Looking for honest credit advisor in NYC
February 5, 2007 10:28 AM   Subscribe

FirstPostFilter: Recommendations for an honest credit advisor in New York City, or someone who can fight my fight against the mean collection agency?

Hello all,

I have been dealing with some major credit issues for the past few months, and I’m about at my wit’s end. I've read through google, and creditboards.com, and askmefi, but I’m ready to hire someone to take over this crusade for me, since I’m really in over my head wading through all sorts of laws and acronyms (HIPAA, FACTA, ETC.). Any advice on where to find an honest credit advisor or advocate in New York City?

Long story short:

In Dec 2004, I had my tonsils taken out in a hospital in NYC. The original referral came from a doctor in my plan at school in Boston, so I used that insurance for the procedure. I mentioned that I had secondary insurance from my parents, and in fact that insurance (a NY based plan) was used for some of the fees involved.

The hospital billed my NY insurance and it all worked out fine, but the physician and pathologist for some reason opted for the Boston insurance. I wasn’t even aware of these additional fees, because the insurance should have just paid it. However, it is now two years later, and I have collection agencies after me and delinquent credit and I’ve been denied opening two separate bank accounts.

Turns out, the intake nurse (or someone) switched two digits in my insurance ID number, and so the insurance denied their claim. Rather than using the other insurance they should have had on file for me, they decided to send my parents the bill, which my parents promptly disregarded because they made no sense. So the collection agency, which bought the accounts, want my money, but will not guarantee that they will update my credit report to expunge these accounts. Rather, I’ll have these “delinquencies” noted for the next 7-10 years, into my 30s. I'm willing to pay the amount, but am not willing to suffer poor credit because of the medical practice's initial error.

Long Story Long:
I have the longer story all typed up, and summaries of the relevant conversations I’ve had over the past few months, in case anyone wants to email me (prophetsearcher@gmail.com).
posted by prophetsearcher to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I feel for you... We just had a lien placed against our state tax refund because of medical debt... Look for a non-profit credit counseling agency... They're geared toward helping people get out of credit card debt, but I am pretty sure they'd also be able to give you advice on your situation because they are experts at dealing with collection agencies... Try giving a credit counseling agency a call, tell them your story, and see if they have any advice to offer... Here's a link to one of the most well-known agencies, and they have branches in New York ...

Consumer Credit Counseling

(but there are other agencies to choose from as well, just make sure you choose one that is "non-profit")
posted by amyms at 11:01 AM on February 5, 2007

A nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency in NYC is Greenpath. They have offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Call them and make an appointment to speak to a counselor there.
posted by mattbucher at 11:26 AM on February 5, 2007

Tell the credit reporting bureaus to remove that from your credit report, as you were never notified you owed them money. I would think that a lawyer could get this removed, as you can't possibly be expected to pay something you're never notified you owe.
posted by oaf at 11:37 AM on February 5, 2007

The problem is, oaf, he was notified, or his parents were. They just chose to ignore it. (That seems an exceptionally weird thing to do, in my view.)

The quickest way to deal with this is to pay it, get a letter from the collection agency that states it was paid in full, and forward a copy of that to the credit bureaus to have noted on your file.
posted by loiseau at 12:06 PM on February 5, 2007

Response by poster: amyms, mattbutcher: thanks for the suggestions and support. i'll look into them and try to report back here for future inquirers.
oaf: officially, i think they did sufficiently notify, I just never got the notification. Bullocks for me, right?
loiseau: the problem is exceedingly more complicated than i noted. basically, they did cut a check to the collection agency, but a wayward (former) employee of theirs intercepted it. I discovered this last week after following a weird money trail, but this all happened a year and a half ago (this is part of a much longer story of intrigue and deceit...). As I said, it's more complicated than just ignoring it - but for all intents and purposes that is kind of what happened in the end, as the collector never knew about this failed check.
Also, the problem with having the file updated as "paid in full," is that it would still harm my credit rating. I'm trying to get the records expunged altogether, which I believe should be possible. After all, this is a medical record, and this whole mess would have been avoided had it not been for their initial error.
posted by prophetsearcher at 12:24 PM on February 5, 2007

If you're ready to hire someone to take care of this, then hire a lawyer who specializes in the area. S/he will be legally obligated to act in your best interest, can legally act on your behalf in these matters, and will be taken more seriously by those that s/he contacts with regards to this matter.
posted by winston at 12:29 PM on February 5, 2007

The problem is, oaf, he was notified, or his parents were.

His parents being notified doesn't mean he was notified. My parents being notified would not put me on the hook for anything. (If someone were to send a bill to me at someone else's address, that doesn't count as notification, especially if the creditors involved know my actual address and don't send anything to it.)
posted by oaf at 1:01 PM on February 5, 2007

I think you'll have much better results with a lawyer. Credit agencies have a well-deserved bad rep, and mostly deal with people who are coping with debt.

Consider going to your state's consumer protection office. See if the insurance company will still pay any portion that is their responsibility. And go to the administrative office for the physician - they likely belong to a group practice - and insist on working with someone who can straighten it out. They screwed it up and they have a responsibility to help you get it corrected. You'll have much better luck in person.
posted by theora55 at 2:19 PM on February 5, 2007

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