Smart Money

DEAR BRUCE: I owe $1,533 on my Visa card. My credit is poor. What can I do to improve it? -- J.G.

DEAR J.G.: I would contact the company that issued the card and explain the circumstances. Tell them the amount of money is not a great one to many people, but for you, it's a large amount to face. Ask what they can do not in terms of granting any more credit, but in reducing your monthly payments to a number you can live with, and don't settle for a number that you can't live with. If you agree to pay a loan and then default, that will surely destroy your credit.

It's going to take time, but I think you'll find that the company will grant your request (maybe not on the first try, but on the second or third), simply because it's in their best interest to do so. I do wish you well.

P.S. Don't expect a substantial interest reduction. Take the payment schedule that's offered.

DEAR BRUCE: I filed bankruptcy in 2015. I went to a lawyer's office to ensure an outstanding cable bill was included. The lawyer's office never added it. I now have a cable bill debt on my credit report. I found this out while attempting to rebuild my credit.

I want to make arrangements to pay. I thought I would contact the collection company. What is my best recourse? Where do I start? -- D.W.

DEAR D.W.: I hope when you went to the lawyer's office you got some documentation to demonstrate that you had done that. If that's the case, because of the lawyer's error, your attorney should take responsibility for paying the bill. The best recourse is to see the attorney and explain that you did your part, but as a consequence of his error you're being held responsible, which doesn't seem reasonable. If the attorney is an honorable one, he will pay for his mistake. Other than that, you might be able to sue him in small claims court.

(Send questions to Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.)

(The Bruce Williams Radio Show can now be heard 24/7 via iTunes and at It is also available at

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