What to do if a bankruptbusiness says that you owe it money when you do not?

UPDATED: Jan 24, 2011

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What to do if a bankruptbusiness says that you owe it money when you do not?

I received a letter from a creditor service representing a bankrupt movie rental chain stating that I owe $110. I called the creditor and was told that it was for a movie I rented in 2009. I did return this movie on time and even went in the store and spoke to them about this. I rented several more times from them before they closed and was never charged anything. I have received no phone calls or bills from them except this letter. I have a family member who received the same thing and they also went in the store before it closed to make sure that they had no outstanding fees. I saw on the news tonight that this company is sending these charges to multiple customers and saying the fees are so high due to processing fees. Is this legal and how do I prove this charge is not valid over a year later when the business is closed? I am sending a letter refuting this charge and have filed complaints with the BBB and Attorney General. Could there be a class action suit for this?

Asked on January 24, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

1) Even assuming that you were late with or had never returned the movie, the most you could owe would be whatever the rental agreement or service agreement at the time had provided was the maximum--a collections agency, creditor service, etc. may not add whatever additional fees it likes.

2) They have to prove the debt to you--they can't just assert you owe it without evidence. Ask them to send copies of the rental agreement, account statements showing what you owed as of when the chaiin went bankrupt, any evidence this movie was not returned, etc.

3) It is hard to prove a negative--that you were not late with the movie--so if they can provide evidence of your debt, it may be difficult for you to refute it. If you have any statements from the video place from after the alleged late movie, showing your account current, that would be helpful.

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