Post # 1
It has been a crazy financial week for me. I swear, I am normally very responsible with money.
It started the Friday before Labor Day (so, September 2nd). I received something in the mail from my doctor, saying that I still had a balance of $60, and I needed to pay it soon, otherwise I was going to be turned over to collections. I tried calling the office right away, but they were closed for the holiday weekend.
Then, I called Tuesday, September 6th. I talked to the lady, saying I was confused. I had paid all of the bills I had received, I have always communicated with them (secondary insurance was covering their bill, so I had to wait for them to cut me a check). Apparently, I still owed $60 from a hospital bill in February. However, when she confirmed my address, they were missing part of it. I corrected the address. The lady apologized and said that they would put a note on my chart. They said they would send me a new statement, and I said that I would send in payment after that.
I received the statement on Friday afternoon. Pay day is September 15th, so I was waiting to receive my next check. Today (September 14th), I receive a letter from a collections service, saying this was their first attempt to contact me, and that I have 30 days to submit a written dispute if necessary.
What angers me is that this letter was dated September 7th–ONE DAY after I had talked to my doctor’s office! Especially since the billing address was incorrect (their fault), they were giving me more time! I have never, ever ignored a payment, I have always communicated with them. This is especially frustrating because I feel like now this has dinged my credit score.
I am calling my doctor’s office tomorrow to pay my balance and ask them to explain the situation. Can they contact the collections agency and say they were in the wrong and have this taken off of my record? Can I do anything about this?
Post # 3
If it already went to collections, the doctors office wont be able to help you. You will have to speak to the collections office.
Post # 4
@lefeymw: That is where I am a little confused…this letter seems like somewhat of a warning. I tried calling the collections agency tonight and could not get ahold of a regular person (there wasn’t even a phone number on my letter…I did some Googling). It was so confusing. I don’t know if I should write a letter and explain the situation, ask my doctor’s office tomorrow, or all of the above.
Post # 5
@keepsmiling19: I’d just pay it and be done with it. I can understand it being infuriating, but I don’t think a letter will help much. The agency won’t care and the doctor just wants their money. To my understanding (and I could be wrong) being assinged to an agency in and of itself doesn’t hurt your credit, having the past due bill that needed to be sent to a collection agency does.
Post # 6
I think it honestly depends on where you live. I had the exact same situation happen to me with an ER bill in WA state. The ER didn’t have my apartment number on file (even though their main hospital did??) and I didn’t receive my bill. I also was sent to collections. When I got the collections notice, I immediately called the ER and though not proud of it, chewed them a new one. They allowed me to pay the bill and contacted the collections agency to have me removed. I haven’t received any notices since and get monthly credit profile reports and am not in collections.
Post # 7
I used to work for a major telecommunications company up here and things got sent to collections VERY fast.
It is possible that by the the time you had made the changes with the office the letter from collections was already printed and on its way.
We had an internal collections department, PP is correct, it will only affect your credit score if the bill is past due.
Post # 8
I’ve been through hell and back with a claim to my health insurance and collections. Basically, they charged me for a month that I had already paid. I had the canceled checks and everything. After a while, even if they’re the ones wrong you just want to pay the bill to avoid unwanted letters, phone calls, and explanations about the situation over and over and over.
As far as the date, most times they are automated. Usually companies want their money right away, so they’ll send it to an internal or third party collections company as soon as they can.
If you can’t get the issue cleared soon, I’d pay the $60 and chalk it up as a loss. Better that than it turning up and affecting your credit in the long run…
Post # 9
Also, I had similar problems with getting in contact, including never being able to get through to their 800-number. I think they do that on purpose to extend the time that you’ve been out of touch to mess up your credit.
Just my little conspiracy theory. Haha.
Post # 10
During my plan time at work, I called my doctor’s office. When I spoke to the billing office, I said that I had received a letter from collections and I was concerned as I was told I had more time to pay off my account. She put me on hold for awhile and then told me that although they had called collections, they told them that they had my address incorrect, so they sent a courtesy letter (when I looked at the letter from collections later, it does in fact say courtesy on it). She said it would not affect my credit score. I went ahead and paid the bill over the phone. They are going to send me a receipt. To be on the safe side, I am going to send a copy of the receipt to the collections agency, just so they know it was paid off. I may include a letter, explaining it as well, just to be safe.
Thanks for all the advice, everyone! It has been a crazy, stressful week. I am treating myself to something nice tonight!