Abby Husbands: Hey y’all, it’s me again, Abby Husbands. I’m a realtor in Austin, Texas. And if this is your first time stopping by my channel, please subscribe. So today I’m going to be doing a little Q and A with James Lee. He is a credit repair guru with The Phenix Group. If you have any questions for James about credit repair, you can either reach out to him directly or leave us a question in the comment section below and we will make sure that he gets back to you.
Hi James. How are you? Good, thanks for being here. Okay. So I’ve had several questions come in from people on YouTube and one of them was, people are wanting to know, go over some of the issues that pop up when people are trying to dispute the discrepancies on their credit report.
James Lee: When I first started talking with somebody, you know about the whole credit process and how to clean that up. Um, almost everybody, the thrown out the fair credit reporting act, the FCA, the FCRA law, which states that the bureaus have 30 days to respond and if they fail to do so, that the account is going to be removed from the credit report. So it’s, that’s the mindset, you know, when people go and dispute something on their credit report, oh, I’m going to dispute this account or that account and hope at the bureaus don’t respond to us within 30 days. And if they don’t, it’s just going to come off, you know?
James Lee: Exactly. Exactly. That’s the mindset with a lot of people when they go in and just do something on the credit this can really raise some issues. One of the first effects that kind of comes from this is you are always in jeopardy of an account being placed back onto your report. So it can be a couple of days later, it can be a couple of weeks later, it can be a couple of months. I’ve even personally heard of a year plus later. But yeah, yeah. If, if an account gets removed through a simple dispute process, you are always in jeopardy of that being placed back onto a report. So that’s one of them, one of the issues, another issue that can kind of arise whenever you’re just shooting something at bureau level is stall tactic. And the way that stall tactics work is, you know if we know about the fair credit reporting act, we got to believe that the bureau’s know about the fair credit reporting act too. And so they’re going to do everything in their power to be in those guidelines. And so what this is again, is stall tactics. And the way that
stall tactics can come about is they can send you a stack of papers actually similar to this, right?
James Lee: Yeah. Wow. All right. They’ll say, and this is why I mean this is really why. But yeah, so those, so will just try and overwhelmed the consumer by sending them a ton of stuff and saying, you know, uh, opened that to consumers, just going to think to themselves, okay, this is a lot. Um, I don’t know what to do with this. Put It on the backburner and not follow up with, you know, and that’s, that’s an issue that comes up. Another thing that comes up is, you know, they like to throw in the word era, you know, hoping that we’ll see the word verified and think that, okay well they verified it, nothing can be done. So yeah, summary, you know, stall tactics and then also, uh, being in jeopardy of a, remove the account being placed back onto the report. Those are two major, major issues that we see.
Abby Husbands: Right. I have a lot of clients who, or every once in a while I have clients who want to buy a home, but they know that this is sort of on their credit report, but they don’t want to have to deal with it because, not because they don’t want to, but they don’t know how. So tell me how The Phenix Group goes about removing these delinquent accounts.
James Lee: So one of the biggest things that differentiate our program from a lot of other programs in the industry and differentiates us from what the consumer can really do on their own is by doing more of an audit, doing more of an investigation on the accounts that we’re engaging. And so the way that we do that is not only engaging at the bureau level but then also engaging at the collection agency level and the defaulted credit for level, you know, and so this is changing it from just that simple dispute process. So an actual audit, actual investigations. This is where you get to the root of the accounts and be able to get, most importantly, permanent removal of whatever we’re engaging, you know, um, in the, in the audit process, if something gets removed, it cannot be placed back onto the report.
Abby Husbands: Okay. So what’s the difference between like, say someone thinks they’re closing in 30 days and they thought that a delinquent account was removed and then all of sudden it pops back up. Why does it pop back up?
