Berea man issued $75 dental bill for phone consultation, even though dentist was moving his office

Patient contacts 5 On Your Side for advice

BEREA, Ohio - Greg Faehnrich of Berea can't believe he was billed for a phone call to his dentist.

The call was made on Dec. 23 for a dental emergency, but his dentist couldn't help. The office was closed and in the process of moving to a new location.

Still, Faehnrich was issued a $75 bill for his phone call, the charges designated as a "limited oral evaluation."

Faehnrich said his dentist's office simply recommended a few dentists that could help during the three minute phone call.

Faehnrich ended up at the Southwest General Hospital emergency room with a series of infections.

"I was a bit shocked," said Faehnrich. "I've never heard of any doctor, or dentist, or anyone charging you for a consultation over the phone. The dental office was closed and I still get a bill. I don't have any dental insurance. I'm sort of speechless at this point."

Faehnrich claimed he called the dental office to get the bill removed, but was unsuccessful. So, he contacted the NewsChannel5 Troubleshooter Unit.

5 On Your Side instructed Faehnrich to call the dental office again, but this time ask for the office manager. NewsChannel5 was with Faehnrich as he again explained his case over the phone. This time, he was given a result.

"They've changed their mind and said disregard the bill," explained Faehnrich. "So thank you for helping. Thank you very much for your time. It's greatly appreciated."

NewsChannel5 will not release the name of the dentist in this case, but urges consumers to deal with the dental office manager when handling billing issues.

In many cases, going to the dental office in-person to discuss billing problems is more effective than a phone call. It's critical consumers keep all their paperwork on hand, and well organized, when presenting their case.

Dental billing complaints can be referred to the Ohio Attorney General or the Better Business Bureau.

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