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Call Kurtis: Millions Billed For Old DVD Rentals From Hollywood Video

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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A Modesto woman got a bill, saying she owed Hollywood Video money for an old DVD rental.

But the company is now out of business.

When she wasn’t sure if she should pay it, she called Kurtis.

She’s not the only one.

Millions of people nationwide are also getting collection letters for Hollywood Video.

Genny Bigley got a collections bill, claiming she owed $8.98 for renting the DVD “Hancock” back in 2009.

“It’s a movie that I don’t even remember renting and it’s a movie that I don’t even think I would be interested in renting,” said Genny.

Before her Modesto Hollywood video store shut down in 2010, Genny says her account had a zero balance.

“We were always on time because we didn’t want to pay those late fees,” said Genny.

Genny says she called the collection agency, Universal Fidelity, but couldn’t get a hold of anyone.

And now, she’s not sure if she should pay this bill for something she doesn’t even remember renting.

“I would assume it would go against my credit which I really don’t want it to do,” said Genny.

“They figure you’ll just send them the eight dollars just to get them out of your hair,” said Scott Coben, bankruptcy attorney, Coben and Associates.
Coben says if you don’t owe the money, don’t pay it and dispute it in writing with the collection agency.

“They really don’t know if you owe the money or not. They’re just counting that they got accurate information from Hollywood Video, which they probably didn’t,” said Coben.

We contacted Universal Fidelity. In an email, the CEO tells us:

“Any consumer who sends a note or calls us and disputes the balance of the account, we close the account back to the trustee as disputed and no further collection attempts are made.”
— Paul Farinacci, president and CEO

In fact, this court order in 2011, found “objections and concerns about the collection activites” of two previous collection agencies.

So now, even if you don’t pay, companies collecting Hollywood Video’s debt can’t report you to a credit agency.

“I don’t mind paying it if i owe it,” said Genny.

But Genny says she doesn’t and is now disputing it in writing.

Universal Fidelity’s CEO tells us his agency has sent out roughly a million Hollywood Video notices, and about 150,000 to 200,000 people have paid.

More than three million notices total have been sent nationwide.

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