What you ran into with the CCC is a common experience and one of the chief complaints that are levied against this industry. But as you say that is water under the bridge.
What you need to realize is the collection agency is trying to find out what your hot button is so that they then can exploit it.
When a collection agency claims that they are taking legal action against you it does not mean what your mind is telling you. It just means that they are going to be following what the law tells they can do, which is usually just more phone calls, writing letters, etc. It does not mean they are going to sue you.
If they were you would get a professional letter in the mail from an attorney. Law suits are NEVER done over the phone. SO the threat is just that a threat. They only wanted to create the effect that they did, which is to put the fear of God into you so that you pay up.
SO the first thing that you need to do (with your husband) is to take a deep breath and research and study before acting. You have pleanty of time…they don’t.
They want something that you have…YOUR MONEY.
I hope that this helps in some way.