Debt collection and debt recovery redirect here. See the bottom of the article for more information and links about these and the difference between them. A collection agency also known as a debt collector, is a business that pursues payments of debts owed by individuals or businesses. Most collection agencies operate as agents of creditors and collect debts for a fee or percentage of the total amount owed. There are many types of collection agencies. First-party agencies are often subsidiaries of the original company the debt is owed to. Third-party agencies are separate companies contracted by a company to collect debts on their behalf for a fee. Debt buyers purchase the debt at a percentage of its value, then attempt to collect it. Each country has its own rules and regulations regarding them.