ROANOKE, Va. — Have you received a notice from National Credit Solutions regarding an outstanding balance on a Hollywood Video or Movie Gallery account?
If you have, you're not alone.
National Credit Solutions is a debt collection service that has blanketed our area with notices of overdue charges for Hollywood Video and Movie Gallery customers. In some cases, consumers have seen their credit score drop because of the fraudulent reports of late fees.
The Better Business Bureau in Western Virginia is receiving a large volume of calls from local consumers who have received collection letters and telephone calls from NCS, located in Oklahoma City, OK. The problem is widespread, as the Montana Attorney General filed a lawsuit against National Credit Solutions, alleging the collection agency unlawfully attempted to collect money from consumers and charging them "exorbitant" fees on top of what they reportedly owed. In some cases, customers may have been charged for failing to return a movie when the person actually had, the lawsuit alleges.
“Our consumers report receiving threatening phone calls from the agency, demanding immediate payment by credit card or checking account information,” said Julie Wheeler, BBB President. “There are rules governing collections agencies’ actions; consumers should be aware of the laws that protect them from unfair debt collection.”
BBB advises consumers to take the following steps if contacted by a collection agency:
· Request written proof of the debt by certified return receipt.
· Dispute the debt in writing. Send all correspondence by certified return receipt.
· Keep copies of all letters and documents.
· If you feel your rights have been violated, contact the Virginia Attorney General’s Department of Consumer Affairs at their Toll Free Consumer Protection Hotline: 1-800-552-9963 (VA only) and the Federal Trade Commission. Go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm or call the FTC at 877-382-4357.
· Consumers should visit www.annualcreditreport.com to check their credit report for any collection activity from this company.
If you need more information, contact the BBB at (540) 342-3455 or (800) 533-5501. You can also visit www.bbb.org. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/BBB_WesternVA.