Who do I pay first?

A collection agency or the original debtor? It’s a $15.00 debt that I forgot about.
To a hospital clinic. Does it make any difference who I pay?
Thanks in advance.

It’s my understanding that when a bill goes to collections, you pay the collection agency. They will take their “cut” and send the rest back to the original provider as payment in full.

If it’s gone to collections, you pay the collections agency. They are the ones that currently “own” the debt. All $15 of it.

Not so fast you can in many cases have the medical provider recall the bill from collections then pay it. It’s better for your credit report if you can do that.

This is exactly right.

You have two issues, if the hospital reported you on your credit report (check all 3), then paying the collection’s agency will do nothing to help your credit.

You need to start asking questions and then negotiate. You may be able to settle for less from the collection agency.

If it’s already been reported to the credit reporting companies, how does negotiating with the hospital help? Can they un-report it?

But should you? If you forget to pay a debt you indeed owe, wouldn’t the right thing be to promptly pay it in full, with apologies?

I’d go further and say that you should pay not only the amount you owed, but something to offset the costs of attempting to collect (provided the creditor made a good-faith effort to inform you of what was owed.) This falls under the “If you make a mess, you clean it up” rule.

If they are fine with negotiating, why not do it? Your credit already has the bad mark. I’d understand if it was just 15 dollars though.

The advice I’ve heard is to never make a payment to a collections agency. I was late on my credit cards once and started getting calls. I just called my credit card company and brought my account current.

Yes the hospital can “recall” the debt

WhyChat from another site has a good procedure for taking care if Medical bills http://whychat.5u.com/hipltr.html