Called the collection agency and was told they were not a collection agency, but the main billing office. Was told nothing has been reported to the credit bureau yet. Found all this to be untrue. I would have to pay the full amount in 30 days to avoid being reported. They also offered I think 20% or 30% discount. Called back the doctors' office if they can get the account back. Since they were updating the system and getting rid of old accounts, they can't. I can only pay them in full within 15 days but no discount and can have the bad credit removed. The bill is $169, but I have huge hospital bills and am unemployed. So paying the collection agency seems like a good deal other than them sounding fishy. Who would be better to pay? Can either of them remove it off my credit report
Corporate / Incorporation Lawyer
If you have huge hospital bills you can't pay and no job, paying or not paying this doctor's office cannot have much of an impact on your credit ... even if those hospital bills aren't on your credit they soon will be.
If you are going to be getting back to work and you need decent credit to be considered for the types of employment you are qualified for (think positions where you handle money, etc.) then you need to declare bankruptcy NOW, before any of those negatives hit your credit report.
By moving on it now you will have a single negative: bankruptcy.
However, if that scenario does not apply, you can handle your financial difficulties in a much less formal manner.
I agree with points made in the above answer. Further to those points, you should focus on the big picture. Settling a few debts now - even if at a discount - likely will not have a positive macro affect on your situation. If you have other large bills and no realistic chance of fighting your way out, use your resources in a more impactful manner. Go consult with a BK lawyer. My only other watch out on the timing of the BK filing - if you are not out of the medical woods just yet, you might want to hold off filing. Good luck.
This answer should not be construed to establish an attorney-client relationship. Please consult a licensed attorney in your state and visit www.FloridaBKLawyer.com or www.ConsumerRightsGroup.com for more details.
If this agency lied to you, then they might be the ones ending up owing YOU money. I would not hesitate to get the compensation you deserve under the law in my opinion.
It sounds like they have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act from what you have described. Feel free to contact me via email, or call my office on Monday, and my firm will direct you to a Florida attorney who can help you for no cost out of your pocket. Sometimes attorneys are also able to have them remove negative trade lines that they are responsible for.
Please do not take my answer to be legal advice that would establish any attorney-client relationship. Please take it as a general response from my own experience in response to your question. I hope you find it helpful.