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Unfair credit practices of CMRE Financial Services, Inc. [Jul. 16th, 2007|11:26 am]
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This is the first post I've made public in a while, and I'm doing so because I want to publicly shame everyone involved.

Just over two years ago, I was treated in the emergency room at Grossmont Hospital. I received several bills for my treatment, and paid them all within a few weeks, in a pretty normal way.

Last month, I received a call from CMRE Financial Services Inc., informing me of an unpaid bill from that 2005 visit. My response was, "Of course I'll pay any bill that I owe," though I wondered how such a bill had escaped my attention. I was told I would be sent a form that I would sign, confirming the credit card payment of the bill.

A month later, I received a call from the same lady (Rudy Mendez), this time more urgent (sounded a little rude really), demanding I pay the bill. I inform her (correctly) that I have not received the bill she promised to mail. At this time, she asks me to confirm my address. She states that I live on (B)oltaire Street, but I live on (V)oltaire Street. Ah, now I see why I never received a bill. She says she will resend the bill to my address.

The second bill arrives before the first, but I get them both. I'm irritated because more than a sixth of the bill is interest owed on the original bill. I should not be responsible for the interest accrued due to somebody else's billing error. Not only that, but clearly they have my phone number, and before last month, nobody to my knowledge ever called to tell me about this bill.

So, today I call CMRE, thinking that they'll reason with me and allow me to pay only the original portion of the bill. After all, the fact that the bill is two years delinquent is somebody's fault other than mine.

They don't care.

As I try to explain my complaint to Rudy, she raises her voice slightly and starts talking quickly over me, keeping me from communicating my point. So, I raise my voice slightly above hers to ask her to just hear me out. This happens several times, at which point she asks me not to shout, trying to take the rhetorical high ground.

Well trained at the art of convincing people to give her money is this jedi.

Part of me simply wants to refuse to pay CMRE anything at this point. The problem is that this bill is stuck on my credit rating, which will no doubt sap money from me in the future when I do something like take out a mortgage.

I ask to speak to Ruby's manager, and we go through the same exact ordeal. However, this time I'm told that CMRE had tried to call me many times over the past two years. Wow! Really? On this line she tells me.

I have flat out never talked to anyone from CMRE before Ruby. I have never even heard of CMRE. I had no idea that I had an unpaid medical bill of any kind, and I certainly would not have left it unpaid as it amounts to a tiny fraction of my wealth, and the damage it does to my credit rating is worth far more than the bill itself.

Beyond that, nobody ever called and talked to me before my bill was sent to a collection agency. I asked the manager of CMRE if she could provide a phone record of her company contacting me. She responded that legally, she's not required to do that, which is a mildly clever and obtuse way to refuse to answer the question. I responded that I wasn't asking about legal requirements, that I was just asking if she was capable of demonstrating to me that phone calls were made (that I never received!). She parroted out the exact same line about not being legally required. This of course not only makes me angrier than I was before, but makes me feel like she simply does not care that I am not responsible for the error made, and is simply following legal guidelines her company came up with to try to stonewall my requests for a reasonable assessment of the situation.

She also did a lot of the same talking over me that Ruby did, trying to twist my half-spoken complaint to try to make it sound as if I'm responsible, regardless of the error. When I asked her how she would feel in my shoes, being asked to pay a fine that was the result of somebody else's clerical error. She responded by saying that this wasn't a personal matter (she refused to answer the question) and simply reiterated a canned quote about how I have an unpaid bill.

And hey, if they'd tried to call me before, and it happened to be one of the rare instances in which I don't answer my phone (other than class time), then there's this nice system called voice mail they could have used to make me aware of the circumstances.

So, I call the original medical group that referred my bill to CMRE, Grossmont ER Medical Group. Of course, I had to do the footwork to find their number myself, because CMRE wouldn't give it to me, and I didn't (easily) find it on Google. The first thing I do is ask the lady on the phone to correct my address, which she does.

Next, I explain the situation to her. I already know that the payment process is out of her [group's] hands, but I am more interested in finding out if she cares about the business practices of CMRE. This tells me a lot about the medical group itself, and how it treats people. While she was very polite, she doesn't sound the least bit sympathetic over the fact that I never received a bill from her group. She says simply that the bill was never returned by mail, so it goes to the collection agency. She gives no reason why my phone number was never used to track me down. And she seems perfectly comfortable with the collection agency's response to the problem.

Just to summarize my thoughts on how to resolve this situation: I am absolutely, perfectly comfortable paying the $318.00 I owe for medical services. Just on principle, I am irritated over paying $63.49 in interest (at a 10% interest rate!) to clear my credit history.

