Michael Bovee: Hi everybody.
This is Michael Bovee from Consumer Recovery Network.com and I am back with
another t-shirt Tuesday only a Wednesday because some technical issues and joining
me today is a very unique person in the Debt Credit Space Jared Strauss is the
founder of Debt Relief A La Carte, his website is AvoidBK stands
for bankruptcy, AvoidBK.com. Now Jared, you are interesting persons in
my industry and our industry and the debt relief services space because you didn’t
start out as the debt relief applicant, you actually came from the other side of
the industry so now that you work with debt settlement and you help people resolve
debt without bankruptcy, but you have been dong after 10 years prior to that
you were a debt collector, in fact a really good one from what I understand.
Tell me a little bit about the debt collections background that led to
helping people get out of debt. Jared Strauss: Sure Michael and thank you
for inviting me to do this with you. I got in collections back when I was 19
years old you know I started out on a dialer which is predicted dialer to where
you are on computers essentially that does all the dialing before you and collecting
small balance miscellaneous stat ranging from medical to doctor’s bills to
pesticides, insurance premiums that type of thing.
Then I went to a different company, in fact they were the largest primary debt
purchaser in the country back in 19 – well it is the end of 1998 and that is where
I was supposed to be exposed to a manual environment to where I was lengthening on
a final when for you know what reviewers manual meaning no predictive dialing technology
and you are digging deeper. You are actually doing a lot of research,
asset investigation work that type of skip tracing, you know that type of thing.
Large talents, primary credit debt, primary meeting of we are recently charged
off with 60 to 90 days typically and you know I was in collections I just you
know I took a different approach. I wasn’t your typical bill collector.
I treated people with respect. I showed them dignity I quickly identify
that on early time in my career that people wanted it.
You know nobody wakes up in the morning and decides not today.
They wake up and chain us and I recognize them. So I didn’t really take any debt collector
approach who are attitude or no mentality, I took a problem solving you know these
people ran into a situation and I felt my responsibility was and I felt I would be
most successful you know by showing consumers how to solve their problem. Michael: That actually worked Jared because
you actually were, you got awards, you collected the most debt in some
of the shots that you worked at. You were labeled a champion debt collector
actually for one year it was what, 95? Jared: Well I
was third quarter 95 for Western Union you know back then
for the quick collecting. They had this thing every quarter and it
was back in 95, but yeah, I mean my first collection job you know at my second I
took them off to kind of figure it out, but my second month I was the top
collector in my division and then maintained that for 11 consecutive months
so I worked there for a little over a year. I broke office’s post dated check record
in my 5th month of employment. I ended up breaking the company record in
my 7th and just to kind of frame now we are talking about 3 offices 4 years worth
of history and a thousand active debt collectors are on.
Michael: So you rose to the top really quickly with a style of not beat them over
the head give me my money, get me paid kind of thing but attract more bees with
honey and it is after more problem solving approach to debt collecting
worked really well for you, obviously. Jared: It did, it did, you know and the
dialer environment you know collecting on small balance that is you know is very simple,
I mean you know the knowledge for about financial resources really wasn’t
necessary in that scenario you know it is basically budgeting and determining their
ability to pay and you know and working with them in respect to the changeover when
I went from you know a technology in you dialer environment to a manual
one, that is just the completely. You know an analogy of it is imagine you
know you are in car sales and you know you know you just got into it and what is
the first thing you are going to do to you know to do well in selling cards and
answer naturally would be they weren’t about the cars and collections I feel the
parallel to that, the cars are financial resources so by the way I recognized
the need when I went to that manual environment working and collecting a large
balance credit card debt that I needed to be aware of how 401k’s work, how IRA’s
work, life insurance policies, annuities back before the subprime melt down.
We are financing more which is that kind of thing.
So not only – so I think it was a combination you know the whole honey
versus vinegar thing and you know naturally being able to provide them the
correct answers to softer problem is when I am the success for them.
Michael: Now you work at quite a few different shops.
You talked about earlier efforts in debt collection obviously you did well, you went
on to do very well and set records and increase revenue and return for
a bunch of different things. I mean you get attorney debt collection,
you worked for one of the largest debt collection, debt buyers at that time in
the nation so you covered the whole gamete. So let me ask you something because
a lot of the time debt collection, debt collectors, debt collection agencies
they get news coverage that somewhat sensationalized you know having negotiated
and work with consumer settling all kinds of different bills for the time that you
have for the time that I have generally speaking most of the collection
industry is just doing a job. They are trying to get you know money for
their company, money for their agency or for their bank and most of them in my opinion
do a good job, they don’t step over the line, they don’t even exist in
gray areas, they follow the rules at a federal and state level.
