Were you a customer of Hollywood Video before they went out of business?
If so, you need to hear what happened to one woman who was just hit with a major collection notice from the bankrupt chain. It could happen to you, too.
Closed, But Not Gone
Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery stores across the country are locked tight, shelves empty of movies, after filing bankruptcy more than a year ago.
End of story? Hardly.
This ghost movie chain is now asking Nicole Detmer and many other former customers, for money.
Nicole said, "I found on one of my credit reports that I had been reported to a collection agency back in October."
So Nicole contacted the collection agency -- National Credit Solutions -- and learned that she supposedly owed the video store $645 in late fees. It seems her late fee kept compounding.
No Way of Fighting the Bill
Nicole asked the phone agent if she could discuss the bill with someone from Hollywood Video, but told me, "she said there was no way to reach Hollywood Video, that they were gone, and that all their accounts had been turned over to them."
Nicole was outraged, saying she has no recollection of owing late fees.
She said "I would have expected them to send some sort of notice, like 'you need to pay your late fee before we close,' some sort of heads up."
Attorney General Files Suit
Montana's Attorney General has just filed suit against National Credit Solutions, for fraud and deception, saying the collections agency is now hitting thousands of customers with similar requests for money.
The AG calls the requests "exorbitant and unreasonable."
National Credit Solutions did not return our call or e-mail asking for a comment or help for Nicole.
But the attorney general suggests anyone who is told they owe money for late fees should NOT pay the bill, but rather write to the collection agency and dispute it.
Check Credit Report
The lawsuit claims many customers, not just Nicole, are finding out about the collection notices only when they check their credit reports.
That means that one little late fee could now hurt your credit, and impact your ability to get a car loan or mortgage.
So frequent Hollywood Video customers who are planning to apply for a loan soon may want to check their credit file.
Click here for a free annual credit report from annualcreditreport.com , so you don't waste your money.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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