Hollywood Video Continues To Try Collecting Debts From Beyond The Grave

It’s been almost two years since Hollywood Video rented its last DVD and 364 days since we reported on former Hollywood customers receiving debt collection notices for debts they didn’t actually owe. And yet collectors for the dead-and-gone chain continues to haunt customers with wildly incorrect notices.

Houston’s KTRK-TV shares the story of one woman who received a debt collection notice for $119.75 for late fees on 13 rentals going back to 2009. Problem is, she not only claims she owes Hollywood nothing, but she’s never even heard of some of the titles on the list.

A University of Houston law professor tells KTRK that anyone who has a dispute with a debt collector should put their complaint in writing: “I would include a letter mentioning that I am aware of my rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I don’t believe I owe this debt. I expect you to give me more information about when the debt was incurred, where this was incurred and dispute it… My guess is that people who dispute this, it’s probably going to make it go away. ”

Remember that you are within your rights to demand that the debt collector prove that you actually owe the debt they are trying to collect.

KTRK says that the receivers who snapped up Hollywood Video’s debts have said they will not report unpaid collections to credit bureaus.

Bankrupt video store sends collection letters [KTRK]

PREVIOUSLY:
*Debt Collection Company Says I Owe Hollywood Video Money
*Report: Hundreds Of Thousands Told They Owe Defunct Hollywood Video
*What To Do And What Not To Do When Debt Collectors Come Calling
*4 Things Debt Collectors Won’t Tell You

Comments

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  1. scoutermac says:

    Statute of Limitation in Indiana is two years.

    • A.Mercer says:

      Of course that does not mean that the collection agencies cannot try to collect from you. It just means that they cannot try to use the courts to collect the debt. There are also some methods that some collection agencies use to try to reset the clock for the statute of limitations. Also, there are plenty of people who do not understand the statute of limitations or can be convinced that their debt is special and the the limitations do not apply. Lots of collection agencies use questionable methods to get the money.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Except in California, Statute of Limitations is a defense. That means they CAN sue you, and you have to raise it as a defense (should do so in the initial answer to the lawsuit summons) for it to be used.

  2. BobOki says:

    “”I would include a letter mentioning that I am aware of my rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I don’t believe I owe this debt. I expect you to give me more information about when the debt was incurred, where this was incurred and dispute it… “

    Honestly this is just a good pro tip for any debt at all. I fought 40k worth of faulty debt and this alone cleared up 75% of it.

    • scoutermac says:

      I had a friend that mentioned this over the phone to a debt collector and they never called him again.

    • PLATTWORX says:

      I agree. Have to remember this story and the suggested wording should I find myself in this situation.

      Sounds like Hollywood Video kept terrible records of who rented and returned which movie and then sold those screwed up debts to someone….. who probably regrets buying them now.

    • Patriot says:

      So did you owe the 40k or not? And if you did and made 30k disappear, thanks for screwing people who actually pay their debts.

    • vorpalette says:

      Yep. I did this with a number of items on my credit report. Basically, I wrote letters that said that I was disputing the debts and a number of reasons why. Worked very well.

      • vorpalette says:

        I should say that these were OLD debts that had been paid, and then somehow passed down the line to other collectors, resulting in multiple negative items on my credit report for the same debt.

  3. quail says:

    Debt that’s disputed will just be passed down the pipeline. Those phone calls can go on for years, depending on how greasy the first collection agency is. Wouldn’t surprise me if those people get calls a few years from now about the same debt.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      And your credit report will be impacted with their reports of these debts which you can’t get removed without going to court.

    • A.Mercer says:

      There was an article on Consumerist a couple of years ago about a guy who sues the debt collectors. He knows the law and knows that they do not obey it. When they call him he just keeps them on the phone until they do something they are not supposed to do and then he sues them and wins.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      If you promptly dispute they can’t post these to your credit report. Sure you may have to do it every few years, but eventually it will age out.

      And if they mess up you get to sue and win! And if you sue you go on the special list and the collection agencies will stay far away.

  4. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    A sleazy chiropractor sent me to collections because my insurance didn’t want to pay for the scams…er…treatments he gave me. This was over a year since I had stopped going. Turns out his office manager was lying to me about my insurance covering everything. I told the bill collector I was familiar with all of my rights, not to call me at home, not to call me at work, I would be sending a dispute to him in writing, and to send me an itemized bill in the mail and communicate with me by postal mail only in the future. The case was immediately dropped. I decided that, at least in my my opinion, chiropractic is 90% scam and the other 10% can be done better by a physical therapist and massage therapy.

