© Gary Inglese
Dental Defense - Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations Defense - Dental-Legal Issues - Dental Risk Management - Dental Contracts and Business Issues - Dental Office Transitions
What do you do when an unhappy patient demands their money back? It can happen to anyone because we can’t please everyone.
The common myth in the dental community is that giving money back is an admission of liability and can later lead to a law suit. This is completely untrue.
Courts have encouraged parties to settle their differences outside of the legal system.
Sometimes the dentist or his staff can resolve the problem with kind words. The dentist or staff may explain that the dental work cannot be improved upon or offering to redo the procedure. If the patient cannot be satisfied, sometimes the best thing to do is consider returning the fee.
Have it in writing
If the decision is to issue a refund, consider obtaining a signed release so as to prevent the patient from later suing.
While a signed release is preferable, if the release contains legal jargon the patient does not understand, they may consult with an attorney and this may further escalate the matter. Most often money will end the matter quite nicely. However, if a large sum of money is involved, than a signed release is prudent.
The language used in the release should be kept simple, listing the amount that is to be refunded and patient’s agreement to accept the money in lieu of filing a legal action.
If the practitioner has doubts, consult with an attorney who can counsel them on what is appropriate, provide a Release form and even handle the exchange.
A patient refund does not admit liabiliy