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CA wants to charge extra for deletion. Legal?


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Hello all,

 

New to the boards here, but I have to say the amount of knowledge that's shared is pretty amazing. I think that is awesome that everyone takes the time to help each other out as much as they can.

 

I ruined my credit years back, and I'm finally on the road to redemption. I do plan on posting my trade lines here on the boards for some insight, but I'm running short on time. So it will have to wait until another day. I do however have a question regarding the collection agency, National Account Systems.

 

I have a dental bill in the amount of $131.00 that was overlooked. My DW put the bill on the fridge and forgot about it. Subsequently the dental office sent it to collections. Now normally this wouldn't be a big deal, but my dentist and his partner had a falling out and went their separate ways. So my dentist is no longer partners at that office anymore. I called the dental office told them that I pulled my reports and seen that I forgot to pay my bill, due to the fact that the account is now in collections. I asked if I could come up to the office over my lunch break and pay it directly to them as I really didn't want to deal with the collection agency. The account manager at the dental office said she would talk to the dentist and get back to me. I explained to her that I would like to have the collection agency's negative tradeline removed upon full payment to them. A gesture of goodwill. For goodness sake, I've been going to them for years and always paid. Well she calls me back and tells me that the dentist would like me to deal with the collection agency due to the obligation he has per their agreement. However, she did say he had no problem with them removing any negative information once the account was paid. The account manager informed me that she had already called the collection agency and informed them I would be calling. She gave me the contact info for the CA and I called them as soon as I could.

 

I called the CA up and spoke to the accounts manager for the company. He told me that the dental office called, told him what had happened and that we could get everything taken care of upon receipt of full payment. He had no issues with deleting the tradeline. Now I know what everyone says on these boards "Never call a CA!" Normally I live by that mantra, but I thought this was a special circumstance due to the situation and my relationship with my dental office. So the accounts manager tells me that if I want to pay over the phone with my card he can get that tradeline deleted ASAP. So right before I pay I ask what the total cost is going to be. He proceeds to tell me that it will be $131.00 for the past due bill and a $159.00 fee to delete the negative tradeline. I asked him why he did not inform me of this before he wanted to take my payment. Then it hit me, he works for a CA, and due to my laps in judgement, I almost thought they could actually do the right thing. I told him while I understood that he is in the business to collect on the behalf of his clients, that is an extremely unethical way to conduct business. Then credit boards popped into my head, and I told the CA "Thanks for your time and have a great day!" Now I have searched the boards, but all I can find is information related to PFD. My question is this. Is what this accounts manager did illegal. To me it really felt like I was being extorted. I know...I shouldn't be surprised.

 

What I want to do is call them back and say that I have no choice but to pay their deletion fee, but I need it in writing before I pay. Something that say after receiving $290.00 the tradeline will be removed. That way I can show that the original balance will be satisfied, then the ball will be in their court to explain the other $159.00 charge. What do you all think? Sorry, first post! I will practice condensing my information! Thanks guys.

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Thanks for the info. I was wondering if the Whychat method would work for a dental bill. But what I want to know is the offer the CA made illegal or not? Are they blackmailing me by holding my credit report hostage unless I pay their requested fee for deletion of the tradeline? I know the ultimate goal is to get the tradeline removed and move on, but for myself it's about the principle. I could afford that "fee" and not be financially hurt, but what about the next person in line.

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Yeah, they want $159.00 "deletion fee" as they called it. Total scam. I'm positive on the reporting side is frowned upon, not so sure on the legal side though. That's why I wanted to try and bait them into sending a letter to me stating they would delete once I paid them what they are asking for, which is $290.00 on an original balance of $131.00. They have only had the account for 4 months, so they couldn't justify charging that much. They couldn't say "Oh, our mistake, we accidently overcharged the consumer!" I would have the letter stating it would be deleted once I paid the $290.00. IDK....maybe I'm being too ethical.

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I hear you, I don't have any guarantee. That's why I was going to ask them to send a letter previous to me paying them anything. The CA's are too greedy for their own good, and they think us consumers are salamanders. I was going to try and use this to my advantage. Play the "stupid card" if you will. I know they aren't going to write me a letter detailing the transaction, and I really don't think I would need that. Just as long as they send a letter saying pay full balance and we will delete.

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My view is this, and please, if I'm wrong or being to optimistic tell me. I plan on hanging around these boards for a long time! If they won't send a letter, I raise hell until they cave. It's only $131.00! If they do send a letter they are putting themselves in a bad position. Let's say they want to charge the $159.00 to delete the baddie, but won't put it in a letter, only the original balance. I call them once I get the letter and pay the original balance. Are they not going to take it, after saying that's what I had to pay to have it removed. On the other hand, let's say they put a balance of $290.00 in the letter. That's my ammo to file the complaints that will more than likely force them to remove anyways. I just want sure if their offer is a violation. I can tell you this. If it's not, it should be! :)

 

LKH: Don't plan on it.....LOL!

