How bankruptcy lawyers can double their revenues by doing a simple thing that creates a sustainable stream of FCRA cases
In this episode of Bankruptcy Law Success, I interview Michael Jaafar of Fairmax Law in Detroit. I had previously interviewed Michael about private student loans on the podcast, and we were chatting on the phone one day. Michael mentioned that he had found a simple method that any bankruptcy lawyer can use to easily double their bankruptcy revenues by leveraging the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
So I invited Michael to come back on the podcast and tell us all about it.
Some of the highlights in this interview include:
- Why credit bureaus have almost no obligation to “get it right” for consumers whose credit data they screw up, except after a bankruptcy.
- How that obligation lets you turn 20% of your bankruptcy cases into lucrative FCRA cases, just by asking your clients to pull their credit report 60 days after discharge.
- The exact reason that credit bureaus settle FCRA complaints every single time…
- The one book you should buy to learn how to file FCRA cases properly.
- And a whole lot more, including exactly how these FCRA cases can more-than-double your bankruptcy revenue.
You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above, or read a full transcript below.
You can also subscribe to get an email when we release new episodes of the Bankruptcy Law Success podcast.
Bob: Hi, this is Bob Hiler of the Bankruptcy Law Success Podcast, where we introduce you to successful bankruptcy lawyers, as well as powerful ideas that can transform your bankruptcy practice. Today, I’m speaking again with Michael Jaafar, a bankruptcy attorney who founded Fairmax Law in Detroit. Michael was on the podcast recently talking about how to discharge private student loans. And I was talking to him after the podcast and he mentioned casually how the Fair Credit Reporting Act, how he did this one small thing with the FCRA and that led to him doubling his revenues from his bankruptcy law practice. And that was so cool, I invited him back on the show to tell us all about it. Michael, welcome back to the podcast.
Michael: Thank you so much for inviting me back, Bob.
Bob: Awesome. So, Michael, you told me this one amazing thing that can double bankruptcy revenues. Can you just repeat what you told me the other day?
Michael: Yes. So it’s been around for a long time. Back in 1971, President Nixon signed the law, the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Basically, the Fair Credit Reporting Act in essence, in a nutshell, prevents companies, credit bureaus, from trafficking in our reputation without consequences. That’s pretty much what it comes down to. When I explain to people in my lectures and in the CE book I published about the basic fundamental principle of the FCRA, Fair Credit Reporting Act, they understand it more with that just one little anecdote than any technical legal provision they could ever read.
So that was the founding principle of the Fair Credit Reporting Act is there are these shadowy companies out there at the time obviously– now, we know Experian, we know Equifax, we know TransUnion, we know what a credit bureau is now–but at the time, they were considered shadowy companies that lurked in the background that trafficked in our reputation.
Just imagine somebody puts out a company and says, “Hey, Bank A, Chase Bank, Bank of America, I will tell you some gossip about Bob Hiler if you give me $7.” That’s essentially what the relationship is, right? TransUnion charges Chase or Bank of America or your perspective employer, somebody who wants to hire you, the Navy, they charge them $7 to gossip about you. That’s really what it is. They won’t say it that way but that’s essentially what it is.
So in 1971, a law was passed called the Fair Credit Reporting Act that basically said, “Hey, you guys can’t lurk in the shadows. You can’t just say whatever you want about us, and it has big repercussions. If it’s true, that’s fine. But when you get it wrong, you destroy people’s lives. People cannot get credit, people cannot buy a home, people cannot get a job because you mixed their reputation with somebody else. You can’t just sit back and say, “Oops, you know, we tried to get it right. We have a 80 percent rate of being right and sorry. We have no relationship with you. We can say whatever we want.”
So that’s essentially what the Fair Credit Reporting Act came to be. So under the Fair Credit Reporting Act is very basic, pretty simple. You have an absolute right to get a free credit report every year from these jokers. Every year, one free credit report. And the purpose of that is to allow you to go through it to peruse the credit report to see if there’s anything out there that’s inaccurate. If there’s anything that’s inaccurate, they are required by law to remove it or correct it.
