Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Virginia

Finance Charges

My dentist charges me a finance charge every month on my unpaid balance, mind you this is not a late fee this is a finance charge. No other medical or dential providers charge this fee, that i know of in this area. NEED TO KNOW for all who live payday to payday is this legal to do this and if it is why don't hospital charge these fees?


Asked on 1/30/03, 10:11 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Daniel Hawes Hawes & Associates

Re: Finance Charges

I agree with the answer already posted by Mr. Hendrickson, however I'd add that it probably isn't legal. Before treating your unpaid balance as a loan and charging interest on it, he's got to comply with a whole enormous slew of federal and state regulations, like the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act and the Virginia Consumer Finance Act; further, sending you an invoice for amounts that you're not legally required to pay (like the interest if he hasn't jumped through all the statutory hoops) is a separate violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Violation of most of these things can create civil liability for statutory damages irrespective of the amount you actually lost in the range of $500 - $1000 per violation plus attorneys' fees.

Ironically, he could charge a late fee of up to five percent of any payment due, without jumping through any hoops at all. Va. Code 6.1-330.80

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Answered on 1/31/03, 5:23 pm

Michael Hendrickson Law Office Michael E. Hendrickson

Re: Finance Charges

Why don't you ask your dentist and make known

your dissatisfaction with this practice, even

if it is quite legal?

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Answered on 1/31/03, 12:36 am

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