Woman needs help clearing up already paid dental bill

July 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It should make you feel pretty good to pay off a big debt, but for a woman in San Leandro, paying in full didn't stop the bills from coming.

A woman paid off her debt, but the company kept hassling her and sending bills. It was pretty unsettling so she came to 7 On Your Side for help.

Gertrude Ledward can now bite into a carrot no problem, apples and corn on the cob, too. She has a firm set of new teeth thanks to her dental clinic in Union City. However, she also has something unwanted -- bills she doesn't owe.

"I paid in full and I already had a receipt that said paid in full and they kept sending me these bills," said Ledward.

She paid off her bill at the University of the Pacific Dental Care Center and received a zero balance statement. However, a month later, she received a bill for $1,146.00. She called the billing office to ask why.

"She said, 'Oh, disregard that, you don't owe that.' I said, 'OK, thank you.' So I let it go. The next month, I get another bill," said Ledward.

Again Ledward was told to disregard the bill. However, the following month she received another bill in the mail also demanding $1,146. So she called the billing office again.

"She says, 'Oh don't worry. I'll fix it. Just don't worry about it,'" said Ledward.

So, Ledward relaxed until the following month, and you guessed it, she received another bill for the same amount. This time she contacted the main accounting office and this time she was told, pay up.

"She says according to our records you do owe the money. I did not owe that, I knew I did not owe that," said Ledward.

She pointed to her zero balance statement, yet bills didn't stop. Now she was worried about her credit rating.

"That was my biggest fear. I'm old, I need my credit. I need good credit just in case I need something," said Ledward.

So Ledward contacted 7 On Your Side and we called the dental clinic and right away, her account was fixed.

University of the Pacific could not discuss her case citing privacy laws, but it did say: "We have reviewed processes for invoicing at our clinics... to make sure that any adjustments to a patient's account are made in a timely manner. These adjustments may take up to four to six weeks to show up on a statement. We apologize to any patient who has experienced a delay in a statement update."

Now Ledward has even more reason to smile. The next statement she received said she owed nothing and even included a handwritten apology.

"That made me feel great. I said, 'Thank you 7 On Your Side,'" said Ledward.

University of the Pacific also assured Ledward that none of those mistaken bills was ever reported to the credit bureaus so her record is safe.

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