When visiting the hospital, beware of the guy in the lab coat. He may be a debt collector.
Debt collectors have many dirty tricks – threatening people with judgments or garnishments when they don’t even have a judgment, abusive language, calling repeatedly, not verifying that you even owe the debt and many others. These violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act are all inexcusable. However, the actions of one collection company, Accretive Health, put them all to shame.
If you are or ever have been a patient at local hospitals like Henry Ford, St John’s Providence or Beaumont, you may have already encountered Accretive Health and not even known it. In fact, the person who admitted you to the emergency room may not have been a person who works for the hospital, but a debt collector from Accretive.
Accretive Health has contracts with many hospitals across the country to collect outstanding debt. The debt collectors work everywhere in the hospital, from the billing department to the emergency room, and often look like regular hospital employees. This company is currently under fire from the Minnesota Attorney General for allegedly visiting patients in their hospital beds asking for money, or demanding payment before receiving medical care. How low can a debt collector get? The MN Attorney General report also accuses it of failing to protect confidential medical patient information, when a laptop with more than 23,000 unencrypted patient files was taken from an employee’s car in Minnesota. Accretive is now being questioned by the Federal Trade Commission, and a Senate committee hearing is scheduled for May 30.
So if you are ever in the unfortunate situation of having to go to a hospital and you see someone in a white coat asking you about your financial situation, ask if they are a debt collector. They must reveal this by law under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Then tell them you’ll be contacting your consumer attorney at Michigan Consumer Credit Lawyers – just as soon as you can find your pants.
The Law is on your side; and so are we. You should know that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows consumers to hire lawyers who can sue debt collectors for violating the FDCPA. These lawsuits cost you nothing. The attorneys’ fees and costs are shifted, by law, to the Defendant to pay. The consumer walks away with a measure of justice and a check from the debt collector. In our office, we often are able to have the debt reduced or eliminated as well.
If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882. For more information about your rights as a consumer, visit our website at www.micreditlawyer.com, which is filled with informative videos and advice to help consumers. Michigan Consumer Credit Lawyers is here for you.
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