View Full Version : OT: Collection Agency!! I need help pleeeaaasseee...
I am so angry right now. I got a letter in the mail from a damn collections agency telling me I owe them $145.
Here's the story...
I went to a doctor last November for problems with my shoulder. She in turn suggested I use a machine called a TENS unit. It basically sends electrodes into the muscle. I was told by 2 people from this company that my insurance covered the unit and the supplies at 100%. To which I verified 2 to 3 times with them and they said yes.
Well insurance did pay for the unit and to my knowledge has been paying for the medical supplies. Until yesterday when I get this from the collections agency. Then I called my ins comp. last night and he said that these idiots have been putting in the wrong code! Can you believe that? Why didn't my ins. comp. send them something saying it was the wrong code?? What am I supposed to do?
These idiots didn't even try to call me before sending it to the C. A. Who does that? They call me every month to see if I need more supplies don't you think they would stop sending them until I paid them??
This is going to completely ruin my credit. I tried calling my doctor, no help there. I tried calling the morons who are doing this to me, no answer. I got a number from my doctor who showed my how to use it and she said that these people take up to 3 weeks to get back to you!! I can't wait 3 weeks. So she said she's going to email them but that too will take a while.
Should I try calling the C. A. and see what they say? They really don't have anything to do with this other than collecting my money, which they aren't going to get.
This always happens to me, why does god hate me so much...I'm feeling sorry for myself right now. :crying:
09-29-2006, 11:18 AM
Keep trying to contact the idiots and let the Collection Agency know that you are disputing the validity of the debt. Then keep doing the other things you are doing.
Jane is right, also. The CA should be able to give you more information.
Hugs, hope this sorts itself out soon. :heart: :heart: :heart:
09-29-2006, 11:19 AM
Okay this one thing isn't going to completely ruin your credit. Every collection letter SHOULD have a note on there saying that if we do not hear from you within 30 days we will assume that this collection is valid (or something along those lines.)
Write a letter with your complete explanation. They have to prove to you that it is valid. Send it to everybody under the sun to completely cover yourself and send it signed receipt required. The shipping will cost more but it will be worth it in the end. It shouldn't end up on your credit report unless you just ignore the demand for payment. I would be curious as to who sent that to the agency without ever sending you a bill for the difference.
I would also be curious as to whether the letter ACTUALLY says that it is a demand for collection or something like that. A lot of times collection agencies are also factoring companies. Factoring companies will buy the receivables from places like Dr. offices which makes them responsible for getting the payments and they get a percentage of whatever they collect. In those cases it isn't about being a "collection agency" so much as it is just about being who you send the payment to.
Any way you look at it, if this is the first letter you received you aren't in trouble yet.
09-29-2006, 11:29 AM
DON'T CALL THE COLLECTIONS AGENCY!
Call the billing office at your doctors. Think--Calm, cool, collected (no pun intended) Tell them that since they have been billing the wrong code, THEY need to remove your name from collections and send you a letter stating their action. Hopefully you have a record of all of the phone calls and letters you've sent to try to work with them. Give them a heads up that the insurance company will be calling in a few minutes--make sure they are not going to lunch, closing early, etc.
Then, call your insurance company. Be sweet. Tell them that you KNOW it's not their mistake, but the doctor's office. Ask the insurance company to make a three way call to the billing office at the doctor and confirm that the correct code was used. I've even asked the doctor's office to fax the information to the insurance while I was on the phone so that I knew it was received.
Hopefully, problem solved. No credit dings, no payment necessary. I learned this technique from a social worker who helped many elderly clients work through insurance nightmares. I also was sent to collections for a billing error--the @?&*$ idiot in billing was biling RANDOM insurance companies, wrong address, wrong tax ids, etc I was about to go into her office and file it myself!
09-29-2006, 11:40 AM
Her doctor's office is not using the wrong code, the medical supply company is. She has tried contacting them with no success.
There were a lot of good points in projectgal's advice, though. Thanks for posting! I'll remember that if I ever need it.
09-29-2006, 11:59 AM
Sorry about your problems. I'm not clear on whether or not the insurance company did tell them to recode it. If they didn't find out why not or at least the right code and then notify the TENs company, not the collection agency. If all else fails call the Attorney General. He is very responsive in this type of situation. The insurance commission is also very responsive and might get you a quicker response. If you think it would help, I would be glad to send along a letter to the collection agency (I'm a lawyer in CT).
09-29-2006, 12:02 PM
umm... I think I get a tiny bit emotional about this subject and I think I transferred my situation to dog lovers before I finished reading the post! :doh: It must have been the 2 years I spent trying to work out a particular bill.
The three-way calling might work if you can actually speak to a human at the medical supply company!