James Lee: Well, it pops back up because they just through a dispute process, right? Just a simple verification thing for the defaulting creditors to do. You know they can just say, oh yeah, you know, we have her in the system and the system, whoever, place it back onto the report, verify. And so this is, this is where all the horror stories that I hear come into play. Where know, yes, somebody disputed a $60 medical collection bill and it got removed. They thought it was permanently removed just to find out at the end of closing. You know when it’s almost that time to get the keys to the home and it’s repopulated on the credit report. But I know they’re qualified for the mortgage. I hear it all the time.
Abby Husbands: So it magically disappears?
Abby Husbands: You guys have a process so that permanently deletes it permanently removes it from their credit report so it will no longer pop up?
James Lee: Yes. And we do that by holding the defaulted creditors and the collection agencies to the letter of the law. Okay. There are a ton of different federal and state consumer laws that protect you, me and everybody else when it comes to reporting and how these defaulted creditors are reporting when it comes to the collection practices and how these agencies attempt to collect and yeah, I mean these are not, these laws get violated every day and that’s, that’s how you get to the root of the accounts. Permanent permanent.
Abby Husbands: And The Phenix Group works with attorneys to do this, right?
James Lee: We do. We work in conjunction with a law firm and as we progress through the program, it becomes an attorney and forced orthotic.
Abby Husbands: Okay. Awesome. Awesome. So another question that came up was, What is the best way to monitor your credit report?
James Lee: Ooh, good question. Good question. I personally recommend a website called privacyguard.com. Okay. But really the thing to keep in mind to be aware of whenever you’re looking for a website to monitor your credit is a FICO score. Everybodys heard of Credit Karma, right? Everybody gets the alerts from Credit Karma. Hey, your scores went down. Hey, you’re pre-approved for this, for pre-approved for that. Come check us out. Then they get on their website & Credit Karma uses a scoring model called Vantage 3.0. People in the mortgage industry, every single lender is going to use a scoring model called FICO. Right. And so when you compare the scoring model of the Vantage 3.0 scores of a scoring model from a scoring model of Vantage 3.0 and then scores from a scoring model of FICO, you’re going to be 30, 40, 50 plus points off. And that’s because of the scoring. You can’t get an accurate reading of where you’re really at, and that’s just due to the scoring algorithms weighing out certain accounts on the credit report and in a different way. So again, just to kind of wrap all that up, the best thing to keep in mind when trying to monitor your credit is doing it through a website that uses a FICO scoring model to populate your scores.
Abby Husbands: Okay. I heard that you can write into Experian to get your FICO score once a year for free. So there are three credit reporting bureaus. And can you get a free report from all three of them?
James Lee: You can. Yeah. That’s one of those great laws that we have that kind of like back us up is um, once a year. Experian, Equifax and Transunion, they’re all three bureaus are individually owned company. Right. These are not, the bureaus are not a government entity like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. They’re private companies. And so yes, you can once a year a request a credit report from all three bureaus.
Abby Husbands: Okay, awesome. Just so everybody knows, The Phenix Group does credit repair for consumers for a fee.
James Lee: Yes. Cost of service. And the cost of service is just dependent off of the work that has to be done. That’s what it boils down to. How many accounts are we engaging? The type of accounts that we’re engaging the creditors and collection agencies that are involved in that. But I think the most important thing about the whole cost of service when it comes to us is everything is free up until the point that we go to work. Right? And so, you know, that entails several conversations that Intel’s a credit report analysis. There’s a lot of good information that can come from just speaking with us. And, you know, what we have built this company on is not being “yes men”. Not everybody’s a good candidate for our program. You know, and that’s the point of doing a credit report analysis is to determine candidacy. Can I foresee the success that I, that we would have in getting Abby or whoever in a position to qualify for the loan and beyond.
Abby Husbands: Right. And because you guys are working with attorneys, obviously there’s going to be a fee because I think a lot of people think that they can repair their credit on their own and remove delinquencies. But it’s a little more complex because creditors are going after you. Like, that’s why you guys work with people that actually have results. Because I’ve had clients that work with you guys that they see results. So, you know, I always tell people when you pay for services is because we’ve had enough practice, we’re doing this for a living, but we’re doing it because you guys see results and it’s, you know, it’s not free.