But you know all these reports they are sharable I mean when debt collectors step
over the line and they seem to just really just leap right on over.
How much of that did you see, I mean how aware were you when you were in the collection
space of things pushing the envelope a little bit to get
paid to meet some goal? Jared: You know I agree with your
assessment completely, it doesn’t exist absolutely. Is it the norm, no, wasn’t or in the norm
back in 1995 in my first interview of the space, absolutely.
The office I worked in. The holes were there was very sarcastic
you know in my mind they were you know creating opportunities for consumers.
They are giving them a reason not today rather than you know just being polite
and respectful and you know digging into the problem and getting them to pay.
So yeah, you know nowadays it is a lot you know with the internet with all of these
FDCPA Attorneys out there I think it is incredibly rare for a collector to
you know to really go you know crazy. I had a client back right out 7 years ago.
This is the craziest thing I had seen since you know I have been on this side of
the fence, but you know she got a phone calls and message debt collector you know
explaining a few with – that day that you would be calling the sheriff
you know that kind of thing. Now that was pretty nuts, but that is the
biggest any I have seen actually now it is 10 years.
It is changing, the culture is changing you know management has everything
to do with that. You know and I believe you know the
industry as a whole it kind of adds a different set you know of managers who
carry this mentality of you know just being cooperative and being
problem solved you know. Michael: Absolutely, so Jared in the context
of shifting from debt collection and getting people to pay to going into
the debt relief services industry and helping people to settle unpaid debt
credit card and other debt, what was this probably one of the most you can save one
or two things that were stark contrasts to collecting debt to now helping people
resolve debt, what are some things that standout to you that you contrasts? Jared: Michael, identical. My approach
today is exactly the same as it was back then you know people
in collections whether you are on collector side of the fence or the debt relief or
the debt settlement side of the fence. It all boils down to math, it all boils
down to logic and common sense you know do they have the ability first of all.
What is the impact of utilizing that ability you know if they are generating it
from a retirement account or some other method that can generate a tax event or an
effect on retirement, that type of thing. You know it is math as simple as that,
you know as you have mentioned all the time this cool process is incredibly predictable
so therefore if you either have the capacity and you do it or you don’t
the reason how I came up with this idea because right, I am unique.
I don’t know why I am the only one doing it this way but I mean I tried to do money
part, but the whole concept in what I do is to just create an opportunity for consumer
who pay or otherwise couldn’t you know that consumer who has 50,000
in delinquent credit card debt who doesn’t have 50 but maybe they have access to 20
or 25 and you know and that is part of the other reason why I was successful
in collection industry too is you know is I came with this idea while I was in that industry.
You know if we are speaking to people and recognizing and identifying, “Hey,
wow this person only wants to pay but they are all 15 and can only get 20 or 25,
how can I make that possible.” So that is you know that
this business was born. Michael: Let me make this clear for
anybody watching the broadcast or anybody later watching this video when I referred
to you in the beginning as being a very unique service provider with kind of
a unique perspective coming from the debt collection industry into what you have now
been doing helping consumers do for the last decade.
You are very aggressive and debt settlement as you know and perhaps
people watching this don’t know it is a very large industry.
It is a billion a year or more industry helping people resolve debt, but most of
the industry from most debt settlement and easier softer, hey you know you can’t
afford your $800 a month minimum payments with the interest rates they have now even
if your interest rates were zero, you still can’t afford to do some financial event.
Now let’s just put you on this monthly plan were you contribute say can’t afford
800, how about 400 and then if you just save up that $400 every month for the next
36 or more months and viola you are out of debt, right, but it doesn’t work like that
and there is very few, well it can work like that.
It is just a small percentage of the time that people actually complete that kind of
a long term aggressive debt settlement strategy whereas you recognize and you take
it to a level that my company hasn’t even taken it to where we you
know traditionally underwritten somebody as a good candidate to settle the debt if they
can do it all in 18 months or less. You are like, “Hey, you need to get through
this in a couple of months.” So tell me a little bit about how you,
what kind of success you see with your clients and that why you take on
that aggressive approach, if you are going to do this you need to get in and get
out and get on with your life? Jared: Yeah, absolutely. Well you
know part of the reason you know going back to the collection experience
is identified huge hole in the debt settlement and you know the traditional
debt settlement business model a couple of them actually.
