On Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, the host of the HBO show tackled the debt-buying industry, and spotlighted the lack of regulation of debt collectors by starting his very own debt-collection agency called Central Asset Recovery Professionals (CARP) named after “the bottom-feeding fish.”
Oliver, who appointed himself as chairman of the board, revealed it only cost $50 to start his company. And soon enough, CARP was offered the names, current addresses and Social Security numbers of over 9,000 people. Oliver and the Last Week Tonight team bought $14,922,261.76 worth of unpaid medical bills for $60,000 or less than half-a-cent on the dollar.
“I could legally have CARP take possession of that list and have CARP start calling people and turning their lives upside down,” the host quipped.
Instead, Oliver forgave the debts of 9,000 people as part of the “largest one-time giveaway in television history” for the episode’s grand finale.
With the single touch of his giant red button, CARP gave the portfolio of 9,000 debtors’ personal information to RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that forgives medical debt with no tax consequences for the debtor.
“It seems to me the least we can do for debt I cannot f—ing believe we’re allowed to own is to give it away,” Oliver said before joking, “F— you, Oprah. I am the new queen of daytime talk!”