Company out of business trying to collect a disputed debt

by Amy
(Charlotte, NC)

We received a collection notice from Hollywood video today - saying we owe over $133 because we supposedly never returned some movies. We returned them! The rentals were from April of 2009 - over a year and a half ago. Hollywood video has been out of business for over a year now, never contacted us prior, and this collection agency says there is nothing we can do to dispute it - pay it or my credit gets reported.

Is there any recourse at all?? This is completely wrong - I feel like we are being held hostage. We absolutely do NOT owe a cent on this and there is nothing we can do???

Comments for Company out of business trying to collect a disputed debt

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Oct 21, 2010
Hollywood Video debt collection
by: Gerri

If this collection agency told you that you could not dispute this debt, then they were likely violating the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Under that law, you have the right to dispute a debt and the collection agency must verify it.

Anytime you believe a collection agency has broken the law, you can contact a local consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection cases. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection from a consumer law attorney here.

We would suggest a few steps:

1. Get copies of your credit reports to find out whether this debt has been reported to the credit reporting agencies. You can get them from If the item is on there, dispute it. (Keep copies of your credit reports and your dispute letters for your records.)

2. If you don't believe you owe the debt, dispute it in writing with the collection agency. Send your letter certified mail, return receipt requested. Tell them you do not believe you owe the debt and ask them not to contact you again.

3. If they continue to try to pressure you into paying, contact a consumer law attorney. (You can actually do this now, if you like, since it sounds like they may be breaking the law already.)

4. Even if they do leave you alone, we would suggest you file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

5. We would also suggest you at least read the first chapter of our ebook, Debt Collection Answers - it's free - so you have an overview of your rights.

Good luck! Do let us know how this turns out.

Jan 06, 2011
Hollywood Video
by: Joe

I have the same scenario going on myself. I just noticed this pop up on my credit report, called the collection agency and they said the only options are to either pay the debt for a "charge off" and it will be removed from the credit report. Or, to provide documentation that I don't owe the debt? Tell me, how is this possible when a company is no longer in business? This seems criminal to me, did you ever find a solution to the problem? I certainly don't want to shell out a couple hundred $$ for something I don't owe.

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