PHOENIX (Friday, August 10, 2012) -- The efforts to collect on consumer debts reportedly owed to Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery for late fees or non-return of videos are the subject of a new Consumer Alert issued today by Attorney General Tom Horne.
Horne said, “My office has recently been getting a number of consumer inquiries about how Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery are going about the collection of supposed debts. Some consumers have been confused because they did not rent a video nor are responsible for late fees.”
“Consumers should know what restrictions apply to companies collecting on Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery debts under an agreement made by 50 states and the District of Columbia regarding those collection practices,” he added.
Provisions in the agreement include:
- No Adverse Reporting to Credit Bureaus. The collection agencies collecting debts reportedly owed to Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery will not submit any reports to any credit reporting agency or bureau.
- Collection Agencies May Not Threaten Adverse Credit Reporting. Any collection agency utilized to collect the Hollywood Video or Movie Gallery accounts may not represent to any customer that their failure or refusal to pay an account could result in adverse credit reporting.
- No Collection Fees or Interest. No collection fees or interest will be imposed on or added to the principal amounts owed by consumers on any of the collection accounts resulting from Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery debts.
The Attorney General offers the following general tips regarding debt collection:
Every collector must send you a written “validation notice” telling you how much money you owe within five days after they first contact you. This notice also must include the name of the creditor to whom you owe the money, and how to proceed if you don’t think you owe the money.
Arizona law also provides that upon request, a collection agency must tell you the time and place of the creation of the debt; the merchandise, services, or other item of value provided in exchange for the debt; and the date when the account was turned over to the collection agency by the creditor. In addition, if requested, a collection agency must provide, free of charge, a copy of any documents from its records that contain this information if you are the debtor, or if the collection agency claims that you are obligated to pay a debt. If after receiving the evidence of the debt, you confirm that you do not owe the debt, the collection agency may not continue with its collection efforts and is required to investigate your claim that you are not the debtor, the debt has been paid, discharged in bankruptcy, or is not owed.
If you decide after contact with the debt collector that you don’t want the collector to contact you again, tell the collector – in writing – to stop contacting you. Sending such a letter to a debt collector you owe money to does not get rid of the debt, but it should stop the contact. Once the collector receives your letter, they may not contact you again, with two exceptions: a collector can contact you to tell you there will be no further contact or to let you know that they or the creditor intend to take a specific action, like filing a lawsuit.
If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at 602.542.5763, in Tucson at 520.628.6504, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at 1.800.352.8431. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General’s Web site at www.azag.gov.