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 two years 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, 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 Generals File Suit
A group of state Attorneys General filed suit in 2011 for fraud and deception, saying the collections agencies are now hitting thousands of customers with similar requests for money.
The AGs call the requests "exorbitant and unreasonable."
In late 20111, the creditors settled the case agreeing not to harm anyone's credit report over unpaid late fees. But it still allows them to pursue late fees. So letters continue to go out this year.
The Attorneys General suggest 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
Meantime, frequent Hollywood Video customers who are planning to apply for a loan soon may want to check their credit file, if they ever received on of these collection letters. The creditors are not supposed to ding your credit report, but you never know.
Click here for a free annual credit report from annualcreditreport.com , so you don't waste your money.