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$650 for a missed appointment?!?!
November 13, 2007 6:49 AM   Subscribe

Can an oral surgeon charge me $650 for a missing an appointment? How can I fight this bill? ...or can I?
posted by LC to Work & Money (53 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Did you call to cancel the appointment? If he is booked solid and your lost appointment time cost him $650 that he could have booked with someone else, then maybe. I think a lot of doctor's offices post signs in their office indicating that you will be charged if you don't show up or don't cancel within 24 hours. No shows cost them money, too. I think it really depends on the circumstances and whether or not you called the office. $650 seems steep, though.
posted by 45moore45 at 6:52 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seems high but doesn't seem to be that many orders of magnitude greater than what I have seen.

As for fighting it, chances are you ran afoul of a stated policy of the doctor's office. Was there a good reason that you missed the appointment without canceling ahead of time? If so you might want to plead your case with them.
posted by mmascolino at 6:58 AM on November 13, 2007


I called the office the Friday before but they were already closed for the weekend. They don't have an emergency number on their voicemail so I went by and dropped a letter in the door (which they didn't read till monday anyways). It is all my fault that I didn't call sooner. I started to have fears for the surgery a couple days before and I held out till the last minute....too late
posted by LC at 7:03 AM on November 13, 2007


Sounds like you gave notice, so you could fight it if you wanted to. But what will likely happen is that it'll be referred to a collection agency and it'll end up on your credit report. What time did you call/stop by on Friday?
posted by electroboy at 7:08 AM on November 13, 2007


I called at 4:30pm and I think the voicemail said they close at 4pm.

I haven't got the bill in the mail so I haven't read the fine print yet but they told me over the phone that I could pay in installments as long as I payed something every month. Something, huh?
posted by LC at 7:13 AM on November 13, 2007


I take it you still need the oral surgery? Maybe you need multiple visits?

I would think they might consider waiving it if you told them that yes, you will pay it, but then you are taking your veritable goldmine of a mouth to Dr. So-and-Sos office instead.
posted by ian1977 at 7:16 AM on November 13, 2007


It's not uncommon for doctors and dentists to charge some kind of a no-show fee, but $650 is riDICulous.

Argue with them for leniency, tell them you're still going to get the work done with them if you don't have to pay that fee. If they would rather have the $650 than do the work, don't pay. They'll send it to collections. When it shows up on your credit report, dispute it, with a lengthy detailed letter to the bureaus on how you called them to cancel and they didn't note it properly and it's none of your fault.
posted by poppo at 7:17 AM on November 13, 2007


At the very least, leave the dirt on a site like ratemds.com. You can take that astronomical $650 out of him in terms of his future business. A lot of people would probably thank you.
posted by zek at 7:21 AM on November 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Yes, of course they are entitled to charge you. Your indecision cost them money in real terms. Not only no income for the appointment time, but they still have to pay staff wages, electricity, rent.

It's only the amount that is up for negotiation. But you would be well advised to make it a negotiation rather than a standoff/fight. How well you do in that negotiation may well depend on the length of past association and your willingness to continue using them as your treatment provider.

Talk to the secretary. If that gets you nowhere, write a civil not-too-embellished account of the circumstances to the Oral Surgeon and ask if they would see their way clear to reducing the amount owed. Or make an offer of a third and see if they bite.
posted by peacay at 7:22 AM on November 13, 2007


Well I think your dentist is an idiot, because one doesn't charge the FULL price of one lost hour as if he effectively lost $650 , what he did have is a reduced income as there is no proof he would have succeed in booking that hour, therefore it's a whole lot more reasonable to charge a "no-show" fee , so even in the case in which one has a bad customer , the customer can still look back and see a $200 bill for being a moron, instead of a $650 one ..and maybe go back to the dentist...whereas at $650 it's a lot more likely you are going to fight it, as you are..and he doesn't see a dime as well.

