Dear Harry: My nephew once had great credit. He paid his bills in full each month as you have always advised. Then the construction business collapsed out West, where he was living. He and his family moved back to Pennsylvania, and he was out of work for 19 months. He now has a good, steady (?) job, but his past is haunting him. He paid off all his debts except for one credit card with a balance of $12,000. A lawyer keeps calling to harass him. He has tried to arrange for a plan of repayment, but they have been totally uncooperative. We see all kinds of ads for "workout specialists" that sound too good to be true, and we remember your reaction to such scam artists. We also remember that you told people that there was at least one trustworthy group in Philly that can help. Is this still true?
What Harry says: He can stop those harassing calls by writing to that lawyer. Do it by certified mail with a return receipt requested. There are many honest people in the credit-repair business. As you indicated, there are also too many who are scam artists or worse. For many years, I have heard nothing but good reports regarding the nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Agency of the Delaware Valley. Try them at 215-563-0526. Since your nephew is offering to make full payment over a period of time, there is every reason to expect a reasonable settlement.