But you cannot sue them if they have something incorrect. You only have the right to ask them to correct it, which is called “reinvestigation letter.” I don’t like that name. It doesn’t sound right, but that’s essentially what it’s technically called. But really, what a reinvestigation letter is is, “Hey, you said I lived at this address and you also said I was late on my car payment. That’s not true. Go ahead and correct it or else.” If they correct it, great, you have no other recourse. If they don’t correct it, you are allowed to sue them for damages and for actual damages which you’re almost never able to prove.
But there’s also a fee shifting provision, which is where we come in as attorneys. There is a fee shifting provision where they are required to pay all of your lawyer fees if you end up suing them. So essentially, what happens is credit bureaus… They’re good organizations. I’ll be honest, they’re good organizations. There’s no way anybody can get it right when they have that massive of an information operation. Right?
Just imagine, I test you with getting everything right about every American, about all their payments every single month, everywhere to everybody, and never get it wrong. You would tell me there’s no way of doing that. Well, there is a way of doing it but it’s only 80 percent accurate. OK? And that’s not my opinion. Those are the statistics. There is a 60 Minutes special on 60 Minutes by Steve Kroft, the reporter, in August–I think it was–2016. And the name of the special on 60 Minutes was called 40 Million Errors. That was the name of it.
And 40 Million Errors is because there are 200 million Americans with credit profiles. People think that everybody has a credit report. That’s also not true. Only 200 million Americans are known by the credit bureaus. There’s about 100 million people that are completely unknown to them. They’re completely unknown. So 20 percent of all Americans, meaning 40 million Americans with a credit report, 40 million have inaccuracies that are just completely wrong.
And the thing that nobody knows that I’ve always been talking about, I’ve always been lecturing about and that, finally, 60 Minutes got it right, is just because you pull a credit report and you see what your credit report says yourself, that doesn’t mean that is what the credit bureau is telling other people about you. They are conveying different information about you to people who ask about you. Then they are conveying to you to your face when you ask for a credit report. And that’s not intentional. You know what, I think it is intentional but they don’t intentionally get it wrong.
What happens is when you ask for a credit report, you put in a lot of identifying information. You put in your full Social Security number, your last three known addresses, you answer three security questions, you do all of that. Right? So they always know who they’re talking to when they give you a credit report. So their database spits out a credit profile that is accurate to you as far as what they say to you. They had mistakes in there but they know they’re talking to you.
But when a lender pulls your credit report, they don’t put in all that information. They put in the last four of your social [security number], they put in your name and maybe your address. So what the credit bureau does is they compile a report that encompasses a lot of information that may apply to you, may not apply to you. And they’ll tell them, “Hey, this most likely is him but this other thing might be him. We’re not sure, but we’re going to give it to you anyway for your consideration.” So they might pull in your brother’s information, they might pull in your cousin’s information, they might pull in your dad’s information who might be in jail. And so most of them know that. But that is a fact. Right? So what I’m trying to say is that area of the law, it’s a hotbed of litigation, particularly for attorneys, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
I’ll bring bankruptcy into the fold. Now, I don’t obviously just sue credit bureaus just in the bankruptcy context, but the bankruptcy context is the easiest. OK? It is the easiest. But I don’t just sue them in the bankruptcy context. Now here is how bankruptcy attorneys come in to play, OK?
Michael: When you file a bankruptcy, that is the only time that credit bureaus have an absolute affirmative requirement to correct your credit report without you doing any work, without you sending them any letters, without you calling them, without you begging them. Right? Right now, if you’re walking around and you’re minding your own business and you don’t need to file a bankruptcy and you don’t file a bankruptcy, you might have incorrect information in your credit report but you can’t do anything about it other than ask them to change it.
Michael: And if they don’t change it, then you call a guy like me and I’ll tell you, “Thank you so much for bringing this case to my attention. I’ll give you a Christmas basket next year. I’m so happy you brought it to my attention. I know I’m going to make money and I know you’re going to make money. I’m not going to charge you any money. I’m going to file a lawsuit and we will settle it pre-motion.”
Michael: OK? But with bankruptcy clients, it’s even better. The Fair Credit Reporting Act absolutely requires them… places a burden on them to take affirmative steps to correct your credit profile within a reasonable time. Reasonable time is basically 30 days. OK? Really, it should happen within an hour. Because the credit bureau doesn’t physically, manually do work. They have basically an algorithm. So really, their algorithm, whatever they update with it, they do something called the nightly scrub. So if you file bankruptcy, even if you don’t notify anybody, they’ll know about it within basically by midnight that day.
