Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery filed for bankruptcy nearly a year ago. At the time, thousands of movie renters owed the company a few dollars here or there for late fees. Now, the collections company working for the video chain has begun filing negative reports to credit agencies regarding these “outstanding debts.”
There are many things people expect to impact their credit scores one way or another, but video late fees are not one of them. At a time when many people are starting to get back on their feet, a black mark on their credit score could be very problematic. That ding to the credit report could prevent them from refinancing or getting other necessary credit.
So what is really going on in this situation? Creditors and their collections agencies do have the power to report loans that have been defaulted on, but they are generally required to notify the consumer before they do so. Many question whether or not video renters were notified before the collections company reported the debt to credit agencies.
The managing member of National Credit Solutions – the debt collection agency working with Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video – says that Movie Gallery said the company notified customers with outstanding fees before National Credit Solutions was told to report the debts. But customers say they were not notified of the situation.
Now that customers across the country have complained, Movie Gallery has asked the collections company to withdraw the negative credit reports and notify customers of the debt by mail. However, National Credit Solutions says it will be re-filing the negative credit reports if customers do not respond to the new notification.
Source: NPR, “Montana Files Lawsuit Over Video Late Fees,” Associated Press, 26 Jan 2011