Adult daughter bill rejected by our insurance

by Not mine
(Peoria, il)

Our 23 year old daughter who lived in Chicago 3 hours away from us went to the dentist and provided our insurance card. It was denied because we no longer used that insurance company.

She ignored the calls and never paid. She later moved. A collections agency contacted us in 2011 and we sent a certified letter within 5 days stating it wasn't our debt as we weren't a party to the transaction and didn't authorize it. I still have the receipt! We thought this was resolved.

Then in july 2013 - 1.5 years later - we learned that we had been sued by this same collections agency and had lost by default!

Judgement that I read online said we owe for the original $400 dental bill plus assess costs that didn't state an amount. I called and collection agency said we owe $1000 total which also includes 175 court fees plus $420 "service fee". At the top of the paper was typed Circuit Court of Cook County, case number, etc. I think they wanted me to think it was correspondence from the court. It didn't say their name on it.

Anyway... It's only been 19 days since judgement so I could appeal but I live 3 hours away so clearly that would end up costing me more than the $1,000.

Did they do something wrong? Are they trying to cheat me with this service fee since the court allowed but didn't specify an amount on the website? We have not received any documents from the court other than a postcard saying we lost, but maybe it's in the mail?

Reply from DebtCollectionAnswers.com

You should have been served with a notice that you were being sued for the debt. Acceptable methods for serving you vary by state, so we can't say for sure what would have been required in your situation, but it's possible that this would be considered improper service.

Your goal now should be to get this judgment vacated. That means it will be removed from your credit reports. If you just pay it or settle it it says on your credit reports for up to seven years so that isn't a good option.

It also sounds like the debt collector may not have had a basis for suing you - especially after you notified them that you weren't responsible for the debt. And given that your daughter was an adult when this took place, they probably can't say you were responsible as her parents (which could be the case if she were a minor.)

We would suggest you talk with a consumer law attorney who handles debt collection cases asap to find out what your options are.

Get free legal advice about debt collection here

If it turns out the debt collector broke the law in its attempts to collect the debt, then the attorney may not charge you anything because the debt collector would have to pay the legal fees. So it is definitely worth pursuing.

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