Originally Posted by FightingFalcon
No one owes a collection agency ****. The original owner of the debt forgave it long before some douchey collection agency comes after you.
Not quite true. Usually the debtor sells the debt to the agency for pennies on the dollar, then writes off the remainder as a loss. The collector can now attempt to recover the full amount, since they now own the full debt amount, and make money on the deal for their effort of tracking you down.
However, as far as fees and **** running up the total... unless those fees/penalties were agreed upon in the initial transaction that created the debt, then I don't think the collector can make up their own fees and run up the charges.
My guess is the big number is fabricated in an effort to make the actual number sound like a deal. Personally, on something like this, a) I wouldn't pay them anything because the SoL's have probably expired, and b) if I did pay them, it wouldn't be for a penny more than the original amount owed.