There is always a right and a wrong way to do things and somewhere in the middle you may find a “it’s good enough” section.
Are you looking to settle an old past-due bill?
My question to you would be, what is your motivation? Your reason is going to determine whether it is worth it or not.
Remember, the Statute of Limitations (SOL aka time-barred debt) clock begins from the time of last payment made. I live in Arizona and prior to my collection problem, the SOL was three years.
After being notified that I was being sued, I learned the law changed earlier that very year. It went from three years to six!
The problem with trying to “settle” the score is if you do make a payment or agree to payment terms, the clock is reset once the first payment is made.
For example, if you have a collection from two years ago and now want to try to settle or make payments (nothing wrong with that) the moment you make the first payment the SOL clock is reset.
You have essentially re-aged the debt in that moment.
Just because a debt is past the SOL, it does not mean you won’t be pursued for payment. However, it does mean in court you can win based on this one fact. This is why it is important to save your statements and show up to court if summoned.
I have credit card statements from over seven years ago for this very reason. Just in case I need to prove it in court.
There was a good ABC news article about this very thing. Click HERE to read.
If you should decide to settle, it is important that you negotiate (in writing) prior to making payment what your expectations will be if you do settle.
If you are trying to settle because you want to get a mortgage to buy a home, it’s probably not a good idea to disclose it. The debt collector will have the upper hand and use that as leverage against you.
Should you pay with a check, credit card or debit card … that’s a discussion for another day.