Ambulance Bills Sent Straight to Collections Creating Risk Of Credit Damage

Three families reach out to NBC 7 Responds after they say they received collection notices for ambulance rides they never received the bill for.

Three San Diego families say they received collection notices in the mail for a Rural/Metro Corp. ambulance ride they took two years ago but never received a bill for. 

“We got this bill in the mail and it was from a collections agency, which I said, ‘What’s this?’ said Kenneth Howard of Rancho Penasquitos. 

Kenneth said he couldn’t figure out why he was getting a collections bill from an ambulance ride he needed two years ago for chest pains. 

“It’s very strange to receive a bill two years later when you’ve had no communication with the company at all,” said Ellen Hodgers of Chula Vista. 

Ellen received a similar collections bill for her husband’s ambulance service in 2014. 

“It was very irritating because I try to make sure all the bills are paid for my parents, that’s my job,” said Stephen Circo of Oceanside. 

Again, a collections notice arrived two years later, this time in Stephen’s mailbox for his elderly father’s ambulance ride. 

Kenneth, Ellen and Stephen have one thing in common: they all say they never received a bill from Rural/Metro ambulance service prior to a Texas-based collections notice arriving in their mailboxes. 

When Stephen inquired about the bill by calling Rural/Metro directly, he said a representative told him Rural/Metro couldn’t speak about the collection because all of Stephen’s account information is in the hands of the collection agency. 

Ellen is a retired school teacher and kept detailed records of the family’s medical bills but nowhere in her files is a bill for her husband’s Rural/Metro ambulance ride. 

When Kenneth, Ellen and Stephen called the collections agency, Credence Resource Management, all that was offered to them was a payment plan. 

“There’s got to be a mistake here someplace,” said Kenneth. 

NBC 7 Responds reached out to Rural/Metro and within 48 hours, Kenneth, Ellen and Stephen were all offered an apology and had their accounts wiped clean. All three were told they no longer owed the money for the ambulance rides and no report would be sent to credit reporting agencies. 

In an email, Rural/Metro Corporation Media Relations Manager Tom Milton told NBC 7 Responds, “The issue resulted from a processing change that was made when Rural Metro came out of bankruptcy. We have identified and corrected the issue and are handling each inquiry on a case-by-case basis." 

When NBC 7 Responds asked Rural/Metro if there could be more cases similar to this, the company did not respond. 

NBC 7 Responds is here to help you with your consumer issues and we want to hear from you. Submit your consumer problem through our online form by clicking here or you can call us 619-732-NBC7 (6332). Every call or online submission we receive will be answered because if you need help, NBC 7 Responds. 

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