James Lee: People think about is if it was really as easy as getting a program for some low flat rate fee, let’s just say of 90 bucks a month, right? If it was that easy and that cheap to clean up credit, everybody in the world would have perfect credit, right? It doesn’t work that way. But yes, I mean we at, again, everything that we do is free up until the point that we actually go to work. And if we offer a program and somebody choose to hire us, everybody involved, you know, the client, the lender, the real estate agent, everybody can have the utmost confidence that by the time they graduate the program, they’re going to be in a position to qualify for the mortgage.
Abby Husbands: Perfect. So the best thing for people to do is just to reach out to James at The Phenix Group and he’ll go over everything with you. Your initial consultation is free and then you put them on a plan and once you guys come up with a plan, if they’re good for your program, that’s when you start the billing process?
James Lee: Absolutely. Absolutely. And we’ll go over everything with them. If it’s something to where I need to guide them through student loan consolidation to stop the bleeding, meaning stop the late payments that are happening month after month after month, I can help them with that. If it’s something to where the student loans have gone too far into the fall and now they’re looking at wage garnishment, you know, we can, we can guide them through that type of situation. If it’s something and that you know, we need to add some positive revolving credit lines to really get that to really start accumulating some payment history, which is the number one thing that impacts your FICO score. 35% of our FICO score is payment history. That type of situation. We come up with a whole customized game plan for what they’re specific needs are to make this thing as successful as it can be.
Abby Husbands: Awesome. And what I love about you guys is that you’re constantly communicating with their lender and their agents so that everybody knows where we are in the process. If they’re on a six-month plan, we get an update every month, letting them know, you know, we have a couple of months left, there’s like tons of communication, which is what I love about you guys.
James Lee: Thank you so much and just kind of give some elaborate on that real quick. The total weight of the program is four rounds. Each round is a 45-day process, so at the end of each round, I’m doing a follow-up call with the client. We’re going over there, they’re uh, you know, the progress that is done, made what’s been deleted, what’s left to go after sometimes how scores have fluctuated and then after I have that follow up, call the client, I turned around and have the same follow up call with the realtor that’s involved in the home buying process and then also the lender that’s involved in the home buying process. Yup. That way everybody that he can just keep your pipeline updated, everybody knows what’s going on and we can go get the houses which is possible.
Abby Husbands: And I think too like when people have a goal in mind there, they’re easier to work with as far as if you need information from them they’re going to give that to you because they know that in three months they get to start looking for a house. So they have like mini goals.
James Lee: Well, one thing that I love about our program is designed to keep them engaged, motivated to keep them excited. As we progress through the program, no correspondence actually comes to the office. But at the beginning, the client receives the mail correspondence from the bureaus that we’re engaging from the collection agencies that we’re engaging in from the defaulted creditors that we’re engaging. And so you’re exactly right. You know, they’re opening up this mail, they’re seeing the correspondence, they’re sending it to me and yeah, it just, it keeps everybody engaged.
Abby Husbands: Perfect. Okay. So, thanks, James! James and I are going to be trying to do something like this every month, a little Q and A. So if you have any questions for him, reach out to him directly. We’re going to leave everything in the comments section below. Have a good weekend and I’ll talk to you next month.
James Lee: Hey, can I throw one thing in there too? If there are any questions that people have just pertaining to the credit process in general. Also, leave a comment on the video and I’d be more than happy to reach out or, or maybe if you have something that you want to see discussed in a video between Abby and me when it comes to the whole credit situation and how that impacts the whole, find a home situation. Leave those in the comments and I’d love to discuss that. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks so much.
Contact James Lee with The Phenix Group at (469)-290-4624.
*This interview was transcribed using Temi.