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Collections Law/Dealing with collection agency

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Question
I had questions you answered yesterday regarding dealing with a collection agency on medical bills. This will be the third collection agency with the same hospital. You advised me to contact the agency and tell them what I can pay and offer to send them my finances so they could see for themselves. I called today and spoke to them. They say the will not accept less than 180 monthly because I have to have it paid off in in 18 months and they can't give me a break on their account simply because I am paying other agencies even if it's all for the same hospital. I explained my situation and told him there is no way I can pay that. He then said he could offer me a discount if I could pay the balance down to a certain amount by paying 1,000 on it. I told him I do NOT have that kind of money. Then he said the only other thing he can do is to offer a one-time settlement to the hospital and he would try to get a settlement for 50% which would mean I'd have to come up with 1,600 but then would not have to pay anything else. I told him I could possibly borrow the money from my daughter who is expecting a large tax return. I am supposed to let him know for sure by Friday if I can offer. 50%, but then he told me he can't guarantee they will accept it because their normal settlement is 15%. He is the one who said 50%. I was kind of shocked he would offer that and I am kind of leery if it will be accepted. I think I can come up with the money. My question is, do you think he is on the up and up by offering me this, or is it a ploy to see how much money I can get together and then tell me they won't accept 50% but if I give him half he can get me a discount on the balance. What do you think my chances are of getting a 50% settlement?

Answer
Under the circumstances, your chances should be pretty good.  DO NOT send them a dime until they put the offer in writing.  If they call back and try to retract their offer, tell them you were acting in good faith by trying to come up with their offer and insist that they honor it.  If they refuse, tell them you will report this situation to the BBB, the Attorney General and Consumer Affairs.  You may also want to contact Legal Aid for advice should try retract their offer.  

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Ray A Miller

Expertise

I am qualified to answer questions on the following subjects: FDCPA, FCRA and HIPAA as well as medical collections, general collections and collection agency related issues. I trained these subjects at a nationwide collection agency and customer service call center and audited around 150 representatives for compliance to the laws. I have been in the Collections Industry for over 30 years. I feel that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with compassion and that is the way I trained collectors. Even though I worked for a Collection Agency, I get great satisfaction in helping those who have been mistreated or in need of help with these confusing issues.

Experience

I was the Compliance Administrator with a nationwide collection agency and customer service call center-I have trained hundreds of collectors on the above referenced topics. I have been in the medical collections industry for over twenty years and research these topics on a daily basis.

Organizations
ACA International

Education/Credentials
Some college ACA Certified Collection Specialist

Past/Present Clients
I am retired due to medical conditions and spend a good deal of time keeping current on collection issues.

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