But here I am, held hostage. I feel that this is tantamount to extortion.

So, why would a collection agency operate this way?

I suggest a few reasons:

(1) It's not worth my time to sue them. Even if I get the standard $1k or $2k payout for being jerked around, that's less than I will earn from the amount of work I will perform with that time. I suspect I'll send payment in later today, in full, including interest, after I'm done steaming over it all;
(2) Surely there are PACs buying senators to make it easier for collection agencies to operate this way (DISCLAIMOR: I have no proof of this, but it...jives with my common sense.);
(3) The medical groups and hospitals protect the collection agencies, and regard their practices as reasonable. And of course, all doctors are good people who care about their patients. More of that high ground that's just harder to climb. Beyond that, this feeds into point (1) where the medical billing group makes itself hard to Google and find a phone number for in general, making it harder for somebody like me to feel there is any reasonable way to resolve the issue.
(4) Either I have plenty of money, and the interest means nothing to me, or I don't have a lot of money, and paying an attorney is a gamble with a hefty price-tag.

I have a little bit of sympathy for (3), where the medical groups feel the need to work with collection agencies. Of course they do! But they should force these agencies to compete ethically. I am not the deliquent they paint me to be. I am being charged interest for a clerical error that occurred within the hospital.

What's really outrageous is this -- all my other bills came to me! -- and I paid them, yet my track record of paying all my bills seems to be of no consequence to the collection agency, or even the medical group that retains their services.

Even worse, I'm now a little worried that I don't actually know what will happen with my credit score. Will this be red-lined? During my first conversation, Miss Mendez told me that it would be taken off as if it were never there. But considering we've now had a disagreement over responsibility, and I couldn't trust her to act in a way I consider reasonable -- can I trust her to red-line it off my credit report? Will I be forced to seek legal respresentation anyway? If so, then I shouldn't pay the interest to begin with.


So, here is my response, a lengthy blog post, detailed and accurate, and very public. PLEASE PROVIDE A LINK TO THIS POST IN YOUR BLOG SO THAT GOOGLE PICKS UP ON IT AND DIRECTS PEOPLE TO IT. Right now, I feel that this is the best way for me to fight back. It's not a large amount of money, but it is a matter of principle, and it's wrong for people to make a living strong-arming a person like me who is happy to pay the bills that are due him.


I will edit this post later, and turn it into a format more closely resembling a letter. I plan to mail it to every television station and newspaper in Southern California I can easily find an address for. I hope as many people as possible read this and know that I

(1) Do not endorse the services at Grossmont Hospital as a result of their billing practices;
(2) Do not endorse the services of Grossmont ER Group as a result of their billing practices and partner in bill collection; and
(3) Question the ethics of CMRE, and think it's very possible that the people who work there are either desperate for any job, worship the dollar, and/or sacrifice babies in the name of the dark lord, Voldamort.


So, what should I do? Am I right to just sign off on the extra interest, and wash my hands of this whole affair? Should I fight it out of principle? If so, how do I fight it? If I retain an attorney, is there a good chance I'll just pay for his services and get nothing in return?


Thank you for taking the time to read my complaint. Feel free to post below, and hyperbolize about how this kind of credit battle signifies the coming of the anti-Christ. The end is nigh!
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[User Picture]From: hober
2007-07-16 08:00 pm (UTC)

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Readers: please vote this up on reddit.
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2007-07-16 08:05 pm (UTC)

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Sweet idea! I've never used reddit...before now.
CMRE - (Anonymous) Expand
Re: CMRE - (Anonymous) Expand
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crme - (Anonymous) Expand
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[User Picture]From: infopractical
2007-07-16 08:16 pm (UTC)

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That's not a bad idea, though I may then edit my blog post and remove the part about PACs and legislators, heh. Perhaps my Rep will lend a serious ear, perhaps not, but the only way I'll know is if I try.

If I do this, it will have to be tomorrow because right now I need to shower and head to work. But it's still a time suck that isn't worth the amount of money. But I guess I'm going down the road of holding somebody responsible, so I might as well try to make the call.
From: (Anonymous)
2007-07-16 08:23 pm (UTC)

Advice from someone who's been where you now.

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http://reddit.com/info/26v7c/comments/c26vgs



Some pieces of advice from someone who's been through debt collection via an unpaid medical bill.

