Think about this from the perspective of the creditor for a moment.
You have lent money, they are making their payments. They approach you saying “we owe $100, but we’ll pay $50”. What would you do as the creditor?
Many credit counselors (some reputable, some not) say that you will have a better chance of settling if you have late payments and other signs of financial difficulty.
I do not recommend debt settlement because it will reflect on you worse than bankruptcy, stays on your credit history just as long, and still costs you 50%+ of the owed amount. If you really can not pay your debts, seek help from an advisor or counselor to put yourself on a spending plan. Then you can create a debt repayment plan and pay off your debts.
If you cannot possibly pay off your debts, even after creating an absolutely minimum, bare bones spending plan then consider bankruptcy.
instead of debt settlement. Like I tell my clients, I do not advocate bankruptcy, but sometimes there really is no other choice.