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P & J Debt Collection Services Regarding Dental Fee

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This is a minor problem compared to some I have read on the Forum but I just need some advice on what my son should do.

 

He has been undergoing dental treatment at a local practice and paid for his treatment as and when he had it.

He carried on having his treatment but did not pay after the final session session as he was waiting for a new card debit card.

He was told this was no problem and to call in later.

 

Unfortunately he had to go away the next day and to be perfectly honest I don’t think he gave it a thought owing to the conversation he had with the Receptionist.

My son lives on his own and is hardly ever at home due to work commitments and the fact that he is a voluntary Assistant Coach to an Olympian Team so pressure is really mounting.

 

He received the first reminder letter from the dentist dated 23rd November and another one dated 7th December which actually arrived on either Monday 12th or Tuesday 13th.

He was away at the time and I opened it and rang him to tell him that the account was being forwarded to the debt-collecting agency.

 

The letter did actually give him 7 days but didn’t actually say from the date of the letter or receipt of the letter.

 

However he asked me to call in to the dentist, which I did on the 14th December, to explain that he was back on Sunday 18th December and would pop in to pay it the next day.

They agreed that would be ok.

 

He went into the dentist on Monday 19th December to pay the £157 and they refused to accept it saying that the matter had been put into a debt collection agency.

He was absolutely stunned as he has always paid monies owed and has never been in debt

– he doesn’t even have a credit card.

 

He has been with the dentist for over 20 years and has always paid promptly and never missed an appointment.

Apparently the dentist is now part of Integrated Dental Holdings and their code of practice has changed.

 

When my son rang me I also called in to try and work out a solution but again they refused the payment.

It is ironic that the dentist can take time out to ring him to remind him about his appointment but cannot pick up the phone to mention that his account is overdue.

 

The dentist claim they sent him 4 letters but when I went in they told me they had sent him 3 when in fact he received 2,

one of which took at least 5 days to arrive.

Surely in a situation liked this, the letters should have been sent recorded delivery especially the last one.

 

Today, 22nd December he received a letter dated 16th December from P & J Collection Services asking for £207.24 – adding an extra £50.24 to his bill.

They are asking for payment in full by return or they will have no option but to advise their client to issue legal proceedings against him without further notice or delay.

 

The letter also said that an adverse court judgement would make it extremely difficult for him to obtain credit from anyone

and he would also incur legal costs ordered by the court.

 

They ask for a letter stating if there are any valid reasons for not paying and told him NOT TO IGNORE THE LETTER.

 

He is now furious but does not dispute he owes the £157 and would willingly pay it now but at the moment there is no way he believes he should pay the extra £50.24.

He is in the process of writing to the Head Office but would like some advice on how to proceed with P & J Debt Collections.

 

Should he contact them to say he is disputing the additional fee or should he ignore the letter until he hears from Head Office?

Do verbal agreements count for anything?

There is no way he wants to be dragged through the courts so should I try and persuade him to pay the full amount

 

Any advice would be appreciated. Many thanks.

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The usual misleading DCA bluster.

 

I'd send the DCA a letter:

 

Dear Curs

 

I refer to your letter dated (date), the content of which is noted.

 

At no time have I denied that I owe the sum of £157 to (dentist). I do, however, dispute the additional £50.24 which appears to have been added. You will be aware that the Office of Fair Trading considers that adding additional fees for collection to be an unfair practice, except where there is explicit contractual provision and where the amount represents actual and necessary costs. You have failed to provide any explanation or breakdown relating to this sum, nor have you provided any evidence of explicit contractual provision. Consequently, no money will be forthcoming in respect of this additional sum, and any further non-compliant behaviour will be reported to the OFT.

 

I now enclose a cheque in the sum of £157, and consider the matter closed. No further correspondence will be entered into.

 

Yours etc.

 

I hope the dentist considers it worth £157 to lose a patient.

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pers i'd send the cheque to the dentist and cut out the dca

 

you never know what the little buggers might do with the cheque

 

safe to say, you owe the DCA nothing

 

they are not BAILLIFFS and have no legal powers to do NOWT!!

 

dx

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, the whole DCA industry would collapse overnight.

 

 

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Thanks for your very speedy reply, I do appreciate it and will sort the letter out tonight. The dentist is not going to lose one patient - at the present count they are going to lose my son, my husband, me, my other son, my sister and her two children and my mum. A grand total of 8 up to now. We also have three other dentists in town and none of them have waiting lists and all do National Health. I must admit this Forum is superb.

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pers i'd send the cheque to the dentist and cut out the dca

 

you never know what the little buggers might do with the cheque

 

safe to say, you owe the DCA nothing

 

they are not BAILLIFFS and have no legal powers to do NOWT!!

 

dx

 

Many thanks. Do you think they would stoop so low or am I being naive? If I did this should I write a similar letter to the dentist enclosing the cheque and then ask them for a receipt?

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The dental practice have already refused payment; they could just send the cheque back. The DCA will want their 20% (I checked their website), so they'll accept it.

 

Personally the only letter I'd be writing to the dentist is one to inform him that the family are so disappointed at the practice's unpleasant attitude that they will be going elsewhere in future.

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Right,

I will send the cheque and the letter to the DCA.

If they come after my son for the additional £50.24 then they will certainly have a fight on their hands as he is still refusing to pay it.