1) Debt collectors are not honest. At all. Be sure to google the "Fair Debt Collection Act" or "Fair Debt Collection Practices". There are tactics Debt Collectors are not supposed to use at all (such as browbeating or calling you a lowlife, etc, threatening to maliciously total your credit, etc) that are often used. Be sure you know what they are, because if they stoop to that level, you can catch and report them. Know what to do.

2) Again, do not trust anything they say over the phone. Demand written documentation for everything. Insist on written letters/agreements. Have them fax you things to be expedient.

3) Always get names. Find out their name and employee number. Find out who their supervisor is. Always. In fact, demand such information before talking with them -- it helps you retain control of the situation.

4) Keep escalating the problem to a supervisor. Refuse to be talked over. If someone starts talking over you, tell them that you will not tolerate that treatment from a debt collector, and you wish to speak with their supervisor. Repeat.

5) Don't cave. I've found that hospitals work with a lot of debt collectors. Often times, the Hospital gives them a time limit to collect the debt, after which it will be sent back to the hospital. If you can catch the bill while its at the hospital, and make a payment on it, it will re-activate the account -- and the account will likely not have any interest. (Hospitals don't charge interest -- the collection agencies do.) So wait them out. Call the hospital every 30 days and see if the bill has gone back to their internal collections department yet. Work out a payment plan with them -- they will be far more willing to work with you, and will be reasonable.

6) Don't expect any kind of public shaming or humiliation to affect debt collectors. They don't care. They're soulless. They want a reputation as rough. They want a reputation as uncaring. They're out to get your money. That's it. The people who take those jobs hate you -- you're just a deadbeat with a social security number that they're here to collect from.

7) Be sure they have up to date information regarding your address. That way if they take it to a judgment hearing (which stays on your credit history until its paid off -- and pretty much forbids people from giving you credit at anything less than the state maximum interest rate) you can have your day in court. A judge will likely rule that you have to pay your debt, but not the interest. It also probably won't come to that, because as I mentioned -- if they can't collect in 30-90 days, the hospital will take it back and find someone else who can.

You're pretty much screwed and going to have to pay, but you might be able to beat the interest and save your credit. Good luck.
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2007-07-16 08:29 pm (UTC)

Re: Advice from someone who's been where you now.

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Thank you for all your advice. Much of it I have been following, though after I talked to Ruby's supervisor (whose name I didn't post only because I can't find the notebook at this moment), Lauren Somethingorother, would not refer me to anyone higher up, stating that even if she did, I would be told all the same statements.

Also, they haven't threatened me in the ways you mention, though to me it is absolutely a threat when they keep parroting, "as soon as you pay us, we will take this off your credit," which clearly underscores, "you will pay us this interest, or your credit and therefore well-being suffers!"

*sigh*
[User Picture]From: neoteny
2007-07-16 09:24 pm (UTC)

My quick take - Apathy

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While I more or less agree that the collection agencies are soulless and uncaring, I believe it's more a matter of apathy (at all levels) than lack of ethics that comes into play here. If you look at the economics of the collection agency, it's not their job and it's not worthwhile for them to investigate the merits of any given claim. They don't know if it's a valid claim, and they don't want to know - they just have to assume it is. Given the percentage of deadbeats they probably have to deal with, it makes sense that they're entirely script-driven.

I hope you can get some positive resolution out of this, but you will be going up against the apathy of the collection agency, the apathy of the people at the hospital (they'd have to figure out how to go around the standard procedures), and likely the apathy of the tv and newspapers.

Good luck. If you can work directly with the hospital like anonymous suggested above, that's probably your best bet for a satisfactory resolution, but I don't know what happens to your credit in that case.
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2007-07-16 11:53 pm (UTC)

Re: My quick take - Apathy

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Unfortunately, the Grossmont ER medical group I contacted seemed to have no interest in my case at all. The probably "sold it" for some number of cents on the dollar, and washed their hands of it.

You're probably right that apathy is a large part of it, and I'm sure combative deadbeats are as well. But I was, at the outset, very polite and willing to settle for the original cost. Frankly, I'm shocked they think dealing with me for longer is worth their time.
From: nebyoolae
2007-07-16 09:47 pm (UTC)

(Link)

/grabs_popcorn

OoooooOOoooo. The Anti-Christ!
[User Picture]From: kirinqueen
2007-07-16 11:18 pm (UTC)

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The Scripps hospitals work with CMRE, too. I am in the process of filing an identity theft police report (a whole nother story, and something I should have done long ago), so as far as I know I should be able to contact the credit companies directly to resolve the marks on my credit as a result of the theft, but I am dreading talking to anyone at CMRE again.
From: (Anonymous)
2007-07-16 11:55 pm (UTC)

