First Steps in a Tricky Situation?

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by jrmiller, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    Account Control Technology, Inc

    Nabil Kabbani, Chief Executive Officer
    Yvette Gabrielian, Ethics Contact
    Jonathan Endman, Esq., Associate General Counsel

    6918 Owensmouth Ave
    Canoga Park, CA 91303-2003
    Phone: (818) 712-4999 ext 5219
    Fax: (818) 712-4979
  2. jrmiller

    jrmiller Member

    Thanks, jam for the helpful info. If I were to send them a letter disputing the debt, would I mention that I'm working with the OC for the balance? Or is that something they would find out as they tried to validate it? Just wondering how that would play out.

    Thank you Jason B. and mindcrime as well for good ideas to put into a letter to the OC. I think a good plan of action would be to compose the hardship letter to the OC explaining my situation, my willingness to work with them, and ask them to pull the account from the CA in order to benefit us both. Maybe mention that from my past experience with CA's I know that if they don't collect they don't get paid, and if they could help me in this situation I can pay them faster and with the occasional larger-than-usual payment (when possible).

    Plan B would be contacting the CA with a dispute letter. If the OC ends up not working with me, I can dispute and see what happens from there.
  3. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member


    Keep it simple.

    You've never been contacted by them. You dispute the account, in its entirety, and don't want them to call you, as it is inconvenient to receive phone calls.

    Then I would send the OC a letter telling them that if they provide any information to Account Control Technology, Inc, I will sue them for violating HIPPA. i.e. I AM SPECIFICALLY REVOKING ANY AUTHORIZATION TO COMMUNICATE WITH ACCOUNT CONTROL TECHNOLOGY, INC.
  4. jrmiller

    jrmiller Member

    Keep it simple, got it.

    I'm just wondering if going with that plan of action, what is the desired outcome? How will disputing the debt keep me from having to pay any false "collection" fees? What is that going to do on their end? How will sending the OC a letter telling them not to contact the CA with my info get the OC to pull my account from the CA? Or is this all implied?

    I apologize, I'm just trying to understand what this all accomplishes. In any case, thank you jam for your time.

    EDIT: After re-reading this and the link to the article you posted, I think I have an idea of what it would accomplish. Disputing the debt would force ACT to pull the report until they can get the information, but would be unable to after the letter to the OC revoking authorization to communicate with them on the matter. Am I on the right track?
  5. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    They can update the tradeline, UNLESS you also dispute the tradeline with the CRA (the important second step)... If you dispute the tradeline with the CRA, then verifying the account is collection activity, which is prohibited if you've disputed the account through the CA.

    #1) Any collection fees are required to be specifically mentioned in the contract creating the debt, so unless the medical doctor's office has a clause specifically allowing for collection fees, or your states law specifically states there are requisite collection fees for medical debts, they are not allowed to charge a collection fee.

    This is one of the reason for requesting a copy of the contract to see whether the contract/agreement allows for any fees that they want to charge.

    So, by telling the OC you are specifically revoking their permission to communicate with ACT (which they have no more legitimate need to do, since you've entered into a payment arrangement with them, directly) they can't provide the validation to ACT, for ACT to resume collection activity, which means that ACT can't legally verify the account to the CRA.
  6. jrmiller

    jrmiller Member

    Thanks, jam. Just need clarification about:

    1. Am I also disputing the debt with the CRA? If so, what are the steps involved? Would this be when I send the dispute letter to the CA, or before?

    2. Who do I request a copy of the contract from?

    3. I'm not sure about the state law requirements for requisite collection fees. California would be the state in question, if anyone can point me in the right direction I would appreciate it.

    4. What do I do after sending the letter to the OC. Do I wait and then contact the CRA to check the status of the account?

    Again, I apologize for over-analyzing. I could be making this more complicated than it seems. New information keeps coming to light, and considering the somewhat serious nature of the situation I'm just looking to take the right steps.

    1. Dispute debt with CA.
    2. Send letter to OC pulling authorization for further contact with CA.
    3. ACT cannot validate/resume collection activity.
  7. mindcrime

    mindcrime Well-Known Member

    Yes. After you have confirmation the CA received your DVL.

    The OC, who you signed the billing paperwork with.

    Collection Agencies | State of California - Department of Justice - Kamala D. Harris Attorney General
  8. jrmiller

    jrmiller Member

    Thank you, mindcrime. From the link I gather that the details about any actual possibility for collection fees will be mentioned in the contract creating the debt.

    Using all the helpful ideas and suggestions you guys have given me, I'm considering the following:

    1. Write a hardship letter to CEO/CFO of OC asking them to pull the account from the CA, allowing me to work with the OC exclusively. Also, request copy of contract creating the debt (for records and to find out about collection fees mentioned)

    2. If OC refers me to CA again, send letter to CA disputing the debt (certified for a return receipt).

    3. When that is delivered, send dispute letter to CRA.

    4. Send letter to OC to state they are not authorized to share information with the CA.

    5. CA cannot validate/resume collection activity.

    I feel this is a good course of action. This appears to utilize the options and resources available.

