Do I have a legal right to know the purchase amount paid for a debt purchased by a collection agency that is attemptingto collect the entire debt?

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Do I have a legal right to know the purchase amount paid for a debt purchased by a collection agency that is attemptingto collect the entire debt?

A dental bill was purchased by a law firm/collection agency and I would like to know the purchase amount. We attempted to work with the original creditor and decrease the monthly payments when we were down to one income but they refused to work with us while our account was current. I tried to keep up with payments but eventually fell behind. When things got better I attempted to settle for a portion of the debt but they were not willing. I would like to try and settle with this new creditor but want to know what they spent on the debt.

Asked on November 14, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You can ask, but the collection agency is under no obligation whatsoever to tell you and they are as close to 100% likely to NOT tell you as is possible. Also, it simply doesn't matter: whatever they bought the debt for--and you can certainly assume they bought it for between 20% and 70% of its face value--as the assignee of the debt, they have a right to enforce it for its full face value. And just like the original creditor , while it may be fair, logical, efficient, etc. for them to work with a distressed debtor to come to a vialbe payment plan, they do not have to--they are legally allowed to insist on payment in full. So while it's understandable why you'd be curious, it doesn't affect their or your legal rights in any way. For example, say you are sued by them: even if you found out that they'd bought, say, a $10,000 debt for $10, that information would not and under the law cannot help you in court.


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