Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Call I Won't Be Returning

More than half the calls we get on our home phone are from toll-free prefixes. We never pick them up. I don’t need a cold-caller to tell me what to buy or advise me which charities I should donate to. To that list of conversations non grata we should add collections agencies.

None of the 800/866 callers had the courtesy to identify themselves until this morning. The Takhar Group left its call-back number and said that we “must” contact them. The Takhar Group is a disreputable collection agency which complainants say engages in the following practices:
  • They call about nonexistent debts.

  • They call the wrong people.

  • They collect bills already paid off.

  • They refuse to provide proof of the debt.

  • They call people at their workplace.
  • The probability that we may have an unpaid bill somewhere, unfortunately, is not zero. Every year our household processes over a hundred medical, dental, and prescription invoices. Among the over-charges (which Blue Cross says are not the patient’s responsibility), double billings, deductibles, co-pays, and in-network and out-of-network reimbursements, it’s very difficult to determine what we really owe.

    After a medical procedure we have found it is best to wait at least 90 days for all the billings and insurance to sort themselves, then pay the balance at the bottom of the statement. We’ve been careful, but there have been a few bills that have taken over a year to work out with the doctor or hospital.

    Once in the past decade an unpaid balance was shunted to a collection agency. The agent had no understanding of medical terms, much less the convoluted byways of medical insurance. I later resolved the matter by engaging with the doctor’s billing department. Having a collection agent in the middle of medical bills is about as beneficial as him handling the instruments in the operating room.

    Although I’ve made it a practice always to respond to inquiries, the Takhar Group’s call is one I won’t be returning.

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