Woman confused by late fees after movie rental store closes

Marco Villarreal

Woman confused by late fees after movie rental store closes

CREATED Feb. 15, 2012

Henderson, NV (KTNV) -- Remember when there were video rental stores on every corner? If not, you might be getting a reminder soon in the form of a collection. A woman contacted Action News wondering why she has to pay late fees to a store that went bankrupt two years ago.

The store is Hollywood Video and the former customer wants to dispute the charges saying there's no way the store would have let her rent 15 videos while she had late fees.

Looking over a collection notice Deborah Finnegan got in the mail, she admits to having watched some of the 15 movies on the list, but not all.

The letter sent by Universal Fidelity attempts to collect close to $140 for their client, the legal successor of Hollywood Video, a company that declared bankruptcy in 2010.

The Nevada Attorney General's Office tells Action News they and other state AG's negotiated an agreement late last year regarding the collection of valid debts owed by customers of Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery. When Finnegan spoke with a collector she says the experience was not pleasant.

"I just didn't get any answers from them at all, and I asked them if they could send something top prove this...and they weren't helpful at all," says Finnegan.

Deborah says she wanted to dispute the charges from her former Hollywood Video account, but says the collection agency was giving her the run around. Universal Fidelity says they have done everything they can to make sure they know where to go if they do have a dispute.

The CEO of Universal Fidelity declined to talk to us on tape, but sent us a link to his website that has the email for disputes and frequently asked questions. Something Finnegan says she was never referred to.

"I just really want other people to know about this. And I'm not going to pay this," she says.

The Better Business Bureau in Houston, TX, where Universal Fidelity is based says they should not be reporting any consumers to credit reporting agencies for late fees associated with Hollywood Video.

Here is the BBB Business Review that the Houston BBB has up. Here is the Press Release that was issued by BBB.

The Attorney General's Office tells us the collection agency can only ask for late fees and unreturned items, no extra fees. The AG's office wants to hear from you if you get these notices. 

Contact the Nevada Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection Hotline at 702-486-3132 and press "3" to receive instructions on how to submit a complaint.

If you have gotten a collection notice from Universal Fidelity and would like to dispute the charges click here.

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