DEFINITION of 'Debt Buyer'

A company that purchases debt from creditors at a discount. Debt buyers, such as a collection agencies or a private debt collection law firm, buys delinquent or charged-off debt at a fraction of the debt's face value. The debt buyer then collects on the debt either on its own or through the hiring or a collection agency, or resells portions of the debt, or any combination of these alternatives. Debt buyers primarily purchase delinquent debt arising from credit cards, automobile loans, medical bills, mortgages, retail accounts and utilities.

BREAKING DOWN 'Debt Buyer'

Debt collectors generally pay a very low percentage of the face value of the debt. Debt buyers exist as small, private businesses or large publicly-traded companies. They are classified as active if they try to collect on the debt themselves, or passive if they hire an outside collection agency or collection law firm to recover the debt. The debt buyer business is a multi-billion dollar industry.

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