I went to a dentist, whose name doesn't belong here, got some xrays and a prescription. The bill was $104.00, which I paid the same day. Next thing I know, they are sending me to collections for this amount. I provided proof of payment and wrote letters, and yet this is still on my credit report. I have filed a dispute with two credit agencies. Can I sue these people? And keep in mind, I am giving you the short version of this situation.

  • 1
    "can I sue these people" is out of scope here. You can try asking over in the Law area, but they will probably tell you that the question isn't whether you can sue but whether you can win, and you need to discuss all the details of the specific case with a lawyer to determine that. If you rephrased this to ask how best to deal with collection agencies it would be on topic but would probably be a duplicate -- have you read the past answers on that topic?
    – keshlam
    Jul 10, 2016 at 16:17

2 Answers 2


You can sue your cat. The proper question is "Do I have an actionable claim?"

Use your state's consumer protection laws: Namely, send certified return receipt letter to the collection company disputing the debt. Then, if the collection company does ANYTHING (calls you, sends a letter) after your proper notice of dispute of the alleged debt, then each act is a violation of consumer laws and will warrant x amount of payment from them: The Fed's FDCA (Fair Debt Collection Act) allows up to $1,000 per violation for acts after receiving your proper notice of dispute to the debt.

Any change to your credit status after dispute relating to the disputed debt is actionable under consumer laws. Most states have some remedy tied to collection violation again. The federal statutes' remedies work too.


In some states you can sue them in small claim court and seek a declaratory judgment that you do not owe them money. I've done it several times.

  • Why did you do it? I.e., what did the declaratory judgement gain that you couldn't get from a simple declaration by yourself that the alleged debt is invalid? Were any of your suits answered, or did you just win by default? And if answered, for what did you sue and what was your burden as plaintiff?
    – feetwet
    Jul 11, 2016 at 1:58
  • If they really want they money they have to sue you (They claim you owe them money). You can sue them first in some states (You claim you do not know them money). In every case I sued, the other side agreed I did not owe them and we never made it to court. This mechanism is your defense against bill collectors who do not have a cause. Jul 11, 2016 at 17:26
  • 1
    This sounds like it's a step further than the OP. Typically, if they want money they first tell you that you owe them money. Then if they have satisfied the legal requirements for notifying you of the debt they tell credit reporting agencies that you haven't paid the debt. It's pretty rare that debt collection agencies go to the trouble of suing to collect a debt. Likewise, laws like the FDCA allow you to shut them down by simply writing them a letter or two. Suing them, even in small-claims court, would cost more than the entire debt at stake in the OP.
    – feetwet
    Jul 11, 2016 at 17:31
  • In NY it's $15. In NJ its costs $35. Jul 11, 2016 at 17:37

You must log in to answer this question.