There Are Rules and Laws Governing Debt Collection

By Marcy Sugar

By Kathy Mitchell

March 2, 2012 5 min read

Dear Annie: Our son's first marriage ended in divorce 10 years ago. From that union, we have a wonderful 13-year-old grandson.

Our ex-daughter-in-law, "June," remarried quickly, and that marriage failed about 18 months ago. Apparently, she used our names as a credit reference, because we've been getting calls from several collection agencies asking for June by her most recent married name. After the first call, I told the agency I would not give out her phone number but would have June call them. I sent her a letter with the pertinent information. She phoned and said I should tell these callers I don't know her.

Lately, I've responded to these agencies by saying June hasn't been in the family for 10 years and I don't know how to reach her. Lying isn't my normal operating procedure, but in this instance, it seems the safest. I don't know what type of retribution there would be for our son, our grandson or us if June thought we turned her in. The calls are getting more frequent, and we're tired of them. What do you suggest? — Ex-In-Laws

Dear In-Laws: There are laws in place to prevent harassment of third parties by collection agencies. Keep in mind, however, that if the collection agencies have reason to believe you are lying to them about June's location, you might not have much recourse in getting them to stop. But please report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state attorney general's office and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov).

Dear Annie: My husband recently retired, but I still work full time at an office. My problem? My husband does not feel he should have to help me in any way with the household chores. He absolutely refuses.

I have asked him numerous times to please put dinner on before I get home from work, but it falls on deaf ears. I might add that he's an excellent cook when he is so inclined. A number of his friends are also retired, and they joke among themselves about how domesticated they have become around the house, but my husband just won't budge. I even mow the lawn in the summer and shovel the snow in winter.

I may as well be living on my own. I'm not getting any younger and am simply too tired to keep up with everything along with my full-time job. All I ask is that he take over a couple of chores so I can have a little downtime on the weekends. Is this too much to ask? Don't suggest a housekeeper. He would never allow it. Nor would he ever go for counseling. — Tired and Worn Out in Canada

Dear Tired: Might your husband be depressed since retiring? It is not uncommon and could explain his lethargy and intransigence. But you should not be exhausted because he cannot or will not help out. If you are earning enough to hire housekeeping help, we recommend you do so whether he approves or not. You also could minimize your efforts around the house so that you handle your own laundry and meals and leave him to cook and clean for himself. Of course, he still may not lift a finger, but at least you won't be doing his work as well as your own.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Heartbroken Mother," whose daughter thinks her family will be an embarrassment at her upscale wedding.

I chuckled because, recently, a friend was extremely worried about her "rough and tumble" blue-collar family behaving properly at her well-planned and expensive wedding to a wonderful professional man.

Well, liquor can even the playing field. Her family behaved perfectly. The groom's upscale family, however, nearly ruined the event. — Michigan

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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