Hi, I'm not sure if this question (or questions) h
Hi, I'm not sure if this question (or questions) has a quick answer but I'm kind of confused by things I'm reading regarding how or whether to pay off a collection agency and I would greatly appreciate any help or a break down of some info.
Background: I'm 23 years old and after graduating college a couple of years ago, ended up working for close to minimum wage for about a year and a half. During that time, I was supposed to start paying off the student loans I took out for books, class fees, living, etc. Also, I had to use a credit card, for the first and last time, to get my car fixed. I was unable to make payments on either of these things and in an extremely irresponsible move, I chose to ignore them, hoping I would soon get a better job and be able to pick up from there.
I do have a better job now and may be able to pay off these debts in small amounts per month but they've already gone to collection agencies. One in regards to the student loans actually recently sent me a letter and I plan on sending a debt validation letter even though I know the debt is mine. In fact, their letter to me clearly stated they would send me validation/proof if I requested so I assume it's not going to be made into an issue. I'm not quite sure how to figure out the which collection agency the credit card went to. I do receive phone calls a couple of times a week but want to start dealing with things one at a time so I figure I'll start with the one I have a letter for.
Now for the question:
I've read on several sites that I shouldn't make payments to a CA and I've read about people paying less than what the original debt is. But I know I'll need to make payments since these are larger amounts of money (the student loan is about $10,000). So when they say to not make payments, does that just mean don't do it without negotiating and making a final agreement? And when negotiating, say the debt is $10,000, am I supposed to/can I talk it down and say I'll pay X amount per X number of months until, say, half of the debt is paid off?
I'm nervous about going to consultants or negotiators since I don't want to get scammed and I don't know what it would cost to speak and work with someone. And I'm not only worried about asking my parents what to do, but I'm not sure they would even have an answer.
Once again, I'd greatly appreciate any answers or advice you might have. I have no problem beginning to pay off these debts but it seems from what I've read that it's not that simple. And that I can/should talk them down and set an amount instead of paying the full amount listed. So I just want to make sure I'm doing things correctly.