Whoa! First of all, are they collecting a debt that's the right amount? Many collection agencies tack on their fees, etc. even if the original creditor didn't have a contractual right to do that and they're not supposed to do that unless there's a law saying they can. Secondly, how long ago was the debt incurred? Because, if the debt was created years ago (the time varies from state to state) then the debt might be barred by the Statute of Limitations. If so, you have no legal duty to pay it UNLESS YOU RE-AFFIRM THE DEBT BY ADMITTING YOU OWE IT. That starts the time limit running again. So, if they say "Pay" and the debt was incurred say 3 years ago in a state where the Statute of Limitations is 2 years, then you can say "Hey, I don't owe that and, even if I once did, the Statute of Limitations has barred your claim." Thirdly, assuming you owe the debt and it's all valid, they still don't have a right to harass you and there are attorneys that specialize in prosecuting violators of the "Fair Debt Collection" laws. If it's a fair debt and they aren't violating the law, I recomment folks send in an amount that a judge would see is a reasonable attempt to pay off the debt (e.g. maybe $25 a month on a $600 debt would work if you honestly don't make much money but sending $10 a month when you owe $5000 isn't going to work unless you're on welfare). It would help to have more information. Are they threatening to sue unless you pay the whole thing right away? Well, a lot of judges can be sympathetic if you've made "a good faith effort" to pay. You really need the advice of an attorney knowledgeable in the laws of your area. If you don't have the money to pay an attorney, consider looking for the local "legal aid" that provides free legal assistance to low-income people and see if you income-qualify for a consultation. Don't confuse "legal aid" with "public defenders" because "legal aid" is for civil matters, like debt collection, while "public defenders" help people accused of committing a crime.