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Old 10-04-2011, 07:44 PM
 
624 posts, read 1,103,294 times
Reputation: 617

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I just received a letter from a doctor that I made an appointment with over the phone. I cancelled that appointment because I found another doctor closer to my house. The appointment was made March 15...cancelled April 20...the appointment date was June 1...I received a $50.00 late cancellation charge. The office manager lied and said I cancelled this June 1 appointment on June 1, two hours before the appointment time. My phone records indicate that I never called them June 1, but that I did call them on April 20.

What do you do when the doctor is going to take me to collections because of a fraudulant charge?

What happens when the collection agency starts to hound me?

How do I fight this?

I never signed anything nor did I ever go into this office. Please advise.
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
2,190 posts, read 6,107,470 times
Reputation: 2053
Wow ... that would make me very angry.

Have you told the office manager that your phone records show that you did not call and therefore did not cancel on the 1st of June and that your phone records show that you did call on April 20th?
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Old 10-05-2011, 01:00 AM
 
103 posts, read 87,393 times
Reputation: 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbill View Post
I just received a letter from a doctor that I made an appointment with over the phone. I cancelled that appointment because I found another doctor closer to my house. The appointment was made March 15...cancelled April 20...the appointment date was June 1...I received a $50.00 late cancellation charge. The office manager lied and said I cancelled this June 1 appointment on June 1, two hours before the appointment time. My phone records indicate that I never called them June 1, but that I did call them on April 20.

What do you do when the doctor is going to take me to collections because of a fraudulant charge?

What happens when the collection agency starts to hound me?

How do I fight this?

I never signed anything nor did I ever go into this office. Please advise.
Offices that try to collect cancellation fees are ridiculous.

First of all, I don't know how in the world any doctor's office could hold someone accountable for any such thing.

I assume you did not sign anything because it seems you never saw the doctor before or even went into the office.

In any business matters, it's always best to have written records. So just draft a brief, but stern letter telling them that the charge is not legitimate, that no documentation was signed that would hold you accountable for any such charge, and that if necessary, you can produce phone records to prove them wrong. If you do indeed have such records that can be printed, put a copy in with the letter. (If they actually wanted to push the issue, they would have to prove you called on the day of the appointment, and quite frankly, even if you DID, I don't know how they could charge you for that if you did not sign anything agreeing to be liable for such a fee.)

Then tell them in your letter to cease any further attempts to collect the alleged fee and that you consider the matter closed.

The fact is, people do cancel appointments at the last minute - stuff happens and they should not be charged some silly fee for it.
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Old 10-05-2011, 06:37 AM
 
Location: In a house
13,253 posts, read 37,866,142 times
Reputation: 20198
Regardless of whether or not you "should" be charged for late fee cancellations, it is typical for doctors' offices to do so. This is because they book their patients with the assumption that it'll give them the income they need to keep everyone paid (and the doctor at the golf course on sunday morning). If you cancel last minute, they can't call someone on the waiting list and say "come in 5 minutes, we're ready for you" and expect that patient to even be home to answer the phone, let alone get to the office to fill that slot.

So - they charge a fee, to cover the fact that there is no one else taking that slot, and as a way of emphasizing how important it is to give notice when you need to cancel.

HOWEVER

That isn't what happened here. If it were me, I'd call the billing manager (not the office manager) and explain the situation without emotional attachment.

"So Donna, I got this late fee notice. I just wanted to let you know, I cancelled this appointment in April. I double-checked my phone records because I couldn't for the life of me remember ever calling in June, and it turns out I never did. My last call was April 20. So that was when I called to cancel. I hope that clears everything up!"

And that -should- be the end of it. If it isn't, then send the SAME information in writing. Via US Postal Service, return receipt requested.

Do -not- pay any collection agencies. In fact, do not even respond to collection agencies. You don't owe THEM anything, including your time. Often, a doctor will threaten you with collection on a small debt, but they won't ever follow through with it. They won't, because it usually costs them more to hire the collection service than they're owed.

I wouldn't worry about it. But I also wouldn't argue with them, or get defensive, or beligerant. Be polite, professional, provide facts, and then leave it alone.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Boonies
1,842 posts, read 2,838,740 times
Reputation: 2410
I work in a physician's office. We charge a no show fee only if you 'no show' for the second time. There is a sign in the office regarding fees for no shows and non sufficient funds. There is also a sentence in our financial policy stating as such that the new patient signs. As far as a collection agency goes, if they do not collect, we do not pay them.
My boss is not a Sunday golfer. Back in the day, you heard about doctors golfing quite a bit, but not as much now. I think most of them are more involved in their kids activities etc., at least in our area that is how it is!
If you didn't sign anything, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
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Old 10-08-2011, 08:11 PM
 
13,051 posts, read 16,114,435 times
Reputation: 15249
I'd write a return letter back to the doctor telling him that you did indeed cancel your appointment welllll in advance, and that the receptionist is the one he can bill.....I wouldn't worry about no collection agency...ignore them...if they phone, hang up....or tell the collection agency flat out that no matter how many times they call ...you're NOT paying.....that worked well for me once...
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Old 10-09-2011, 02:53 PM
 
2,676 posts, read 3,841,378 times
Reputation: 1568
Is your credit being affected by this? Even a trivial $50 charge can ding your credit badly.

