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Please help a newbie!

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    Please help a newbie!

    I hope I can get some help from someone with more knowledge than me ( won't take much )! Let me explain a little bit about myself and the problem.

    I'm 25 and last year I was bitten by a bat and had to have a series of rabies shots. I have no insurance. However, I qualified for aid and still $400 something to the local hospital.

    I had been making small payments on the bill but recently have been totally in the poor house and had to let the payments slip. I intended to pay the remaining $260 that I still owed after my payments with my tax return.

    Well, I got a call friday from Eagle Recovery Associates ( a debt collector ) and the woman was very nice but told me it was in regards to my medical bill and told me I owed $1260! I asked where the additional 1,000 came from and she eventually said it was the aid I qualified for and it had been lifted. I told her there was no way I could pay all that money and was upset and frozen and I ended up giving her some of my info like income amounts, where I work and bill amounts..etc. She verified my phone number and address. I was so terrified and scared that I gave her that info and now that I was looking stuff up I'm worried that would put a big red crosshair on me and get me sued and they can start garnishing my wages.

    I don't make a whole lot, in fact, there isn't much left over for food, even. I'm now living on my own, renting a house and have a low paying job.

    the lady told me she would see what she could do and will call me back. That was friday evening so I'm expecting a call tomorrow ( monday ).

    What on earth do I do? that money doesn't sound like a lot but it is to me. I get my taxes soon but even it isn't enough to pay off the full amount. Can I try and see if they'll take half in a lump sum? How does that work? I'm almost completely clueless!

    Tomorrow I'm going to call the hospital and verify that they sold my dept to a collector and ask if there is ANYTHING I can do to remedy this without a debt collector.

    Please help a girl out.

    Well I just got off the phone with the hospital. Somehow the amount is actually $1,982. Ughh. Apparently the times I went in after the first to get the shot kept adding up and the bill I had gotten for the first time was all I seen.

    It is indeed owned by the agency now, not the hospital so they sold it. The woman from the hospital told me I could pay through the hospital and they fax it to the collector. Or pay the agency itself.

    As for the agency..what should I do? they'll be calling me today, I'm sure. Unless I start payments there is no way I can afford it but I can use my tax return when it gets here to pay probably half.

    Would payments be a good idea? I don't want the amount jacked up more over time with fees or whatever they do. I would rather try and put all I can down and get it over with. But I'm not sure how to approach this.

    I don't know when to give if they start to threaten me..etc. I just don't want sued! The debt is my fault and I WANT to pay it but I'm not sure how to go about this.


      First off I would recommend taking the call... you do not want the collection agency thinking you are trying to avoid them. They will not like it but you can tell them that you are working with the hospital to settle the bill... like I said, they will not like it as they want your money to go to them rather than the hospital.

      Secondly, from what I have read/heard it is better to settle with the original creditor (the hospital). you should be able to negotiate with the hospital as well for around 50% of the amount owed... you may start off a little lower like around 30% and see how flexible they are willing to be with you.

      If you are able to settle with the hospital then the collection agency is no longer allowed to harass you and if they continue to (make sure to document everything) you can sue them.

      I'm currently in a similar situation for a $13,000 debt my wife had from before we were married... I'm thinking about starting off our negotiations at %25%. You have to consider that the collection agency purchased your debt for around 5-10% of the actual amount owed.

      I hope this helps!


        Thank you for the reply!

        When I was on the phone with the hospital I was told that I wasn't paying THEM. It's no longer the hospital's bill but the collector's. She told me that If I gave them money it would be faxed to the collector.

        I would like to avoid the debt collector but by the way she talked it's impossible to settle with the hospital as they've already sold my debt.

        Would the debt collector want to settle for a percentage? I have yet to get a call back from them but I'm waiting for it. I just don't know how to talk to them and how much leverage I have.

        I would agree to payments but I don't want them tacking on fees and raising the price on my debt.


          first get their mailing address and send the collection agency a request to validate the debt... you can search google (or this site) for "example validation of debt letter".

          this will buy you a little time and allow you to save a little more money.


            Sure will. I will do that today. When they call me I will get the address, phone number and agency name. I'll then tell them I will be contacting them via mail. Should I tell them to no longer call me once I have that information?


              I'm not sure if that is necessary... or if it will even work. Even if you ask them not to call you they most likely still will.


                Get everything in writing. I would really try to work with the hospital directly. Talk to someone else there to confirm the process. Money can't be faxed...but could be wired, or mailed. You would want to get some type of receipt when you give them the money.
                My other blog is Your Organized Friend.