The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

Don’t Say the Zed Word: ‘Zombie Debt Collections’

I think that no one thing shows the Anti-Zombie bias of the press quite as vividly as their penchant for labeling any negative phenomenon ‘Zombie’ of late.

Case in point, and a new one on the ZRC: ‘Zombie Debt Collections’, referring to debt being collected, seemingly erroneously, on behalf of a company that doesn’t exist anymore:

Talk about Red Tape: Consumers across the country say they are being harassed into paying bills they don’t owe to a company that no longer exists. And it’s not the first time. Like a monster in a bad horror flick, every time this Hollywood Video debt collection controversy seems to be killed, it keeps coming back to life.

When Hollywood Video and its parent, Movie Gallery, went out of business in 2010 and declared bankruptcy, they had only one real asset: unpaid fees. About 3 million U.S. residents owed money to the firm — a lot of money — nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, according to the Rhode Island attorney general’s office. But attempts to collect that money on behalf of Hollywood Video’s creditors have become a series of bad horror flicks to former customers, who claim they are being repeatedly harassed by debt collectors waving bills the consumers don’t owe. And now, an NBC News investigation of 500 complaints filed against one of those firms in the past 90 days — Universal Fidelity — shows that consumers accuse the company of everything from bullying to threatening to ruin their credit, despite promises to all 50 state attorneys general that it would never do so./blockquote>

Essentially, the situation boils down to: Hollywood Video/Movie Gallery went out of business, and their creditors are trying to collect on unpaid DVD rental fees and such. Naturally, they’re using debt collection firms to do so. Naturally, given the sleazy, seedy nature of that industry, customers are being treated badly. Previous agreements with all 50 states to be less sleazy are being ignored.

In other words, another day in the leg-breaking business. Why, precisely, is this related to Zombies? Because a company ‘died’, ie, went bankrupt? Well, that happened repeatedly to Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video, apparently. So was it a ‘Zombie’ company when it had stores open AND when it closed down?

The term seems to lose all meaning, doesn’t it?

In reality, as ugly as this mess is, it just looks like another tangled web of debt in our financialized, struggling economy to me. No Zombies, maybe no actual debts, and very little collection going on.

Get back to the ZRC when actual Zombies are collecting debts.

Full disclosure: for a brief time in college I worked for a Movie Gallery in Bloomington, IN. The management was incompetent but most of the fellow employees were ok, and I quit under less than friendly terms. I honestly never gave the company a second thought until now, and it turns out they went under two years ago. How time flies.


About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.

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