Corruption and sleaziness in the under-regulated industry were disturbing and grim. At one point, he had footage of a Debt Buyers Association conference that featured panelists sneering at how the “unsophisticated consumer” doesn’t generally understand his or her legal rights.
In what he called “the largest one-time giveaway in television show history,” he forgave some $15 million in medical debt for some 9,000 Texans. The stunt came at the end of his brilliantly scathing 20-minute takedown of the debt-buying industry.
For $50, he set up a debt-buying company and named it Central Asset Recovery Professionals, or CARP, “after a bottom-feeding fish,” he explained. Then he made himself the chairman of the board, and bought a portfolio of nearly $15 million in debt for $60,000. Rather than ruthlessly harass the people who owed the money — “I could legally have CARP take possession of that debt and have employees start calling people, turning their lives upside down over medical debt” — he said he was forgiving it all.