PIERRE, S.D – Attorney General Marty J. Jackley has joined with other State Attorneys General in reaching a settlement with Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery regarding potential abuses by third-party debt collectors seeking to collect on outstanding movie accounts. According to the information provided by Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery, this legal settlement will benefit approximately 25,675 consumers in South Dakota that became part of the collection process.
Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video is in the process of liquidating its assets as part of a bankruptcy. As part of that process, National Credit Solutions, a debt collection agency, attempted to collect alleged late charges and other charges owed on movies rented before the stores closed. This includes a high collection fee as well. National Credit Solutions had not contacted South Dakota consumers prior to placing negative collection attempts on their credit reports. Prior to the settlement, National Credit Solutions had initially agreed to temporarily withdraw all negative credit reports filed against South Dakota consumers whom they claimed owed late fees.
Under the new settlement with the State Attorneys General, the bankruptcy trustee has agreed to the following:
Rescind all previously submitted credit reports: The trustee agrees to take all steps that are reasonably necessary to ensure that all credit reports submitted to any credit reporting bureau are rescinded.
No future credit reporting: The trustee and any third party collection agency working on its behalf agree to not file further reports with the credit reporting bureaus. Any collection agencies utilized by the trustee also must expressly agree to not represent to any consumer that his 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, principal amounts to be collected from consumers. The trustee also agrees to work with the State Attorneys General to recover collection fees collected by CCS or NCS prior to the effective date of the settlement. This may affect the South Dakota consumers who have already paid the fees.
No double recovery for late fees and product charges: For accounts that include both late fees and charges for non-returned, damaged, or late-returned products (for which the late fees also were imposed), collection will be pursued only for the lesser of the two charges.
“I am pleased that we were able to reach a reasonable settlement agreement that protects South Dakota consumers from questionable debt collection practices,” stated Attorney General Jackley.
It is recommended that all consumers should take these steps to assure their credit has not been affected:
Check your credit report- If you rented movies from Hollywood Video, you could be a victim of this collection activity. You can obtain one free report per year from each of credit reporting agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Note: While other Credit reports may be obtained using other services, including services that advertise using the word “free.” BE AWARE THAT THESE SERVICES MAY CHARGE YOU FEES.
Write a letter: If you have a negative credit report from National Credit Solutions, you may wish to send them a certified letter.
If you are unable to resolve the issue with the collection agency and believe that you do not owe this debt, contact the Consumer Protection Division at 800-300-1986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 6, 2011
CONTACT: Sara Rabern, (605) 773-3215