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Collections! Mistake! Help!

boilerette
Valued Member

Collections! Mistake! Help!

I got a call from a collections person today about an unpaid emergency room bill.  They have been sending it to the wrong address (had apartment number wrong) and it's not been paid.  I IMMEDIATELY paid the collections agency and they assured me b/c I paid now they won't report it not being paid.

 

I am also worried that the source of the bad address is the Hospital which has my wrong apartment number, how many other bills could be wrong and being returned?

 

Sould I be worried? I have 790+ credt scores and I don't need this right now.

Message 1 of 10
9 REPLIES 9
haulingthescoreup
Moderator Emerita

Re: Collections! Mistake! Help!

Did the CA tell you that they wouldn't report the collection? (It sounds like you paid them before it showed up on your reports.)

 

If so, it's quite possible that it won't get reported, but you should be on the alert. Paid collections hurt just as much as unpaid in scoring, and a new collection on a previously clean report is awful.

 

And yes, I would definitely call the hospital. ER bills rarely come in singles. There's usually at least two: one for the hospital and one for the ER doc. There might be additional ones for the radiologist, if x-rays and so forth were done, and any other specialty physician that was involved. Ask the hospital business department who else might be trying to bill you. And these others probably got your address from the hospital, so they're going to the wrong address as well.

 

If they've sent anything else out to collections, ask them to pull the collections back immediately, and then you will pay them in full. Since it's possible that the wrong address was their fault (a data entry mistake), they should be willing to do this.

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Message 2 of 10
boilerette
Valued Member

Re: Collections! Mistake! Help!

I called the hospital and they gave me the names of all the people from whom I should expect a bill.  I called all those and they said my acounts are all paid (and they also have the wrong address but I still paid the bills).

 

Yes, the CA said that because I paid it before they made a hit to my report, it shouldn't hit my report.

 

Crossing fingers... if it does, the Fit's going to hit the Shan.  I'm already sending a letter to the Doctor to tell him how displeased I am with his billing service.

 

The billing service said they tried to call me several times, well.. guess what, I only have a cell phone, and they confirmed the phone number, and none of my bills indicate them trying to call me...

Message 3 of 10
haulingthescoreup
Moderator Emerita

Re: Collections! Mistake! Help!

 


@boilerette wrote:

I called the hospital and they gave me the names of all the people from whom I should expect a bill.  I called all those and they said my acounts are all paid (and they also have the wrong address but I still paid the bills).

 

Yes, the CA said that because I paid it before they made a hit to my report, it shouldn't hit my report.

 

Crossing fingers... if it does, the Fit's going to hit the Shan.  I'm already sending a letter to the Doctor to tell him how displeased I am with his billing service.

 

The billing service said they tried to call me several times, well.. guess what, I only have a cell phone, and they confirmed the phone number, and none of my bills indicate them trying to call me...


 

Yep. My ex-husband (then husband) had a collection on two of his reports because the ER doc's billing service coded the visit wrong. The insurance company kicked it back, and instead of fixing it, they just sent it to collections. They never notified us first, and we didn't know it was there for years. Even the CA never contacted us.

 

And tracking insurance company EOB's is no help  --trying to make sense of EOB's to determine whether insurance paid everything properly is right up there with relying on newspaper horoscopes to determine daily activities.

 

Good luck! Hope it all works out for you OK.

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Message 4 of 10
boilerette
Valued Member

Re: Collections! Mistake! Help!

I hope so too. BAD BAD BAD timing.  I have proof they got the wrong address though and proof they never tried to leave voice mail or talk to me directly (perhaps they called and hung up, but that is meaningless).  Hopefully if I had to make some kind of legal case I would easily be able to.

Message 5 of 10
boilerette
Valued Member

Re: Collections! Mistake! Help!

Here's some more info... Date of service - Hospital visit was 6/14/2010.  Doctor sent to collections on 8/31/2010 (gosh, not even 90 days).  I paid collections on 10/11/10 (not even 120 days after the date of service).

 

I have heard somewhere that they can't create a collections account until after 180 days of delinquency?  Is this true? 

 

 I have no account on my credit report for my doctor indicating any late payments.

Message 6 of 10
haulingthescoreup
Moderator Emerita

Re: Collections! Mistake! Help!

OK, that is completely ridiculous...

 

I'm going to have to leave it to the experts about a time span on collections, but that is absurd! I hope you chewed the MD out on this royally. They obviously didn't even attempt to find you.

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Message 7 of 10
haulingthescoreup
Moderator Emerita

Re: Collections! Mistake! Help!

OK, that is completely ridiculous...

 

I'm going to have to leave it to the experts about a time span on collections, but that is absurd! I hope you chewed the MD out on this royally. They obviously didn't even attempt to find you.

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Message 8 of 10
boilerette
Valued Member

Re: Collections! Mistake! Help!

I read so much about "charge-offs" and such and going to "collections"... I really don't have any guidance. I almost feel like calling a lawywer or something...  I have so many questions...

 

I guess first, there's no "charge off account" on my report.  No account created by the Doctor which is 120-ish days "past due" (120 days since  service).  Does that mean that there would then be no corresponding "collection account".

 

And since I paid the collection w/o a collection account being created, would there then just suddenly be a paid collection account  posted to my report?

 

All this b/c the hospital (who photocopied my ID) entered the wrong apartment number in my record then that trickled down to the other billers.  All because of a single digit typo in their records.  And the doctor's billing company too lazy to just call me!

 

I wrote my congressman about this one and thanked him for voting for that new bill "Medical Debt Relief Act".  This sort of thing wasn't the bill's intention, but it could be applied here.

 

Nevertheless, anxiously waiting for the collector to send me my CC receipt for payment.  Then I call the doctor back to make sure everything is squared away.  I need to make this whole thing go away.

Message 9 of 10
haulingthescoreup
Moderator Emerita

Re: Collections! Mistake! Help!

I really do think that you'll be OK. * crosses fingers *

 

I once had something similar where a hospital --which was my employer, btw --sent me to collections when it turned out that my insurance wouldn't pay for a procedure, after they'd assured me that it would. Smiley Mad The CA contacted me before posting it, I paid it, and it never showed up.

 

That's not uncommon, especially with medical collections.

 

Since medical collections don't result from a classic agreement to extend credit, the way that CC's and auto loans, etc. are, you generally don't see that string of 30-60-90-120-150 before the collection. And if your doctor's office charged off the account, which is basically an internal accounting move for bookkeeping purposes, after only 2 months, that would be a bit breath-taking.

 

Good for you for writing your congressman as well. And I think I'd call back the doctor's office again today and put a flea in their ear, threatening all sorts of holy hell if this thing hits your credit reports. They are perfectly capable of leaning on the collection agency.

 

If you're still in a letter-writing mood, a polite but disappointed letter to your hospital's ombudsman wouldn't hurt, either. Yes, we're all human, and data entry errors are easy to make, but they need to be aware of the damage that can result from failing to go back and double-check their work.

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Message 10 of 10
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