But that's just my opinion on how to run a business, he may as well have grounds to charge you , provided that there is PROOF that you have booked personally an appointment , or that there are previous bills in a recent time showing that you possibily really didn't pay your dues. You probably need the help of some legal expert, maybe a lawyer. I guess you may also ask consumer associations or Better Business Bureau , or similar.
posted by elpapacito at 7:25 AM on November 13, 2007


I started to have fears for the surgery a couple days before and I held out till the last minute

Wait, was your appointment for a checkup or for actual surgery? If you missed a surgery, there are a lot of additional costs involved, and $650 may be their surgery cancellation fee.
posted by leesh at 7:28 AM on November 13, 2007


The surgery was to remove my wisdom teeth. I canceled the appointment because I spoke to a friend who had a very painful recovery and also to a neighbor who had her wisdoms removed when she was 30. My friend made his appointment when his teeth started hurting. He traded one pain for another but I've yet to feel mine pushing their way in. And my neighbor made the point that my jaw will keep growing until my mid-twenties and it might just accommodate itself to these teeth. That what the x-ray shows at 19 won't be the same at 25.
I made the appointment because this is the last year I can still be under my mother's insurance. I won't need to get the wisdoms removed for a few more years and I don't ever have to go to this doctor again.

As I'm only 19 I've yet to establish any credit score. I know this. VISA and Capital One rejected my application because I had no score so can I do any damage at this point?
posted by LC at 7:31 AM on November 13, 2007


I understand that the doctor's time is money but so is mine. I've never been payed for all the time I've waited around in their office due to their poor planning and I've never expected them to. It seems to me that this is part of business. You lose some and you win more but you don't win them all all the time.
posted by LC at 7:33 AM on November 13, 2007


Check out the consumer protection information on your state's bar and attorney general websites. There might be a maximim amount that doctors are allowed to bill for missed surgery appointments. If this info isn't readily available, call the AG consumer affairs office and see if they can point you to some source who can advise you of your rights. Armed with this information, schedule an appointment to go in and see the dentist's office manager and see what you can work out.
posted by necessitas at 7:36 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


As I'm only 19 I've yet to establish any credit score. I know this. VISA and Capital One rejected my application because I had no score so can I do any damage at this point?

Yes! No score means just that, no score. You can go from no score into bad score.

Although, i am guessing if this place was willing to accept partial payments that means they won't be too quick to send it into collections though. And until it goes into collections I would guess you are safe from having it affect your credit score. Oral surgeons don't normally report to credit bureaus. (i think?).
posted by ian1977 at 7:38 AM on November 13, 2007


First, thanks for all the comments in this thread! This is my first post to MetaFilter and it's been a big help!



I think I will go to the office and speak to the man himself because his secretaries are annoying and he is the one who makes the decisions. I'll plead my case. He was a nice guy during the consultation and I did loose him my business so if it goes well I'll offer some compensation. What is a fair amount?
posted by LC at 7:39 AM on November 13, 2007


I've never been payed for all the time I've waited around in their office due to their poor planning and I've never expected them to.

What!? You're kidding right? You think that something like providing dental treatment can be ruled by a clock and not the circumstances of each particular case?

"Sorry, I couldn't completely fill your tooth sir. How was I know to know that it would be such a tricky procedure until I did an xray? It usually only takes 15mins. But we can't hold up the person with an appointment booked who's sitting in the waiting room."

On preview: a third of what they asked.
posted by peacay at 7:41 AM on November 13, 2007


I would ask him to waive it first. He might just shrug his shoulders and say thats fine.


Just say...

Dr. Such-and-Such, I know I was wrong to cancel on such short notice and it was a real bone-headed thing to do. $650 is a LOT of money to me and I am only 19 and would there be ANY way you could possibly waive this this one time? And also, I would like to reschedule my appt and I promise I will be there for that one.
posted by ian1977 at 7:42 AM on November 13, 2007


Also offer to accept a last minute appointment if they have someone else cancel.
posted by yeti at 7:58 AM on November 13, 2007


I really should learn to preview.

1. You shouldn't wait till your wisdom teeth hurt and you desperately need them out. If they become impacted, it will be significantly more expensive to get them taken out. Not to mention that the recovery is worse at that point. I should have had mine out at 18 (and while still under my parents insurance). Now, in my 30s, I desperately need mine out and it is a ridiculously expensive procedure made more complicated by the length of time I waited to get them taken out.

