Any account, claim or debt that an agency of this state is not able to collect within three months after trying with due diligence to do so may be referred to the commissioner of finance and administration for consignment by the commissioner to a responsible licensed and bonded debt collection agency or similar other responsible agent for collection. The commissioner shall not handle or consign any such account, claim or debt unless he is satisfied that the referring agency has made a diligent effort to collect the debt on its own; that the account or claim is justly, properly and clearly due the state; and that the collection of any such debt would not impose an undue, unjust, unfair or unreasonable hardship or burden upon the health or general welfare of the party owing the debt. In any such case of undue, unjust, unfair or unreasonable hardship or burden, the commissioner may, in his discretion, and with the review and approval of the attorney general, compromise, settle or dismiss the debt or claim. If he is satisfied that the aforesaid terms of and conditions for collectibility have been met, the commissioner may consign the account, claim or debt to a responsible licensed and bonded debt collection agency or similar other responsible agent for collection. In any such case, the collection agency or other agent shall stand in the place of the state as creditor and shall have the same claims, rights and remedies against the debtor as the state has, and the debtor shall have the same rights, claims, defenses and setoffs against the collection agency or other agent as he has against the state.
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