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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Very Small Debt in Collections

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Alabama

    Well after reading alot of the posts here, I feel really stupid asking about this, but I need an expert opinion so here goes.

    About 3 months ago I got pretty sick and went to a walk-in medical clinic to see a doctor. I usually just ride it out when I'm sick since my husband and I are self employed and don't have insurance and money is particularly tight these days, but I had a really nasty sounding cough and my husband talked me into going. I saw the doctor and they did a chest xray. Of course it's posted all over the place that people without insurance must pay immediately IN FULL, so we paid and left.....no problem.

    About a month later I get a bill in the mail for $35 and it says on the bill it's for xray services. I keep everything, so I pull out the itemized bill that we paid that day I went to the clinic and there it is, $70 for chest xray. So I send them back a copy of the bill that we paid, and wrote them a short note that it was paid for in cash the day of my visit.

    About 2 weeks later they send me that copy back with a snooty little note telling me that what I paid for was them "taking" the xray, that I still owed for the doctor "reading" the xray and that I DO owe them. Well the lack of politeness really ticked me off, so I wrote them a note back telling them that if that was the case, then they should have billed me for it that day, since the notice in the office explicitly stated that anyone who does not have insurance is required to pay their bill in full on the day of the doctor visit, which I did. I didn't hear anything for about a month and this morning when I got up I had my first collection call on the answering machine.

    I guess my question is, should I just bite the bullet and go ahead and pay these people? My husband and I don't make much money, but our credit is good and I hate to ruin mine over $35. I guess what really ticks me off is, I had no problem giving them their money that day, how can they just add charges later? When you get your car fixed, your mechanic doesn't call you up a week later and tell you that you still owe him $20 bucks for a filter. Why are they allowed to do it? I feel like that if indeed it is a valid charge, they should have put it on my bill that day. Sorry this is so long, thanks to anyone who can give any advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: VERY Small Debt in Collections

    The bottom line here is whether they billed you for it at the time of the service or waited until now, it seems to be a legitimate debt so you do need to pay it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    853

    Default Re: Very Small Debt in Collections

    Remember that paying a bill AFTER it goes to collections can result in you receiving a paid collection on your credit report. Paid collections are treated the same as unpaid collections by scoring algorithms like FICO. If you pay it, get a statement in writing that they will not report the collection at all. Simply stating that they will report as settled or paid is not good enough.

    In regards to the comment above, I do not think it is proper for a business to change a contract (even a verbal one) after the transaction is complete. If it were me, I would fight it. Start with sending a dispute letter. Send it certified mail, return receipt requested.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Very Small Debt in Collections

    The taking of the x-ray & the dr. reading it are two different bills. I would pay it but it is up to you if you want to follow divemedic's advice & fight it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Very Small Debt in Collections

    Thank you both for your suggestions. I'm still not sure what I am going to do about it.
    I agree it probably is a valid charge, my guess is they just "forgot" to add it to the bill that day. But you would think that if it was valid and they really wanted to get paid, they would have taken the time to write me a letter and explain the charge rather than scrawling a ugly note on the bill and sending it back to me. On the 2nd bill they sent, the description, cause code and everything was the same as on the first bill. Nothing on it indicated that it was any different than the first bill I paid, so I just assumed they were trying to bill me again for the same charge.

    The total of what I paid originally was $155 which was hard to come up with, I sure wasn't expecting to get dunned for more later. I guess when they said people who don't have insurance have to pay in full, I took them literally.
    I seriously thought about going ahead and paying it, then filing a complaint with the BBB against them.

    Thanks again for taking the time to read my question. This is a great site, there's so much information here.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Il.(near StL,Mo.)
    Posts
    5,252

    Default Re: Very Small Debt in Collections

    [QUOTE=Bondos007;227214Thanks again for taking the time to read my question. This is a great site, there's so much information here.[/QUOTE]

    You're welcome & thanks for the nice comment about the site - we appreciate them.

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