Hollywood Video, as well as its parent company Movie Gallery, closed its doors forever in 2010, another nail in the video rental coffin. Unfortunately for those of you who owe late fees to the company, there’s a very strong possibility that you find yourself starring down a collection letter from Universal Fidelity, one of the creditors attempting to collect money on behalf of the fallen video chain.
According to NBC News, the collection agency has allegedly used a number of underhanded tactics to get former customers to cough up the money they owe. After an investigation into the matter, the news organization discovered that nearly 500 complaints against the credit have been lodged over the past 90 days, many of which claim Universal Fidelity bullied and threatened folks to settle their debt with the former rental company.
Naturally, Universal Fidelity president Paul Farinacci has denied such behavior has taken place, telling NBC News that the company’s operators are trained to conduct themselves in a professional manner. “Everybody here is trained in customer service. We are not in business to harass, harangue or threaten people,” he explained.
In 2011, customers were facing similar circumstances from creditors, forcing Hollywood Video’s bankruptcy trustee First Lien Term Lenders to settle with attorney generals in all 50 states. Although this seemed to work for a while, it would appear other creditors, including West Bay Acquisitions, have stepped in to start the process all over again.
To make matters worse, these collection agencies are harassing former customers who claim their accounts are free from such charges. Roslyn James from Tacoma, Washington states that Universal Fidelity has attempting to collect on bills she claims are inaccurate. Although she’s told operators about the issue, they continue to demand payment.
“I was angry because I want to get it taken care of. You almost just want to pay it just to get rid of it, but to me, it’s the principle,” she said.
It’s worth noting that, according to NBC, almost all complaints against Universal Fidelity and West Bay Acquisitions have been properly addressed. Former customers, beware: Creditors continue to send letters to former renters, so there’s a chance that late copy of Gigli might come back to haunt you.