The Consequences of Going AWOL

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The Consequences of Going AWOL

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Sometimes, in the race to go on vacation, details get forgotten only to become scarlet letters on your credit report.

The Consequences of Going AWOL By Judy Heft

I have a friend whose relationship with organization is strained at best. Recently, he made a pretty harmless error that carried outsized, dire consequences — a mistake that Judith Heft & Associates could have prevented if he had hired us.

As Eric was preparing to spend the summer in upstate New York, it never occurred to him to do a change of address form, because he does all of his bill paying online. Fast forward to September: after some devastating hurricanes and an epic data breach at Equifax, Eric received a notification that a change had been made to his credit report.

It was a collection agency reporting an unpaid or late debt. He knew exactly what it was when he saw the amount. It was a portion of his medical bill that his insurance company did not cover and he was responsible for. It had happened before.

Because he saw the doctor the day before he left, the charge had aged all summer long. Notices that were sent to Eric’s mailbox had gone unanswered, and for whatever reason the office never picked up a phone to call Eric. The doctor’s office sent the debt to a collection agency when it had reached 90 days, which is pretty standard business.

The Consequences of Going AWOL By Judy HeftSo now Eric has a ding on his credit report. Since it’s a legitimate debt, he’ll have to pay it, and go through the collection agency. Could Eric’s doctor’s office have done better by calling him? Yes, but they are not obligated to do so.

If Eric’s tale sounds strikingly familiar, Judith Heft & Associates can help. We can receive and act on your mail so that your credit score is never dinged, your lights never go out, and your internet is never throttled.  

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