Explain that this is a violation of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and you will pursue this if they don't remove it.
4. Sit tight and see what happens.

At this point, it will only be on your credit report for 2 more years. So you probably shouldn't lose too much sleep over it. It will go away soon.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I will of course release payment but I would appreciate some clarification of you comments:


1. First, my strategy in sueing the doctor was to take him to small claims court and sue for $5,000.00 the maximun. If he ignores the suit he defaults , if he defends the suit it will cost him a day out of his practice easily and probably not worth it to the doctor it would be I hope enough presssure to get him to close the matter with the collection agency. But I would like to know what the details od statute of limitations you refer to if you don't mind. If I dispute it with the collection agency and they go back to the doctor and he reaffirms the matter is that not another act? The worst cast scenerio that I see to suiing the doctor is I am out the $17.50 filing fee and if he counter sues for $25.00 I think the Judge or arbiter will more than like side with me. You thoughts to this?

 

2. Dispute the charge with the credit bureaus again. Tell them that you left a message cancelling and that the charge is not authorized. Also tell them that the collection fee of $50 was never authorized.

 

  • I expect they will claim that I authorized it when I signed a paper agreeing to pay collection fees for non payment of doctor fees.

 

3. Dispute this with the collection agency. Explain that you left a message cancelling and that there is no basis in law for the collection fee. Explain that this is a violation of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and you will pursue this if they don't remove it.

 

  • Can you tell me how I would persue this and find the relative language to refer to in the act that substanciates your statement?

 


4. Sit tight and see what happens.

At this point, it will only be on your credit report for 2 more years. So you probably shouldn't lose too much sleep over it. It will go away soon.

 

What presure can I put on the Credit Agencies. They want to keep this on the file for 10 years. Even after that this crap is suppose to role off it available to the major bank subsribers privately I have found.

Good luck.

1. If you sue the doctor with no legal basis and you lose, he can then sue you for "malicious prosection." Then he will be able to get a judgment for you for the time he missed from work. The odds of you getting a default against him are about zero. Doctors will not skip out on court.

2. They may say that, but this is your best way to put pressure on them and that is your goal right now.

3. Go to www.californiadebtblog.com and click on the link for Sample Validation letter. Send that out and that should do the trick. Or go to www.budhibbs.com and do the same thing.

4. Doing #3 will put the most pressure on the CRAs to remove this for you.
Steinlaw and 4 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank Jonathan,

 

You are the best value in law advice ( my brother included)

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