The first one is really the most obvious creditors, generally don’t sit idle for
you know 2 to 3, 4 years without receiving any type of financial you know response
and they just don’t do that. You know not if there is something to go
after, which you know generally there is. The, so from that perspective I just don’t
view long term debt settlement programs as being successfully reliable, you know you
have touched on us before in the past, you know industry and our industry is, and it
is pretty awful and let’s admit it however the people just you got to use your common
sense here, you know when you are shopping for debt relief you know think about it.
If you are a creditor and the consumer who are due and if they have a financial
resource or you know an attachable asset and they are telling you, “Hey I can’t pay yet”
you know but maybe 30 or 40% of what I owe you and by the way I can’t do that
for 3 or 4 years potentially. You know it to spend more.
It is not a viable alternative. I mean the creditor community, the
collection community realizes it is, yeah it is common sense.
It is logic so when consumer hires along from debt settlement program and they represent
the consumer prematurely which most of you will because you know their
consumers initial concerns, phone calls and that kind of thing and they don’t want
to pass by those concerns even though they know they are you know they are endangering
them generally, because of their involvement and the reason they
are endangering them is because they are tipping their hand.
They were telling the creditors, Hey, you know this person has hired me and they are
paying me a lot of money to tell you that you know, hey I probably want to feel to
settle with you for 3 or 4 years and the – or the reaction to that from the collection
industry is well hey, we know this consumer really wants to pay because
you know they spend all this money to hire these people to do this and there isn’t
a better indicator to a collector in respect to willingness to pay and hiring
the debt settlement company. Any of that that can be good you know because
you are showing this good intent. The problem is the collection community
realizes that less than 90% of people who enroll in long term debt settlement
program complete it. They also realize that they are competing
against you know 3, 4, 5, 10, 20 of the priors you know pretending on how
many creditors the consumer has. So if it comes up rates to where the only
logical strategic way for the collector or creditor amongst that bunch to increase
their priority to increase their chances of being paid not only first.
But it all simply because of the lack of success is to pursue the legal action because
that movie you know consumer gets too, they call the debt settlement company
put pressure on them to settle them first and then lo and behold the consumer ends
up paying a higher percentage settlement because when it goes out that route they
are a lot less negotiable then they get their piece associated with it not too mention
the tremendous amount of stress and emotion that goes on.
You know but those are two wholes. The other whole, the reason why I do it
just this way is when they settle you know a series of accounts they are basically
creating additional confidence of collection from the remaining ones. So let’s say you have 5 accounts total for
the consumer and you settle three of them. Well the last two they know that consumerism
can just settle three and not settle the other two.
They know this I mean who in the right mind would do that.
There is really very real benefit to the credit and the rehabilitation aspect until
this final two accounts were addressed as well so they take advantage of this.
It means I did as a collector you know I identified. Wow hey you have already paid you know 60
– 75% I these creditors I know you know your clients could have paid so therefore
I attempted to distract additional funds from them because of that because
of my additional confidence. You know if I didn’t get it you know perhaps
maybe after a couple of months in my role little or perhaps I refer to the
legal department you know depending on you know the collectability of the consumer of course.
Michael: You are hitting on, Jared you are hitting on some high level stuff
that consumers just people just don’t get because they are not going to hear it from
debt settlement companies and the vast majority of them you know kind of want people
to be a mushroom, keep them in the dark and over with the church so they can grow.
Up their profits, when it boils down to you have talked about a couple of times
now in this interview you talked about skip tracing earlier.
You talked about you got to think like a collector and take advantage of what
you know they are going to do or at least their higher likelihood, higher percentage
chance of, oh look at this profile, this somebody who is trying to set money aside
every month if we are still on we will get more first and you know we will put ourselves
at the top of the list so being in a race and you know settling these
debts as quickly as possible and it is affordably as possible is going to save
the most money for the consumer and keep them at harms way and potentially you know
the risk of being sued from a debt and potentially actually help them rehabilitate
their credit report quicker by avoiding charge off or not having you
know additional collection items show up on the credit report.
So there is a bunch of benefits, bunch of benefits to being fast with your
debt settlement, but people don’t realize sometimes that collectors can see stuff
about you, even the banks, the recovery departments, the work at these
national card issuers. They have access to wonderful, very
effective software available from places Last Long, Lexus Nexus where you can
actually see real time access to somebody’s credit report.
