Inaccurate quote from Medtronic - what's reasonable?

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Feb 17, 2019
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#1
My wife is type 1 diabetic and has used a Medtronic insulin pump for her entire adult life. Her pump recently reached the end of its life and she contacted the Medtronic sales team to inquire about an upgrade. She worked with the sales team to understand the features and benefits of the system while I handled the financial aspects of the transaction.

The sales rep ran an insurance estimate and told me about discounts for returning the old pump ($500) and for paying in advance (10%). She quoted me the price before and after these discounts, I agreed to the discounted rate and provided my credit card information to pay in full. So we were surprised when we received a pretty hefty bill.

I called and spoke to the billing department, the sales rep, a second sales rep, and the sales manager, but none of them were able to explain the discrepancy or offer a resolution. The billing department told me that the pump return and prepay discounts were applied, but the prepay discount was less than the 10% I was quoted. Even if that discount had been properly applied, the math on the discounts just didn't add up to the amount I had supposedly "paid in full". The insurance explanation of benefits matched the estimate Medtronic had provided to the penny, so that is not the issue (If it were, I wouldn't be posting).

The sales manager said that they don't keep records of the estimates or how they calculate the discounts, but she offered to listen to the recorded calls to find the issue; however, she stopped returning my calls. Frustrated, I wrote a letter to an executive at Medtronic outlining these issues and asking them to honor the original quote.

In response to the letter, I received a call from an executive contact promising to look into it and have the sales manager call me back. The sales manager had the full 10% discount applied, but that still left a bill of over $300. She then told me that their standard way of doing things was to charge less than the full amount in case insurance covered more than estimated. I do not believe this explanation; if that were the case, it would have been the first answer I received when I called to ask about the bill. More than that, it just doesn't make any sense from a business perspective. The sales manager said that I was informed of this policy before I paid and that she would see if she could send me the recording to prove it; I have not heard back from her, nor from the executive contact who I reached out to again.

My question for you all is what is a reasonable resolution to this? From my perspective, Medtronic offered a pay-in-full quote and I honored my end of that bargain, they should honor theirs. Any recommendations for how to proceed?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Did they charge your card immediately for the agreed upon amount and then try and charge more?

You should contact your credit card company and dispute the charge. If they charged your card the correct amount at first and now want more money I don’t believe they can do this.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#3
Do you have anything in writing?

What I see as problematic is the "estimate of insurance reimbursement" which may throw calculations off.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#4
Did they charge your card immediately for the agreed upon amount and then try and charge more?

You should contact your credit card company and dispute the charge. If they charged your card the correct amount at first and now want more money I don’t believe they can do this.
This is the perfect credit card dispute case. You bought and paid for something, now the vendor wants more money. They are not justifying this additional charge even in the face of repeated requests from you. Instead of taking care of you, they're behaving just like an airline ... "yahsure, we know what we quoted you but now you need to pay more". Obviously you got a quote and paid that amount, so you weren't mistaken about the dollars. They need to step up here and take care of you. She has the pump, right? If they charged your card and shipped the pump, that should be that.

Now, all this is null and void if they told you that there were many factors the contributed to the final price. Nobody would know what those factors dictated until they shipped the pump. This makes little sense, but it's possible; the world of medical devices is unknown to most of us. In this case, they should have emailed you a written quote.
 
Feb 17, 2019
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#5
They charged my credit card immediately for the agreed-upon price and later sent a bill for the remainder. I get an automated reminder call every week or so and have gotten a couple of follow-up bills in the mail.

No, I don't have anything in writing other than my own notes. What's crazy is that they don't have anything in writing either! Once they process the order, apparently they discard the insurance estimate, quote, etc. The only way the manager was able to retrieve anything was by listening to the calls.

I do have a lot of experience navigating insurance claims. The first thing I did when I got the bill was compare it to the explanation of benefits (EOB) and my notes. The EOB matches Medtronic's original pre-discount estimate to the penny.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,150
14,741
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#6
The fact that they charged you the agreed upon amount should be enough proof.

You might want to contact your State Insurance Dept. to see if you can file a complaint with them.

But try one more option- complete this form and let’s see if our research guru can obtain executuve contacts for the company and you can go beyond Customer Service.

https://www.elliott.org/research/
 
Sep 20, 2018
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#7
I'd contact your insurance company and complain that Medtronic is trying to "balance-bill" you, even though you've already paid the amount in the EOB. They might be able to help. Part of accepting being an "approved" provider to an insurance company is coming to an agreement on what something is "worth"; they can't go to patients later and ask for more.
 
Feb 17, 2019
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#8
Thanks for the responses. I don't think this is a balance billing situation, as the issue is a discount below the insurance rate.

I previously wrote to Hooman Hakami, the Executive Vice President of Medtronic's diabetes group. That letter prompted a call from someone in the executive office and who then had the sales manager call me again. I have the contact information for both that person and the sales manager, but neither have returned my call in over a week.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,150
14,741
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#10
Likes: VoR61
Feb 17, 2019
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#11
Neil, thanks for the response. I did reply to your post with some more details on my efforts so far (see post 8) and I thought that information might have an impact on your recommendation.