Re: I'M BAAAAACK! :o(
Keller, I dealt with Zwicker & Assoc. a while back (I was in a wreck that totaled the car and left me pretty totaled, too), and they are the most rude and insensitive group of people I have ever spoken to. I managed to fall off their radar for a few years (once my phone was cut off) but when I moved to another state and got a driver's license, the calls and letters started again.
I was able to work out a plan with them where I paid $50/month and once I reached the 7-year mark with the account, I got the framework for a letter (from this board, I don't remember which one) telling them that this account was past the seven year mark for delinquent accounts and if they tried to contact me again they would be talking to my lawyer. Okay, I know it was a risk since I had been paying on it for a couple of years, but I figured that since I already had a payment plan worked out with them the worst they could do was send me back a letter telling me I was out of my mind and they expected my payment the next month.
That didn't happen, though! I received a letter saying that it was being reviewed by their legal department and I'd be receiving a response shortly. A month or so later (I still paid that month) I received a letter back saying that they considered the matter closed. When I pulled my credit reports, all trace of Zwicker and the OC were gone and they took the negs with them. Considering that I still owed about $2500 to them, I thought it turned out pretty well.
I said all of this to tell you that you can dig your way out, it just takes a while. If you don't have the money, you just don't have it. Sometimes if you show good intention (paying a little at a time) the CAs will lay off of you long enough for you to get a good plan together.
I also used this with Zwicker - when I was working out a payment plan, I told the guy that all I could pay was $50/month, that was it and it was a stretch (yeah, I had to skip months a few times, but I picked it back up the next month like nothing happened and they stopped bothering me) - when the guy told me that $50 was nowhere near enough to pay my debt, I challenged him by asking, "Are you refusing my offer to pay?" and he backed off very quickly. I guess it's because most, if not all, of those calls are recorded and if they refused to take money that I was trying to offer them, then maybe it could come back to haunt them? I don't know, but it worked.
It's all in the planning and knowing what you'll do no matter what the response. I sincerely wish you the best.
"Yew shore gotta pretty mouf"
-dude from Deliverance (and probably a lot of CA's too!!)