2. can I do any damage at this point? Yep. It won't look so good if the only record your report is negative. That will hurt your chances of getting no-credit/new-credit credit cards, etc. And it will be there for 7 years, not from the initial date, but 7 years from the date the account was closed. And if you default and they sell your record to another collection agency, the clock starts again.

3. I've never been payed for all the time I've waited around in their office due to their poor planning and I've never expected them to. It seems to me that this is part of business. You lose some and you win more but you don't win them all all the time. Win or lose is NOT part of the business, but let's say that you have a job and you can quantify the amount of wages you have lost waiting in their office, beyond the normal amount of time they ask you to allow for the appointment, I suppose you could argue to have that much taken off your bill. At the same time, the doctor does have a right to recover the time he lost waiting for you. He could have filled that time with other appointments so he DID lose money on this.

On preview: Speak to the office manager, take it to the doctor ONLY if you can't get any satisfaction whatsoever from the office manager. If the doctor agrees to speak to you at all, he isn't going to feel too generous if he has to rack up more unbilled time dealing with you, that's why he has an office manager to deal with this sort of thing. As for what to offer, ask him to reduce the amount and work with that. He's in the power seat here not you. He'll probably accept whatever amount he'd get selling it to a collection agency or whatever maximum is allowed by the state.
posted by necessitas at 7:59 AM on November 13, 2007


it would seem that we do not have enough information to make an informed decision on whether or not this is reasonable. how much was the entire procedure supposed to cost? i.e. is $650 the full price or a percentage of the total operation?

it has been my experience that being sedated and having your wisdom teeth removed can cost upward of $2,000. if that is close to what your total bill was supposed to be, $650 seems like a completely reasonable fee.
posted by phil at 8:00 AM on November 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


And I'm sorry, but if your wisdom teeth are impacted, they are going to be impacted even if you're thirty. I just had mine out last year, and it wasn't that bad in the least. Everyone's different. Can you imagine when you're thirty getting five days off work so you can relax and recover? I think it's a hell of a lot easier at age 19.

I would bite the metaphorical bullet and get your butt back there, promising to actually show this time. And bring up your anxiety. The dentist can prescribe you meds for that (I do that before all my dentist appointments). Dentists understand that procedures like this are very feared, often for no good reason. He might just take sympathy on you and waive the bill if you come back and get it done, and then you don't have to pay anything (cause your mom's insurance will cover it).
posted by nursegracer at 8:02 AM on November 13, 2007


That much seems excessive, although it did sound like you tried a bit more than just not showing.

For future reference, I have found the secretary to be on my side when I have to cancel a doctor's appt. last minute if I say, "I can't come, I am [insert excuse] but I would like to reschedule." Rescheduling seems to be OK, while full-out canceling can cost you. So maybe see if you can just reschedule the surgery.
posted by sutel at 8:05 AM on November 13, 2007


I'll see if there is an office manager but I think it's just him and his two assistants.

How much does the surgery cost when they've become impacted?! Mine was just over $2,000...
posted by LC at 8:05 AM on November 13, 2007


I think I will go to the office and speak to the man himself because his secretaries are annoying and he is the one who makes the decisions. I'll plead my case. He was a nice guy during the consultation and I did loose him my business so if it goes well I'll offer some compensation. What is a fair amount?

Going in with the attitude that "his secretaries are annoying" is about the absolute worst way to plead your case ever. The surgeon may "officially" make the decisions and sign off on billing, but his office staff does the admin work.

(In the future, consider relying on a medical professional to help you make these decisions, instead of your friends and neighbors.)
posted by desuetude at 8:07 AM on November 13, 2007


I had two teeth extracted with bone grafts done recently, and it was just south of $2k (and 45 minutes of work under local, not general anesthesia). Yes, $650 is a pittance - you will typically pay for "an office visit" when you miss an appointment. It's costly to be careless with surgeons.

