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AmEx goes after Wesley Snipes

By Janna Herron ·
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Posted: 4 pm ET

Wesley Snipes found out it's harder to slay credit card debt than evil vampires.

American Express hit the "Blade" star with a lawsuit last week, claiming the actor piled up nearly $30,000 in credit card debt before going to prison. Snipes is currently serving a three-year sentence for failing to file tax returns (another personal finance no-no).

The lawsuit is seeking the outstanding debt plus interest, attorney fees and court costs, according to several media reports.

Let this be a Hollywood lesson: Even an A-list movie star can't outrun credit card debt.

At a time when credit card delinquencies are inching up again and holiday spending is on the horizon, consumers should be aware that outstanding debt will follow you on your credit report and perhaps even to court. So don't respond to miss payments by dodging collection calls.

If you're having trouble paying your credit card bills, your first call should be to your issuer. Explain your financial situation, and see if the creditor can offer a temporary hardship payment plan.

Working with a reputable nonprofit credit counselor also can help you rejigger your household budget to find extra money to pay off bills. Check out the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to find a counselor in your area.

Have you ever asked for a temporary hardship payment plan from your issuer? Did it work?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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