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Dear Consumer Ed: A medical provider recently sent me a statement for $14,850.00, with charges dating from four to six years ago. The provider never submitted the bills to my insurance company as it had done in the past. The charges are far outside my insurance company’s contracted time (60 days) for consideration. Now the medical provider is threatening to send my account to a collection agency. Am I legally required to pay the full amount of these medical costs under these circumstances?
Dear Consumer Ed: How much of a surcharge are merchants allowed to charge you for paying with a credit card?
Dear Consumer Ed: I had a bill that went into collections. Now that I’ve paid it in full, will this continue to negatively affect my credit?
Dear Consumer Ed: If I ask questions about an old debt that might have expired, will that make it active again? I’m not sure what the original debt was for before it was sold to a debt collector, and I need to find out the date the debt was incurred.
Dear Consumer Ed: Once your car is repossessed, how much time are you given to pay the overdue amount before your vehicle is sold? Also, how long does a repo company have to wait before getting rid of any belongings you left in the vehicle?
Dear Consumer Ed: I have an old student loan debt that I defaulted on in 2004. It is still on my credit report. I thought the statute of limitation on debt was six years. Don’t they have to remove this from my credit report by law? Also, is a collection agency still allowed to garnish my wages for this?
Dear Consumer Ed: I receive monthly Social Security benefits that are deposited directly into my bank account. I just received notice that my bank account was garnished by a creditor and that my funds have been frozen and will soon be turned over to the court. I thought that Social Security benefits were exempt from garnishments of creditors. What can I do to stop the garnishment and get access to my money?
Dear Consumer Ed: A debt collection agency has been harassing me about a retail debt that was incurred many years ago. They are calling relatives and my employer and going into details about the debt, providing home addresses and vehicles my children own. They are threatening to send legal documents to my employer even though there has been no filing with the courts. When I asked the caller to provide the spelling of the company name and the address, the woman would not provide the information and proceeded to yell, curse and insult me. Aren’t these actions illegal? I just want to get them to stop calling me and others about this. What can I do?
Dear Consumer Ed: I see stores charging exorbitant prices for groceries, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. One store I went to is charging $11 for six rolls of toilet paper and $6 a pound for ground beef. Isn’t this price gouging?
Dear Consumer Ed: A year ago I overpaid an ambulance service and am having a hard time getting the overpayment returned. I have called several times, but nothing has happened. What can I do?