I visited a plastic surgeon a couple of months ago for what I was told would be a free consultation. I did not go through with the surgery and last week I received a bill from a collection agency for over $200 for the consultation. Even when I called to schedule the consultation, I was told that it was complimentary. I've since saved a screen shot of the doctor's website advertising a complimentary consultation.What else should I do? I can't afford to pay for it and don't want it to ruin my credit.
My wife called the doctor's office pretending to be a new potential patient to find out if there are any stipulations on the visit being complimentary. They told her that the visit is free regardless of whether or not she went through with the surgery using this surgeon. I will call them tomorrow and ask them directly why they are billing me.
First thing I would do is read the fine print. It may say you have to actually follow through with the surgery to have it be free. If that is not the case, then I would file a complaint first thing Monday with your local or state consumer protection agency (look on your state's website). I would also do a screenshot or your complaint or photocopy if you did it hard copy, and send a copy to both the collection agency and the doctor (attn accounts receivable) with a note that any further contact with you will be considered harassment. Now that a collection agency has it, there is no reasoning with anyone. The only way they will back off is if you scare them off.
The doctor's office has sold this suspected debt to the collection agency.
If they tell you they are going to take you to court, welcome the invitation.
At some point they will serve you with a summons to appear in court. Make sure you go. If the collection agency calls you and says that the court date has been changed, call the court clerk and make sure, as some collection agencies will mislead you so you miss the court date.
If you miss the court date the judge will rule in the collection agency's favor.
Appear in court, state your case to the judge and demand that they show proof of the debt. They probably can't and the judge will throw out the case.
Then make sure that you contest whatever negative comments are added to your credit report.
Call them, and send the collection company a letter, explaining, keep a record of who you call when you call and what was said. If it keeps going, contact the BBB (Better Business Burue). If it still continues file a complaint with the FTC and the medical board.
Free consult is a free consult, not free if you buy.
Contact the surgeon's office.
Are you certain the consultation was not complimentary on condition you went ahead with the treatment?