Can a collection agency sue when the debtor has already paid?

UPDATED: Jan 24, 2011

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Can a collection agency sue when the debtor has already paid?

When attempting to pay a medical bill, they said the bill had been sent to collections. I told them I would pay the $86, but I was not paying the collection fees. I spoke with the collection agency and told them that I paid the bill in full and I no longer owed the bill and was not paying their fee. I have a $0 balance with the medical center. The rep at the CA kept telling me that when I signed my initial bill it said in the disclaimer that I would pay for services rendered plus any and all collection fees. Can the CA come after me for the fee? I have not received a letter from the CA.

Asked on January 24, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You probably paid the bill a little too late.  But no matter.  Here is the thing: what are the real collection fees here?  Generally speaking there are two ways that collection agencies do business: they buy the debt from the company out right for a small amount in the hopes of recouping that money plus some, or they are paid on a percentage basis based on the amount that they get back (usually a third of the bill).  If they have not yet sued you then there are no court costs involved.  So ask them when they call to validate the debt: show you that it is outstanding, that they have a right to bring the action on behalf of the medical provider, a copy of the original agreement that they are referring to and ask them for their fees - detailed - this far.  If they do not give it to you report them.  Then wait and see.  Good luck. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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