    • DJ Charlie says:

      I’ve found that mentioning “itemized bill” makes 99% of them disappear. They REALLY don’t like the thought of having to fake up paperwork and mailing it to you.

      Reminds me of one hospital bill I supposedly had (for Fort Worth Texas, where I’ve never been in my life). They sent me a poorly photocopied itemized bill. Too bad it was for a pregnant woman with a Spanish name. When I called them up and mentioned that, they also suddenly disappeared.

    • vorpalette says:

      I disagree with you on the chiro = scam thing. I have an abnormally curved spine (similar to scoliosis), and started going at 15 because I had severe back and neck pain, as well as headaches. Between the manipulations and exercises he gave me to do at home, all of that basically stopped. When I couldn’t afford to go anymore (no insurance, working part time for minimum wage), he charged me the student rate and told me to come in whenever I could. Our new chiro has helped my uninsured boyfriend, as well, charging him the office’s “hardship” rate, and helping him with his severe tendinitis. In fact, he x-rayed boyfriend’s arm for free because the hospital he wanted to send him to for it wanted a ton of money.

  5. C. Ogle says:

    And they still owe me $50 when they continued to bill me for their monthly membership after they went out of business. Maybe I should sent collections after their collections agents.

    • Major Tom Coming Home says:

      If it was charged to a credit card, it would have been an easy charge back case to win if it was within the period your credit card company gives you to initiate a dispute.

  6. Lyn Torden says:

    “Remember that you are within your rights to demand that the debt collector prove that you actually owe the debt they are trying to collect.”

    And that you actually owe it ONLY to them.

  7. balderdashed says:

    In the days when I still rented DVDs, while Blockbuster earned my ire with deceptive late fees, Hollywood Video was the only outfit that would attempt to charge me — and call me up and harass me — over titles I had already returned days earlier. I’m not surprised their incompetence continues to haunt us from the grave.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      It was their computers. They were always mixing up the data.

      • OmnipotentMLE says:

        Ugh, I remember their wonky computer system. In my store, we would accept a customer stating they already paid it as fact, because phantom charges kept coming up.

  8. benminer says:

    “Remember that you are within your rights to demand that the debt collector prove that you actually owe the debt they are trying to collect.”

  9. technoreaper says:

    Don’t want debt collectors on your back, pay your bills!

    I honestly think a lot of debtors need to go to jail. Some of these people are nothing but thieves with credit cards. I’ve known quite a few deadbeats in my life who were more than capable of paying their debts, but then tried to make the debt collectors look like the bad guy. I have no sympathy for them. You are offered several chances to pay off your debt for a fraction, which is unfair for honest consumers.

    Once again, put them in jail.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      If they actually were the true bills people owed, I’d go along with you. But the percentage of wrong bills among debt collectors has been rising over the past couple decades. Debt collectors need to go to jail for attempting to collect debts not owed, debts already paid, and debts owed by someone else. They also need to go to jail for trying to collect on debts they are now the owners of, and for extracting wrong amounts and multiple charges to credit/debit cards.

      And for repeat offenses, bring back the gallows.

    • skakh says:

      My god man, you really want to go back to the good old days when debtors had no rights and were in servitude for years? Truly an idiotic statement! Did you hear this on Fox or maybe during one of the endless string of GOP get togethers?

      Seems the latest study showing conservatives are less intelligent may be accurate.

  10. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    It’s a classic Jedi mind trick:

    “You owe me money.”

    “No I don’t.”

    “YES YOU DO!”

    “Maybe I do.”

  11. Darkneuro says:

    “KTRK says that the receivers who snapped up Hollywood Video’s debts have said they will not report unpaid collections to credit bureaus.”

    This means that they’re just going to go after the gullible and ignorant. Jerks!

  12. alcathiax says:

    “A University of Houston law professor” is wrong. Mention nothing about the FDCPA, as the Junk Debt Buyers/Scammers will laugh in your face.

    My solution: send them a letter that states FOAD.

    Let them sue their alleged debtors. The collectors will be laughed and and sling-shot out of court faster than the Concorde can fly.