    Since joining the forum a couple weeks ago, I've learned a lot of valuable information that I would not have had access to otherwise. This has been a big learning experience, and has made really underlined the importance of financial responsibility and knowing your rights to protect that.

    This weekend I have some letters to write.

    Thanks again, and as always any suggestions or feedback is appreciated.
  9. mindcrime

    mindcrime Well-Known Member

    Leave the second part out of the hardship letter.

    Or do it online, it's quicker and you can prove 30 day window without the delivery confirmation/CRRR
  10. IntoTheBlu

    IntoTheBlu Member

    Jrmiller, you've raised some excellent questions here. Not trying to hijack your thread but was curious...

    Jam and Mindcrime....I was a little hasty and sent DVL's to medical debt collectors. I should have tried working things out with the OC first I'm sure. Should I just send letters to the OC's pulling authorization for further contact with CA?

    Jrmiller, I'm interested to see how this works out for you, good luck and please update.
  11. jrmiller

    jrmiller Member

    Hello again, forum!

    Today's my day off, so I'm spending some time getting a hardship letter together. This is what I have so far (information has been edited where necessary):

    I am writing this letter to first thank (company) for working with me to help repay my accounts. Since (hospitalizations, job loss, unemployment)...I moved to (state name) in December and became employed again in April, 2013. My total household monthly income is currently (amount). My monthly living expenses are (amount). I am also in the process of making payments on a credit account, (doctor) bills, and loan from a family member. My total debt obligations are approx. (amount)
    After speaking with your billing staff on June 14th I have agreed to pay (amount) each month for my proposed payment. When my financial situation has improved, or at the end of 6 months, I will try to arrange for payments at a (amount) minimum (to pay more when I able) until the debt has been repaid.
    I would like to request that my accounts be pulled back from the collection agency (ACT), as I wish to deal with your company directly as I resolve this situation for the best of (company) and myself. I appreciate any assistance you can provide.

    If you're willing to work with me to solve this problem please contact me by phone or in writing.
    Thank you for considering this proposal. I look forward to your favorable reply.

    Trying to cover all the bases, and still trying to keep it short and sweet.

    Any feedback/suggestions are welcome. Thanks!
  12. Logan Abbott

    Logan Abbott Well-Known Member

  13. jmc912

    jmc912 Well-Known Member

    Personally I would just ask them to communicate via mail instead of giving the option of mail or phone. I always feel better when I get stuff in writing, usually hospitals don't do anything too shady but I would err on the side of caution just in case you need it down the line.
  14. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    jmc: the art of the paper-trail.
  15. jmc912

    jmc912 Well-Known Member

    Jam I know you are a huge proponent of a paper trail ;)
  16. jrmiller

    jrmiller Member

    Hey, guys! Just wanted to give you an update. I send out a financial hardship letter on the 1st, it was delivered on the 5th. I'm still awaiting a written reply (I followed your advice jmc and asked for written communication ONLY).

    In the meantime, I was going through some old papers and I came across my hospital patient account contract. Under the Financial Agreement section, it does state that if the account is referred to an attorney or collection agency for collection, I am obligated to pay actual attorney's fees and collection expenses. All delinquent accounts bear interest at the legal rate, and so forth.

    At least that's cleared up. However, I am still awaiting the reply of the hospital to see if they do just pull the account. That could just be the end of that. I'll cross that bridge once I come to it.

    Thanks again, as always. Sorry for the half update, just didn't want you guys to think I just ignored all the helpful advice I've been given. :)

    I'll post more soon.
  17. jrmiller

    jrmiller Member

    Slightly more updates:

    I still have yet to hear back about my hardship letter. I also mailed in my payment for June around the 16th, in the form of a money order. I asked for a receipt of payment to be mailed to me, as well as my updated balance. I have yet to hear back from them. I've checked the status of the money order and it was cashed on the 22nd.

    I'm wondering if it's just laziness on their part. I'm tempted to call and inquire as to why they haven't responded to my letter, and why they haven't sent me back a receipt of payment. However, I'm not sure I should break my mail-only contact procedure. I'm thinking of mailing another letter to once again request a receipt of payment, my updated balance, and maybe inquire about the status of my hardship letter. At least do all this before it's time for my next payment around the middle of the month.

    Any suggestions?
  18. Logan Abbott

    Logan Abbott Well-Known Member

    Do they have an email you could use to get in touch w/ them? Quicker than snail mail but keeps you in the habit of documenting everything.
  19. jrmiller

    jrmiller Member

    After scouring the internet, I found they do not have a contact email address (or at least none listed). They are operated by another medical establishment, so I have emailed them asking for an address. Not sure they're going to be any help.

    Looks like I'm going to send out a letter today or this weekend.
  20. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    Here is the rub, actual legal fees and collection fees provide a mess.

    If the collection agency adds them into the amount of the debt, it's a false and misleading representation under the FDCPA. Secondly, you have a right to dispute the amount of the legal fees and collection fees.

    There was a case, and I posted it, but I'll have to dig and find it, where a mini-debt exploded because the CA added the legal and collection fees into the debt, and didn't provide them the opportunity to dispute that PORTION of the debt as being improper. :)

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