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Question DetailsAsked on 3/11/2017

my prosthodontists office told me today, on my last payment, they undercharged me.(after 8 months) do I have to pay

I am in Orange Co, CA. The prothodontist comes from Loma Linda to my dentists office every 2 weeks on Saturdays.
I thought dentures were expensive enough, and now this???

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Voted Best Answer

I am not an attorney, so of course you would need expert attorney advice for a definitive answer.

My take on it - realizing that if you do NOT pay the additional they want, they will likely drop you as a patient and probably not (maybe or maybe not legally) refuse to provide any followup or warranty work, but sounds fishy to me - especially trying to hit you up for more right after you made the last payment:

1) if they gave you an upfront quote and payment plan before they started, as they should have for major work like this, then no - that was an offer you accepted at the time (or legally at least not later than when the dental work started or certainly not later than at the time you made the first payment) so if they gave you the wrong price that is their problem, unless along the way they said there were complications or such that would raise the price AND gave you a new cost estimate to agree to at that time.

2) if there was no upfront price quote, but something that said you were paying in x many equal payments of x period of months (so a definitive price could be calculated from the payment schedule) then again no.

3) if they were giving you statement of account after each payment, or sent invoices or payment coupons for you to pay from, which showed a certain remaining amount due after each payment (so again the amount was readily and definitively determinable) or indicated a payment schedule of so many equal payments, then again no.

4) if they DID give you an upfront estimate or quote or payment plan which you agreed to and then the monthly payments did not come up to the amount on that plan, yes they have the right to a final payment to make up the difference - but not to interest on the underpayment if the payment amount billing error was theirs.

If this is partly covered by insurance, I would contact the insurance carrier also - it might be, if an initial price was given to and approved by the insurance company or there is a fixed contract price for this work, this vendor may be working around their contract with the insurance company, having initially billed you and them per the original quote, and is now trying to get additional money out of you on the side without the insurance company knowing about it - which would be contract and insurance fraud. If that is the case, the insurance company may help pursue the case with the vendor.

If you refuse to pay and they threaten to sue or ding your credit report (make sure to keep a file documenting all payments to date and any quote and such), you have the options (not mutually exclusive) of course of suing (costly to you), filing a Fair Credit Reporting Act claim against them if they report it as an unpaid bill to a credit agency, filing a complaint with your local state or city Consumer Fraud office (or maybe Elder/Disabled Fraud if your area has such an office), filing a complaint with the state dental licensing board, and filing a complaint with the American Dental Association or other professional association he may be a member of.

Of course, if they threaten to send the bill to collection or to sue you or such, then you will need an attorney experienced in defense against collection actions.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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