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Sorry to hear about it. I hope you get your credit crap resolved nicely and quickly. I've been through identity theft twice (one is ongoing), and it's not happy.
[User Picture]From: patchworkalice
2007-07-17 12:29 am (UTC)

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though to me it is absolutely a threat when they keep parroting, "as soon as you pay us, we will take this off your credit....

that isn't a threat, it's a carrot, and quite possibly a lie.

but that isn't what i wrote to say. once i handled a case like this (at least as similar as money-owing that i didn't owe, which for me was a cable box, and for you is interest) by taking my old student ID (expired, as i freely admitted, but with no expiration date) to legal counsel at Tulane. The counselor / lawyer there was more than happy to write some fat legalese which demonstrated, at least, that i was serious... without introducing any new information whatsoever to the dispute.

it might be as easy as demonstrating that you have representation. don't i know a lawyer?

[User Picture]From: royalbananafish
2007-07-17 05:50 am (UTC)

The Power of the Pen

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Here is what you do.

First, write a letter stating the exact facts of what happened. Begin and end with a statement that you are enclosing check # for $, the amount of the new bill that is being presented to you (but NOT the interest--since you can't possibly owe interest). Use language that is not at all charged, and write it as though you are the most reasonable human being to walk the earth; pretend you are trying to explain what happened to a very stupid middle school student, using the full name of the hospital and the billing company at all times. Write that OF COURSE you are more than happy to pay any charges you incurred as a result of your medical care, as demonstrated by the fact that you promptly paid all of the bills you received. Etc. etc. Include the names of every person you talked to and when (with dates, if possible), and how they just couldn't help you to resolve this like the very reasonable person you are. Have a friend check it over for you before you finalize it. You want it to be clear and succinct. You're not at all upset, angry, etc. No no. You are confused as to why the nice hospital didn't just ask you to pay way back when, because of course you would have done so, and since they are presenting the bill to you for the very first time you are just so darn confused as to how you could possibly legally owe interest--after all, a bill can't be overdue before you even know it exists, can it? And didn't you get bills right after the treatment and pay them? So isn't it a big confusing surprise that there is now a new bill?

If you have positive facts like you're at the same address and phone number you were at when you got the other bills (showing you were just ready and waiting for those bills to arrive and be promptly paid), include that too.

Optional: Feel free to enclose any proof you have that shows how you promptly paid the original bill(s) you received.

Send the letter to the billing group with a check for payment for ONLY the bill part (NOT the interest).

Mandatory: you MUST cc (1) the hospital's billing group, (2) the Better Business Bureau (if the billing group is in a location that differs from the hospital, make sure you send it to both relevant BBB offices), and (3) the state attorney general's consumer protection division. You MUST print on the bottom of the letter that you cc'd these organizations.

Never admit that it is even remotely possible that you owe them the interest (unless, of course, you discover this is your mistake--in which case you recant immediately and cough up the dough like an ethical human being).

Never concede anything over the phone. If the hospital o or billing group calls you, be as sweet as you can, smile a lot, and use lots of phrases like "I'm confused. So what you are telling me is that you made a mistake? Okay. So you're asking me to pay for your mistake? I'm confused." Ask them to send you everything in writing. If you do get a call, ask for the caller's full name and a number where you can reach them. If possible, ask for their job title without making it obvious that's what you are doing. ("Oh, so you work for the hospital, right? Are you a secretary there? No? Oh, well then what is your job, exactly? What do you call that?")
[User Picture]From: boywithstick
2007-07-23 11:10 pm (UTC)

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I will echo a couple of points that have already been raised. . . First, do not just send them full payment without getting something in writing stating that the charge will be removed from your credit report. I had a similar situation several years ago with Sprint. I was checking my credit report and found a collection I didn't recognize. I called the collection agency and they told me it was a final bill for long distance that I had in college. I had never received any bill and thought I had paid everything years ago, so I took their word for it and offered to pay in full if they would just remove the offending collection from my credit report. The rep agreed to do so and I paid them. In 60 days I checked my credit again only to find that they had only updated the account as "Paid" which reset the clock for it to roll off of my credit report. Not only did paying not get it removed, but it actually lowered my credit for 3 years because the collection was marked on the report from 3 years prior. Long story short, get the removal in writing, and find out who's written and signed it. You want to verify that they are authorized to make such an agreement and won't wiggle out of it.

