08-28-2013 10:06 AM
I got a call yesterday from (I believe) a collection service that wanted to identify me and then stated I owed a hospital over $5,600 for a surgery done in 2008; and just what did I want to do to about settling this matter?
I said "WHAT???" and she claimed I owed the money. I did have a surgery in 2008, but paid a deductible up front. This surgery was massive, and I spent 14 days in ICU to correct scoliosis. It wasn't successful and I am 100% disabled today, living on social security disability.
At the time she called my daughter and granddaughter were visiting so I said I couldn't talk and got a number and extension to return her call.
Things were foggy after that surgery, I was on heavy meds for a year and a half. I do remember something about a call about 6 months after the surgery (after I lost my job and had only California disability to live on) where someone said I owed an additional sum (I can't remember what that was). After talking to this individual, I remember her saying my case certainly qualified for hospital "charity" and it would be submitted. I never hear another word from them either by phone or mail. I have moved, but always had a forwarding order with USPS.
Fast forward 5 plus years and I get this call.
What's really troubling is - in the first time in my life I will be getting a small settlement from a lawsuit, due to be disbursed in November, of which I want to put a small down on a condo for my own place. OMG what a horrible time to get a call like this - it could wreck my credit and possible ruin my chance of buying a condo - I was going to do an FHA loan with 3% down.
I don't know what to do - call her back and tell her the hospital said I was my situation qualified for their charity program and that was the end of it - or hide and ignore it, or contest it? I do believe I did have a balance after all was said and done because the hospital said so during this charity phone call. But over 5 years later I hear from a collection company? That's crazy - I have never changed my phone number, anyone could have contacted me at any time.
The timing couldn't be worse. Help??
08-28-2013 10:27 AM
The very first thing I would want to know is who now owns the debt.
The debt collector could either be acting as a collection agent of the current owner, or could have acquired the debt.
If the hospital has sold the debt, they no longer have any authority to excuse it or to report it as paid.
The call by the debt collector was an initial communication with the consumer, which automatically triggered their requirement to send you dunning notice within 5 days, so you should be receiving a written collection notice that must, among other things, advise you of the current owner.
You can wait for that notice, or you can immediately send them a DV, which will place an immediate cease collection bar on them until such time as they have provided verification of the debt. That extends to credit reporting, and thus will give a temp reprieve from the reporting of a collection until they provide debt verification.
08-28-2013 11:27 AM - edited 08-28-2013 11:30 AM
A DV is a request by a consumer for the debt collector to provide debt validation (DV), which includes a statement that they have investigated the debt, and state that they have reasonable basis for affirming that it is legitimate, and that you are the obligated consumer. It also requires, if requested, that they name the origihal creditor, and provide an itemization of the asserted debt.
They are required to send you a formal collection (dunning) notice within 5 days of any initial communiation with you regarding their collection on the debt.
In that dunning notice, they must advise you of your right to request debt verification, and if you do so within 30 days of their dunning notice, they must cease further collextion on the debt until such time as they have provided the requested debt validation (DV).
If you send a DV either before they send dunning notice, or within 30 days after receiving dunning notice, it invokes an automatic cease collection bar on them, which includes any reporting of their collection to a CRA. They can send the requested validation at any time, and then immediately report or resume any collection activities.
08-28-2013 12:14 PM
I ran their phone number and it came up as Devine and Service, a collection company for hospitals. It would seem they may hold ownership of that debt, but they don't know my current address.
I expect another call from them, or they may be able to just look up my address - I don't know. It seems like it would be wise to wait for their letter, then send the letter, to afford as much time as I can.
Is there a form letter of some kind I can copy? In the meantime, I don't want to avoid it, but they need to understand I was told the hospital charity would take care of the debt, which I believe was about $1,900 - I looked back on some notes from 2008. $5,600+ is just crazy - I got no notification from the hospital after that point whatsoever; either by phone or mail. I truly thought it was taken care of.
Either way, I have a lease until Jan. 31st so even if I got pre-approved for a loan and managed to close by the end of the year, this could definitely pop up in the meantime to cause a problem. Mortgage lenders don't want to see this sort of thing.
08-30-2013 01:02 PM - edited 08-30-2013 01:04 PM
I called the hospital and they said I never filled out paperwork for a charity dismissal. I never received one! And, didn't know it required one. Additionally, they say they have 'notes' that they contacted me several times about this. This is simply not true. There was the one conversation in January of 2009 and that's it. Never received a bill, no other phone calls after the charity call.
Additionally, I find out there is a statute of limitations on collection of a hospital debt in CA of 4 years. I am now in Illinois (since 2010).
I do understand that has to do with a lawsuit and not someone ruining your credit with a collections matter, but would it apply here at all?
I will send that letter you mentioned, but after contacting the hospital, I am sure they sold the debt.
I once paid a credit card company a lesser amount than owed, with the promise that it would be removed from my credit report. Never happened. If I agree to make payments to these b*st*rds, or settle for a lesser amount, could that be an enforceable stipulation?
I want to purchase a condo and be able to close by January of 2014 - this could potentially wreck matters. Any help is appreciated.
09-02-2013 10:54 AM
Well, I'm not receiving any replies to this problems that is keeping my awake at night. I did obtain a copy of a DV letter from this forum (thank you!) and in it requests:
• Provide proof that Debt Collection • Signed credit application between myself and the original creditor
• Copies of all signed vouchers from the date account was opened until default
• Copies of all statements from the date account opened until default
• Proof of the statute of limitations in __________
• Proof of agreement that you were hired by the ___________ (“creditor” as defined by the FDCPA) or
• A copy of the contract wherein ___________________ purchased the alleged debt.
• If the alleged debt was purchased, provide a copy of an agreement between ______________ and myself, signed by me, stating that I have a contractual responsibility to _______________for the alleged debt
•Company Name is bonded/Licensed for debt collecting in the State of ________
I do hope all of the above is required by the code section mention in the DV Letter, in fact I am counting on it. Another post from an individual with a similar problem stated that the CA doesn't have to provide you with this information.
I am very confused about this portion of Fair Credit and Report Act section. I am going to read it myself so I'm fully educated.
Any and all responses - thanks in advance! I'm truly losing sleep over this - the phone calls started Aug. 29th so I would expect to receive a letter from them within 5 days?
09-02-2013 11:13 AM
09-02-2013 01:13 PM
What does that mean?
May I ask if I should send them a differently worded debt verification letter? Is there a different type of letter?
I'm very confused about what avenue to take. I found a note that I had a conversation with the hospital and they were going to send a charity application. I never received a charity application - ever - I would have known if I had and filled it out. I suppose I was so sick, I didn't notice the lack of it. I was housebound and bed-bound for almost a year after that two part back surgery to correct scoliosis - it was massive. Just keeping up with the medical aspect things took all my energy - so my bad if I failed to notice I didn't get an application.
I read the statue of limitations to collect a debt is 4 years. Does none of that count? Any advice is appreciated.
09-02-2013 03:10 PM
"You have reported a debt to my credit report, account #______. Per FDCPA 809 please validate. Also include the name and address of the OC and an itemization of the alleged debt".
That's it, simple and to the point.
SOL is the state law that says how long a creditor/CA is given to bring suit against you. If it has expired, you would use that in court as an affirmative defense.