Do you know what "pennies on the dollar" means in the following sentence?
"The (debt collection) agencies often buy the debt from more established companies for pennies on the dollar and seek to collect even if the debt has been paid or was never valid to begin with." -- from The New York Times, July 5 2006 issue.
"Pennies on the dollar" means a small fraction of the original value. The example here is that if you owed me $1,000, and I was unable to collect that money from you, a collection agency could buy your debt from me. Since that debt has no value to me, I might sell it to the agency for $50 (5 pennies on the dollar). This is $50 more than I thought I'd get. The agency would then employ various methods to collect the money (the original $1,000) from you.