Second, writing the letter and cc'ing the parties above is worth your time. The impact on your credit rating will be there for 7 years. You will pay so much more than your 10% hourly income rate or anything in extra finance charges, points, capital requirements, etc when you buy a house.

The bottom line:
1. Collection agencies are scum, and will lie to you to get their money. Get everything from them in writing.
2. Do what it takes to get it removed from your credit report. A 20 point difference in your credit score can cost you 100 basis points or more on a mortgage. It's worth your time to fix it now.

From: (Anonymous)
2007-09-24 11:00 pm (UTC)

CMRE

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I have a similar situation with CMRE.
From: (Anonymous)
2007-10-03 10:35 pm (UTC)

My encounter with CMRE

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My father passed away unexpectidly in mid-August of 2007. As his daughter I am doing my best to deal with his unfinished business. I stopped by his ex-girlfriend's house after he died, to pick up mail she was holding for him. There was a piece of mail addressed to both my father and myself. Confused as to what it could be I opened it and found a CMRE credit collection bill in the amount of $1614.98! On the statement it says the principal balance due at the time CMRE was brought in was $987.43. Add interest in the amount of $627.55 and you come up with a total of $1614.98! Horrified that I am responsible for some unknown bill, I called CMRE to find out exaclty what the bill was about. After having to call back twice because I kept getting forwarded to "full mailboxes", I demanded to speak to A PERSON and not a mailbox. The woman I talked to told me that in October of 2003, I was a patient in the ER at TriCity Hospital. The bill from that visit was never paid and now I owe $1614.98. I explained to her that I was NEVER a vistior or patient in the ER like they claim and I want them to send me a detailed copy of this visit. She told me that her company and TriCity do not work off "the memory" of people and that even though they have been sending notices to THE WRONG ADDRESS I am responsible for 100% of the bill. When asked if I would be able to negotiate the bill back down to the principle balance she said no, not if I have to make installments of payments. I said to her,
Doesn't the hospital have to PROVE that they treated me in 2003?, and she said the fact that they have my DOB is proof that they treated me! So, totally flabergasted at the whole thing, I called TriCity Medical Center. I spoke with a young lady in the accounts department and she gave me the medical number of the bill in question. Somehow, by the Grace of God, I had actuely found this medical bill in my dad's files and kept it! The bill in question was from Radiology, not the ER of TriCity Medical Center, in October of 2003. The original bill was sent to THE WRONG ADDRESS in October of 2004, in the amount of--are you ready...$142.43!!! When TriCity did not get a response by December they sent it directly to CMRE and wiped their hands of it! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Not only was this girl shocked to hear that the credit agency HER COMPANY EMPLOYS wants over $1600, but she also told me that I was unable to deal directly with her because the bill was too old to be in thier system. I demanded to know two things from her, 1) Why would TriCity wait only 2 months and be so hasty to turn this bill over to collections so soon? and 2) WHERE IN THE HELL DOES CMRE GET OFF CLAIMING THE ORIGINAL AMOUNT WAS $987.43 WHEN IT WAS REALLY ONLY $142.43!?!?!?!? Because, although the account could no longer be handled by her department, she was able to substanciate that the bill was originally only $142.43. So I asked her what I should do or who I should talk to about taking care of this screw up. I also explained that I would be more than happy to pay $142.43, it's just that I had NO IDEA that the bill from 2003 was never paid, and I don't understand why they were sending it to my father's old address, and not to me. All she was able to tell me is that the ONLY people I can deal with on this issue is CMRE Financial Services. I can tell all of you right now that I AM NOT PAYING THIS COLLECTION AGENCY $1614.98 FOR A $142.43 BILL!! I don;t know how this is all going to play out because I know how hard it is to dispute claims with these kinds of corporations. I also do not have the money to retain an attorney if need be, and in the meantime my credit is being royally screwed up at the ripe old age of 24! This is just one more thing I am now dreading to deal with after the death of my father. And by the way...EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have spoken to (including three major credit card companies) has cut me off in mid-sentence to offer condolences on the loss of my Father. NOT ONCE did I hear even an ounce of compassion in the voices of the women who answered the phone at CMRE or TriCity Medical Center. My story is yet another example of a major billing screw up on the part of a Hospital and the resulting consequences for the patients they sick CMRE upon.
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2007-10-03 10:43 pm (UTC)

Re: My encounter with CMRE

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I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your father, and your subsequent hassle with CMRE.