It only hurt the first day, and these were my *front* teeth. My wisdom teeth were similar. The most painful part is that dental insurance only covered a third of it, and that they'd rather pay for a bridge (and damaging the teeth around them) than implants (long-lasting and beneficial to the health of the neighboring teeth).
posted by kcm at 8:09 AM on November 13, 2007


Hold on. This doctor has a huge cancellation policy, but no way to cancel an appointment after hours? I suppose he also has no after hours emergency referral service? What would happen say if you did have your wisdom teeth pulled and an infection of some kind followed at 4:30PM on a Friday your cheeks look like you are storing nuts, and the only choice you have is a trip to the emergency room!!!!!!!!!!

Get another dentist and tell this one that you canceled in time, not your fault if he didn't get the message.
posted by Gungho at 8:09 AM on November 13, 2007


i notice you have marked elpapacito answer as best. the meat of elpapacito's post is that it is unfair to charge the full price for a cancelled appointment.

your dentist has not done this. they have, by your own admission charged 30% or less of the total fee; which seems completely reasonable.
posted by phil at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2007


aherdofturtles suggestion is typical of the things I'm noticing on Ask MeFi: a complete lack of honesty on the part of a huge number of posters.

Please, don't tell them that someone in your family died. That is morally reprehensible. What ever happened to telling the truth and taking responsibility (and the consequences) for your actions? In this case, it looks like you did try to cancel your appointment, so I would explain that to the doctor, and ask them if they can waive or reduce the fee in exchange for you rescheduling.

The surgeons understand fear. I've found that most physicians are caring, compassionate people if you are up front and honest with them. What they do not have time for is being jerked around, and honestly, who can blame them.
posted by grumpy at 8:54 AM on November 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Did you sign any sort of form, or were you informed in anyway of the cancellation policy?
If you were and failed to follow it, then yes, you owe him the money.
If you were not made aware of the policy, if say, they have a sign in the office, but you made the appointment over the phone, then no, you don't owe them any money.

If it ends up that you do owe them money, then it is certainly within reason for you to negotiate a reduction, especially if you plan on continuing with this dentist.
posted by madajb at 8:55 AM on November 13, 2007


This is another one of those questions where it appears the asker is more interested in getting validation rather than an answer. I base this on this rationalization:

I understand that the doctor's time is money but so is mine. I've never been payed for all the time I've waited around in their office due to their poor planning and I've never expected them to. It seems to me that this is part of business. You lose some and you win more but you don't win them all all the time.

as well as the fact the majority of answers marked as "Best" are ones that simply agree with viewpoint that the doctor overcharged you for the missed appointment.

You backed out of an appointment at the absolute last minute, informing the office late on a Friday afternoon that you wouldn't be able to make a Monday appointment, leaving them virtually no time to fill your slot with another paying patient. They are charging you a relatively small percentage of what they would have made during the alloted time period for your surgery had you actually shown up. I'm seriously missing where the doctor is in the wrong here.
posted by The Gooch at 9:02 AM on November 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


"Sorry, I couldn't completely fill your tooth sir. How was I know to know that it would be such a tricky procedure until I did an xray? It usually only takes 15mins. But we can't hold up the person with an appointment booked who's sitting in the waiting room."

Uhm, that's exactly what my dentist would do, although not in such words, and I'd expect him to. I've had dental surgery that's spanned multiple extra visits because it didn't fit into the allocated timeslots. Never cost any more though.
posted by wackybrit at 9:04 AM on November 13, 2007


If you don't pay it will go on your credit report, whether you have a credit score or not. You can try to get it waived, but understand that you didn't cancel a tooth cleaning, you canceled surgery. It requires more expensive equipment and supervision, a greater amount of time, and potentially an anesthesiologist and their equipment as well. If the dentist had to rent any of these he still has to pay whether or not you showed up. So he may not be trying to screw you, he's just trying to keep your surgery fears from screwing him.
posted by schroedinger at 9:15 AM on November 13, 2007


