You did a lot of things wrong. How do you even know that that will fix your credit? Your biggest debt is $440?
They are suing you for $440? I really doubt it!
I would call them and let them know that you offered $50 in full satisfaction of the debt, otherwise, they can sue you and try to collect $5 a month for 20 years.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here. Please visit my web site: www.avanesianlaw.com for more information about my services.
Something here doesn't seem right. I highly doubt that they are suing you for $440. Did you receive a summons from the court? Maybe you're dealing with a terrible collection agency attempting to scare you into paying more than you can afford. First, I would send letter (must be in writing) to collection agency and ask them to validate the debt. This means they have to send you something in writing that shows how much is owed. If the debt is valid, you could send what you can to pay it down. Keep copies of checks that you send them in case once this debt is paid off you have trouble with this "shady" creditor not updating your credit file to show that the debt was paid off in full. The other possibility is to negotiate that you pay them some portion of what is owed and they accept this as payment in full. $160 as PAYMENT IN FULL would be pretty good. Did you perhaps misunderstand and they were offering you the opportunity to settle the full amount for one payment of $160?
I am not YOUR lawyer. You should not rely on answers to questions as legal advice. For legal advice you should contact a law firm for a consultation. Tokarska Law Center 185 West F Street #100, San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 285-1992 www.sdbankrupt.com Tokarska Law Center is a Federal Debt Relief Agency representing individuals and businesses in filing for bankrutpcy protection under the U.S. Bankrutpcy Code.
I agree with my colleagues -- something is not right with your facts.
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
Possibly file an answer.
Creditors generally have no obligation to take payments, let alone on the terms you demand.
If there are several of these (which I doubt if the largest is $440), bankruptcy could be an option--either Chapter 7 to wipe them out, or Chapter 13 to pay them over time.
Also, at minimum wage, it is quite likely that they cannot garnish any of your paycheck. Check with your local legal aid office.