Customers Dispute Past Due Bills From Closed Business

It’s like a scene from a bad movie. Some Omahans are getting past due bills for video rentals from three years ago, even though the business has closed.

Jeff Zimmerman received a $13 movie rental bill from three years ago he says is pure fiction. “I don't mind paying for stuff we owe and responsible for, but if it's something we didn't do I'd like to get to the bottom of it and remove the charge."

A collection agency for the receiver that bought the Hollywood Video assets sent notices to former customers listed with past due fees. It appears to Zimmerman that this collection agency is sending these notices to people who don't have the time or nerve to fight the bill. The notice implies a credit risk. “They're going to keep hounding you ‘til you pay it or potentially damage your credit.”

One of Jeff's colleagues got the same collection notice and paid rather than fight it. “We couldn't remember positively so we just figured it's 13 bucks, it's easy, let's just pay it and not worry about it,” says Jodi Reerink.

The collection agency offers payment online or to click to dispute within 30 days. The collectors claim Zimmerman owes late fees on the movie “Fly Me To The Moon,” which describes his answer to the payment notice.

A representative of the collection agency tells Fact Finders he's not beating consumers over the head to pay. Any disputed bill is sent back to the receiver and the case is closed. Court papers show the bankrupt Hollywood Video left behind about $240 million in unpaid fees.

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