How to get a debt collector off your back

DEAR HARRY: You have had any number of letters over the years about overzealous debt collectors who have broken the rules. Some have called at odd hours, called at work, made financial and even physical threats, etc. You have told people what the law says they can do to stop this by contacting the collector. My problem is that I've done all that, but this one collector (who says he's a lawyer) ignores me, and has even made threats of public disclosure (whatever that means) and disclosure to my kids' friends. There has to be more that I can do to get him off my back. Part of the trouble is that I think he operates out of New Jersey but we live in Philly. He has a 609 phone number. My wife is very upset about this. I don't deny that I owe the money, but the add-ons for collection are a killer.

WHAT HARRY SAYS: One way to get him off your back is to offer to pay the amount of the original debt in the next two months if you're able to do so. I'm certain he'd be willing to negotiate a quick settlement.

Beyond that, let's get him off your back. The best way is to contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP. Your Congress member may be able to speed things up. There is an industry group that can help, but the consumer success rate is not high.


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write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.