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I have a medical account in collections. I was told the

Customer Question
I have a medical...

I have a medical account in collections. I was told the additional medical test would cost me $50 (insurance did not cover it) and I agreed to pay that amount. I was sent a bill for the $50 by the hospital and subsequently paid that bill in full. I then started receiving another bill for the same test which I later found out was from the doctor who read my test results. I disputed the additional charges because I was not informed that I would have to pay any more than the $50. The bill I received from this doctor's office was for $49 and I initially thought it was a duplicate charge. I contacted the doctor's office and explained the situation and was told it would be taken care of. However, they simply sent the account to a collection agency. This agency is claiming that I owe $105 rather than the $49 billed by the doctor's office. I've considered offering a payment of $49 for complete deletion of the account from my credit report, but am wondering if it would be more beneficial to dispute the account based on the wrong amount they are attempting to collect, and the hospital not informing me of the charges. What would you recommend?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state is this in? And when did the issue begin?

Missouri. The test was performed in September, 2016. The collection began in February 2017

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

Contacted the doctor's office regarding the bill, but have not contacted the collection agency yet.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

That should do it.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Answered in 1 minute by:
12/19/2017
Consumer Protection Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 7 months ago
insearchoftheanswer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 57,043
Experience: Practicing lawyer for 31 years
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Hi! My name is Richard & I will be helping you today! It will take me a few minutes to type a response to your question. Thanks for your patience!

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Consumer Protection Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Good afternoon. I would absolutely dispute the entire bill. The collection agencies claim is only as good as the doctor's claim and the doctor's claim is not valid due to the representation to you regarding the $50 cap. I suggest you send them a certified, return receipt requested letter explaining why you do not owe this debt and demand they immediately cease and desist all further efforts to contact you and/or anyone else to collect this debt. Inform them that any efforts to do otherwise will constitute a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and that you will report each and every violation to the Federal Trade Commission. Each violation carries at least a $1,000 fine. Also let them know that should they file any negative credit report, you will be filing a defamation suit against them for both your actual and punitive damages. In my experience, the fine under the Federal Act and the threat of the defamation should be an end to these collection efforts.

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your question. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as Good or Excellent (i.e., 4 or 5 stars)(hopefully Excellent/5 stars!). Otherwise, I receive no credit for assisting you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
This letter would be sent to the collection agency? Also, the agency has already reported the account to all 3 CRAs. Will this letter do anything to have it removed?
Consumer Protection Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Yes....directly to the collection agency and cc the doctor's office. Also, in the letter demand that they rescind all their reports to the credit agencies within a short specified period of time.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
What if they refuse to remove the account from my credit report? Are they legally required to do anything?
Consumer Protection Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Then, you will have to dispute the information. Once you dispute it, the credit reporting agency is required to investigate the dispute by sending it back to the creditor or collection agency for verification. If the creditor or collection agency verifies that the account is being reported correctly, the negative information will stay on your credit file. If the creditor or collection agency never responds to the investigation, then after about 30 days, the credit reporting agency must either delete the report from your file or report it as not being delinquent. If however they fail to do so, you will need to get a court order and then send the judge’s order to the credit agency to get it removed.

And, be sure to highlight in your letter that if they fail to remove it, you will be filing a defamation claim against them.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
What do they need to do to verify the debt? Do they have to provids any proof or evidence of the debt?
Consumer Protection Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

They can't do anything without suing you to collect it. And, to prevail in court, they would have the burden of proving the debt and that they own the debt (i.e., that the doctor actually assigned the debt to them). In my experience, they won't pursue this through a suit because it's not worth the trouble.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I'm primarily concerned about having the account removed from my credit report. If I file a dispute and they respond that they have verified the information, do I have any other options? Do they have to provide me with documentation of the information used to verify the account?
Consumer Protection Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

First, informing them of a possible defamation suit gives you a lot of leverage for them to remove it. But, if they do not, then file suit to have it removed and ask the court to reward you actual and punitive damages, including attorneys fees and court costs.

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Consumer Protection Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Or, you can negotiate with them that if you pay them, a condition precedent will be that they agree to remove the negative credit reports.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I've had incredible difficulty when disputing information on my credit report in the past and would like to avoid dealing with the CRAs if possible. What information/documentation do you recommend I send to the collection agency?
Consumer Protection Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

I would send them a detailed history of your discussions with the hospital and the doctor to let them know the underlying claim is no good.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Would you recommend that I address the discrepancy in the amount they are trying to collect and include a copy of the invoice I received from the doctor's office?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Or is the discrepancy in the amount sufficient to have the record removed from my report?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Are you still there?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I haven't gotten a response from you for 45 minutes. Is this discussion still active?
Consumer Protection Lawyer: insearchoftheanswer, Lawyer replied 7 months ago

Hi there. I'm so sorry....I'm never sure when a question is complete and I took a break for dinner. I apologize for any inconvenience. Yes, I would address the discrepancy and any documentation you have. And, also, let them know that you'd be willing to pay, but only if they rescind the credit reports.

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