Settling with a Collection Agency - Email/SoL/"Hold It"
I've been working with a collection agency (Northstar) to settle a Discover Card debt. I've received the DV letter in regular mail from them, but all future communication/negotiation they are now demanding be through email or phone, "because regular mail takes too long." If I accept their offer, I'm looking for a "Paid in Full" settlement letter from them. Legally, is email (including negotiations/confirmation letters) just as good as regular mail?
Their settlement offer is 40% of the total debt (including fees). They say they do not have commission, but now that it's the end of the month the Northstar representative suddenly became rude. I've made no promises to her during the 3 months I've been talking with them, but when I said I want to make a settlement offer on Aug.10th she even called me a "BS liar". She also said "would get in trouble" if I didn't pay something (like $50) today to hold the account and *raised* the settlement offer to 50% (I will not accept more than 40%)... so it sounds like she needs me to make her quota for the month or something(?). Would I be pushing it to counter-offer at 30%? Should I pay the $50 for them to "hold it" (but I read elsewhere that a "hold it" fee is nothing and just goes into a black hole)?
How much worse can a collection agency make things? Can she tell/recommend Discover Card to sue me and not settle with me? Would I be better to try to work with Discover Card directly and not pay Northstar $50 to hold it?
The debt originated when I lived in California (4yr SoL), but I now live in Arizona (a 6yr SoL). Which state applies for the SoL?
Any advice welcome.