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Beware of Hollywood Video debt notices

At least one Islander has received a letter informing her that she owes $32.90 for five videos that she rented and returned to Mercer Island’s Hollywood Video store more than two years ago.

Hollywood Video stores filed for bankruptcy and closed their doors here in late 2009. The chain filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

The Better Business Bureau of Alaska, Oregon and Washington issued a statement last week describing that many former customers had received letters from the collection agency that is working to collect on any outstanding debt from the company.

“Complainants say that the fees and excessive and debts are unfounded,” the BBB said. “Some fear that false information may be submitted to credit reporting bureaus.”

In a 2011 settlement, similar allegations were brought against National Credit Solutions (NCS) and Credit Control Services, collection agencies which were initially contracted by Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery after the companies filed bankruptcy in 2010.

While collection companies are within their legal rights to collect legitimate debts, the Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington urges consumers to pause before paying:

The BBB urges consumers to get proof of balances due to unreturned movies or unpaid late fees.

By law, collection agencies must provide validation notices within five days of contacting consumers about debts.

Consumers with complaints on Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery can email customerrequests@hlyw.com.

In addition, the BBB tells consumers to write letters to collection agencies; dispute charges, state your case and include supporting documentation. Send letters via certified mail with return receipts.

Check credit reports: Visit annualcreditreport.com to review credit reports on a yearly basis. Dispute false debts with the three major credit bureaus.

If issues are not resolved, file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov, Better Business Bureau at bbb.org, and the state attorney general’s office.

 

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