Collections Law/debt collection for dental mistreatment
Thank you in advance for your time and advice.
I am seeking an advice about receiving a letter from collection agency about outstanding dental bill.
In October of last year my wife went to see a dentist, I should also mentioned that it her family friend, who performed few treatments. All of the basic treatments were paid by insurance. In addition one treatment involving the bridge replacement was initially paid through GE Capital Care Credit. That treatment was never completed by this doctor do to a major conflict. Basically during the initial consultation an option was suggested to my wife to include an additional tooth. It was doctor opinion that it would be a better solution. However, that was a more expensive procedure and that would involve preparing an additional tooth that was absolutely healthy. During that initial consultation that dentist submitted the paperwork to GE Capital, gave my wife forms to sign and send her home. We decided that we will not take that loan and will not go with the suggested treatment and instead will do a only what is needed. We did not signed the forms and never sent them to GE Capital. During the follow up appointment, that doctor went ahead and started preparing the healthy tooth without my wife consent. My wife stopped him when she realized that something was wrong. That led to a major conflict during which the doctor behaved rude and abusive. Later we received a bill from GE Capital. It appeared that the account was opened and paid from without my signature. As advised by GE Capital I tried to settle the issue with the doctor first and after awhile when doctor did not reply we disputed the bill and won through GE Capital.
We did not follow with the lawsuit, for few reasons, one being that none of the layers agreed to take the case on contingency basis.
That procedure was not finished by that doctor and my wife was treated at a different office. Recently we received a letter from collection agency without any prior billing statement from that dental office notifying us about outstanding balance.
My wife says that she did not sign any papers agreeing to that treatment. The amount stated in the collection letter is not quite the same as the amount we were credited back by GE Capital. My question is what should be my steps and how can I properly obtain detail information about that bill, list of services I am being bill, if possible that status of those services (treatment outcome), and the record of written and signed agreement to perform those treatments. I do not think those papers exist, but if they somehow materialize what would be your advice. Last, does the dispute that was resolved through GE Capital has any weight.
Thank you so much for your help!
I think you are asking the wrong question. The question I would be asking is:
"Why does this doctor think he has a right to be paid at all for unauthorized and medically unnecessary work that he attempted to perform in violation of the patient's direct instructions not to perform and was, in fact, stopped by the patient from performing this unnecessary and unauthorized work?"
As far as GE Capital is concerned, since the loan documents were never signed, you have no obligation to them at all. I could say I have a file cabinet full of loan documents that were never signed by a million people, that does not give me any right to payment from them.
You don't say who the Collection Agency is representing but I assume it to be the dentist and not GE Capital. My response to them would be that they are attempting to collect on a disputed claim where the doctor may have committed medical malpractice, the doctor was not authorized to perform the work he is attempting to get paid for and was in fact stopped from doing the unauthorized work as soon as the patient became aware of what was happening. If the CA wants to step into the middle of that dispute they are welcome to do so. I would also notify the Collection Atgency taht you consider the placing of this matter on your credit file to be actionable under both Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and you will file immediate suit for any infraction of either of those laws immediately without warning or notice.
I also suggest you pay a visit to a board I set up some years ago that helps you learn how to file such a lawsuit - www.debtorboards.com