I can tell from the length and tone of your post that your buttons are all pushed at once, and I know that's the toughest. I hope you find a good resolution. Take a deep breath and move forward one step at a time. Perhaps legal counsel is in order -- particularly given the size of the bill in question.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-04-08 05:19 pm (UTC)

Same Problem

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And I thought I was alone in this. I'm having exactly the same difficulty. We just received a letter from CMRE for a "uncollected bill" also from Grossmont E/R Medical Group. Likewise they couldn't get my bill straight. We paid and now we're being told we didn't. Just like you, we are also being charged interest. My question is: what do they do with illegals and uninsured? Come to find out, NO DOCTOR WITH GROSSMONT E/R MEDICAL GROUP is affiliated with an insurance company! Why? So they can charge the individual WITH insurance the full charges. There was no other ER doctor available at the time that my family member got treated. What were we to do? Leave Grossmont (after the long wait in the waiting room) and go to Scripps Mercy, or UCSD? Well the conclusion is I'm still trying to negotiate something that is morally wrong by this hospital and their docs. In the future, we will go to Mercy or UCSD, even if it is another 15 miles further away. Yet, if any of you have any info on how to fight this unfair practice, please let us know!
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2008-04-08 06:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Same Problem

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Unfortunately, I think practices like this continue because most people don't have the time to organize a fight against it.

If you hold a gun to 10,000 heads and ask for a hundred dollars each, you're not likely to face resistance.

I suspect the only way to fight such a million dollar scheme is the collective power of a class action lawsuit. Though, as somebody with a new business, I certainly don't have time to research the possibility. I hope that if anyone ever does, I am contacted through this post.

Best of luck with your situation.
Re: Same Problem - (Anonymous) Expand
Re: Same Problem - (Anonymous) Expand
From: (Anonymous)
2008-04-09 01:02 am (UTC)

CMRE Financial

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I have had the same experience believe it or not. I went in for tetanus shot and treatment of staph infection on my foot a few years ago. Long story short, I received a bill in the mail and sent them a check. A month later another bill with a different amount which I so graciously decided to pay as well. A month later another bill with interest added to the previous two bills! What the hell is going on. So I called CMRE for the first time, and like you, I have never received any calls from them while they were sending me these outrageous bill amounts.

They requested an EOB (explanation of benefits) that my insurance covers. So I sent them this and other documents that they requested. Called them 2 weeks later and they said I continued to owe them. Their response, nothing. Stonewall. What is a person to do? CMRE is definitely unscrupulous and conniving business. They said that the bill was paid in full. Two years later, today in fact, I called them again and informed that this was still being reported as a delinquent account. They finally realized that indeed it had been paid in full two years prior. They had no regard of how this would affect my credit history. They are currently sending a letter to the credit reporting agencies to have this bogus account removed from my report. I am just lucky I haven't had mortgage or other loan.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-04-13 04:46 pm (UTC)

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I was an associate attorney for a firm who handled a lady's personal injury lawsuit. I left that firm over 6 months ago. All of a sudden, I received a collection notice from CMRE for one of this lady's unpaid bills to La Jolla Radiology. This is absolutely ridiculous. I received this letter on a Saturday and faxed a letter of dispute immediately. I will follow up on Monday and see what these idiots say.
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2008-04-13 06:22 pm (UTC)

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Please report back.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-05-22 03:44 pm (UTC)

CMRE

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I am having a similiar problem with CMRE. I was never seen at the doctors office in question and got a credit report that stated I owe them 65.00. I paid them 75.00(in case of further interest) just to clear my credit and figured I would resolve it later. That was about 6mos. ago. When I called to complain to them they started entering key derogatories on my credit even though the balance is now $0. And the worst part is they never sent me my $10 refund.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-06-05 04:48 pm (UTC)

I'm a little old to this post, but, my incident is recent

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I just off the phone with CMRE. Went to the ER in January of 2007, paid my deductible as required by Kaiser of $100.00 to the hospital. Emergency Physicians Medical Group worked up a separate charge of $79.47 that I found out later Kaiser did not pay. I called CMRE. Rudest people on the planet. The gentleman (I use that term generously) was condescending, saying at least I don't have any collections you loser. Huh, I said your office is right down the street from mine, tough guy. Wanna talk it out? He wouldn't tell me who the bill was from or why I never received it. I called Kaiser, they pulled up the information and the operator, who was very kind and helpful, advised me this should've been paid by them and I can fax an appeal and they'll handle it. I also received the contact information for EMPG from her. I in turn called them and they advised they sent my bills to the wrong address, two blocks away from my home, all bills RTS (return to sender). They said they will contact CMRE and have it put on hold until Kaiser goes through the appeals process. Now, I call CMRE back and state that according to your letter you have to put this account on hold for 30 days as I have contacted regarding this issue and followed the appropriate protocol. The refused. Their letter verbatim, "Unless you notify this office within 30 days from receiving this notice, " I received it on 6/04/08 and I'm writing this on 6/05/08, "this office will assume this debt is valid." No such luck for me! They lied in their letter. I believe I have recourse. They also refused to identify the debtor which their letter also states they will do if contacted within 30 days for the receipt of this notice. I will get this resolved, I will contact my local representatives and I will get EMPG's account removed from CMRE. I'm local, affluent, and ready to take them down and I will. For all of you and myself. Take care and I'm fightin' them to the last.
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2008-06-05 06:56 pm (UTC)