I'd try to resolve it face to face as you want to protect your credit. Good luck.

It may be tempting to ignore collectors, but if it only costs $50 to protect your credit, it's easier to pay that now than get a lawyer later, even if you're not in the wrong.

There is a real opportunity cost to patients missing appointments. Doctors' offices are being run more and more like businesses and this includes having reliable collections departments.
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,874 posts, read 14,061,803 times
Reputation: 29067
These doctors' offices can be so nonsensical. My mother had an appointment in July with a doctor my brother took her to when she visited him in Chicago. There was a $40 fee payable immediately to the doctor beyond what he charged her Medicare and private insurance. She wrote a check (which she can prove was paid by her bank) AND she got a written receipt. Every month now, they send her a bill for $10 with a letter saying she owed them $40 and only paid $30. Why would she even do that? The appointment was for a consultation. She doesn't live in Chicago and will never see that doctor again, yet he's trying to wring an additional $10 from her beyond the hundreds he was already paid for a one hour consultation?

She replied to this bill both months with a photocopy of the receipt THEY GAVE HER and a note saying that her bank cashed the check for $40 she gave them. If she gets a bill in October I'm going on the warpath and I won't be as nearly as nice as she is.

She had another doctor in Tucson who kept saying he couldn't give her a test she needed because her cardiologist hadn't faxed his office a report they required. The cardiologist's nurse claimed she faxed it three times. I finally went to the cardiologist, got a hard copy of the report, drove it to the test office and asked to see the employee who kept claiming she hadn't received the report. The minute I walked into her office, I could see plain as day a report IDENTICAL to the one I was holding in my hand sitting on top of a pile of papers right beside her phone. I reached over, picked it up, and said, "THIS the report you claim to have never received." I then left and made an appointment for my mother to be seen at a different test facility.
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Old 10-10-2011, 04:07 AM
 
Location: southern born and southern bred
12,478 posts, read 15,455,376 times
Reputation: 19530
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyDay View Post
Is your credit being affected by this? Even a trivial $50 charge can ding your credit badly.

I'd try to resolve it face to face as you want to protect your credit. Good luck.

It may be tempting to ignore collectors, but if it only costs $50 to protect your credit, it's easier to pay that now than get a lawyer later, even if you're not in the wrong.

There is a real opportunity cost to patients missing appointments. Doctors' offices are being run more and more like businesses and this includes having reliable collections departments.

You are joking-right? Why should anyone pay any amount of money they do not owe? Answer: they shouldn't -ever!!! Do you realize how much money this doctor and others could make doing this fraudulent billing?? Freaking amazing. Someone try this BS with me and they will get a load of crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jukesgrrl View Post
These doctors' offices can be so nonsensical. My mother had an appointment in July with a doctor my brother took her to when she visited him in Chicago. There was a $40 fee payable immediately to the doctor beyond what he charged her Medicare and private insurance. She wrote a check (which she can prove was paid by her bank) AND she got a written receipt. Every month now, they send her a bill for $10 with a letter saying she owed them $40 and only paid $30. Why would she even do that? The appointment was for a consultation. She doesn't live in Chicago and will never see that doctor again, yet he's trying to wring an additional $10 from her beyond the hundreds he was already paid for a one hour consultation?

She replied to this bill both months with a photocopy of the receipt THEY GAVE HER and a note saying that her bank cashed the check for $40 she gave them. If she gets a bill in October I'm going on the warpath and I won't be as nearly as nice as she is.

She had another doctor in Tucson who kept saying he couldn't give her a test she needed because her cardiologist hadn't faxed his office a report they required. The cardiologist's nurse claimed she faxed it three times. I finally went to the cardiologist, got a hard copy of the report, drove it to the test office and asked to see the employee who kept claiming she hadn't received the report. The minute I walked into her office, I could see plain as day a report IDENTICAL to the one I was holding in my hand sitting on top of a pile of papers right beside her phone. I reached over, picked it up, and said, "THIS the report you claim to have never received." I then left and made an appointment for my mother to be seen at a different test facility.
There are laws to protect citizens against such. Just by virtue of them putting a stamp on that bill and mailing it is illegal since your mom clearly does not owe it. IF more people stand up and protest these actions and don't fall for their "we'll turn you over to collections" BS, this will stop.

Last edited by PippySkiddles; 10-10-2011 at 04:31 AM..
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