[NOTE that comments reported in this section may have originally been made under another subtopic. Similarly, comments originally made on this subtopic may be reported in another, more relevant section. Information in parentheses comes from commenter response to interest survey; the “servicemember” designation may apply to the commenter or someone in their family. Numbers in parentheses for industry-perspective commenters refer to number of people involved in debt collection in the firm.]
"The price of paper (bad debt) varies depending on the collectability of the debt based on info known about the debtor and also varies based on the amount of documentation purchased from the original creditor. Most debt buyers only pay for a couple of recent credit card statements. They may provide a ‘bill of sale’ but these never identify a specific account being sold and reference a master purchase contract which is never provided." (attorney who defends consumer debt collection suits)
"I work in healthcare and believe there should be standardization. …I had a MRI, received the insurance EOB and paid the balance. That should have been the end of it. Two plus years later I receive a notice for the balance, which should have been the contractual allowance. When I called the collection agency all they knew was that the MRI business had closed and turned my balance over to them as bad debt. They were able to see both the insurance and my payment. However, since they didn't have the insurance EOB, they suggested that I contact the insurance company and obtain a copy. Why is it the consumers responsibility to chase down information, it feels like I am doing their job. There should be standards for turning over collections to a agency. If the provider is going to send a bill to bad debt, they should have to supply a file with all the information. In this case, the claim and itemization (1500 and/or UB) the insurance EOB and/or COB and all notes pertaining to the claim. Maybe having to provide all the required documentation would allow the provider review the claim to determine whether the balance is the patient's responsibility." (consumer)
"A recent case filed by the Colorado Attorney General in the District Court 11/25/2013 against four entities encompasses what is wrong from selling debt by two financial banks, to a debt buyer, and then collection by an agency and law firm on why oversight/rules/actions must take place and should have been in the past. Two important points. First the complaint is an allegation as of now. The second is the complaint isn't representative of the number of debt buyers and collection agencies/law firms in my opinion. It does reflect why rules must be established and enforced against those who do not conform to the laws and regulations. It also shows the need of better controls and due diligence by banks who sell accounts and be held accountable even though the accounts change ownership. It is long overdue to place accountability and responsibility to bad players, and include individuals who manage the enterprises from start to finish." (debt collector; <20)
"I am currently going through a miserable experience with a creditor and debt collector. In 2004 I completed my college education and consolidated all of my student loans through Nelnet. In 2005 (or so) I started to get calls from debt collectors stating that I was delinquent on my loan repayment. I explained the situation that I had made all of my timely payments through Nelnet and, before I would pay anything else, I would need to see some proof of the debt. I never received any proof of the debt and this conversation reoccurred several times for the next five years. In 2011 I wanted to buy my (wife’s) dream home. It was a significant purchase and the bankers I talked with indicated I needed to clear up the student loan issue to be approved. I reached out to the original creditor and the debt collector and begged for some proof of the loan. They then provided me with a loan application (nothing to indicate that the application was approved or that any funds were ever dispersed to me). While I was not comfortable with the proof, I knew that fighting it out in court would take longer than I was willing to take. So, I was very purposeful in my conversations with the original creditor and the debt collector to make sure that the issue would be cleared on my credit report if I paid the full value of the (alleged) loan. I also recorded the conversations I had with the original creditor and the debt collector. I paid the original loan amount and (if you didn’t see this coming) the original creditor refused to update my credit report. And, even after providing the credit reporting agencies with proof that the debt was paid, they also refused to update my credit report. To make matters worse, after the debt was paid, I received a notice from the debt collector that several thousands of dollars had been excused. I immediately contacted the debt collector and requested documentation that would support their amount due, including documentation where I agreed to a specific interest rate. No response from the debt collector. So, I am now arguing it out with the IRS regarding any additional taxes that may be due. And, even though I paid the debt two years ago, my credit report has not yet been updated. It is simply ridiculous than any business would have this much power to have such a negative impact on an individual without any documentation to back it up. Any creditor should be required to provide certain documentation prior to making a negative credit reporting and there should be significant consequences for any creditor/debt collector that pursues a debt without having the required documentation. ... There should be a national registry of attorneys that are competent to handle credit dispute issues. I’m not sure of the evaluation criteria or who would perform the evaluation, but there should be a way to guide a debtor involved in one of these disputes. Anything you can do to help would be appreciated. I continue to be turned down for loa[n] applications due to this inaccurate reporting." (consumer)
"From approximately 18 years ago, my family and I participated in family therapy related to depression in one of my sons. The therapy was conducted through a series of insurance policies . . . During our time with them, the [treating doctor] changed ... from “in-Network” to “Out of Network” and near the end of our involvement ultimately sold his practice to a larger Medical system. Throughout the entire process, we paid every Co-pay and required share of expense for services, but the ... insurance would pay whatever they determined the services to be worthabd expect the medical practice to absorb the difference. We were never billed for that difference, but I believe the Company that absorbed the practice did so at a value that was based on a total billing value. I believe when they did a bookkeeping merger, [they] decided that the uncollected value was uncollected debt. It is possible that the combined organization went bankrupt – I do not know, because we did not continue our involvement. All I do know is a few years after we stopped receiving treatment, we started getting calls from a collection agency. We were concerned about impact to our credit rating and went to extraordinary lengths to deal in good faith with the company. Since they were the first recipient of the 'debt' they were able to tell us where the debt came from. My wife provided copies of a VERY large file of medical bills that showed that we had paid EVERY required co-pay. The individual handling the account agreed with our assessment and they stopped calling. A few years later, it appears that uncollected amount was consolidated and sold to another collection company and the process started all over again. This time the collections company appeared to have no information about the origination of the debt and no interest in facts. After speaking with them several times it became clear that they would only accept money to stop the harassing calls. Over time, the calls would slow, then stop, only to start up again when the account was sold to yet another company. In the past two years, the calling has become incessant with the introduction of robo-dialing. We get calls at 8am on weekends, we get calls at dinner time, we get calls almost every day. About 2 years ago, I tried talking to the person who picked up after the computer detected that someone was on the line. He would not offer ANY information about who owed money, what the purported debt was from or when it was incurred. All he wanted was to get some form of payment – he claimed that if I paid $40, that would close it out. I believe, from things I have read that this is just a trick to gain current legitimacy of the debt. I am angry that this has been allowed to continue so long without a reasonable method of remedy... I resent the notion that I would have to pay a lawyer several thousand dollars to try to take this on in court."