If you’re a former customer of Hollywood Video, which went bankrupt and shut down in 2010, you might be getting a letter in the mail soon about some late fee you forgot you ever racked up.
If it’s still in their books, though, they haven’t forgotten. Or more accurately, the trust company serving as the “legal successor” to Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery, hasn’t forgotten. And now that they’re stuck with trying to liquidate Hollywood’s holdings and accounts, they want their money.
In my case, I recall renting two DVDs listed on my “collection letter” at about the time it shows I did: August of 2009. I owed a total of $28.74, which seems a bit high on first glance, but I do seem to recall that there was a point at which I had rented a couple of movies and immediately forgot I had them for a week or so. When I spotted them, I drove them to the local video store and dropped them in the dropbox since it was after hours.
Before Hollywood Video could get around to billing me, it seems, they shut down the location from which I rented. I do recall that all of a sudden, I drove by the store and noticed that the sign was gone. I hadn’t realized they were closing; think of the clearance sale I must have missed out on!
Then the company filed for bankruptcy and eventually ceased operations.
The collection agency representative I spoke to made two things very clear: First, because of litigation, Hollywood Video was prevented from contacting customers about any standing debt, and they were unable to notify me prior to this. Second, though the letter makes it look as if the recipient is some sort of deadbeat being called onto the carpet, the past due amount — and the fact that it existed at all — is not on my credit report nor will it appear (assuming, of course, that you pay it, which I did).
So if you once carried a Hollywood Video card in your wallet, you were late returning a flick and you never settled up, don’t be surprised if a “friendly reminder” appears in your mailbox. If you don’t recognize the movie titles or are sure you did pay up, be sure to check the back side of the letter: you’ll need to follow the specific rules outlined there to make sure things don’t get ugly.