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Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

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Uk
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Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

My son went to the CHU Saint-Pierre children ER on 31/7 during our visit in Brussels. Although we are from UK, but we did not have any EHIC or travel insurance (my mistake!) and already told their staff that we will pay the full amount. We have paid €158 on that day.

Now, some weeks ago, they have sent me another invoice for €4.60. When I emailed them what is it and this is the reply:

"The INAMI raised the price of some consultations of emergency. We had, therefore, to update prices.

This is why you received the above invoice with an additional € 4.60. We do not know how to charge them early."

Is it allowed for the hospital to suddenly increase the price? To be honest, €4.60 is not a huge amount but I am now back in UK. The bank charges to transfer this amount is £30 for 24hrs or £9 for few days. They do not take cash or cheque in other currency. It seems quite silly to pay that charge for such a small amount.

If I not pay and ignore them, anyone knows what would happen?

Many thanks in advance!

Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

Naturally they can increase the price retrospectively, as it is the official body, INAMI, that has done so. And as you are dealing with the hospital on a fully private basis, it is not the hospital's concern if you are unable to claim both payments back - as would have been possible if you were covered by insurance.

Usually what happens with unpaid bills is that first the amount is increased, when not paid within a certain time, and then if they remain unpaid, the debt is sold to private debt collectors, who pursue it through whatever channels (including bailiffs where necessary) are available in the country where the debtor is living/ has moved to. Of course they might not find it worthwhile in your case if you choose to stiff the hospital for this amount.

As for the Belgian hospital not taking cheques in another currency - do you think a British hospital would accept payment in anything other than British currency, in the same circumstances?!

Dublin
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for Valletta
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2. Re: Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

Why not go onto a bank get a five euro note and send it to them by registered post.

Atlanta
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3. Re: Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

Normal functioning institutions would not even bother to ask for such a small amount. Imagine getting a letter in the mail from a hotel or restaurant you patronized telling you that since you ate there, the prices retroactively went up and you own them 4 €. It is ridiculous but obviously not for Belgium hospitals. They probably spent way more than €4 contacting you and replying to your enquire. Would they accept some kind of credit card, paypal, or electronic payment? I would try to find a way to pay them. I was there a few days ago and honestly, I would have payed it for you; a bottle o water cost €5 in Brussels. Would not surprise me if they will spend € hundreds trying to collect €4 from you. Sounds to me like an idiotic bureaucracy hard for anyone with an oz of compassion to defend.

London
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4. Re: Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

Edited

Edited: 28 September 2013, 09:33
Uk
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5. Re: Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

Thank you very much for all the replies. Although I agree that it is extremely ridiculous for them to collect such a small amount (their time to reply my emails, send the invoice to my UK address should cost more than €4.6) but it seems they stand on the ground. I have finally send them the amount they want, directly to their account as they request because I have found a site that could do the transfer for only £1 handling charge so don't want to get all these hassles from them any more.

Bangkok, Thailand
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6. Re: Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

Whilst it is correct that hospitals can sell on debts to debt collectors, before a bailiff is involved they have to get a court judgement in Belgium, or in the UK using Belgium law, I doubt very much if they would pursue court action for such a trivial amount, and they can only increase the bill if it was written into the original contract.

Personally I would go for the advice of sticking a €5 note in the post, I would probably find it difficult to resist the urge to tell them to go and buy a cup of coffee with it.

Dublin
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7. Re: Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

I would get a fiver in one cent coins and send it to them.

8. Re: Invoice from Brussels hospital,what will happen if I ignore?

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