Dispute bill collection fees received when abroad?

7 posts in this topic

Good morning! I've been in the US for 3 months (for the shutdown) and just returned to a bill that's been accumulating fees and now a debt collector's fee. As the entire bill, subsequent reminders, and the debt collectors' letter was sent to my mailbox which I didn't check while away, might I get the additional fees waived by explaining and paying just the original bill? I can try calling someone tomorrow -- should I call the debt collector, the company issuing the bill (die PVS) or my doctor's office where the service was provided?

 

I realize I should have been more careful, but my doctor said they would first try to claim directly with my insurance (as I had a voucher) so I didn't even know if they would bill me directly. The debt collector's letter is dated from last week so hopefully this can be fixed without too much trouble; I can just pay the whole sum if that would be best. Does this get me into any trouble with Schufa or so, or would that only be if I end up living long-term in Germany?

 

Thanks for your help!

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34 minutes ago, lunaCH said:

Just pay the original invoice immediately without any of the additional fees. ;)

Thanks, I'd be happy to do that! Will they keep hounding me for the extra, though?

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15 minutes ago, NewGirlEv said:

Thanks, I'd be happy to do that! Will they keep hounding me for the extra, though?

That remains to be seen. I'd start by paying what you originally owed as this clears the original debt and possibly stops any further fees being added on to what they now claim is outstanding. You needn't even contact them, just pay and see what happens. They will no longer be able to pursue you for the part that is paid and the rest (the fees) may be so small that it might not be worth their while taking it further. ;)

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ht legal side of this is: you are beholden to take care of incoming mail if you are longer away from home than 14 days or so. I.e., if post accumulated and you did not receive it, it is legally your problem and not theirs. Don't get me wrong: I am not judging you or anything, just describing the legal situation as is.

 

IMO if you explain this to the original invoice issuer and ask for understanding, you stand a good chance to get this waived at least in major parts. Of course the collecting company/agency has accrued some real costs for issuing the letters to you and what not and they might demand that at least some of the factual costs are met. Which, I think, would be a fair offer still.

 

But if they'll insist on you paying in full, you have no legal ground to dispute this, I am afraid.

 

When in doubt, btw., try to contact the nearest "Verbraucherzentrale" (you should be able to Google which one is closest to you), they might be able to help you with this and even know some legal loopholes that can be used on your behalf

 

Cheerio

 

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