When I ran my free annual credit report (www.annualcreditreport.com - NOT freecreditreport.com which is NOT free) it was a surprise to see a "negative account" on my report. It was for a measly $60 charge, and the collections agency listed was "CBA." I looked to see for whom this account was opened, and it ended up being an urgent care I visited in June 2009! I thought, "clearly, this is a mistake. I paid the $60 when I was there as it was my co-pay." I sought out the assistance of my bank who provided me with my statement for that month, and there it was $60 debit to the urgent care.
Hmm - this is odd. My account has been in collections with this company since November 2009? Why hadn't I ever been contacted?
I called the urgent care billing office to sort things out. I had her look back on her records, and the "there's no charge for this follow-up" was actually run through my insurance, and another $60 co-pay had been billed to me. When I received my $60 bill in July 2009, I immediately called the billing office who said, "it must have been a mistake. You don't owe anything." Ha! Yeah right. Instead of the billing office sending out another bill, they merely turned my information over to collections for a $60 bill.
When I finally had it sorted out and paid my $60 to the urgent care (profusely apologizing...and they did the same since there was a note on my account that said "duplicate bill" and followed by "not a duplicate - see history" but no one called me to tell me so nor sent me a bill again) I told them, "you know what? you guys need a better collections agency working for your hospital. I never received a letter from them, never received a bill from them, and when I tracked down a 706 phone number call I received today, it just came back as 'East Ellijay.' They didn't leave a voicemail, and when I called back, the phone was automatically answered on hold. I just thought you should know since I know your organization is PAYING them to collect money for you, but they aren't doing a very good job, and I can't see that you're gaining any money from them: just paying them for services rendered."
The business office thanked me for the information saying that they very rarely ever hear back from former patients on paying past due accounts, and CBA's lack of contact with their clients (victims, whatever) could very well be the reason why.
My account sat in collections for almost a year and a half, and I was never once notified. Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty crappy collections agency, wouldn't you?