What John Oliver just did is amazing

AMERICAN talk-show host John Oliver just made the biggest television giveaway in history. 

The host of the US talk-show Last Week Today took to air last night to unload on the US' burgeoning debt collection industry. 

The 20 minute speech - which you view below - shamed the industry's unethical tactics and the American political system which has provided a legislative framework to let it expand. 

In one part of the show a debt collector tells a hidden camera how he jeopardises people's employment.

"One of the things I love to do, which is kind of nasty though, is find out what company the person works at and then find out who their boss is and cal them at home," the unnamed debt collector tells a hidden camera. 

"I love that, call the boss at home - that's my favourite thing to do."

The show also played recordings of threats debt collectors made against people they were chasing. 

"We're going to have your dog arrested, we're going to shoot him up and we're going to eat him," one said.

 

 

As Oliver explains such tactics are illegal but debt collection agencies have been involved in many high profile prosecutions. 

"Debt buyers are among the heaviest individual users of our state court system, in fact in some cities like Newark, Saint Louis and Chicago...debt buyers have been found to file more cases than any other type of plaintiff," Oliver explained.

"And if you're wondering how the lawyers representing debt buyers possibly have time to review all of those cases they often don't.

"When one New Jersey collection firm was reviewed they found that one attorney reviewed up to 1000 cases a day - reviewing one case for just four seconds.

"Judging whether or not you ave enough information should really take a little more time than that."

As part of the story the show purchased almost $50 million of medical debt from Texas for about $50,000. 

This entitled them to data which included the names of about 9000 people and instead of posing as debt collectors Oliver and his producers decided to waive all of the debts. 



BMX star ready to represent Australia

BMX star ready to represent Australia

Six-year-old BMX prodigy selected to take on world in Azerbaijan.

Time to play hardball with airport taxis

Time to play hardball with airport taxis

Renewed push to resolve frustrating cross border taxi regulation

A tale of politics, love and intrigue

A tale of politics, love and intrigue

M'bah Theatre company reinvents an old classic

Local Partners