English: the explanation for external, internal and public debt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
National-Debt-GDP (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Make an offer like 30% of what you owe. Or somewhere between 10 to 25 cents on the dollar. If you owe $1,000, offer to pay $250. If you owe $5,000, see if they will take $500. At this point it's all in the art of the deal and how good a haggler you are.
A few things to remember. First, you'll want to make sure that you really do owe the money and these guys really have the right to collect it. Second, a settled debt will still show up on your credit report as a negative item, whether it's reported as being settled or as being charged off.
But after you get over those humps, play let's make a deal and see how low you can get them to go. LINK