Is this mail fraud?

I’ll try to save you from too many details, but include the pertinent bits: I’ve been repeatedly billed by a lab for work that my doctor’s office said wasn’t done. Back in July, after getting the doctor’s office involved because I was getting nowhere talking to the lab, I was told it was all settled.

Last week I got another bill. Same amount, same date of service, different billing agent.

Are they committing mail fraud by billing me for something they didn’t do? I’d love to settle this the simplest, most final way possible, and if that means turning it over to the postmaster, I’m happy to do that. I’ve also considered writing them a letter saying, in short, “Send me proof that you did this lab work or send me something that says ‘balance due: $0’ or I’m taking this to small claims court because I’m sick of it.”

I’m NOT asking for advice on what to do next, just the actual question of whether this constitutes mail fraud, given that my understanding of that concept is limited to The Firm. :slight_smile:

Not a lawyer, but I think you’d have to prove that they intended to defraud you. They could claim it was a mistake, and they could claim it was a mistake more than once (e.g. new staffer).

As asahi said, not mail fraud. Just because you’re irked with the situation, doesn’t mean it’s mail fraud.

Probably not mail fraud, but INSURANCE fraud? Possibly, if they’re doing this on purpose.

Totally a computer error. Chunk it in file 13. Don’t sweat it.

I would imagine they made a claim against your insurance company, right? Call them and tell them the testing was never done. See if you can get the insurance company to contact them.

Also, have you tried asking for the results?

One other thing, since you phrase it as ‘my doctor’s office said it was never done’, I’d suggest you call you doctor’s office and have them call the lab’s billing department.

I’ll disagree with Beckdawrek. Ignoring medical bills is a good way to end up in collections. They tend not to mess around too much with past due accounts.

With all due respect to Beckdawrek, I wouldn’t chuck it because it might end up turned over to a collection agency. I think nearwildheaven is on the right track. Call them, tell them to prove it or you’ll report it as possible insurance fraud.
ETA: Ninja’d by Joey P. Your doctor’s statement it was never done seems to indicate fraud…or a simple mistake.

Yeah, maybe I was a little quick to say toss it. The insurance company should know something.

Did you accidentally quote the wrong sentence from Wikipedia? The situation described by the OP is ‘material’. The difficulty would be proving intent to defraud.

Lab fees are normally less than $100. Please tell me how that is material.

It’s 100% of the amount in question. Please tell me how that is not material.

Thanks for the input and suggestions, everyone!

I had actually thought about the insurance company slant back in July, and then when I was told it was all settled, forgot about it.

Are you honestly saying that you’ll pay any random bill that shows up at your house, even if it’s for something you didn’t order or receive, so long as it’s under a hundred dollars?

In the non-snarkiest way I can say it, while a hundred bucks won’t break me, I wish it was worth it for me to just pay an unrecognized bill rather than inquire about or dispute it.

For many, many people that’s at least full days work down the shitter.

Is it material enough for them to ruin your credit with it?

It’s material enough to let everyone know about it. If the lab is indeed committing fraud, <$100 bills can add up awfully fast.

Contact the lab and ask them to document what was done, when, and what the results were.

Re “less than 100 dollars”… not according to the rack rate for lab tests. The actual amount (assuming you go to an in-network lab) can be a ridiculously tiny fraction of that - like a 300 dollar “bill” negotiated down to 10 or whatever.

Do check with the insurance company to see if they have processed a claim for the fees as well.

But as far as mail fraud - I doubt the USPS would bother with it, though I suppose you could add that to the mix if you get good evidence that the billing is indeed incorrect.

$1 is material.

“I’m getting pretty annoyed by these letters. And worried about my credit score.” is not material. It may be much more important that $1, but it’s not material. It’s got to be something that has a fixed and objective value, not something that has an agreed or determined value.