I just received a debt collection letter from Universal Fidelity LP, the Legal Successor of Hollywood Video / Movie Gallery, Inc

Asked over 2 years ago - Puyallup, WA

The letter is dated for charges I supposedly made back in March, April and May of 2009. Shouldn't they have notified me sooner than three years later? I don't believe I owe these charges. Can I require that they produce any and all rental slips with my signature to prove I may owe this? I freely admit I was a customer of Hollywood Video during 2009 but I did not fail to return any rentals in a timely manner. Don't they have to itemize what the charges were for? I'm skeptical that this may be a scam .

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Shawn B Alexander

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You will need to dispute the account in writing and demand validation of the debt.

    You will need to consult with a consumer protection or bankruptcy lawyer locally at once for private and specific advice on your particular issues.

    Many lawyers on this site offer a free consultation and you should find one near you, make an appointment for specific legal counseling, and take all your paperwork and perhaps a written chronological summary.

    1. Start keeping a detailed log of all calls and letters and a paper file of all information. Because persistent violations of the FDPCA are punishable by statutory fines and attorney’s fees under federal law, but you need hard evidence.

    2. Make a written demand that all further communications from creditors is in writing under 15 USC 1692 (c).
    The letter should also contain a dispute of the validity of the charges and include a demand for a complete accounting with signatures, and all contents of their file.
    The creditor then has 30 days to reply and they may not take any action until you have been sent the validation. Bear in mind that this may be motivation for the collector to work your account when the file comes to them from the original creditor with new information.

    3. Do not give them any personal information because that is how collectors decide on which accounts to recommend suing. Remember they may not tell the truth and will say just about anything to get a payment from you and that payment reaffirms the debt, gives them information about you and your bank and ability to pay.

    4. If you are going to make payments use money orders only and not personal checks, wire transfers, money grams, or “check by phone” because if the collector finds a bank account the collector will be more likely recommend a lawsuit to their legal department.

    5. All collections are negotiable; the original creditor has given up and is losing up to 50% on the face value already either by splitting any return or selling at a huge discount. In addition, the costs of a lawsuit although discounted still are a factor in the decision to settle with you.

    If you are going to settle mark the check “settled-in-full” at the very top back of the check and include a letter explaining you are offering a settlement, keep copies of everything.

    6. Get written confirmation of any payment plan the agency will accept before making a payment.

    7. Specify in writing that all payments will be applied to principle first.

    If you are ready to throw in the towel, go see a local bankruptcy attorney and explore your options for federal protection. The protection will even look back 90 days from filing and get back money taken by the collectors and apply it fairly.

    If your debt is with the government like the IRS or a State agency or for Child Support or taxes, the rules will be different and you will need a local lawyer at once.

    DO NOT use a paid debt settlement service; most of them are scammers.

    I have pasted a link to the FDPCA to help you with your state federal rights;

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit...

    Washington collection agency complaint form: http://www.dol.wa.gov/forms/600006E.pdf

    Washington statute regulating collection agencies: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=19.16

    Consumer rights in Washington: http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/collectionagency...

    Look for a qualified consumer protection attorney for a low cost or free consultation here:

    http://www.naca.net

    You should read the FDPCA from the links above and become informed about your rights; this will help you and your lawyer.

    I hope this information and generic advice is helpful and If you found this helpful, please click the link for a good answer and remember to designate a best answer, Thanks.

    Good Luck

    Only If and until you and I sign an Agreement for Legal Services, I am not your attorney. These answers are... more

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