If you didn't return that copy of "Ghostbusters" before Hollywood Video closed their doors last year, you may run into trouble if you're looking to take out a mortgage or finance a car. That's because National Credit Solutions (NCS), a debt collection agency, may have filed negative reports to credit reporting agencies for thousands of consumers who owed late fees when the company went bankrupt last year.
The BBB 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.
On January 27, 2011, the BBB Serving Central Oklahoma revoked the firm’s Accreditation due to engaging in activities reflecting poorly on the BBB or its members.
The Montana Attorney General filed a lawsuit on January 26, 2011 against National Credit Solutions, alleging the collection agency unlawfully attempted to collect money from consumers, even charging them "exorbitant" fees on top of what they reportedly owed. The suit further alleges that the company sent negative credit reports to the national credit reporting bureaus, without first notifying the consumer of the alleged debt. 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.