If you send the creditor any money or even correspond it automatically reinstates the debt as current and could be another several years before it goes off your credit report. This is a tactic often used by collection agencies. The original debt has been charged off already, and that is what affects your credit regardless because that debt is considered closed by whomever you defaulted the debt with originally and that status doesn't change. The collection companies buy the debt for pennies on the dollar...in the hopes of collecting more than they paid for your debt. If the statute of limitations for collecting the debt has run out, then they cannot sue you. However.,THEY WILL NOT ADVISE YOU OF THIS!!! It is very important that you research what is legal for your situation. Debt collection agencies are notoriously unscrupulous and in the business of collecting money by whatever means necessary. (Even from my widowed 80 year old father) If they get you to verbally acknowledge the debt or collect even 1 cent...It's a brand new debt and they can sue you because it is now a brand new account that you've already defaulted on. If it's within the statute if limitations and they have bank account info/access to any bank accounts you've previously used to pay they will just get a judgement an put a collection lien on your account...usually with the minimum of notice to you. If you've already gotten hooked by them, change your bank accounts and offer them pennies on the dollar. It's all negotiable, play hard ball. Depending on the amount of debt, sometimes court fees aren't worth it to them and they will settle.