The "money-grab" scheme highlighted by WTHR is also being followed rampantly by Deca Financial Services, LLC, of Fishers, Indiana.
They are a licensed debt collector, whose collection process is carefully engineered to "minimize the chance of collecting debt", so that they can wait one year, and then take their clients to court.
They send you exactly ONE friendly notice in the mail, for "validation of debt". This note is:(a) not marked "final notice", and (b) implies no consequences for not responding to this one note. They send ZERO additional notices. After a year, they take their clients to small claims, and tack on $467 in legal fees and court costs.
All reputable/ethical debt collectors send follow-up notices, to ensure you are aware of the debt. And their "final notices" are marked clearly as such.
It's a shame that Deca are currently associated with reputable/ethical businesses such as emergency room physicians.
Of all the debt collection agencies I've ever dealt with, never before have I encountered such unethical practices as followed by Deca.
Deca has filed similar suit against over 1000 other defendants here in Indiana this summer. I have contacted a random sample of a dozen defendants, and nearly all of them were unaware of the debt, since they believed that the Emergency Physician bill was consolidated into the bill for the emergency room.
With Deca's negligent process, this confusion is a common (and purposeful) occurrence. It feeds Deca's primary interest, which is to take clients to court, and tack on their *internal* legal fee!
My $156 bill, quadrupled to $677, without providing me customary notices to ensure my awareness of the bill, and that it was *not* consolidated into the emergency room bill. Had they sent one additional note, we would have realized that this bill was not consolidated, and settle it.
It sounds like Derek Johnson has similar motives. I wonder if Med-Shield still uses Derek, and wonder if there is some sort of kickback to Med-Shield (i.e. wouldn't they want to share in the spoils? Why should Derek alone make all the money off of their clients?).
Our intent should be to notify the "reputable" companies that are currently using these unethical debt collectors, to make them aware of the behavior, and coax them to switch over to an ethical collector.
There are many ethical collectors to choose from! Harris & Harris (handles IU Health and Riley Hosp.), and Allied Collections both come to mind.
I am aiming to work with WTHR and Sandra Chapman to help produce the next chapter in their investigative series, which may make specific mention of Deca.
Here are 3 stories already published by WTHR: http://www.wthr.com/story/22277060/small-clai... http://www.wthr.com/story/22461216/judge-seek... http://www.wthr.com/story/22461216/judge-seek...