Just by pressing a button, John Oliver attained the largest one-time giveaway in TV history virtually $15 million.
The money went to nearly 9,000 someones, and while they won’t be receiving a check or a fancy vehicle, their lives will be getting so much easier thanks to Oliver and his squad at “Last Week Tonight.”
During his segment on indebtednes buyers and collectors, Oliver focused on a specific kind of delinquency: medical bills.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2012 virtually 1 in 6 families in the U.S. has struggled paying their outstanding medical bills; 1 in 10 households weren’t able to pay bills at all.
That’s billions of dollars worth of indebtednes from millions of people .
The fact that medical bills are a typically unexpected expenditure constructs that particular kind of indebtednes ripe for a very opportunistic and amazingly unregulated industry: debt collectors.
Here’s how debt buyers and collectors work.
It starts with a debt. One of the instances Oliver used was the case of a man who was hospitalized for four days with respiratory issues, afterwards used to identify that his insurance wouldn’t cover the cost. This left him with $80,000 worth of indebtednes he had no way of paying.
If the debt goes unpaid, the hospital might sell the rights to collect on it to a third party( a indebtednes purchaser ), and then they can go about trying to collect it.
The problem here is that there’s very little documentation that runs along with the sold debt, stimulating it hard to prove who owns it and whether or not it’s been paid off. While there is a statute of limitations on indebtednes collection, debt buyers bank on the fact that the average consumer doesn’t know that and will continue to try to collect some with less than friendly tactics.
Basically, it’s a big, stressful, anxiety-inducing mess for the person or persons at the center of it all .
To demonstrate just how easy it is to get into the debt-buying business, “Last Week Tonight” started their own collection agency.
After paying $50 to start their own bureau, with Oliver listed as the chairman of the board, the “Last Week Tonight” squad was offered the opportunity to buy virtually $15 million in medical indebtednes from a group in Texas. The price? A little less than $60,000.
In exchange, Oliver was given a spreadsheet with thousands of names, telephone number, social security systems numbers, and indebtednes amounts. If they wanted to, the “Last Week Tonight” bureau could have set about trying to collect on the nearly $15 million.
But they didn’t .
Oprah’s famous automobile giveaway was valued at around$ 7 million. Oliver nearly doubled that.
And unlike Oprah’s auto giveaway, there won’t be any adverse taxation consequences for the people whose debt has just been forgiven.
So. Freakin. Cool. Right?
You can learn more about credit purchasers by watching the video from “Last Week Tonight, ” posted below.
Read more: www.upworthy.com