My understanding, on the Hollywood Video late fees, is that in 2011, debt collectors attempted to collect alleged late fees by hitting credit reports. Because of complaints, an agreement was made with the Attorney Generals of the 50 states on just what the collectors are allowed to do. If you go to the website for Universal Fidelity, it shows the settlement and answers a few questions. Again, my understanding is that they no longer can attack your credit, cannot add more fees and fines, and can only choose the lesser of what is supposedly owed -- rental late fees or material not returned. My major concern is for those of us who absolutely know we did not owe late fees, especially in the amount that they are telling us we owe.
I also belonged to the program, Power Play, which was supposed to eliminate most late fees. I am an individual who pays late fees when I get them. When I called the Universal Fidelity number, they gave me the choice between paying half (of what I know I don't owe) and disputing the claim. The woman I talked to did pay attention when I stated that I belonged to the top tier of the Power Play.
I am disputing the claim. My opinion of what is going on is that Hollywood Video creditors do have the right to get paid for what is legitimately coming to them. However! Just where and how they came up with what is owed them is the serious question! I know I did not owe them any money. I also called the Attorney Generals office, the Better Business Bureau, the local news, and the FTC to complain. It scares me to think that from now on any company going out of business might send a fee or a bill, stating you owe them money, years after they closed, regardless if you owe them anything or not.
I went to a lawyer and had him help me develop a letter to dispute the claim that I owed Hollywood Video $139 in late fees. Fortunately, the lawyer did not charge me to do so. I sent this certified to both Universal Fidelity and the trustee for this account, First Lien Lenders Liquidating Trust. I stated clearly that I wanted to see what records they had which showed I owed them late fees. (I know I did not owe them anything.) I received a letter back stating, "The outstanding charges for this account are valid". However, they completely ignored the part where I asked to see what they were basing their findings on. At the end of the letter, they stated: "While we have completed our investigation of this account and believe the debt to be valid, we are suspending all future collection activity on this account." It is good that they have suspended attempts to collect on what I didn't owe, but I don't like that they are still saying I owe them, and that they did not send me the records that supposedly shows how I did!