DEAR SUN SPOTS: I want to thank the woman who paid for my purchase when my credit card was declined at Walgreen’s in Norway on Wednesday, March 17. I promised to pay it forward and I will.

What is with the U.S. Postal Service? For the second time in three months my mailed payment to Citi Card has been delayed. The most recent payment was mailed Feb. 25 and still hasn’t been received as of March 18, resulting in a late fee. Meanwhile, a large payment on this account is floating around in the mail system. What is this doing to my credit rating? I’ve had this card since 1991 and have never had a late fee before. Others must be experiencing this. Can you help? — Jane, no town

ANSWER: First of all, that shopper you encountered at Walgreen’s was wonderful to do that for you. When a credit card isn’t accepted, it can be so frustrating and concerning.

Since I’m not sure any of us can do anything about the United States Postal Service, other than lodge a complaint that would have to be very specific, let’s focus on doing something proactive in your dealings with your credit card company.

Have you ever considered making your payments online and even having them automated? It’s easy to set up an account with a protected password. If you call Citi Card customer service, they can help you or you can ask a trusted friend or relative to walk you through this process. You may even be able to make arrangements to pay over the phone if you would rather.

Speak with a customer service representative or department manager about these late fees. Yes, they could affect your credit rating. If you can provide proof that you mailed your check well ahead of the due date that could help your case.

For any person who has a debt, whether it’s a mortgage, auto loan, or credit card, it’s always best to be in contact with the creditor when you have issues. Keep the lines of communication open as much as possible. There should be a toll-free number, a mailing address and an email address on your monthly statement.

Last of all, consider consolidating or moving your credit/loan activity to a local institution. I know you’ve had this particular card for a long time, but perhaps it’s time to switch. You could then walk your payment in yourself if you choose to or at least talk to someone face to face when the need arises.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Do you know where I could sell really old magazines such as The American Monthly Illustrated, Review of Reviews, Cosmopolitan and National Geographic that are turn of the century vintage and beyond? — No name, Livermore

ANSWER: As long as these publications are in mint condition or have certain content, they may be worth something. An example of a site you can peruse to educate yourself in determining the value of what you have is

Check with antique collectors and secondhand bookstores in your area. The Chicken Barn in Ellsworth (667-7308) may be helpful as well. If anyone in our readership area has expertise in this area, please write in.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].

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