Most debt collection agencies employ people (including their lawyers) that really can't do a lot of other things well. For the most part they make their money based on bullying, harassment, and preying on the fear of the people from whom they are trying to collect.
Once you are willing to stand up for yourself, refuse to be bullied or harassed, and know how these things work then the debt collection agencies lose most of their power. They rarely want to file a lawsuit because, when they do, most, if not all, of their profit is lost and often a lawsuit involves them actually investing even more in a file because of the court costs, attorney's fees, etc.
Collection agencies are also known to lie, even though it is illegal for them to do so. If you have a collection company calling, tell them you will be recording each conversation and ask them if they agree. If they say no, then just politely tell them the only way you will discuss the matter over the telephone is if they do agree and then tell them goodbye.
There are also ways to make a collection agency stop calling, using the federal laws and the laws of your state.
We discuss all of these in more detail in our e-book The Guerrilla Guide to How to Fight a Debt Collection Lawsuit which includes a lot of information on how to handle the callers before a lawsuit is even filed.
We want to include a word of warning here. There are a lot of websites written by people with no legal training and which offer advice that can not only end up with you being in court but also losing when you get there.
Any of these websites that talk about suing the debt collector, the law firms dismissing cases if you contest them, etc. are usually providing bad information. No law firm just gives up because a person representing themselves files an answer to their case.
Likewise, many of them don't understand why federal laws and state laws differ, why they do apply in some cases and not in others, or anything else about the law. Our book and the articles on this website are written by people with extensive backgrounds in law including trial work.
Most debt collectors can be stopped from harassing you and even if they do file a lawsuit, the lawsuit can be beaten if you are prepared with the correct knowledge.