George Simons | October 19, 2022
Summary: No one needs the stress of a medical debt lawsuit on top of health complications. Here's SoloSuit's guide on how to take a stand against Americollect and win in court.
Even though Americollect claims to be ridiculously nice, respectful, and treats debtors with dignity, there's nothing good about medical debts. Unpaid medical bills can accumulate into thousands of dollars within a short period. No one needs the stress of medical debt added to the worry of a hospital visit.
At least medical debts take longer than other debts to appear on a credit report, but that doesn't mean that debtors can get away with delinquencies.
If you have an unpaid medical bill, the chances are that your healthcare provider will sell your debt to a collection agency like Americollect. The agency can sue you after several failed collection attempts. If they win the case or obtain a default judgment, you may have to deal with a wage garnishment order that directs a portion of your earnings towards clearing the debt.
The good news is that you can challenge Americollect in court and have a fair chance of winning the case. Here's how to defend yourself in court against Americollect.
Americollect is a legitimate debt collection agency specializing in collecting delinquent healthcare bills. Based in Wisconsin, the agency was founded in 1964 and serves over 120 healthcare providers and 7,000 physicians today.
The agency employs a more lenient strategy to recover healthcare debts. Since most of their debtors already have stressful medical issues, Americollect empathizes with consumers and complies with medical collections rules and regulations.
This agency divides its collection services into two categories.
Americollect only contacts you after your health provider hands over the unpaid debt to the agency. Ideally, that may happen anywhere after about 30 days from the day you miss a payment on your medical bill installments. However, it will take 180 days before debt appears on your credit report.
Like any other medical debt collection agency, Americollect must comply with the rules and regulations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when contacting you. For example, they can't call you during odd hours or use profane language and threats in an attempt to recover the debt.
Besides making phone calls, Americollect utilizes communication methods such as emails, text messages, live chats, and voice messages to request payment from you. They may also negotiate a repayment plan with you. However, if unsuccessful, they may send you a final notice of the debt followed by a court summons.
It is never a good idea to ignore a debt collection summons because the court will automatically pass a default judgment favoring the debt collector when that happens. Instead, begin to plan your defense strategy to improve your chances of winning the case.
Here's what you can do.
Ideally, Americollect should validate the debt within five days of reaching out to you. If they do not verify the debt, you can send them a Debt Validation Letter which requires them to validate the debt before taking further action. As verification of the debt, Americollect should provide you with the following details:
After obtaining this information, the next step is to verify that you owe the debt. Americollect can also make erroneous entries like any other collection company. For example, they may have recorded an incorrect amount for the debt you allegedly owe. If you find such errors, you can file a dispute with them.
Disputing the debt can delay the court summons by a couple of days. If you file a dispute, Americollect must verify the debt through the mail and stop all other collection activities until they validate the debt. That gives you more time to plan your next move.
Filing a dispute involves writing a letter to Americollect highlighting the errors you found and sending it through a certified mail service. Americollect must respond to the dispute within 30 days. Be sure to keep track of all communications between you and Americollect in writing. That way, if they take the matter to court, you will have sufficient evidence to build your case.
It is also possible that your medical insurance provider cleared the bill if you filed a claim. However, the creditor and the collection agency may not be aware of updates about the debt. Therefore, you may need to figure out if the insurance company paid the medical bill you supposedly owe.
The easiest way to confirm the correct balances is by calling the insurance company to ask if they covered your medical bill. Next, call the hospital or physician to whom you owe the debt to establish whether they have the updated information.
If there's an error in the balances, request your doctor and the insurance provider to clear the differences. In the meantime, you have more reasons to dispute the debt and request Americollect for validation.
Most debt collectors and creditors encourage the idea of negotiating a settlement amount or a repayment plan with debtors instead of going through a long and hectic court process. If they agree to negotiate, ensure that the agreement is in writing and that you honor your end of the bargain.
For tips and tricks on negotiating, watch SoloSuit discuss a debt settlement for one of its customers:
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You'll need to respond to the court summons on time to avoid a default judgment against you. Even if you owe the debt, you can challenge the plaintiff by citing affirmative defenses to increase your chances of winning the case.
Here are examples of the affirmative defenses you can raise in your Answer to a medical debt collection suit.
Drafting an Answer can be overwhelming and time-consuming, but SoloSuit has got you covered. Generate a response to a debt lawsuit in minutes with SoloSuit's innovative web-app service. Here's how it works.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
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