Do I have to pay the debt collector?
No. If you prefer to work directly with the creditor, you certainly have a right to do that.
Can I get arrested for not paying a debt?
Generally, no. But, if the creditor gets a judgment against you, and serves you with a subpoena of any kind, you should know that a subpoena is an order of the court. You NEVER want to ignore court orders.
Do they still have “debtor’s prison”?
No. They have done away with debtor’s prison over 100 years ago. If you owe a debt, you don’t go to jail But, see the question above. Do NOT ignore court orders. Ignoring a court order can land you in jail.
What do I do if the debt collector does not accept my payment plan offer?
Nothing. You can tell the debt collector that if he does not accept your payment plan offer that you will simply take your limited funds and start negotiating with the next creditor that you owe and ignore him and his client.
Can a debt collector add a “service fee” to my bill?
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a debt collector may only collect a debt for which there was a contract or a law that provides for the debt. Hence, pre judgment interest may be collected if there is a law in your jurisdiction that allows for it. But a “collection fee” would be illegal if there is no law that allows a collection agency to charge such an enhanced fee.