First, I received a legit summons from my county in NJ, not to appear in court but it's a filed complaint. 35 days to respond or attempt to negotiate with the plaintiffs (CACH of NJ) attorney. I called my own laywer friend and for free he mentioned that if I owe the money I should just call the Law firm, they should come up with a monthly payment schedule and have them send a stipulation of settlement which my lawyer will take a look at (free of charge). My fear in doing this is whether or not I have to pay this full amount since the bank probably sold it to CACH for pennies on the dollar, or if in this stipulation of settlement I can have them agree to have the record deleted from my credit report once paid off in monthly payments... Respond to the complaint or call the law firm to work out a payment schedule??? On the other hand, another collections agency regarding a different credit card (paid my way through college) called also (ARS in California) and says I can settle a $3062 balance for $1550 in 4 monthly payments or pay in full for $256 for 12 months. Financially, I could do either one. My main concern is the outcome on my credit report and I'm trying to weigh the difference from where this account stands now- "charge-off" or settle for almost half, or to pay in full over a year. I'm only 24 years old my main concern is my credit report and getting these accounts in the best standing as possible. In either case the ultimate situation would have these taken off of my credit report... I have a full time job and can afford between $200-300 a month for each of these cases. Please help with any advice. I don't want to go to court and end up in a legal battle over money I know that I owe. I appreciate any help here. Thanks.