If you want to avoid a judgment, offer a lump sum of cash to settle. A payment plan usually will require the entry of the judgment to guarantee your future cooperation because, after all, if you had a good history of making payments, the creditor wouldn't have sued you. It should go without saying that any agreement you reach must be in writing & filed with the court. It doesn't matter whether you contact the lawyer or the debt collector, either way, they will refer you to the other to discuss depending on their individual protocol.
Hope this perspective helps!
I agree with the previous attorney that a lump sum settlement would be best, but if you are unable to do that, you can offer to enter into a Voluntary Wage Agreement and have the payments deducted from your paychecks and sent directly to the creditor.
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Tricky question. The answer depends on whether this is your only delinquent financial bill. If it is the only one, then I agree with the previous answers. However, if you have more outstanding debt problems, many bill collectors work for more than one creditor. What that means is if you reach a settlement with one, next week you may again be dealing with the same bill collector on behalf of another creditor. (think feeding a stray dog)
Whenever you have a debt problem I recommend meeting with a bankruptcy attorney for an in-depth analysis.
My firm, Harrington & Myers offers free legal consultations and we have an office in Metairie. www.swamplaw.com