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The fact that this dentist won't take your payment directly -- and the fact that the CA is acting in a pretty reckless manner with a MEDICAL account (yes, dental is medical and fully under HIPAA protections) -- tells me you are dealing with a severed business relationship (OC & CA), at best. Which would mean your HIPAA release to the dentist is NOT covering the CA. This would mean the CA's reporting of your PHI (personal health information) is illegal. Translation: You pay NOTHING and it gets deleted, based on the violation.

 

I bet the dentist would welcome your payment THEN...eh...?

 

Go to the Medical forum. I tried to do things my own way with a bunch of medical collections last year, and I shot myself in the foot more than once.

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Thanks to all. I know I can't allow myself to get caught up in the principle behind the unethical behavior of these CA's. That's why these venues of information are great. It gives someone like myself, uninitiated to this game, the skills I need to understand and redefine what winning actually is. Thanks!

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HoustonLynne: So in this instance would I follow the Whychat method? How would one go about finding out if the CA is covered or not under my former dentists HIPPA agreement? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would think no one would willingly give out that info.

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You will know by following the Why Chat process -- that information comes (ONLY if you've followed the program step-by-step) if/when you get a response to the HIPAA medical DV. Depending on what that response is, Why Chat will tell you if it's proper validation for a health-related account in collections.

 

The subforum is run a little differently, in that you start one thread and keep all your updates in it, and Why Chat discourages others from posting in your thread. It makes it difficult for him to keep up with each individual ongoing situation. Why Chat comes along once or twice a day and personally guides each individual through the process, taking into account that each situation has its own unique needs and challenges. Just be sure to read the entire HIPAA Program Guidebook on his website, and follow ALL steps. And NOTHING should done online or by phone -- everything in writing via USPS.

The very first few steps are as follows...

1. Opt Out (well...this can be done online, of course)

2. Obtain REAL reports directly from the CRAs -- don't work from 3rd-party reports

3. Delete all old addresses from your report(s), particularly if you've moved since the date of service on the collection account

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Thanks for lending me some of your time. I have to say, when I pulled my reports several months ago I thought the world was coming to an end. I then found creditboards, and was able to witness everyone's willingness to help each other out. It's given me the attitude needed to deal with this hiccup in life. The crazy thing is that I can't stop reading. I'm so addicted to this credit repair process. Thanks everyone!

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Thanks for lending me some of your time. I have to say, when I pulled my reports several months ago I thought the world was coming to an end. I then found creditboards, and was able to witness everyone's willingness to help each other out. It's given me the attitude needed to deal with this hiccup in life. The crazy thing is that I can't stop reading. I'm so addicted to this credit repair process. Thanks everyone!

I totally relate -- I'm up at 2am because I was obsessively preparing (weeks in advance, I might add) my boyfriend's Pre-HIPAA dispute letters. That was AFTER I prepared letters to dispute the wrong addresses and spellings of his name on his reports...lol. Addicted...? That word has been used around me a time or two... :wave:

 

The most painful lessons have those times of "knowing" JUST enough to see that something wasn't right about a situation. Then I'd get all righteously indignant and puffed up -- looking around for the person I felt I could (SHOULD) offer a piece of my mind. But it turns out I didn't have enough "mind" left to keep up that wasteful venture. I usually just ended up making a WRONG move in my "right" stance...all in the name of impatience. Painful lessons, indeed...but wildly valuable, nonetheless.

 

Best advice I've heard: Credit Repair is a marathon, it's not a sprint. (And for me, it often feels like a relay race -- lots of starts and stops for rest and regrouping!) :good:

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If I could get them to put it in writing would I have to have them specifically state the separation of charges. Or, would a total overall balance required for them to delete be sufficient enough?

 

I would think to be sure it would need to be separate, otherwise they could say it was just part of their regular fees.

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http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201307_cfpb_bulletin_unfair-deceptive-abusive-practices.pdf

 

If you paid the fee, and had proof that they said they would delete, it may be seen as a deceptive practice.

 

C. Examples of Unfair, Deceptive and/or Abusive Acts or Practices

Depending on the facts and circumstances, the following non-exhaustive list of examples of conduct related to the collection of consumer debt could constitute UDAAPs. Accordingly, the Bureau will be watching these practices closely.

  • Collecting or assessing a debt and/or any additional amounts in

    connection with a debt (including interest, fees, and charges) not expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law.

Edited by funkiehouse
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If I could get them to put it in writing would I have to have them specifically state the separation of charges. Or, would a total overall balance required for them to delete be sufficient enough?

 

I would think to be sure it would need to be separate, otherwise they could say it was just part of their regular fees.

 

'Uh yes we charge a small fee to have the negative trade line removed from your credit report :rofl:

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