Ryan recently went to a clinic operated by Western Dental Centers, a franchise that operates in California, Arizona and Nevada, and now he regrets that decision. He writes that first he was forced to endure $800 worth of upsells while he was stuck in the chair, even though he was just going in for a cleaning. What happened with billing, though, was worse and may lead to lasting credit issues.
First off, when we went there we were assured our insurance covered 100 percent of our treatment. They had pre-authorization and everything, so they claimed. I had already decided to never return to this dentist after they put on heavy sales tactics to get me to buy a $300.00 night-time mouth guard and sign-up for $500.00 teeth whitening. I was literally a captive audience in the chair while different people came and showed me pamphlets and brochures on their services. I was just there for a cleaning!
So three months pass and I never thought about them again. So we are on vacation and my cell phone goes off at 7 am (PST) with an 866 number. I just ignore it because it is probably a telemarketer. The phone rings again at 9 am and then again at 11 am when I finally answer it. It is Western Dental telling me I owe $200.00. I said I was not aware, have never gotten a bill and asked that they let me call them when I get back from vacation. The guy gave me the 3rd degree and said I should just pay him half as my bill specified. Again I reiterated that I needed to contact my insurance company because I feel like there has been a mistake made and that I WAS ON VACATION. So I finally get off the phone and not an hour goes by when they start calling my wife’s phone. We repeat the story of how we will be home from vacation in only a few days. They would call another time that day and for the rest of our vacation they would call 5 – 6 times a day from 7 am till well into the afternoon. I finally got frustrated and told them to stop calling me, which is my right as a consumer. They still continued to call me relentlessly until I finally got home and checked our mail to find a bill. Come to find out the bill had a due date of July 20th, which they mailed on July 14th (the day we left), they started calling me 5 times a day on July 21st.
This is the most aggressive and down right dirty collection attempt I have ever experienced. I was harassed even after I explained I was on vacation and was not home to get the bill. To make matters worse, my insurance company had paid, they were attempting to double bill through some sort of “clerical error” as they explained to me.
I ask that your readers avoid Western Dental at all costs and to call your dental insurance to validate payment was made.