Effingham, IL asked in Consumer Law for Illinois

Q: Is an orthodontist allowed to deny to see me as a patient based on a debt my parents had with their office in the past?

I am 22 years old now and financially independent from my parents. I have great credit and no debts. I went to make an appointment with an orthodontist, but they said the Dr may not accept me as a patient because my parents never paid off the braces I had when I was 12. I didn't finish treatment as a kid and was completely unaware of this debt my whole life. Now that I am in charge of these things for myself, they are considering not seeing me. Something just feels wrong about it to me.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James G. Ahlberg
James G. Ahlberg
  • Rochelle, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: An orthodontist (or any professional) can refuse to see you for any reason, other than one based on discrimination against a member of a legally protected class. For example, he can't refuse to see you because you are black or white, Buddhist or Baptist, married or single, and so on, because that would constitute illegal discrimination. On the other hand, he could choose to discriminate against people who drive Fords because they are not a legally protected class. In this case it sounds like he's decided to make you suffer for the oversight of your parents There is nothing illegal about this. It seems wrong to you because you're being made to suffer for something that happened ten years ago, about which you knew nothing and over which you had no control.

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