At my doctor's office I paid a small copay, as one often does at a doctor's office. I paid in cash and, when asked if I wanted a receipt, said I didn't need one. I normally don't take receipts for cash transactions if I can avoid it, since I don't need to check cash receipts against my bank statements. As you will see, I have learned my lesson.

The doctor's office later called me and then later sent a bill saying I never paid the copay and are asking for it. I obviously have no real proof that I paid the copay, and since the doctor's office isn't careful enough to have recorded I paid the copay I assume they're probably not careful enough to check their cash drawer every night and know whether they have extra money or not.

Is there anything I can do to convince them I paid this copay?

Edit: Please note my question is "is there anything I can do to convince them I paid this copay", not whether I should pay the copay a second time or not. I am willing to pay the copay a second time, but only if I am left with no alternatives.

  • 4
    Without a receipt, and with their records saying you didn't pay... if they don't believe you, they don't believe you. Do you really want to ruin your relationship with this medical office over a small copay?
    – keshlam
    Jun 21, 2016 at 4:09
  • 4
    @keshlam Do they? Jun 21, 2016 at 5:18
  • 3
    I suppose you could try to find the individual who accepted your money, but they probably don't remember you unless it's a really small practice.
    – Kevin
    Jun 21, 2016 at 5:39
  • 5
    If anything, I'd say I'd be more likely to want a receipt for cash transactions, because for cash the receipt is the only record of the transaction.
    – BrenBarn
    Jun 21, 2016 at 16:43
  • 4
    For those who are anti-credit card, this gets added to my list of reasons to use a card, and pay it in full. Tracking cash receipts works, but requires time and effort. Jun 22, 2016 at 1:26

3 Answers 3


I doubt there is anything you can do to convince them you paid, outside of just talking to them, which it seems you already tried.

These are the possibilities I can think of for how this happened:

  1. The cashier pocketed the money.
  2. The cashier misplaced the payment and it has not been found yet.
  3. The cashier misplace the payment and someone else pocketed it.
  4. The money made it into the proper place, but your account was not credited.
  5. The money made it into the proper place, but someone else's account was credited.

IMHO, the most likely scenario is #4. If 1 or 3 happened you'll never see your money again, but the other 3 possibilities leave open the option of the error being discovered in the future. My suggestion, if the copay is small, is to pay it again, ask for a receipt, and ask them to make a note in the system that you claim you already paid, and ask them to "be on the look-out" for any discrepancies in that amount. This way, (with a good amount of luck), if they find it or discover the error (from another customer asking about the credit, or an accounting cash surplus), they can refund it to you.

  • 3
    I'd add one option: OP misremembers paying. It may not be likely, but it should be enumerated with the above.
    – Joe
    Jun 21, 2016 at 15:55
  • 2
    @Joe - Good point! Especially if the visit is for a head injury... :D
    – TTT
    Jun 21, 2016 at 16:05
  • Better answer than mine, though I think the outcome will be the same.
    – keshlam
    Jun 21, 2016 at 16:30

Most practices I've gone to use a triplicate paper form called a "medical encounter form"with the specialty's most common procedure codes and laboratory codes preprinted. (And rarer ones hand added). The doctor fills this out and the office manager transcribes it. This also has a billing section where in my case the office manager initials "cc" for credit card. You probably refused or threw away your copy, but can ask to review their copy. Maybe there is a mis transcribed entry indicating payment at time of service.


If there are security cameras present, you can ask them to review your appt time and confirm if there was cash/credit card passed from you to the manager. If that is visible, the onus is on them to CR you for the amount and find the acct that it was misposted to.

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