John Oliver usurped Oprah Winfrey and declared himself “the new queen of daytime talk” on Last Week Tonight. Oliver gave away a record-breaking $15 million in debt forgiveness, nearly double Oprah’s car giveaway to her audience in 2004. “Fuck you, Oprah,” the new queen graciously accepted his self-appointed title.
Oliver spent just $50 to register a debt acquisition company in Mississippi, one of many states that requires no license to purchase or collect on debt. The company’s no-frills website Central Asset Recovery Professionals was immediately offered a medical debt portfolio consisting of 9,000 debtors totaling $15 million for just $60,000.
Debt buyer’s shady business model depends on just a fraction of those debtors paying up either as a result of harassing phone calls or dubious lawsuits often won by default judgments from no shows in court.
“Leading debt buyers rank among the heaviest individual users of state court systems across the US, and various legal actions and research, including that of Human Rights Watch, have identified repeated patterns of error and lack of legal compliance in their lawsuits,” HRW writes.
Debt is purchase ‘as is’ and ‘with all faults’ but that doesn’t stop collection agencies from trying to collect on debt that’s been paid, discharged due to bankruptcy or passed the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit known as zombie debt.
“The comparison is actually quite apt cause just like on The Walking Dead, zombie debt comes back from the grave, is incredibly hard to deal with and seems to disproportionately impact minorities,” joked Oliver next to graphic illustrating the bad luck of minorities on TWD.
Oliver acknowledged that his giveaway will only help a relative few and called for “clearer rules and tougher oversight.” The debt forgiveness was officially carried out by RIP Medical Debt, a charity that seeks out those most in need then negotiates to purchase that debt with the help of donations.