He has done a letter to send to Integrated Dental Holdings and to the Practice Manager who refused his payment

but I have told him to wait until his cheque has cleared.

 

There will also be letters from each member of my family and possibly even some friends cancelling their registration with the Practice.

 

Two years ago if I wanted an appointment I had to wait weeks, now they can usually fit you in the following week

- and I guess this is the reason why - the waiting rooms are often empty.

 

Apparently it's all about meeting targets and budgets since they were taken over

- pity it's at the expense of customer service.

 

Thank you once again and Happy Christmas.

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If you don't mind having your name published, I'd also write a letter to your local paper.

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That thought had crosssed my mind. I will wait until my son's cheque has cleared first though. Thanks.

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Sorry, one more question before I send the letter off. Shall I make the cheque out to the DCA or to the dentist?

 

The usual misleading DCA bluster.

 

I'd send the DCA a letter:

 

 

 

I hope the dentist considers it worth £157 to lose a patient.

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Hi, I would like to send the letter off tomorrow, can someone please advise me if I should make the cheque out to the DCA or to the dentist. I am just a bit concerned that if I send it to the DCA and it is in their name then they may keep their percentage and only pass the remainder on to the dentist. This mean that my son will still owe the dentist some money. Thanks

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The DCA won't pass the cheque on to the dentist. If you want to go the route of paying the DCA then it will have to be made out to them. They will then carry on sending threat-ograms to your son for the remaining £50.24, which he can then ignore.

 

Personally I would be sending the cheque by recorded delivery to the dentist with a letter headed "in full and final payment" and ignore the DCA.

 

If it ever went to court (which it won't) a judge would be very upset to see that a genuine offer of payment had been rejected by the practice.

 

Happy new year

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Pesonally I would pay the dentist exactly what they are owed,

and ignore the DCA.

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The dental practice has already refused payment. They may simply send the cheque back and insist, as they have before, that the patient deals with the DCA - it sounds as if the practice is following its paret group's policy. The DCA will take their fee from the payment, of course - I imagine the dentist knows that the DCA will do this.

 

I suspect it is unlikely that the DCA will try very hard, if at all, to chase the fee that they shouldn't be trying to charge in the first place.

 

Anyway, the question as to who the cheques should be sent to has now been answered more than once; decide what you want to do, and then do it. Ruminating upon what a patient-unfriendly dentist and a second-rate DCA might do over £50 really isn't worth it.

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A short sharp complaint to the GDC re the pratices attitude

would not be amiss!!!!!


Any Letters I Draft are N0T approved by CAG and no personal liability is accepted.

Please Consider making a donation to keep this site running!

Nemo Mortalium Omnibus Horis Sapit: Animo et Fide:

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Many thanks. We have made 3 verbal offers of payment to the dentist on 19th / 20th December but they wouldn't accept it that is why I thought we should make the cheque out to the dentist but send it to the DCA. However if you don't think they will pass it on then it would be pointless. If we did send it to the dentist should I state that payment was refused 3 times and that we will not deal with the DCA pointing out that we believe it is their responsibility to sort it out with them (or something to that effect). If the DCA keep trying to get their £50.24 and my son refuses to pay, will it affect his credit rating? Will the DCA just stop sending the letters eventually? I am still so annoyed about it especially as I have always drummed into my son that he must pay his bills on time but I guess that counts for nothing with this dentist. We can't wait to transfer to another one.

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There is no credit agreement between your son and the dentist. The only way his credit rating could be affected is if he were taken to court and received a CCJ. The DCA will eventually give up and try to find someone easier to bully. I doubt anyone in their right mind would try to take your son to court after receiving three offers for payment.

 

There is no time limit on this. You could send the cheque to the dental practice first and see what happens. If they cash it, job done. If they return it then you can look at the problem again. If they sit on it, then you need do nothing until they either return it or cash it. DCA can go whistle. Don't engage with them.

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Only a court judgement would affect the credit rating, and only then if unsatisfied. Only credit agreements such as HP, loans, credit cards and phone contracts are reported upon by CRAs; the sort of thing this matter relates to would make no difference.

 

I'm not going to get drawn into the 'send it to the dentist or DCA' thing anymore - make a decision and follow it up, then forget about it. These creatures really aren't worth synapses you are expending.

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Many thanks to all of you. You are right Scarlet Pimpernel when you say "Ruminating upon what a patient-unfriendly dentist and a second-rate DCA might do over £50 really isn't worth it" but my stomach is in knots thinking about it. I have made a decision and will go with mathmagician and take my time over the process. The cheque will be sent to the dentist tomorrow and I will await the outcome. Once the cheque has been cashed (hopefully) I will be sending the GDC a letter and copy it to Integrated Dental Holdings. Thank you all once more and I will keep you updated.

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I just wanted to thank you all for your advice with this problem. My son sent the cheque to the dentist and has now received a receipt and the cheque has cleared through his bank account so I guess they called off the DCA who hopefully will lose out on their £50.24! I can now happily send my letter of complaint to Integrated Dental Holdings and to the GDC and we, as a family, are in the process of moving over to another dental practice in the town. Without your help it could have been an entirely different outcome. Thank you once more.

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Nice one, well done for sticking to your guns. The DCA will chase, but just file them and relax!

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