It sounds like you tried to settle before filing an Answer. Generally, in any case you should file an Answer before offering to settle. Filing an Answer, increases your leverage to settle a lot.
It may not be too late to file an Answer for your case.
I was recently served papers for the JP court in regards to an old Conns account. I became unable to pay it off, after paying for the items gotten and then some, and Conns rejected my offers of what I could pay. I contacted Scott PC today and they gave me a payoff and pay plan but it is still too high. Did I make a mistake contacting them before writing a response letter or seeking legal aid?