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Contributor
Posts: 97
Registered: ‎05-29-2012
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Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?

I called Berks Credit and Collections today to request an itemized statement for a medical bill.  The amount of the bill is $139.00 and it's for WomenCare OBGYN.  The bill was placed for collection with Berks in 2010. 

 

The representative told me that the account is no longer with Berks and was written off by the original creditor on 10/12/2012.  Berks also advised me that the trade line will be removed from my credit report in 15 - 30 days.  

 

What should I do now?  Should I contact the original creditor and request a statement of account or just let this go?  Thank you for reading my post and taking the time to help me.  This site has been so helpful in my quest towards a stronger credit score.

 

Epic Contributor
Posts: 20,332
Registered: ‎03-19-2007
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Re: Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?

The ability to request verification of a debt is provided only for debt collectors, not original creditors.

You can certainly contact the OC and request an itemization, but there is no statutory provision to do so under either the FCRA or FDCPA.

 

I would first suggest finding out who now owns the debt.  The OC may still own it, or it may have been sold to a debt collector.

If the OC still owns the debt, you may be able to secure deletion of any reporting they have made via a PFD offer.  You may also be able to forstall their possible referral to another debt collector.

If the OC has sold the debt, then the new owner can report at any time, and you can no longer make any payment offers to the OC.

If you do find that a new debt collector has become involved, try to get their address and send them a DV before they report.

 

Contributor
Posts: 97
Registered: ‎05-29-2012
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Re: Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?

Thank you so much for the great advice.

Established Member
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-20-2012
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Re: Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?

Are you using a credit monitoring service?  if not, you might consider this.

 Sometimes, debts get sold 3-4 times within a small period of time and no one reports, depending upon the amount and the age.

  If I found out a CA or JDB owned it, I would wait for them to contact me.  Why?  It's possible that they could violate the FDCPA and give you leverage in getting them to delete it.  To this end, I would record any phone calls between you and them, voicemails,  and save any written communications.  

  Back in June, I had a firm called Gravano Mattrey & Mayner call me about a defaulted payday loan.  They failed to identify themselves as a debt collector, they never sent me a dunning letter within 5 days of our initial contact, and when I requested an address for validation, they said the debt was validated when the payment failed to clear through the bank.

  I'm now preparing to sue this CA.  

Contributor
Posts: 97
Registered: ‎05-29-2012
0

Re: Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?

I see your point.  The dollar amount is actually $114 but Berks posted the trade line for $139 because they charge a $25 collection fee.  Plus, the representative at Berks said that the OC wrote the debt off last week and told her personally that they weren't going to collect on the debt anymore.  I think I should wait this one out and see what happens next.  I hope the trade line is removed, as I was told by the Berks representative, and it doesn't reappear later.  It's almost 4 years old.

Established Member
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎07-20-2012
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Re: Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?

Is it past the SOL in your state? That will also give you leverage in case you want to negotiate a PFD.  Additionally, the longer the TL, the less impact it has on your score.

 

However, in case it's not removed, you should investigate:

 

1. Is Berk licensed to collect in your state?  Some states require this.

2. Does the contract allow them to add fees or interest? The collector can't add on any extra fees that your original credit or loan agreement doesn't allow. [15 USC 1692f] § 808(1).

 

Both of these are FDCPA violations.

Contributor
Posts: 97
Registered: ‎05-29-2012
0

Re: Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?

Berks is licensed to collect in my state.

Your point about Berks adding the fee is a great one. I never thought of that although I felt it was a bit strange.
Contributor
Posts: 97
Registered: ‎05-29-2012
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Re: Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?

It is past the SOL for my state. ^__^

Thank you for your post.
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 32,869
Registered: ‎08-04-2007
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Re: Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?


Zach76 wrote:

However, in case it's not removed, you should investigate:

 

1. Is Berk licensed to collect in your state?  Some states require this.

2. Does the contract allow them to add fees or interest? The collector can't add on any extra fees that your original credit or loan agreement doesn't allow. [15 USC 1692f] § 808(1).

 

Both of these are FDCPA violations.



I'll disagree on the licensing issue. Licensing isn't addressed in the FDCPA since it is a state or states issue (dual states can mandate licensing via the location of the collecting office and via the location of the debtor...YMMV on state law of course).

 

I think most, if not all, states do include a default rate within the law which makes it permissible under the FDCPA. I'm in the Commonwealth of VA and a creditor and other debt-holders can charge interest even if the interest isn't addressed within the contract itself. The default rate here is 18%.

Epic Contributor
Posts: 20,332
Registered: ‎03-19-2007
0

Re: Berks Credit & Collections medical bill. What to do now?

[ Edited ]

+1

The citation of FDCPA 808(1) as to its limitation on amounts a debt collector may pursue was incomplete.  It  says that a debt collector cannot collect any amounts not specifically authorized in the account agreement that created the debt, or collection of the amount is not otherwise "permitted by law."

 

If any provision of your state law permits a debt collector to collect amounts other than those specifically authorized in the account agreement, they have not commited a violation of FDCPA 808(1). 

 

You can certainly challenge their collection of the additional fee, but I would not assert a blatant violation of the FDCPA until you have all the facts.

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