Re: I&#39;m a little old to this post, but, my incident is recent

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Wow, good for you! I wish I had had the time and resources for that battle, but I was going through a lot at the time. Good luck!
From: (Anonymous)
2008-06-30 04:13 pm (UTC)

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CMRE put a negative report on my credit, and they want $330, something like $90 is interest. They won't tell me who the original biller is. All they'll give me is "EMERGENCY SERVICES", and it was billed in 2005. Not sure how I could have been charged anything, I had solid health coverage and I always pay my deductable after I've been to the hospital. And I don't recall having any "emergency" in 2005.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-04 02:31 am (UTC)

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I agree 100% with you CRME DOES NOT CARE!!!!! Their staff is rude and does not have any idea what "customer service" means.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-24 08:18 pm (UTC)

SMAE FOR ME

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I have the same situation going on. Where did you get a number for Grossmont ER Medical Group?
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2008-07-25 02:28 am (UTC)

Re: SMAE FOR ME

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At this point, I can't recall, but I think I googled Grossmont ER Medical Group.
From: bothwill
2008-07-31 04:45 pm (UTC)

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Unfortunately mistakes happen and some of use become victims without any notice. Customers services and debt collectors still have a lot on their way towards evolution, I've learned how to take care of things in my own way and I only use sources that I fully trust. I also have my own motivation for this, I am struggling to build a good credit score in order to have more financial flexibility, now I am on the run with a new financial feature, I just opted for 0 balance transfers and I am really optimistic about it. If there is one thing I've learned about credits and banking is that I always have to turn the rules in my favor.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-10-08 12:04 am (UTC)

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Too bad there is no "open season" on corrupt uncaring people.
We could clean up our country in less than a week.
From: atrialman
2008-10-11 12:08 am (UTC)

CMRE

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I feel your pain. The worst of it is that like you, I had bills that were from providers to Scripps Mercy that were given wrong and incomplete information from the hospital. They were multiple providers and bills. I actually paid one with the promise that CMRE would have the negative credit report deleted. That was an out and out lie. They did no such thing, so now I am burdened by a credit blemish whose implications far outshadows the amount of the bill. I have two more bills initiated by different providers for the same procedure and have told CMRE that unless they send me a letter or fax of promise to do the credit deletion, I have no motivation to pay the bills. Guess what. They don't care. No aggressive threats, nothing. Their employees don't care because they are obviously incompetent.

The best part of all is that the procedure was botched by the surgeon and that was the reason for all the emergency care. I flat-lined twice. The attorneys that I approached would not touch my case because of award limitations. AMA lobbyists have been successful getting these limits passed in the general assembly. This lets medical malfeasance go un-punished.

So if anyone wonders about the medical professionals and whether they have any moral terpitude, give me a jingle. I have a very personal slant on that subject. Best of luck to everyone out there with un-resolved bills from the butchers.
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2008-10-11 02:57 am (UTC)

Re: CMRE

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The worst of it is that like you, I had bills that were from providers to Scripps Mercy that were given wrong and incomplete information from the hospital.

Given the number of people who have contacted me with this story, I feel more and more skeptical of all the information mishaps. The fact that the law has been stacked against you (I never had the time to go far enough in that direction to find out) makes me believe more strongly in the possibility that this is a designed criminal racket. I had not done so, but I plan to call a congressmember about this soon.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-10-14 11:03 pm (UTC)

CMRE got me too...

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I received a notice from CMRI that I owe $80 for a doctor's visit from over three years ago. My phone number has never changed. Not a call, not a notice, nothing. Just the threatening letter I received today that states that CMRI has made "numerous attempts" to contact me. Whatever! I called their 800 number (800-783-9118) and waited on hold for about twenty minutes to no avail. So I went to their website and bent over and paid the $80 without having the chance to say a work to a human being. Anything to protect my credit. This is bull sh!t.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-11-20 01:31 am (UTC)

Re: CMRE got me too...

