Woman Stalked By Debt Collector For $ 4,000 MIQ Bill – But She Had Never Been In It

A woman was harassed by debt collectors for two months for a $ 4,000 bill for an MIQ stay that she never had.

The government revealed yesterday that it had not issued or collected bills worth at least $ 36 million for stays at MIQ.

Priscilla Drummond, of Ōpōtiki, was first contacted on August 20 of this year regarding a debt of $ 4,050 for an MIQ stay.

Drummond was shocked and immediately explained to them that she had never stayed at an MIQ facility.

But then she started getting calls and texts, first from MBIE, then from the debt collection agency Credit Consultants on behalf of the government agency.

“From that day forward, it was just continuous phone calls and messages. I ended up ignoring the calls in the end.”

She estimated to have received a dozen calls and messages in two months.

Although they repeatedly told them that they had the wrong person, no one would believe them.

Last month, she received a letter informing her that she had until October 15 to pay.

Furious, Drummond picked up the phone again and after giving them her date of birth, which did not match that in their records, communications finally stopped.

But Drummond said it was an extremely frustrating and stressful situation to go through.

She finally understood that the bill may have been aimed at a relative of the same name who was originally from Australia but who had remained at MIQ.

However, she was still puzzled as to why they hadn’t obtained her niece’s contact details before she left the hotel and was unsure how they got her contact details instead.

When she revealed the possible family connection to the debt collectors, they then asked her to find the parent’s details, but Drummond didn’t think it wasn’t her job to do.

Drummond said the whole process was mismanaged and caused unnecessary stress.

Chris Bunny, co-head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine, said it was a unique case since people with the same name and address were related. He apologized for any confusion caused.

Bunny said an invoice was issued for a Priscilla Drummond at a pōtiki address that remained at MIQ in August of last year.

The invoice and reminders were sent to this same address and in July of this year the debt was remitted to Credit Consultants.

Credit counselors began to locate the person given the limited information they had and were informed by Drummond that the bill would be for his niece and that she would forward the details to him.

“We raised the issue with Credit Consultants to prevent a similar situation from happening again in the future,” Bunny said.

Newstalk ZB revealed yesterday that bills for nearly 14,400 people had not been issued due to “incomplete or inaccurate bills. [MIQ] The data “.

These people were released from managed isolation months ago and had not received any bills, and there were an estimated 7,800 returnees for whom authorities were unable to determine if, or how much, they owed. be billed.

The $ 36 million in unsent invoices represented more than a fifth of the nearly $ 153 million in invoices issued to date.

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