@the gooch

I was looking for supportive answers because I'm certain that $650 is a lot of money to charge for missing an appointment. What I needed is to know are my options. Should I negotiate, don't pay at all, pay in full, pay slowly, etc? I also appreciated the posts that did consider doctor's POV because it helped calm my anger at Dr. Fabulously Rich.
posted by LC at 9:20 AM on November 13, 2007


Grumpy and The Gooch are completely correct. You have omitted necessary information and phrased this question in such a way to elicit responses that support your belief that big bad dentist is victimizing you. Own up to your responsibility and pay “Dr. Fabulously Rich”. As schroedinger has already pointed out the $650 most likely goes toward paying the anesthesiologist your dentist had to hire.
posted by mailbox125 at 9:30 AM on November 13, 2007


@ mailbox125

What information did I conceal? And the surgery was going to be with local anesthesia and nitrous oxide
posted by LC at 9:42 AM on November 13, 2007


LC, the problem I'm having is that many of your responses bring up information and points that are completely and totally irrelevant to the question or whether or not you owe this doctor $650.

I'm sure everyone has had the annoying experience of waiting for a long time in a doctor's waiting room. That has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not you owe your doctor $650 for missing your surgery without ample notice.

Your oral surgeon's wealth or lack thereof has no bearing on whether or not you owe him $650. I can't just go to an Apple store, steal an iPod and then justify it by rationalizing Steve Jobs is filthy rich and won't miss the paltry cost on one iPod.

Also, as others have also noted, you didn't miss an "appointment", your missed a scheduled surgery, which requires a much longer time committment and upfront cost on the part of the dentist than, say, a standard teeth cleaning appointment.

Sure, $650 seems like a lot of money when you state that your getting charged for missing an "appointment". But when you consider that $650 is actually a relatively small percentage of what the doctor would have made had you actually shown up for your surgery as scheduled (or what he would have made had you given him proper notice of cancellation and put someone else in your slot), it doesn't seem unreasonable at all.
posted by The Gooch at 9:57 AM on November 13, 2007


[a few comments removed - if you can't answer the question without calling people names, please take it to MetaTalk, MefiMail or just keep it to yourself.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:06 AM on November 13, 2007


necessitas writes "He could have filled that time with other appointments so he DID lose money on this. "

Nope, there is a probability he could have, but not absolute certainity.

Yet if $650 is the amount of money that was paid by the dentist to hire somebody else help, it should be on the dentist as the professional was hired by the dentist and not by the client. The dentist should at least produce the proof he actually paid mr X $650 for his services and prove it was done for LC operation and not for any other operation, which probably requires a written statement by the hired pro.

IANAL, but unless there's some written contract or strong evidence that there was an unwritten contract between LC and the dentist , or some other form of demonstrable obligation of LC to pay any amount, I doubt the dentist will be able to obtain what he is looking for, even if of course he can ask for the moon. Yet I am not qualified to say exactly if the dentist has enough proof to start an action, as it wouldn't be wise to just hope he will not on the grounds he's rich.

That's exactly what lawyers are for ; it may be wiser to reach an agreement outside of any judgement and without asking any lawyer anything as a lawyer+judgment would probably cost more, that's why I was thinking about Consumer Associations.
posted by elpapacito at 10:07 AM on November 13, 2007


You omitted that the price of the surgery was in excess of $2,000. As a result a large number of people believing your dentist had charged you the full price of your appointment. The reality is he charged you a much more modest 25%-30% of the total bill.

Additionally you did not mention that your dentist needed the services of an anesthesiologist. The fee of this second specialist’s services and should in no way be the responsibility of your dentist. In all likelihood this cost was added you’re your $650 bill which only further lowers the cost your dentist actually charged you for canceling. Admittedly I do not know the going rate of an anesthesiologist. However, I would imagine it is high enough that when you subtract it from your $650 bill your dentist is only charging you a modest cancellation fee.

