Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld
Date: October 2014
Duration: 6 hours 37 minutes
Jake Halpern introduces us to a former banking executive and a former armed robber who become partners and go in quest of 'paper' - the uncollected debts that are sold off by banks for pennies on the dollar. As Halpern shows, the world of consumer debt collection is a wild and unregulated shadowland, where operators may misrepresent a debtor's situation, make illegal threats, and even lay claim to debts that are not theirs to collect in the first place. Halpern follows his collectors as they intimidate competitors with weapons, manage high-pressure call centers, and scheme new ways to benefit from American's debt-industrial complex. He also explores the history of collection agencies and reveals the human cost of a system that leaves hardworking Americans with little opportunity to retire their debts in a reasonable way.