Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video went bankrupt with only one real asset: enough outstanding overdue notices to make a librarian weep. Americans owed the chains something like $125,000,000, which is not a typo. These debts were sold, and the new owners zombified them and really, really want to get their paws on that money. A year and a half after we first reported that customers and even employees were receiving invoices from collection agencies for zombie debts, they’re still at it.
Zeke once worked for now bankrupt and defunct Hollywood Video. Employees had special accounts allowing them to rent older movies (more than a few weeks old) for free and not have to pay late fees when they didn’t bring them back. Zeke is sure that he wouldn’t hallucinate free movie rentals, but the collection agency that sent him the letter insists that this policy never existed, and that it’s up to him to prove that he didn’t owe the company $28.95 in late fees at the time he quit.
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.
Joystiq reported last night that Game Crazy “plans to close 200 of its approximately 680 locations at the end of October.” There’s no official list of which stores are closing yet, so feel free to ask your local Game Crazy employees and see if you can scare them.
A second Hollywood Video employee has written in to counter the claims made last week by an anonymous employee—he writes, “It sounds like whoever wrote in initially has a particularly evil district manager who is instituting his own policies,” and says that person should “go over his DM and talk to someone at corporate.” But for the rest of us, what matters is that “The EW [magazine subscription offer] never went away, they just stopped requiring employees to push it. They’re actively promoting it again. There’s no ‘silence is acceptance’ however, and we need to scan your credit card (an additional time) to activate the offer.”
An anonymous disgruntled employee sent us a long list of complaints about Hollywood Video, which can be summed up with “we’re desperate to earn some money, so any tactic is fair game.” Among them is this gem.
We’ve received two letters claiming that Hollywood video is signing their customers up for magazine subscriptions without their consent. The scam sounds similar to the ones that Best Buy is accused of in their on-going racketeering lawsuit.