How do I stop incorrect debt collection phone calls?

I have some medical bills that I’m fighting with my insurance over. It’s gonna take a few weeks (or longer) to sort them all out.

I’ve talked to the place I owe the money to, and explained to them what’s going on. They’re A-OK with it. Problem is, out of the 4 or so bills they’ve sent to me, somehow one of them didn’t get a note on it that 1) there’s an insurance dispute and 2) if the insurance doesn’t pay up, I will.

So this one bill for $90 or so has been sent to a debt collector. We talked to the original place, they acknowledged they screwed up, and said they’d take care of it. Problem is, we keep getting phone calls.

I really don’t want this mistake to end up on my credit record. Is there anything I can do to get these guys off my back? Whenever I tell them it’s a mistake, they basically think I’m lying to them.

I have no intention of NOT paying this bill, I just think my insurance should, and I’m going to fight it at least for a while to see if I can get them to.

Document, document, document.

Talking on the phone is easy but there is no proof the conversation took place.

Every contact you have with someone, get their name, title and contact details. Document in a daily diary. And followup with that person with a real, hard copy letter.

The best thing is for the original place to recall the debt from the collector. Ask them if they can do that.

Know that they can’t call you during odd hours, or at work. They also cannot call you so frequently that it becomes harassment (e.g. every day). You can even tell them this the next time they call, and let them know you’re documenting the frequency and hours of their calls.

If it ends up on your credit record, you can always dispute it. With the majority of collection agencies, you’re not going to be able to reason with them. They just want their money.

With me writing this FROM a debt collection agency, sitting in the IT department, I know that the collectors who call are often very dumb and dont care about who they are on the phone with.

Your best bet is to ask for a contact number for their Team Leader or Manager, then talk to them. They sort things out, and are in charge with meeting with the Dialer Team and staying in contact with the people who are in charge with the clients, namely the Client Services department.

Can you satisfy the creditor then demand compensation from the insurance?

First thing is to get a mailing address for the debt collection agency. Then write a brief one-page letter (include appropriate account numbers, etc.) and tell them you are disputing the debt with the original debt-holder. Request that any future communications be conducted in writing.

They should back off at this point. I may be pulling this out of my ass, but I believe one of the Federal laws dealing with this says that they can’t pursue any more action if you are disputing the claim.

Once things are settled (however they are settled) send a copy of the documentation regarding the settlement to the collection agency along with a letter stating that the debt is now satisfied, and that you expect no further communications from the collection agency, except for written confirmation from them that all is settled. You probably won’t get that last one, but I figure it’s good to have it in writing from your end, anyway.

I used to work in HR, and from personal experience, as soon as a piece of paper hits the table in a debt collection agency with the term “legal” on in, all hell breaks loose and the focus is put entirely on the company trying to cover its ass. Carlb may hold the ticket to solving your problem.

Great answers, all. I guess next time they call I’ll be getting some addresses and names to send a letter to.

It so pisses me off that I even have to do this. I hate insurance companies.