February 18, 2009 | The Big Biz Show with Sully and Russ T. Nailz | Adam Fullman, directing Attorney for Lexington Law – California, invites consumers to join the credit conversation and provides credit repair facts.
Sully – Hey listen, our next guest, his name is Adam Fullman, he is the, I guess he is the Directing Attorney
Russ – He’s the big cheese
Sully — Yeah he is, of Lexington Law firm in California
Russ — Not Kentucky
Sully – No. They are a general service consumer advocacy law firm that helps folks take action on their credit. They’ve been around since 1991, they’ve helped over a half a million people, they’re the largest credit attorneys in the country. You know, they employ about 500 people across the country. And give a Big Biz Show welcome to Adam Fullman. There you go.
Russ — Hello Adam
Adam — Hello gentlemen
Sully — You know, this is some cool stuff because, you know, on a day where the messiah, President Hussein Obama, talks about this foreclosure mess, you gotta believe that all these folks that are in foreclosure, regardless of whether or not they can pay their mortgages, they got credit problems don’t they Adam?
Adam — I see a dramatic increase over the last year of people in serious credit problems, and these are people that are going to pay the price for years to come with higher interest rates because they’ve got basically a Scarlet Letter on their chest saying I had some trouble a couple years ago
Sully – Now listen, you folks there, now you guys are attorneys. We’re not just talking about some schlock guy that, out of his back yard. You guys are a very large company.
Russ — I think you need to differentiate those too because there are some fix it companies that will just kinda take your money and really
Sully — Yeah
Russ — So what you can do…
Sully- So let’s talk about the buyer beware stuff, and let’s talk about what people can actually do, ’cause I know you helped an awful lot of people out there.
Adam — Yeah, there’s actually a statutory scheme(?) in place that protects consumers if only people would obey the law. We comply with the federal law, it’s called the Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA). Here in California, I’m answerable under another law called the Credit Services Organization Act, it’s very similar. And most states have those, and of course the Federal law covers all of the states. We comply with that. There are several companies that do comply with that, and that’s the issue. And the biggest hint that you’re going to get that you’re dealing with someone who’s shady is someone is going to ask for money up front, someone who’s going to charge you before they perform services. These are all the things that are against the law. Anyone who’s going to make you some sort of a guarantee. “I guarantee you x days from now you’re going to see this result and you’re going to be in a brand new house with a 780 score, or 750 score rather. That’s gonna be a problem if you hear that.
Sully — You know, are people buying that? I mean, ’cause I know, they say, there’s folks out there, unscrupulous folks are gonna say that, but, do consumers these days really, are there that portion of the population that’s gonna buy something like that? That’s gonna really believe that this stuff is guaranteed?
Adam — People are desperate. I get people calling in asking for the guarantee, and when I tell them “look, no one who’s reputable, first of all no attorney regardless of what they do for a living can guarantee the outcome of a legal matter”, they respond with “well can’t you just give me that guarantee?”. They just, money’s tight. They’re paying good money. They’re paying good legal fees, even though we’re reasonably priced, and they want to hear the guarantee. And, you know, I get to be the one who says, “Look, we’re good at what we do, but we’re honest, and we can do some work and get some results, I can give you some statistics, but I can’t give you a guarantee”. People are desperate.
Sully — Real quick, let’s talk about what you can do. What can be done? There’s a lot of folks out there, honest folks, that tried to do their best, and their best wasn’t good enough, and they’re taking credit hits. What can be done these days?
Russ — Or do offer like a cafeteria style law firm where I can do most of this but, dude, I need some help on this part of it?
Adam — Well, we offer a set program so that’s not cafeteria style in that way. We do have the ability, because we are a law firm, to escalate to something that’s a little bit more dramatic than our typical three levels of service. If a client is involved in a situation where they need to file a lawsuit against a collection company, debt collector, or creditor that is violating the law by continuing to harm their credit illegally, we can do that. The vast majority of what we do is a pretty straightforward service. We call it “joining the conversation” that’s already taking place about you. There’s a conversation taking place between creditors and banks and the credit bureaus. You’re not involved in that conversation. Join the conversation. That’s how we refer to it. And the first thing you can do is listen to those funny guys that sing the song on the television, on the radio.
Sully — Freecreditreport.com
Adam — Get… And it doesn’t have to be them. But look at your credit report and see what’s on there. And statistics show that a substantial proportion, and I forget, somewhere between 20 and 30, and I don’t want to give you a false statistic, of credit reports have absolute mistakes that do not belong there. That’s a substantial number of cases there, and then there’s the items that you can address anyway. When you look at your credit report you see a history. It’s things that you’ve been doing. And of course, the things that people care about, are the things that have gone wrong.
Sully — Now hold on. That’s against the … that’s not American, I mean let’s face it, I think you even say on your website, that in the U.S., that in the court system you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but in the credit system, you’re guilty until proven innocent, right?
Adam — That’s absolutely correct. I just spoke to a client less than two hours ago. An emergency room bill that should have been handled by insurance, right? He has no clue that it doesn’t get paid. He has money. He has money in his bank account. He can write that check.
Sully — He could have paid it.
