This is for debt collection in the state of Florida (although the debt was incurred while staying in TX).
Background: In March of 2008 I took my child to the ER while visiting Texas. I later moved to Texas temporarily (May 2009 - Feb 2009), but I moved back to the same exact address in Florida February of 2009. The address is my parent’s house, and it's my permanent residence for all finances. They certainly would have told me if I received a bill.
Anyway, I recently pulled my credit report and saw the debt, which was reported 10/2008 to all three credit reports. To get to the bottom of it, I called the hospital 8/6/2010 and they had no record of any debt. I told them the alleged debt on my report was "Emergency Physician Group" so they gave me the number. I called them, and the manager said since it was an "out-of-state" insurance, their group didn't accept it and wouldn't submit it. (Supposedly they sent bills to my Florida address, which they had, but with a "subdivision" listed as the city and an incorrect zip.)
The original creditor suggested I call the collection agency for an itemized print-out because they turned everything over to them. The OC gave me the collection agency’s number, and I called the same day. They said I needed to pay the bill in full, NOW. Once I said I needed the itemized bill and proof the debt wasn't paid, they said they'd send it. The rep knew my address, as she told me I was sent collection notices to my (same) Florida address during 2008 - and she even had the city/zip correct unlike the OC. It has been a week and nothing - I've not received the bill or a call. But today I got a recorded message "collection attempt" call from an unknown agency. I googled their company and found NUMEROUS rip-off/harassment/bogus debt complaints. It made me wonder, especially because I have no new debt and the debt I have has been resolved through either through full payment or payment arrangements.
I looked up the collection agency on Florida's Financial Regulation website. They have been reporting the alleged debt for almost two years. And now they asked me to pay, which I believe is an attempt to collect? They are bonded in TX (no license required), but their Florida license expired 12/31/2005, even BEFORE they started reporting it and trying to collect here in Florida.
So here are my questions:
1) Can they "pass" the debt to shady agency after I ask for the itemized bill and proof of debt?
2) Can they collect in Florida, even if the bill was created in Texas?
3) Do I dispute it, write them a letter asking for proof of their right to collect debt in my state, wait it out...??
LESSON LEARNED: I now have credit monitoring, but it's a little too late.
Thanks in advance for any answers/advice. Also, I have another post (unanswered) about Medical Debt and a collector who disclosed PHI if you have any suggestions for that, too!