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Good luck having it removed from your credit. I made them a $534 payment for a bill two months ago and it is still on my record. I even disputed the information through Equifax and the said the item and balance are valid. I am really upset about this and ready to go to court.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-11-24 01:36 am (UTC)

CMRE Financial Services, Inc.

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I received a bill from CMRE just totally out of the blue listing 3 separate charges from UCLA CLINIC that
(1) UCLA CLINIC never ever billed me for and
(2) are most definitely *fake* charges as
(a)UCLA clinic required pre-payment before seeing a doctor, period - I'd *never* seen a doctor there without paying first
(b) the only amount that was ever due at the clinic (which I haven't been to in 5 years, BTW) was my $10 copay (this CMRE notice lists one charge that's over $100.00 and another that a mere $5.00... plus a bunch of surprise interest on that - same story)

UCLA *has,* however, been wrongfully billing me a total of $20.00 (2 x $10.00 copays from two separate 2002/2003 visits) for many years - long story - but, they said it was a computer error that would get fixed (& didn't), etc. etc. I finally found my old cancelled checks for both those visits so that's no problem to prove as paid. Point is, if they could bill me all these years for a mere $10 + $10, why have I never received bills from them for these other really weird amounts that CMRT is suddenly billing me for with a bunch of interest already added on??? (there's no error in *my* address.)

MY SUGGESTION: Make *sure* that you *do* actually owe the bill from years ago... ask them to send an original *itemized* statement to be sure that this amount isn't for a medical bill you already paid but that never got credited.

info from bill:

CMRE Financial Services, Inc.
3075 E. Imperial Hwy. #200, Brea, CA 92821
phone: 800-783-9118 fax: 714-528-5863
www.cmrefsi.com
From: (Anonymous)
2009-01-30 07:09 am (UTC)

Re: CMRE Financial Services, Inc.

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Folks,
There's several things you can do here. First, read up on the FDCPA. Any collection agency is bound by law to comply. If so requested, they must provide you with the original debtor & amount owed. Dispute the bill if you feel it is incorrect. When you write them, quote section, paragraph from the FDCPA. You can be firm without being nasty. And follow through. Hound them relentlessly if necessary. And by all means, file a complaint with the BBB and/or the Attorney General.
From: soready4
2009-03-23 08:12 pm (UTC)

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what about statute of limitations? i have a bill just a year old but cmre is now trying to collect on a bill from 1991. it may be unethical to not pay it but legally do they have a right to sue for it?
From: (Anonymous)
2009-03-26 12:14 am (UTC)

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yes
From: (Anonymous)
2009-03-23 09:48 pm (UTC)

Bother to fight

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I am in the same boat. Only my insurance has been fighting with me. The contracted Dr at the emergency room from a visit in 2007 started billing me in January 2009. My insurance says his claim was submitted past filing date and they submited a "pass timely filing rejection" I have spent way to much time fighting with The Schumacher group, BCBS and now today after I got a letter from CMRE (my first ever collections letter)

I guess I will just pay the balance due (280.00) but I will first be asking for a statement in writing that there will not be any traces left on my credit report.

I told them to deny charges today and spoke to a very rude Maria ext #245 and when I demanded to be transferred to a supervisor (she kept talking over me at that point) I was transferred only to reach a very quick full voicemail box.

I am now writing this while I am filing a complaint against CMRE, Shumacher group and Dr. Eugenio Castillo with BBB and the attorney general.
[User Picture]From: infopractical
2009-03-23 11:30 pm (UTC)

Re: Bother to fight

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Good luck.

I didn't not fight this hard primarily because I was and still am working 80+ hours per week and have a heavy load of higher priorities. I think the system is set up this way, which is a shame because it encourages a lot of wasted hours involved in the bureaucracy. It's no wonder health care costs are soaring.
From: (Anonymous)
2009-04-06 11:44 pm (UTC)

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By law, you can request a letter (I just did it with CMRE) stating that you paid the debt in FULL, PLUS they sent another letter confirming my request to have them remove the debt from all credit agencies. So if Experian or Trans Union do not remove the debt, I have a letter to prove that it should be.

Noone said life is fair.
From: (Anonymous)
2009-08-14 01:36 am (UTC)

cmre

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they keep calling me for a person not at my address or phone number...we have written and told them on the phone at least six times but they keep calling...what can we do to stop them
Re: cmre - (Anonymous) Expand
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