Hollywood Video Manages To Haunt Customers From Beyond The Grave
If you had a Hollywood Video in your town a few years ago, you've probably long since seen it turned into a Panera or a deli, or maybe left to fall apart and be reclaimed by nature the way God intended. Hollywood Video and its parent company Movie Gallery filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and closed up shop, victims of the clear trend toward streaming movies online or renting them via Netflix. But just because the video store is gone doesn't mean it's forgotten-- and doesn't mean it can't ruin your credit… FROM THE GRAAAAAAAVE!
Honestly, this really does sound like a horror movie situation, though only for those who value their credit scores as much as their personal safety. A report at NBC News chronicles how Hollywood Video has sent debt collectors after the 3 million Americans who still owed late fees, but in a way so intense that it led them to complain to the Better Business Bureau. Many people have been called repeatedly by the debt collection agency, Universal Fidelity, and told to pay $49 or some other similar amount on overdue bills for movies they didn't even rent. Robyn James of Tacoma, Washington says the firm repeatedly tried to collect late fees on a movie she didn't rent, and when she called to try to resolve it, she was told she had to pay to get the notice off her credit report-- even though the debt collectors are specifically forbidden from discussing credit with their customers.
It sounds like a nightmare, and almost unbelievable that people could be harassed so much over such small debts-- but the amount of late fees Hollywood Video was owed add up to about $250 million, which means they have a lot to gain by collecting. And they're not done contacting all the former customers either, so if you rented from Hollywood Video at any point, be careful-- you might be next.
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