DEAR HARRY: I feel that I was treated like a fool. Back in January, we were set to settle on the sale of our old home. There was a glitch: The buyer showed up with about $9,000 less than he needed for things to go as planned. I suggested that his lawyer try to get some supplementary financing. He suggested that I lower the sales price. My broker said nothing. Finally, as if it were scripted into the act, my broker and his lawyer brainwashed me into taking a note back for $10,000 due in two years with 5 percent interest. Payments were to be made monthly beginning Feb. 1. They were convincing, insisting that it was a safe deal for me. I finally conceded at the urging of everyone in the room. So far, not one dime, not one letter or phone call has come to me. I have called the buyer at least a dozen times and have never gotten to him or his wife. I contacted my broker to see where all this "safety" was, and I got the proverbial brush-off. Am I out the $10,000?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Maybe. At best, you have a lien on the house that is secondary to the mortgage. Going after your buyer with a lawsuit could get him to move. But legal action probably will be costly and won't end satisfactorily, because I suspect that this guy is living far above his means. I'm afraid you'll just have to consider this as a sort of price reduction. Sorry.

Email Harry Gross at, or
write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107. Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-Red Cross.