Collection Agencies Add Insult to Snowboard Injury

Grant had the misfortune to get into a snowboarding accident. Then he had the further misfortune of living in America where it’s nigh impossible to get a bruise removed from your credit report.

See, some bills from his accident went to an old PO box of his and went unpaid until they were finally picked up by some collection agencies and his record besmirched. Now he’s trying to figure out whether or not his record is in the clear or stuck in an ice field.

A double-edged pound of fleshbit gleaned from the letter after the jump: medical debts don’t reflect on credit reports unless a bank or mortgage firm runs the report.

Something to consider the next time you’re about to slam into a snowy tree…

Grant writes:

    “I had a snowboarding accident in early 2004. I suffered a concussion and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Four stitches later I was back at home recovering. I had full insurance coverage so I was not in the least bit worried about receiving any exorbitant bills…but I did! Four months later out of pure coincidence I checked an old PO Box that I thought I had closed. In it was a number of “final notice” and “sent to collection agency” letters from the ambulance, medical imaging and x-rays. It turns out the hospital did not pass on my insurance details to these separate companies that wanted payment for services rendered.

    Fortunately I got my insurance to pay the final notice bills immediately and the collection agencies. However, that did not stop them from reporting these debts to the credit bureaus and ruining my credit. I was furious, and it came as no surprise to me that the collection agency said there was nothing they could do about it except report to the credit bureaus that it had been paid in full. I was told it could take up to six months for this to clear.

    Eight months later I got a free credit report and did not see anything on it so I assumed it had been reported and stricken from my record. No such luck! Another 6 months went by and I decided to apply for a credit card…I was denied. When asking why I was told there was a medical charge on it not paid. When I told the bank employee that I got a free credit report and nothing was on there, she told me that medical debts do not show on credit reports unless it is a bank or mortgage firm that is running the report.

    I feel like I’m in a catch 22 now because I called back the collection agency and they said, “Well, we’re not sure why it did not go through but we’ll send it again and it will take up to 6 months to reflect.” I can’t tell if it’s gone because a regular credit report won’t show it and I can’t improve my credit until it’s gone.

    The only plus is I kept the receipt of payment to the collection agency so the bank finally gave me the credit card when I showed it to them. I don’t want to have to do that every time and I want to know if the debt has been removed? I tried to contest the charge with Equifax but they require an invoice number from your report that shows the charge. I think you can see where I’m going with this.

    There must be something I can do.



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