Couple says debt collectors claimed they owed money on bill they paid off

Couple says debt collectors claimed they owed money on bill they paid off

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte husband and wife said collection agencies came after them even though they had already paid their medical bill.

Gaila Lambert went to the doctor and paid the bill, but months later got a letter from a collection agency.

The agency said Gaila owed $55, so her husband, Barry Lambert, showed the collection agency proof with a canceled check that they paid.

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"So I figured I provided the documentation, it's over," Barry said.

A year later, another collection agency called and said that the balance went up to $183 because of fees.

Barry said he also sent the second company the canceled check, but that didn’t settle the debt.

"And [it] said, 'We're going to report your wife to the credit bureaus,'" Barry said. "That's when I told her, 'Well, we're going to call Action 9.' And we did."

Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke didn’t hesitate to help the Lamberts.

Stoogenke went straight to the source and contacted Gaila’s provider, Atrium Health.

For privacy reasons, Atrium wouldn’t discuss the case, but they did look into it. Just days later, Barry said an Atrium Health vice president called him.

"He was very apologetic, and first thing he said was, 'I got a call from Action 9,'" Barry said. “And he said, ‘I’ve gotten all the records together.’ He said, ‘I’m sorry this happened. Your balance is zero.'”

The collection agency also apologized in writing, saying it wants to “apologize for any inconvenience” and that they would “notify Equifax to remove” this from the Lamberts' file.

Barry said he is “very grateful” Action 9 got involved.

If someone makes a mistake that could hurt your credit:

  • Once you know who made the mistake, go right to the source
  • Complain in writing
  • Keep good records