You can see you know public assets that they have, but they are a property owner
in a certain zip code that is more fluent. You can look in the credit report and see
what they owe on their mortgage versus you know how much equity was the low so you
can actually in 10 minutes a debt collector can get a really good and even
less using the software and see what your collectability factors are and go I
think I can get more from this guy. So you are right, the race part is essential
for all the right reasons, but here is something else that people may
not know and should know about a AvoidBK and Debt Relief A La Carte and you, you have
been doing this for 10 years at a fee that is consistent with what consumer company
networks done since 2004 and we are actually pretty much the only ones
out there that do at this low. 15% of savings where most companies out
there either charge of percentage that you are enrolled in you know Debt is so you
have got $20,000 for debt and they are going to charge you 20 to 25% of that as
their fee or a percentage of savings like you and I do but they are going to charge
30, 40 and even in some cases 50% of the savings which also contributes to the fact
that it is going to take a lot longer for you to settle debt because the fees are so less.
So in my opinion I can count on one hand these little digits how many companies or
individuals reputable doing a good job, know their stuff and charge a fair fee in
the entire United States and you are one of them.
Why do you set your fees so low? Jared: Yeah, I think it is a fair fee.
I think the and I think it is you know not so much 10 years ago because this you
know whole debt settlement thing was pretty unknown to the you know to
the community are populace, but now especially it is a credibility thing. It is about confidence from the consumer.
It is about them realizing that our fee is based off of our success.
You know if we can’t say the monumental charging, we didn’t hear anything of the
percentages on our settlements, you know just so that way they have that further
line of protection of knowing that we have to do all we say we can do.
I just think it is fair you know my average client is $42,000 in liquid depth
I think at all and you know 15% of that figuring an average of about 44% settlements
average net usually works out a little of the 3,000.
I can swear myself on that, I can you know operate my business, you know profitably.
You know money isn’t really necessarily my main driver if it was I would offer
long term debt settlement just like anyone else. I can implement one tomorrow very easily.
Michael: Yeah. Jared: But I don’t believe in the next
you know my friends behind it so you know it is answering the question it is just
a fair few, it is a confidence. It is about treating others that way you
would want to be treated yourself and you know 20 and 25% of the debt load and again
for those that are watching huge difference, yeah, pay attention to this
words of savings of debt is ridiculously significant. It is just not a fair fee and as you allude
it to I it makes their chances of success that much less likely because
of those fees getting in the way. Michael: So Jared people tune in.
They are watching this video after the fact on our DebtBytes YouTube channel and
they are thinking okay I would like to learn a little bit more about Debt settlement
from a former champion debt collectors perspective and they are watching
this video, they are thinking you know this guy is incredible.
He is for real. He does things the right way whether collecting
or helping people get out of Debt, what do you suggest people
do to reach out to you? Jared: You know the first review of our
website you know become familiar with who we are and read some articles bars, you
go find that the information you provide is very straightforward and if you do decide
to call us don’t expect any high pressure stuff and expect meeting even
off of my service to you. You know my evaluation process is very simple.
It is all mathematically based either you fit in to it or you don’t and then you review
the pros and cons of this then we really strongly recommend and suggest that
you meet with an accountant and in addition to financial professional
if necessary depending on your financial resource. And then after we have done these things
you are fully aware of all of the potential cost and effects and so probably
if you decide to hire us, call us and let us know.
We don’t even offer or service any of our callers literally you know that is just
the way I do things you know so that is what they should expect.
Michael: Okay, so they should expect at an evaluation of what make sense for them
and if settlement does you are willing to you know put together a map form and say
this is how it is going to work best for you so thank you for being on the show,
any parting message that you have for any viewers? Jared: Yeah, just about you Michael.
You have said a lot of great things about me today and thank you I appreciate that.
You bet. I just wanted to mention that you know what
you were doing you know how you are creating so already how you have created
this to make yourself an environment and it wouldn’t be as you mentioned you know
a handful of hands you know you are my handful as well so keep up the great
stuff you are doing as well. Michael: Awesome, thank you for being on
the show and this is going to be a wrap on our T-shirt Tuesday, with Jared Straus
from Debt Relief A La Carte and AvoidBK.com and tune in next week where we
will have what I consider to be the grand daddy, the creator, mainstream creator
of do-it-yourself debt settlement. We will see you next week.