Late night comedian John Oliver proved to the viewers of his “Last Week Tonight” show just how wrong and highly deregulated the debt-purchasing industry really is.
In fact, Oliver has proven that “any idiot” can own a debt collection agency. And he had to spend no more than $50 to create one. Next he went to a bank and purchased the medical debt of 9,000 people, which was worth $15 million, for $60,000.
But instead of calling people and harass them to pay off their debt, he decided to forgive them by tapping a huge red button on Sunday night. He noted that his stunt was even larger than Oprah’s $8 million giveaway in 2004, when she gave all the people attending the show a free car.
After the stunt, Oliver slammed debt collectors and their practices in his own personal style. He noted that these companies resort to all sorts of unscrupulous strategies to get their money back, while the federal government is just watching.
Oliver also publicized a video taken secretly at the Debt Buyers Association conference by his staffers. Some members of the association even mocked average Americans for being clueless about their legal rights when paying off the money the owe.
Oliver’s debt collection agency was called Central Asset Recovery Professionals, in short CARP after the name of a fish. Next, his team set up a simple website for the company and went to the bank.
There Oliver’s firm was able to buy $15 million worth of debt for $60,000. Plus, the bank gave CARP a document with the names, Social Security numbers, and contact info of about 9,000 debtors.
Oliver noted that it is “absolutely terrifying” that a debt collection agency can have access to that info which it can use to turn people’s lives upside down for less than half cent on the dollar.
“There would be absolutely nothing wrong with except for the fact that absolutely everything is wrong with that”
He also called for tighter rules and oversight over the industry. After having pondered on the situation, Oliver concluded that it was the “right thing to do” to forgive all the debt. Plus there was also a big bonus attached to that: the “Last Week Tonight” host had the opportunity of trumping Oprah’s famous 2004 giveaway.
After he tapped the red button, Oliver celebrated his giveaway for being the most significant in the history of television. He even used the f- word on Oprah and proclaimed himself the “new queen of daytime talk.”
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