Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in California

A notice from a collection agency

I just received a notice from a collection agency first time regarding the medical bil for the service I had in Oct 10, 2009.

I looked into it and found that yes I received a service that day. The thing is, they never sent me a bill. So, this is something completely out of blue to me. Even if they sent a bill and I misplaced it, they never sent me a 2nd notice, ever. Aren't they supposed to send me a reminder at least? I alwasy pay on time and have had a good credit. So, I am very concerned about this. I can pay it right away online at the service provider's website but should I pay through the collection agency? I guess my real question is, what is the best approach to take from here so that I can resolve this issue smoothly and keep my good credit? I do not want to make the issue complicated. Please help me!!

Asked on 5/09/09, 11:56 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

David Gibbs The Gibbs Law Firm, APC

Re: A notice from a collection agency

First, rest assured you are not the only person to have this happen to you. Medical providers are absolutely terrible when it comes to billing. I, like you, do my best to pay every bill when it comes due, and yet from time to time I won't be billed by the provider, and the first notice I get is from a collection agency (even from friends who are doctors, and know me personally). So, the good news is that most first-blush medical collection agencies are non-reporting agencies. In other words, though it has gone to collections, they are not yet reporting it as such. I would first call the collection agency, and explain that you never received a bill. Also, ask them if they have reported this yet. If they have, you need to send a letter disputing the reporting - on the basis that you were never billed for the debt in the first place. They are not required to send a second "reminder" notice, but they do have to have billed it and you failed to pay it before they report it to the credit agencies. I would also pay it immediately directly to the provider. Then, follow that up with a call to the provider indicating it has been paid, and that you want them to contact the collection agency immediately to cease all collection activities. Good luck - I know that this is extremely frustrating, but hopefully it has not yet been reported to your credit report.

*Due to the limitations of the LawGuru Forums, The Gibbs Law Firm, APC's (the "Firm") participation in responding to questions posted herein does not constitute legal advice, nor legal representation of the person or entity posting a question. No Attorney/Client relationship is or shall be construed to be created hereby. The information provided is general and requires that the poster obtain specific legal advice from an attorney. The poster shall not rely upon the information provided herein as legal advice nor as the basis for making any decisions of legal consequence.

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Answered on 5/11/09, 12:10 pm

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