Depending on what state you live in, this debt might be outside of the statute of limitations already - which means that, morally, you should pay if you can. But, they cannot force you to pay - as long as you go to court if they do decide to sue. They can still sue you and if you don't show up in court, they'll automatically get a judgement against you (which means you will have to pay). In some states, if you don't show up in court, they'll issue a warrant for your arrest (google debtor's prisons 2012). Whether it's within the statute of limitations or not (you should check your states law - but none are over 7 years), they cannot legally threaten you. Nor do they have any legal power to simply issue a warrant for your arrest. Do not make any payment plans. If you do, that will start the clock ticking again and if you were almost out of SOL, you'll be back to square one. As someone else said, if you do a settlement, you should do a one time payment (and you should be able to negotiate an amount quite a bit lower than your debt as the collection agency probably got this debt from another considering it's six years old. They probably paid pennies on the dollar). If you do a settlement, have everything in writing first, so that they can't come back later and try to collect the rest. And, pay with a certified check. Never use your personal checking account with a debt collector.