Credit guru Thea Dudley has spent more than 30 years in LBM credit management. Now she's here to answer your credit and collection questions. Got a question for her mailbag? Contact Thea at 

Dear Readers:

Your response to the annual excuses list was overwhelming! Every day, more of your Oscar-worthy excuses for nonpayment poured in. As promised, we are kicking off the new year with a list of 10 of the very best of them and the New Year's wish they won’t be topped this year. I have to admit, I have laughed ‘til my sides hurt at all of them. Mostly because they weren't my customers. Here they are:

  1. “My wife has filed for divorce and locked up all of our assets.”
  2. “I am down to one check and it’s between you and the electric company. Guess you aren't getting paid this month.”
  3. The tenant who stood in the doorway with a beer in one and and a cigarette in the other and explained how he didn't have any money.
  4. “I do not plan on paying you any more money on my account because I believe I have already paid you enough.”
  5. “I know I bought all the materials for my project from you but I've decided I don't want to pay for them.”
  6. “Yes, I got paid from the job but that doesn't mean you’re getting paid.”
  7. A New York debtor explained once that the reason they deducted $2,000 from their payment was because "I forgot to tell you, we contributed $2,000 to Mayor Giuliani’s campaign in your name.”
  8. “I pay my bills alphabetically and ran of money before I got to the U's.”
  9. The client who couldn't pay his $10,000 bill because he had purchased a $100,000 boat and was struggling to make the payments.
  10. “The insurance company didn't pay for the repairs, so I am not paying you.”

One side note: None of these excuses are usually first line of defense. They usually are heard only after months of chasing, unanswered messages, and lots of reminders. So to the offended reader who thought I was a bit harsh regarding someone's mother passing, it was her third passing in two years.
As I said, the excuses that make the list are never the first line of defense. Even a credit manager has tear ducts ... and a mother!