“Debt. It’s the reason Nicolas Cage has made so many great choices in recent years…”
From the second John Oliver started his segment about debt buyers in the United States last night, everyone knew it was going to be a good one, but as regular viewers of Last Week Tonight know, nobody could guess how it would end.
Near the end of the segment, which provided a damning portrait of the debt buying industry, Oliver claimed that “Any idiot can get into it, and I can prove that to you, because I’m an idiot and I started a debt buying company and it was disturbingly easy.”
Oliver then proceeded to detail how with $50 and knowledge of the law he was able to successfully apply online to create a debt buying company named “Central Asset Recovery Professionals”, or as Oliver put it, “CARP” named after “a bottom-feeding fish.”
After setting up a rudimentary website for CARP, the satirical, but still real company was offered a $15 million package of medical debt for $60,000.
Oliver explained that the debt was out of statute, which means it is the kind of debt that a collector can only continue to collect, but not sue the debtor for.
Then, instead of chasing down the 9,000 debtors in the debt package as a normal collection agency would, Oliver decided to stage the largest one-time giveaway in television history and work with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt to forgive the $15 million with no consequences for the debtors.
Oliver’s actions last night continue his penchant for big-moment activism.
When he was taking on the topic of tax-exempt organizations and televangelists, Oliver and his team started a tax-exempt church called “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption”.