The answer is yes. Medical bills can indeed land you in some significant trouble, which can lead to enormous amounts of debt.
If you find yourself in trouble due to a medical bill, the chances are that you shall be receiving a call from one of the debt collection agencies, and most especially Aargon Agency Inc., whose primary focus is collection on medical-related debts among others.
This company was established in 1996, and they have become the national leader in medical debt collection specializing in the debt recovery of healthcare providers.
They make use of state-of-the-art technology and other debt recovery strategies that have proven successful in their bid to collect debts. They also have a wide range of national debt recovery services that are spread all over the country, which are specifically tailored to help you repay your debts.
In addition to medical debt collection, they also deal with utility business debt, which collects from retail businesses, properties, and banks. They have set up debt collection agencies in the following cities – Las Vegas, Honolulu, St. Louis, Tampa, and Denver.
Over the years, they have been expanding into several subsidiary companies such as; the medical bill.com, Total credit recovery, Excelon executive, APM tenant management, and Aargon Funding.
Is it a scam?
Aargon Agency Inc. is a legitimate, well-known company. They are headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, and have many offices spread out all over the country such as Missouri, Florida, Hawaii, and Colorado.
So, if you have received a call from them or any of their subsidiaries, this is a legit call, and you should start the process of negotiating for payment terms.
However, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), there have been numerous complaints lodged against them, and most of the claims purport that the company violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) by making false and misleading statements and also failed to verify debts.
This is wrong, and as a consumer, you have rights, which prohibit a company like Wakefield and Associates from following the correct procedures when collecting from you.
BBB has given them an A+ rating, and as of 2017, they had closed over 84 complaints against Aargon Agency Inc.
They have been sued in the federal court more than 190 times, for violating consumer’s rights while collecting on alleged debts. A recent Federal court ruling alleged that Wakefield improperly reported information on consumer’s credit reports after the consumer had settled the debt.
Aargon Agency Inc., operates just like any other debt collection agency, by use of all means possible to trace an account holder and request them to pay the overdue debt.
They have been known to call several times a day attempting to collect on a debt. Your caller ID will show no number at all or a phony telephone number that shall be generated by Aargon Agency Inc.
Many people have complained about being harassed by this company in their attempts to collect. In addition, most consumers claim that the company attempted to insist on a medical bill when they hadn’t even been to the specific hospital.
It is common knowledge that most debt collectors will use unorthodox methods to collect on a debt that is due, and as such, the government has put in place some measures that regulate how they treat consumers.
The regulating body that is responsible for the debt collection agencies is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
According to the FDCPA, you have rights. You must never allow a debt collector to intimidate you, such that you are scared for your life, or you feel threatened.
Here are some rules that these debt collectors must adhere to when carrying out their collection duties：
They are not allowed to threaten you at all.
They should not contact you at your place of work.
They must never call you very early in the morning or late at night.
They should be in a position to provide you with adequate documentation that proves the validity of the claim that they are bringing against you.
They cannot arrest or imprison you. This is illegal for them even to suggest it.
They should never send letters that have the appearance of a government office or court letter.
They should never threaten you with a legal action or threaten to harm you or garnish your wages.
Steps you should take once Aargon Agency Inc., contacts you.
They will first contact you through a telephone call or send you a letter or email informing you of their intention to collect the debt from you.
Once you receive the letter from them informing you of the debt, do not, under any circumstances, pay off the debt first before verifying its validity.
When you receive a letter from Aargon Agency, it may not belong to you at all. These debt collection agencies scour the internet, online databases, and phone books looking for addresses of everyone with the same name as you, and then they start sending them threatening letters. They send these to everyone!
So, just because you have received a letter from a collection agency, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have a valid claim against you, and it may be completely erroneous.
Remember that they usually purchase debt from other companies, and they can easily get mixed up. They may not have proper documentation either, or they may be contacting the wrong person altogether.
So, what should you do?
The first thing you should do when you receive a letter from credit collection services is to send them a reply through a debt verification letter .
A debt verification letter is a letter that you send after the collector has sent you a debt validation letter.
If you are uncertain about the debt you are being asked to pay, you can send them a debt verification letter which should request them to provide you with more information. This option is best when you are planning to pay off the debt.
Once Aargon Agency Inc., receives your verification request, they are required to provide you with the information you need and any accompanying documentation within 30 days. This documentation should contain your signature, to verify that you owe the money indeed; otherwise, you shall not be liable to pay the debt.
The document they should send to you is the debt validation letter.
This is a letter that proves to you that the debt is valid. They should include all documents, paperwork, and evidence that proves this debt is yours. This paperwork will also show you all the details about the account, including who the original lender or creditor was, the dates of account activity, the total balance, and much more.
If they fail to validate your debt, then in compliance with the FDCPA, you’re no longer legally responsible for payment, which means that this debt is legally forgiven. Further, they’re supposed to contact all three credit bureaus to have them remove collections from credit report files, concerning this account.
How long do you have?
There is something called “statute of limitation.”
This is the law that regulates the exact amount of time you are legally responsible for repaying a debt. It does vary state by state, and if you want to know the full details of your law, then you need to check out your local legislation.
Generally, the required length of time is seven years from the last activity on that account. Once this time window runs out, then following the statute rules, the debt is legally forgiven. In other words, what we are saying is that your responsibility on the debt ends there.
This is also the time in which the debt is removed from your credit report.
These companies collect information about you from banks, debt collectors, and credit card companies, which they use to update your credit report and credit score. The type of information they collect includes late payments, defaults, and much more negative information that will adversely affect your credit.
A low score will prevent you from getting a good loan, renting a house, or even gaining employment. It is wise to maintain a good credit score to have control over your finances.
A study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that one in five consumers that disputed a claim had an error and that fixing that error improved their overall credit score as a result of their actions.
You have the right to dispute a claim from Aargon Agency Inc., through any of the credit reporting agencies.
Once you initiate a dispute, the agency has 30 days to resolve the item in question. They should contact Aargon and demand they provide proof that the debt is valid.
If Aargon is unable to provide the correct documentation, the credit reporting agency is supposed to remove the negative information from your credit report.
Here are some blog posts I have written about credit repairs, and how to deal with disputes:
Once you have initiated conversations with Aargon Agency Inc., and have validated that the debt is indeed yours, then, you have no choice but to pay it.
The process of payment is not as easy as you would think. It involves intense negotiations that will help you get a discount on the total amount of debt. The company’s goal is to ensure that the debt is paid up, and as such, they are always ready and willing to negotiate terms with them.
It is wise to get a third party involved in these negotiations such as a lawyer, or accountant so that you can get the best possible deal. Some people have even managed to get 15% off of the entire debt, while others have been able to negotiate a very small monthly installment.
It will depend on how aggressive and creative you are.
According to research, the average American has more than $38,000 in personal debt, and this includes mortgages.
At least 87% of American families are in debt, and as such, debt collection is a booming business. These companies keep coming up each year, and they are making plenty of money from calling and sending notices to the debtors.
This means that it is almost inevitable to be found in a sticky situation, and when this happens, the best advice would be to find a way to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, Americans are still struggling with medical debts. The government should come up with good policies in place that will guarantee that everyone has affordable healthcare.