John Oliver addressed an important issue on an episode of Last Week Tonight uploaded to their YouTube channel Sunday. Many Americans are thousands of dollars in debt, and Oliver showed just how easy it is for companies to buy that debt and collect on it later. Rather than going after those debts he bought, though, he forgave them, ending the vicious cycle of collectors and stopping the harassment and threats for those families.
Oliver first released shocking information:
‘American households collectively owe over 12 trillion dollars in debt, and right now $436 billion of that debt is seriously delinquent, meaning it’s 90 or more days past due.’
Then added some lighthearted humor by saying:
‘And it is not good if anything is that late. If your baby were three months overdue, you’d effectively just be giving birth to a floppy toddler.’
With so many Americans in debt, it is unlikely many of these debts will ever be paid off. Once they hit a certain past due date, the money cannot be collected on because it has passed the statute of limitations. However, companies will buy this debt and come back after the money, creating what Oliver referred to as, “zombie debt: debt that you thought was dead but starts to take on a whole new life, much like a zombie.”
To make his point clear, Oliver created his own debt buying company, Central Asset Recovery Professionals (CARP), and bought $15 million worth of debt for around $60,000. Upon buying this debt, Oliver was sent a list of people’s names, social security numbers, and how much they owed in debt for medical bills, which his company could have legally begun calling and collecting on.
The nonsense surrounding debt collectors is astounding, and instead of taking this debt to the next level, harassing Americans with daunting phone calls and threatening families to get his money back, Oliver simply sent the information over to RIP Medical Debt, and forgave the families of their debt!
Oliver, to his audience’s amusement, informed America:
‘Clearly, this is only going to help the 9,000 people whose medical debt we bought. The larger issue is, we need much clearer rules and tougher oversight to protect consumers from potentially predatory companies like the one we set up. But in the meantime, it seems the least we can do with this debt that I cannot f*cking believe we are allowed to own is to give it away.’
This $15 million dollar forgiveness outperforms any stunt by Oprah Winfrey, including when she gave her audience new cars, costing her $8 million. As Oliver forgave a group of Americans their medical debt, he announced, “F*ck you, Oprah” and pressed the button, making history as the largest TV giveaway of $15 million!
Watch the history-making Last Week Tonight episode below, courtesy of Last Week Tonight via YouTube
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