An Elegant Smile Dentistry Blatant lie and deception about pricing practices. Phoenix, Arizona
In mid December I was looking for a new In-network dentist to save some money from the out of network I had been using. I contacted an employee (receptionist) at An Elegant Smile Dentistry and found a Dr Susman. I was advised that I needed to get my X-rays from my prior dentist for a "consultation" and new x-rays with their dentist. After the initial consultation they would set up a cleaning appointment. I asked about the cost of the consultation and was advised there "was no charge". They wanted to see my teeth to determine how long would be needed for the cleaning and what kind of shape they were in. After the consultation i would have a cleaning that i would be charged for. I scheduled the consultation for 1/17/13. I hung up with An Elegant Smile and contacted my old dentist to arrange for my xrays/charts to be transfered to An Elegant Smile. He adviseed that they would not need the infromation that he had. Concerned, I immediately called An Elegant Smile back and Valarie answered the phone. I explained that my dentist did not have the infromation to provide. She said no problem. I again verified that there was no charge for the appointment. She verbally confirmed that "there is no charge" for the appointment. I had the consultaion on 1/17/13 and new x-rays, no charge from the front office I again asked during check in if there was any charge, and was told a third time, "there was no charge for today". The front desk girl did not ask for payment or a credit card. I scheduled my cleaning for 2/6/13 and left. On 1/31/13 I received a bill in the mail where An Elegant Smile charged my insurance company $133.00 for the visit and I was to pay the remaining $26.60. I returned for my cleaning on 2/6/13 and asked to speak to the office manager. I explained my situation that I was puzzled about the charges. She AGAIN said there should be no charge, she would have her supervisor Valerie research the charge and contact me. On 2/6/13 Valerie called me i expressed concern over the billing. She advised that I had to pay 20%, insurance had covered 80%. I told her that I was informed that numerous times by numerous employees that there was "No Charge" for the visit that they want to meet the patient and assess their dental needs before a cleaning and ensure that everyone is comfortable. Valerie explained that neither she nor any of her staff would tell anyone that here is no charge and that if my insurance had covered it at 100% there would in fact have been no charge. After argueing with Valerie for 20-30 minutes it was obvious that she would not budge. I advise that they had misrepresented the service and the fact that there was a charge for the service. I told her that she had definate training/customer service issues and that ALL staff should tell patients "we do charge for the initial consultation and it is billed to your insurance, you (the patient) are responsible for whatever portion is not covered by your insurance company." Valerie was rude and lied about telling me during the second phone call that there was "no charge". I told her that I had paid for my cleaining on 2/6 but would not be paying for the consultation from 1/17 and would file a complaint with the better business bureau. On 2/7/13 I made a taped telephone call to An Elegant Smile and posed as a new patient that needed a new dentist and cleaning but needed to know the cost because I was on a fixed budget. I have voice recordings of the telephone conversation where again the employee again TWICE said that they do not charge for the initial visit. No mention of billing the insurance company or any patient responsibility.
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