I would suggest calling your dentist and asking them to explain the bill to you. They would certainly be able to answer the question more accurately than random people on the internet.
posted by mailbox125 at 10:11 AM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


i agree with elpapacito. can someone claiming otherwise explain how a surgeon could get this kind of thing on a credit report without a signed contract?
now, maybe the OP signed something that said he agreed to pay this fee. other than that, i'd say walk.
posted by alkupe at 10:18 AM on November 13, 2007


elpapacito and alkupe

the issue is not the probability which the dentist could have found another client had the OP not come along. it is that by agreeing to meet at a specific time the OP has denied him the ability to sell his services to anyone else.

the whole reason that only a portion of the total fee is charged for missing an appointment, rather than the whole thing, is that there is some chance the dentist would not have found another client.
posted by phil at 10:26 AM on November 13, 2007


I called his office to have them explain to me how they came to $650 and they said they'll call back later.

When I went in for the consultation they gave me a packet of papers to sign because I was a new patient. If they were smart they put in some print about paying a fee ....but I'll definitely ask
posted by LC at 10:27 AM on November 13, 2007


necessitas writes "He could have filled that time with other appointments so he DID lose money on this. "

Nope, there is a probability he could have, but not absolute certainity.


"Could" implies probability, "would" implies certainty. There is no way to know for sure, but if the dentist typically has a full appointment book, it is reasonable to assume that large gaps of time aren't the norm at this practice. Only the dentist knows for sure.

IANAL, but unless there's some written contract or strong evidence that there was an unwritten contract between LC and the dentist , or some other form of demonstrable obligation of LC to pay any amount .

I have never been to any sort of doctor who didn't require me to sign a no-show agreement before the initial appointment. I guess that is a valid bit of info we haven't heard:

LC, were you notified of any sort of cancellation policy at your first appointment? Usually, they give you a copy of the policy and make you sign a form stating that you received the policy. I never hold on to those things, so I don't expect that you did, but do you recall reading any sort of policy?
posted by necessitas at 10:28 AM on November 13, 2007


I'd definitely write a letter, send it certified and contest it - letting them know that you understand it was wrong, but that you don't have those kinds of funds.

Also, I just had all of my wisdom teeth out on friday (i'm 28) DO NOT WAIT - you will hate yourself if you do. TRUST ME on this.
posted by heartquake at 10:48 AM on November 13, 2007


Suck it up and be a grown up. You chickened out at the last minute, bailed when you KNEW they'd be already gone for the weekend and put your head (and wisdom teeth) in the sand. I find it VERY difficult to believe that the doctor didn't have an after hours number. Well, he probably had one for patients with post-operative issues, but not ones canceling appointments.

To answer your question, yes, for an oral surgeon, that is not a lot of money to have a procedure done. For a dentist it is an excessive amount. They have different training and different equipment. I recently learned this the hard way after having a root canal done to the toon of $2000 - and that is only at the half way point. The rest of the crown will cost me another $1000ish.

You say that they had you fill out a bunch of paperwork. I'd bet you a dinner of soft solids that there's at least one paragraph concerning missed appointments and cancellation policies.

Whether it's a physical therapist, eye doctor, dentist or cardiologist, it's become pretty damn standard that they expect at least 24 hours notice if you're going to cancel.

Most places are willing to extend a professional courtesy of not charging you if you are going to reschedule with them. But bail outright? I think you should consider yourself fortunate that they're willing to work with you. Consider it a lesson learned.

By the way, is your Mother aware that you bailed on the surgery? If not, I suggest that you stop listening to the experiences of your friends and neighbours, have a sit down with your Mom and give her the heads up. I don't think she'll be too pleased if/when she gets hit with a collection notice since she's the primary insured on the policy and you haven't filled her in.
posted by dancinglamb at 11:00 AM on November 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


Also, did they not call and confirm your appointment at least the day before? Any time I've ever had any sort of day surgery, I've received one (if not TWO calls) confirming my surgery date. Each time, they reiterated the cancellation policy to me.

I kind of suspect that you may have a selective memory, my friend.
posted by dancinglamb at 11:03 AM on November 13, 2007


This isn't anything to do with your financial issue, but I had a single wisdom tooth pulled this year.... a little sore for the rest of the day, and fine after that. Twenty years ago I had two pulled on the same day with local anesthetic.... same thing.

