Don’t underestimate a BBB complaint

by ear2theshell

Had a diagnostic in a nationally recognized hospital and paid in full out of pocket the morning of the procedure. No complications during the actual procedure itself, but two weeks after I received a bill demanding payment of nearly 3x the price I was quoted, even though I already paid in full the morning of the procedure.

I called the hospital and they said someone would investigate and get back to me—nobody ever did.

I emailed their billing department (and kept screenshots) and never received a reply.

A couple months later I received a letter from a collection agency and I followed the Process You Can Follow to Deal with Each Collection from the wiki. They sent me back copies of my bill and claimed those sufficed as validation of the debt.

I filed a complaint with CFPB; the collection agency filed the bill as a reply and nothing else happened there.

I filed a complaint with my state’s department of consumer services against the hospital and they completely weaseled out of it by sending a response to someone else’s claim. When I pointed that out, they just said “all we can do is ask them to reply, if you want to take further action you need to consult an attorney.”

Finally I figured, just to make more paperwork for them at least, I filed a complaint with knowing full well they’re not a government body, but also having experienced that actual government bodies can’t do squat anyway. Lo and behold, less than a week later I received a written reply from the hospital apologizing and assuring me that the account was taken back from collections and adjusted to reflect a zero balance. I also requested a letter from the collection agency which is allegedly on its way.

Total time it took was 10 months from when I received the predatory bill to when this was straightened out but I probably gave them too much time to do the right thing in the beginning and I learned my lesson.

So the biggest lesson I got from this was don’t underestimate the weight a BBB complaint can have.

Other lessons

  1. Act fast, don’t assume they’ll do the right thing
  2. Keep records of EVERYTHING—I wrote down who gave me the quote for the procedure and the exact date/time, the quotes from other area hospitals, I had screenshots of this hospital’s pricing document which matched the price I paid in full, and my state has a tool that shows statewide averages for various procedures which I took screenshots of because this hospital’s price was on there and it’s the price I paid in full. I had screenshots of emails I sent them that weren’t answered, I had names/dates/times of people I spoke with who said they’d call back and who didn’t. I even recorded a few phone calls (check your state to make sure that’s legal).

This hospital must have an absolute mountain of cases just like mine with less assertive patients whose financial lives are utterly ruined because they don’t know how to escape from these predators. I don’t care what the shiny name says on the sign, a lot of these places are run by complete scumbags who ruin lives every day even though the buildings are allegedly built to save lives.