Susan Tompor: Debt collectors may be willing to negotiate
News from Detroit Free Press:

What’s a sure-fire reason to pay off an overdue $ 500 credit card bill — or a $ 3,000 medical debt?

James Angelo chuckles a bit at the question.

“What we don’t ever know is what it’s going to take to get someone to pay their bills,” says Angelo, who joined his brothers in their debt-collection business in 1986 and now is president of J.J. Marshall & Associates, a collection agency in Shelby Township.

Angelo recalled one case in which all it took was one letter from his agency to convince a man to send a $ 10,000 cashier’s check to cover a debt. But at the other extreme was one consumer who had to be taken to small-claims court over a $ 400 dentist bill.

Many of us know one side of debt collection — people harassed by calls, or debtors illegally threatened by rogue collection agencies.

But Angelo pulled out his mini-recorder and played for me bits of the nasty calls he’s gotten — including profane tirades from people who say, basically, no,…………… continues on Detroit Free Press

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Layaway returns as consumers cut debt
News from Rapid City Journal:

Layaway is back. The old-fashioned way to pay for things ahead of time, in installments, has regained favor and is now available at several big retailers in Rapid City, including Sears, Toys R Us, Walmart and Kmart.

In recent decades when credit was cheap and easy to get, and people felt flush with the promise of future earnings, the concept of paying for something BEFORE you bought it fell out of favor. Shoppers could just charge it and pay for their toys, clothes and electronics after the holidays, with interest.

But now, with spending sobriety setting in, “People are cutting back on their credit card use,” said Terry Mills, education and community outreach manager for the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. “People are more in tune with trying to cut their credit card debt.”

National retailers are responding, and are revamping or starting layaway programs.

The trend started in 2008 when Kmart started to hea…………… continues on Rapid City Journal

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