My 17-year-old son had all 4 wisdom teeth pulled last December- three were bony-impacted and one soft-tissue impacted. He didn't feel tired afterward; stayed up the rest of the night, didn't need to take pain pills, and even went to an all-night youth lock-in at our church the next night.

Some people have problems with wisdom tooth extractions, but the vast majority don't.

Your profile doesn't say where you are, but if you are anywhere near Fort Worth, TX, and would like to know my oral surgeon's name, let me know.
posted by Doohickie at 11:30 AM on November 13, 2007


IANAL, but as a side note I wouldn't wait for it to go to collections. You can ask the local court for a preliminary finding. Of course, this will take some googling and sucking up to the civil clerk to figure out the procedure, but I know its possible.

And for what its worth, the dentist and orthodontist urged me for years to take out my wisdom teeth. I'm 28 now and I've never had an infection, pain, impacting, etc. Not one damn problem despite the plethora they promised.
posted by letahl at 11:48 AM on November 13, 2007


can someone claiming otherwise explain how a surgeon could get this kind of thing on a credit report without a signed contract?

If LC was made aware of the terms of the contract, he accepted them through his conduct (agreeing to an appointment). You don't need to sign anything to have a valid contract. It would be highly inadvisable to try to wiggle your way out of this on some legal technicality, unless they really didn't inform you of their cancellation policy at all, which as others have said is unlikely. It was probably posted somewhere or in some information they gave you.

LC, part of growing up is getting your wisdom teeth removed. Another part is learning to take responsibility for your actions. You screwed up here. You cancelled an appointment in a way that left them no time to fit in another patient. That cost them more than $2000, and they're only charging you $650 for it. And yet you presented the question omitting most of this information to make yourself seem like the victim; then you when hunting for sympathetic answers to justify your frankly adolescent sense of being wronged.

Own up to your mistake. Ask them, politely, contritely, to give you a break this time when you call to reschedule. Maybe ask them to knock the cancellation fee down to $200 because you don't have a lot of money, buy acknowledge that you inadvertently caused them a costly inconvenience. Don't ask them to charge you nothing - that's an insult to their professionalism. And don't try to fight this through a collections agency. Those fights rarely end well.
posted by Dasein at 12:47 PM on November 13, 2007 [4 favorites]


can someone claiming otherwise explain how a surgeon could get this kind of thing on a credit report without a signed contract?


Similar to what Dasein said, it's been inferred that LC was onboard and had accepted the Terms of the Agreement by not only completeling the consultation appointment, but by following up with making the appointment for the surgery, itself.

Further, you know all that paperwork they have you fill out as a 'new patient' when you have to arrive 15 minutes early at your first appointment? The ones where you have to sign and demonstrate all the information is complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge? Well, that's more or less the contract you're signing with the doctor. The majority of the paperwork I've signed all says something along the lines of being responsible financially for whatever insurance doesn't cover, etc., etc.

When I went in for the consultation they gave me a packet of papers to sign because I was a new patient. If they were smart they put in some print about paying a fee ....but I'll definitely ask

But since it seems that LC STILL hasn't read the paperwork that is so incredibly important to this entire situation, we don't know whether read what he was presumably asked to fill out and leave at the office.
posted by dancinglamb at 3:25 PM on November 13, 2007


But since it seems that LC STILL hasn't read the paperwork that is so incredibly important to this entire situation, we don't know whether read what he was presumably asked to fill out and leave at the office.

I don't have any paperwork. I signed it and they have it.


I'll have an update in a couple days.

Thanks all
posted by LC at 5:38 PM on November 13, 2007



LC, part of growing up is getting your wisdom teeth removed.


Bull. I'm 33 and I have all of mine. I never asked a dentist what I should do with them or had x-rays; I just left them alone and let them do their thing.

I can understand not wanting to wait and see what happens if you had years of expensive dental work, but it's a myth that "everyone" has to have their wisdom teeth out. I don't think we should remove them by default.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:27 PM on November 13, 2007


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