Lots of people may have let out an extended sigh of relief when Hollywood Video closed.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t good at all to see that part of our modern American life turn into a scrap heap of shredded videotape—we will probably look back in years and lament the death of video stores just like generations grew melancholy over the lack of drive ins. And it sure wasn’t nice at all to see the thousands of people who lost jobs as stores all over closed down.
But regular customers of Hollywood would ‘bring home the entertainment’—and have the late fees to prove it. Remember those days when people rented videos fromstores!? Remind the fees if you didn’t rewind, you were not kind—and got socked with a couple bucks extra of money?
When Hollywood closed, it was clearly apparent that the Netflix, internet, and RedBox era had finally taken over. By this point my own personal late fees had been paid (something I maybe would not have done were I to know the store would be closing!) But lots of other folks who didn’t pay late fees thought, ‘Phew! don’t have to worry about those now!’
Not so fast, skippy.
Today, you can read the RED TAPE CHRONICLES ON NBCNEWS.COM, and be alarmed like I was: Hollywood Video debt collectors are harraassing past customers of Hollywood Video, assessing fees that maybe aren’t true, threatening to ruin peoples’ credit scores, and plain out bullying consumers who answer the phone.
The NBC report named Universal Fidelity as one of the debt firms trying to rake in late fees that were never paid to Hollywood Video when it was alive. NBC reports this:
The drumbeat became so loud that Hollywood Video’s bankruptcy trustee,First Lien Term Lenders Liquidating Trust, reached a settlement with all 50 states’ attorneys general under which it would drastically alter its collection tactics. It promised to remove any credit blemishes it had placed on consumers’ reports and never to threaten consumers’ credit reports in the future. It also turned to a set of new collection agencies, including Houston-based Universal Fidelity, which promised to clean up the process.
But within the past two months, a pile of fresh complaints has arrived from around the country, raising new questions about the collections process. In Houston, 430 of the roughly 1,000 complaints filed against Universal in the last 12 months have arrived since June 1.
In some instances, when former customers of Hollywood say they paid their bills before the store closed, the debt collector is insisting that unless a receipt is produced, the bill is still owed.
Really, a receipt?
So if you were not kind, did not rewind, you’re credit score can be ruined unless you produce a receipt that the $2 fee was paid?
Of course you can also reach out to governmental agencies and lawyers that may be able to assist you in fighting off the threats of intimidation.
All for late fees.