Collection agencies scare me. You never know if you are going to get someone professional who is willing to work with you to or a complete ^*%&^%.
Thank you all for the advice. This actually happened last night and I was much more livid than I am today.
I may take you up on your offer if this gets completely out of hand, not that it hasn't already. Thank you.
I actually had a similar situation with my physical therapy (for my damn shoulder) a couple of yrs ago. Turns out my ins comp. did pay all the claims but the stupid women on the other end wasn't showing that it was paid and I got this wonderful man at my ins. comp. who did the 3-way calling and it all got worked out, but since these morons apparently don't like to fix things quickly or answer their phones, then I'm thinking that'll be the wrong road to go down.
You're right this is what it says on the back of the CA letter:
"Unless you notify this office w/in 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the valididty of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will assume this debt is valid. If you notify this office in writing within 30 days from receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will obtain verification of the debt or obtain a copy of a judgement and mail you a copy of such judgment or verification. If you request this office in writing w/in 30 days after receiving this notice this office will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor."
This would never have gotten this far if they had just called me, why didn't they call meeeee. I hate people.
09-29-2006, 12:46 PM
I can't offer advise as its the US legal / credit system and I think its probably very different to here - however what I will say is call the collections agency and explain to them what has happened.
I had a collections agency regularly send me a letter over the course of the last 5 years to claim an outstanding debt that wasn't outstanding at all. I eventually got somoene at the debt collection agency who said "xxxx yyyy company ahhh yes my favourite company of them all" he was being sarcastic and he was totally sympathetic. He said they do this a lot - their billing department are incompetent and that I should just forget about it - he would deal with it.
The next thing I knew I got a letter from the company saying "sorry to hear you are closing your account with us - is there anything we can do to keep you as you have been a loyal customer for 8 years" :rofl:
Anyway, I'd explain it all to the debt collection people and tell them you are on to it and trying to get it resolved but it could take 3 weeks for the people your doc has contacted to respond. They should be sympathetic. One thing I learned during a period of debt was that if you keep them informed, stay in touch and try to stay calm they will be understanding and helpful and likely give a bit more time.
09-29-2006, 01:27 PM
This would never have gotten this far if they had just called me, why didn't they call meeeee.
Actually, I'd rather get a letter than a phone call. I've had to change my phone number, due to collectors calling the wrong number :grrr:
A few years back a magazine that really wanted me to renew my subscription sent my "account" to a CA. I just sent the CA a letter demanding that they show me written proof that I'd agreed to resub, and that I had never intended to resub, etc. Never heard from them again and my credit report was fine. BTW, I sent my letter via certified mail w/a return receipt. That receipt is considered a legal document in court.
I worked in collections waaaay back in 1989 and, believe me, the CA's bark is worse than their bite. Lousy job....glad I didn't have to stay long.
So, my advice (FWIW) is to document everything, make copies, etc. and deal with the CA in writing. Overall, this should turn out to be a minor annoyance in the scheme of life :wink:
09-29-2006, 01:39 PM
I used to do the billing for a physical therapy office. There are some insurance companies that simply don't like to pay. We'd get the whole we didn't bill with the right code thing all of the time. It was actually the insurance company round filing everything. I'd get copies of the HCFA 1500 so that you can see what code is being used. This way at least you'll know. I think it stinks that the billing company didn't give you a heads up before sending it to the CA. Do contact the CA in writing about this, though. Otherwise it becomes a nightmare. At least if you dispute it, it's not so bad. Good luck!
Hi again everyone!!
Well I sent another email and left another message with this woman and it apparently worked. (yeah, right :roll: ) Another woman phoned me to tell me that they were taking care of everything. Huh?
She said that it was a computer error on their part. It apparently never made it to a human being before it was sent to the C.A.? Who does that? The charges were for the shipping and handling and sales tax for the medical supplies. Can they do that? My ins. comp. was apparently not paying those charges.
I have no clue if she was giving me a line of b.s. but I got her name and her direct line in case anything else happend. I still have 2 outstanding charges and we'll see what happens with them. Doesn't the term 100% covered include sales tax and s/h?? My hubby's diabetic supplies are completely covered and they come from CA.
Thank you to everyone for you advice. I'm glad I was able to vent this out because I felt much better after reading all of your posts. It's good to have them for any future screw ups.
BTW, I'm not ordering any more supplies from them either. I've learned my lesson.
It's a good thing we're going to WEBS tomorrow, I'll be able to chill and relax for a whole day and forget about this whole mess.
09-29-2006, 04:36 PM
:cheering: :cheering: :cheering: I hope things continue to go well! :hug:
09-29-2006, 04:47 PM
Keeping fingers crossed all works out just fine.