What to do if 2 different collection agencies aretrying to collectfor the same debt?

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What to do if 2 different collection agencies aretrying to collectfor the same debt?

I owe money to a hospital and I have failed to pay.Is it legal to have 2 different collection agencies charge me 2 different accounts for the same hospital service under 2 different names? I’ve already checked and it is for the same hospital visit but am being charges by 2 different collection agencies and they are charging under different names (one is representing East El Paso Physicians Medical Center $376 on 08/01/10 and the other one is representing Emergency care Providers $304 on 08/01/10) Emergency care providers isEast El Paso Physicians and I did go there for an emergency (ruptured ankle ligament) on that day but am being charged twice different amounts under different names by 2 different companies.

Asked on November 30, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You only have to pay any debt once--it doesn't matter how often or how many people try to collect. You want to make sure you pay the correct party, though; let each agency know, in writing, in some way that you can prove delivery (e.g. fedex or certified mail, return receipt requested) that you are being charged by another agency as well and cannot pay until it is determined who is the lawful recipient of the debt. Copy the hospital, too. Ask each agency to provide full documentation of the debt--exactly which services, procedures, etc. they are collecting for--and their authority to collect. Ask the hospital to send you a statement of all amounts owed and to also verify who has authority to collect. Then compare all documention and determine how much you lawfully owe to whom.


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