Adam — He has no idea. But instead, because insurance doesn’t pay it, it ends up in collections. It’s a hundred and … it was about a hundred, let me see if I can remember, less that two-hundred dollars.
Sully — Oh, so that’s gonna, that will kill your credit
Russ — You know what? That happened to me and…
Sully — Was that you?
Russ – I ended up coughing up…
Sully — Did you call Adam earlier?
Russ — I had to cough up about fourteen hundred bucks on like an eight hundred dollar bill. That I didn’t even know was, ’cause they moved my Social Security numbers and never contacted me.
Adam — Here’s what you get to know about that. Just because you paid that bill, it probably did not really help your score. Your score has been damaged and now a paid collection account has the same level of damage to your score as an unpaid collection account. It’s called an R9. And you paid it so I’m glad that that debt is no longer owed, but you still have an R9 on your report.
Sully — Alright, Adam stay right there for a second, ’cause when we get back from the break. First of all, 800-214-0922 is the number to Lexington Law firm. They are not a paid sponsor, we just, we heard about these guys, and you sound like a smart guy, and indeed he is. LexingtonLaw.com is the website. When we get back, we’re going to talk to Adam a little but more about improving credit scores and stuff like that.
Russ — And how some collectors are just full of beans.
Sully — Ross and Sully, Big Biz Show
Sully — That’s exactly right. In the meantime, we’ve got Adam Fullman. He is the Directing Attorney at Lexington Law firm here in California, helping over half a million clients with some of these credit nightmares. You had a question, you were reading something on his site?
Russ — Right about poker. How some collections agencies that bought information or whatever, about your bad debt, didn’t get all the information and if you call them on their bluff, they go…
Sully — You’re right, we’re idiots. We can’t collect.
Adam — Well, they don’t give up that easily. That’s talking about litigation and I had a little bit of fun with that article. That comes out of a situation where clients will call me, and this is a little bit different than straight credit repair, which is addressing the issues, the negative items that appear on credit reports. But occasionally a client will call me and say “This is a little bit beyond this, Adam, I’m being sued. I’m being sued for”, you know, for the largest one I’ve had recently was over one-hundred thousand dollars, and in that particular case, we just defended the suit. And they don’t expect you to defend yourself.
Sully — So they’re calling your bluff basically
Adam — Right, so all we did was answer the complaint. It was very simple. Something I could have done almost right out of law school. We simply said, “Okay, great, why don’t you send use everything you got?” And we ended up with, you know, a bunch of garbage. They had nothing.
Russ — “You got to know when to hold ’em…”
Adam — They dropped it. He paid nothing in that case.
Sully — Hey listen, Adam, I want to make you a regular feature on the program ’cause I think
Russ — More and more, we’re going to need you.
Sully — No really. So next week, and we’ll have to figure out what day is good for you. Next week I want to talk about improving credit scores. In the meantime, I know you’ve got a couple services there at Lexington Law and I want to give you a chance to talk about them. You have a new program called MoneySmart, correct? What is that?
Adam — That is a program that is, it’s a counseling program to help people get a handle on their money. We’ve just launched it and it’s actually a free service for a select number as we begin to work it up and see what kind of services we can offer, but that’s going to be something we’re going to be expanding. We have our basic service which is, it’s very simple gentlemen, it’s a letter writing campaign, and let me make it clear, not to mislead, this is actually something you can do on your own, it’s just that we’ve been doing it for a long time, we’ve worked out …
Russ — Got all the addresses
Adam — We charge a reasonable fee.
Sully — They got all the addresses, Russ. That’s right. They got all the stuff. I tell you what, so LexingtonLaw.com. What’s the telephone number once again Adam?
Adam — 800-756-9681. LexingtonLaw.com
Sully — I want to make it very clear that these guys are not a paid advertiser, but I’m glad to give out their number and their website because, and I’ll tell you why. Because, when we came across these guys, I figured, how timely is this? And everybody out there, I don’t thing there’s one person other than maybe your parents, that don’t have something on their credit report that they could use some help with.
Russ — And one quick thing before you go, I see on your resume. You were an extern.
Sully- Yeah, what the hell’s an extern?
Russ — What the hell’s an extern?
Sully — What is that?
Russ — Some intern that doesn’t come in?
Adam — Externs get to work out of the basement of the courthouse.
Sully — Oh nice.
Adam — … that’s where all the nice furniture is.
Russ — Extern
Sully — That’d be an under-tern. Adam Fullman, Lexington Law. Thanks so much buddy, we’ll see you next week. There you go. Smart guy, huh? That’s what we need in this place.
Russ — He’s got a quick way to fix your, what is it, FICO® score too.
Sully — FICO® score, yes, yes.
Russ — Maybe next time he’s on. Fix your FICO®.
Sully — We’ll figure out a regular day for him, to come on and talk with us each week much like Scott Fox and Mary Guilet and Larry Eisen and the whole cast of characters on the program.
Russ — He’s so special
Sully — He is so special. Alright, Russ and Sully. Tomorrow’s T.V. Tuesday on the Wealth Television network. You can visit us at BigBizShow.com. Our producer today was Joe. Russ and Sully, we’re out of here.