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heyscotttt

Seeking advice against abusive debt collector.

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I was contacted yesterday by a collection agency located in New Hampshire. I currently live in Massachusetts and the woman I spoke to broke numerous FDCPA laws on the phone. I simply tried to explain to her that a medical debt she was collecting I had disputed before and wished to continue to dispute until they provide me more information as I had health insurance and paid all of my co-pays. She got irate on the phone and told me I can't dispute it and I legally owe this now because it's past the time to file with insurance. She told me one of them is reporting to my credit report and the other two will be soon. I told her I wished to continue to dispute until I am provided information or media. She told me she wasn't going to put it in a dispute and said collection activity will continue on the account. I said "you're telling me on a recorded line you're not going to put my account in dispute and are going to continue to collect on this?" This is when she laughed at me told me to have a good day and hung up on me. My question is I know she violated the law numerous times during the phone call but is there any leg to stand on if I attempted to sue for FDCPA violations on the call? I have already placed complaints on the BBB and attorney general of their state as well as sent a e-mail to their compliance department advising that I will not be treated this way and intend to push forward with complaints against the company.

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Here is the problems I see so far:  the amount of information required to validate with you is so low you can trip over it.  In order to be in compliance with the FCDPA they only need to supply the amount they allege you owe along with the name and address of the provider you got care from and that is IT.  There is NO requirement that they provide "media" what ever that is.

 

For your dispute to be valid it must be in writing and within 30 days of the first time they contacted you about this account.  If this is not the first time you have had contact about this account and you have received the information I mentioned above then they can continue to collect.  They can report it to the credit bureaus and only have to note that you dispute the amount.

 

You need to contact your insurance company and get the EOMB (estimation of benefits) for the services these bills are for.  While you may have paid the co-pay at the time of service not all services are subject to only the co-pay.  It is possible that some or all of the visit was applied to a deductible or that the claim was denied for some reason and you do still owe the provider.  You as the insured are responsible for any amount the insurance does not cover.  If the EOMB indicates you do not owe any money you have a much stronger argument.  If the EOMB indicates you do still owe the provider you can make arrangements to pay the bill and settle this.

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Here is the problems I see so far:  the amount of information required to validate with you is so low you can trip over it.  In order to be in compliance with the FCDPA they only need to supply the amount they allege you owe along with the name and address of the provider you got care from and that is IT.  There is NO requirement that they provide "media" what ever that is.

 

For your dispute to be valid it must be in writing and within 30 days of the first time they contacted you about this account.  If this is not the first time you have had contact about this account and you have received the information I mentioned above then they can continue to collect.  They can report it to the credit bureaus and only have to note that you dispute the amount.

 

You need to contact your insurance company and get the EOMB (estimation of benefits) for the services these bills are for.  While you may have paid the co-pay at the time of service not all services are subject to only the co-pay.  It is possible that some or all of the visit was applied to a deductible or that the claim was denied for some reason and you do still owe the provider.  You as the insured are responsible for any amount the insurance does not cover.  If the EOMB indicates you do not owe any money you have a much stronger argument.  If the EOMB indicates you do still owe the provider you can make arrangements to pay the bill and settle this.

Thank you for your reply.

 

The woman I spoke to yesterday told me, "'you cannot take it up with insurance because it's now in collections and I have to pay the balance because they won't" I don't know if that is a true statement or if she's just blowing steam at me. The fact she told me that I am not able to dispute this debt now is that not false and misleading? I do understand it would be in writing but she is telling me that I cannot dispute it and have to pay it.  She also threatened to put the other 2 accounts that are not yet showing up on my credit report on there if I didn't pay it.

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Have you checked this CA out to make sure they are legit?

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@heyscotttt

 

Have they ever sent you a collection letter for the debt?

Well she started off the conversation by asking if I am still receiving mail at ******** (gave me old address) I said no. she said is that your old address? I said yes, then she didn't ask or try to update the wrong info and started to hammer into the debt I owe and it needing to be paid right now.

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@heyscotttt

 

So you've never received a letter, correct?  I wouldn't speak to them on the phone again unless you can record the conversation.  Even then, you have to make sure you live in a 1-party state that doesn't require that you inform them that the call is being recorded.

 

  If they haven't sent you a letter, they owe you one that contains the 30-day validation notice. 

 

You can tell them that you dispute the account.  If they report it to the CRAs, it must be reported as disputed.  But for debt validation purposes, you have to send a letter within 30 days of receiving their first collection letter.

 

Right now, it's only your word against theirs as to what has taken place.  Unless you're willing (and the law allows) to record the conversation, I wouldn't speak to them again.  Wait for a letter.  If they call again, and leave a voice mail, they must identify themselves and state that the call is an attempt to collect a debt.

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The woman I spoke to yesterday told me, "'you cannot take it up with insurance because it's now in collections and I have to pay the balance because they won't" I don't know if that is a true statement or if she's just blowing steam at me. 

 

This should be a giant red flag to get that EOMB as I said in my first reply because it appears that your carrier denied the claim.  This is where SO many patients make the mistake of simply assuming it was paid and ignoring the situation.  There is a limited time to appeal a denial of a claim and by not addressing why bills are being sent from collection agencies they lose that right to appeal.  The lady just may be right depending on how old the claim is you may not be able to address it with the insurance company because too much time has passed.

 

The fact she told me that I am not able to dispute this debt now is that not false and misleading? I do understand it would be in writing but she is telling me that I cannot dispute it and have to pay it. 

 

It is a vague violation at best right now and it is your word against hers.  Had the conversation been recorded you would have a better claim.

 

She also threatened to put the other 2 accounts that are not yet showing up on my credit report on there if I didn't pay it.

 

If you have two other accounts in collections with them and don't want them on your credit report I would get in touch with the provider ASAP and make arrangements to pay the provider for those other accounts.  The CA can legally report other accounts that they have as well as the one she called you about.  All they have to do is report that you dispute the accounts.

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@heyscotttt

 

So you've never received a letter, correct?  I wouldn't speak to them on the phone again unless you can record the conversation.  Even then, you have to make sure you live in a 1-party state that doesn't require that you inform them that the call is being recorded.

 

  If they haven't sent you a letter, they owe you one that contains the 30-day validation notice. 

 

You can tell them that you dispute the account.  If they report it to the CRAs, it must be reported as disputed.  But for debt validation purposes, you have to send a letter within 30 days of receiving their first collection letter.

 

Right now, it's only your word against theirs as to what has taken place.  Unless you're willing (and the law allows) to record the conversation, I wouldn't speak to them again.  Wait for a letter.  If they call again, and leave a voice mail, they must identify themselves and state that the call is an attempt to collect a debt.

Thanks for the reply but how are they going to get a letter to me since I already confirmed they have my old address to them and they didn't ask for my new one?

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@heyscotttt

 

Is your new address publicly available?  Is it on your credit report?  If so, they should be able to get it.

 

If you want to answer one more time just to provide your new address, you can, but don't get into a fight with them.  Again, if your state is a 1-party recording state, I'd record the conversation and make sure the date and time of the recording is noted.

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