Today, I get a letter from a New York-based "lawyer" offering me a generous settlement for the outstanding debt. If I send them just $190, they will consider the matter of the $40 bad check closed. So very generous of them, since the most they could collect is triple the amount of the check, $120, plus a $25 fee and court costs. So it might cost me slightly more if I went to court and lost, but they're still asking for more than they would get if they sued me.
What I found galling was the mention of my failure to respond to multiple inquiries regarding the debt. I received exactly one letter, to which I responded, and received no reply. I was worried I might be screwed for not using registered mail, but apparently my failure to reply would not preclude me from denying the debt in court. But I quickly drew up a reply to this letter demanding proof of the debt, and sent it registered mail.
After writing the letter, I started looking around on-line, and had my suspicions confirmed that this collection agency seems to be all about sending out threatening letters and hoping people will just cut them a check. I have a feeling I might not hear from them again. If I do, I think I will just write them again, and demand that they not contact me again. By law, they have to respect my request; the risk of such a request being that, if they are serious, you basically force them to bring a court action against you. But I really don't see a New York firm coming out to San Diego on the off-chance of making $100 or so. But we'll see what happens.