But basically after 30 days, if somebody files a bankruptcy and they’d pull their credit report and there are inaccuracies, then there’s litigation right there. They only are allowed to do the following to your credit report when you file bankruptcy. They can completely delete a negative tradeline, like just delete it as though it never existed, which they don’t usually do but they can which is great for you. Or they can update it to say zero dollar balance owed, discharged, no delinquency, no late payments, nothing, no more payment history, no more debt. That’s the beauty. Because your client walks into a credit…
Most attorneys don’t really know why when their clients file bankruptcy, they see a 100 point increase in their credit score and why their clients are inundated with credit card offers or why their clients are able to walk into a car dealership and get a loan right away. They don’t know the mechanics behind it.
I’ll tell them the mechanics right now. The mechanics are: before the bankruptcy, they pull the credit report and they had a bunch of red boxes and yellow boxes and black boxes. A delinquent, delinquent, 120 days more, 120 days more, 130 days on this month, 60 days on that month. That’s all the creditor sees. And the creditor just throws that in the garbage and says, “You know, go file bankruptcy and come back to me later.” But after the bankruptcy, when the creditor pulls the credit report, there is nothing but just a clean white sheet; no more balance, no more debt, no delinquencies, zero dollar owed, everything is completely copacetic.
Bob: But Michael, don’t they still… I mean, they do put the bankruptcy on there so… I mean, yes, they wipe out…
Michael: That doesn’t hurt your credit. That’s a big myth. That’s a big misnomer.
If you’re a lender, how do you keep your doors open? Let’s say you’re a bank, you’re Chase Bank. You have a vault full of cash, which is what you are. And the cash is… Let’s just say you have $1 trillion in the bank and you close and lock it and say, “I’m not going to take any risk and give it to people.” What happens to your bank? It goes out of business in a minute. In five seconds, you’re out of business. Why? Who’s going to pay the bill?
You know, you have these beautiful institutions around the country that allow people to walk up, throw cash at your employees and expect everything to be right. Your employees count the cash and then deposit it to keep it safe for them. They can draw from it. They can write checks from it. They could use a debit card. They can go to Spain and have their money secure, and access their money within five seconds. You’re doing all of that free, right? Why you doing it? You’re not doing it because you’re a benevolent organization, you’re doing it why? Because you want to charge money, right?
Bob: Sure. But as you go through the credit cycle, the banks and the institutions are going to be more or less willing to extend loans to people who’ve recently been through a bankruptcy.
Bob: I would imagine…
Michael: Yes, I’m glad you brought that up. We know that now that banks have to lend their money, who is the biggest risk to default on unsecured loan? Person A who makes $40,000 a year, is delinquent on a bunch of debts, or even if he’s not delinquent–he’s never been delinquent in his life–but he has $50,000 in credit card debt and $13,000 in medical bills and he’s on a payment plan and he’s never missed a payment.
Person number two has the same situation, same exact situation, same exact income, same exact circumstances, same exact budget. Only difference is he filed bankruptcy yesterday, or he got a bankruptcy discharge yesterday.
Which one of them is more of a credit risk? It’s person A, the guy who has not yet filed bankruptcy because person B cannot file bankruptcy for another eight years and he has no more debt, no more bills. He can easily afford to repay your loans if you have a loan. The other guy could file a bankruptcy at any minute. If you do have a loan, you’re just adding another straw on the camel’s back. It’s going to break. Right?
So no, the bankruptcy itself, it’s not gonna hurt the credit. And that’s just objectively verified.
Bob: OK. All right. Well, let’s take a breath for a moment and let’s pull back and look at the bankruptcy lawyer.. Look at all this from the bankruptcy lawyer’s perspective. So the FCRA from a bankruptcy lawyer’s perspective, if you’re a bankruptcy lawyer who’s not doing FCRA cases and you start doing FCRA cases after you’ve got things going, how much of an increase in revenue can you see from just: (A) strictly taking money from bankruptcy filers and (B) taking that money and also doing FCRA cases?
Michael: You can never take any money… If you’re representing your bankruptcy filers, all the money you’re gonna make is after the case is discharged. It’s not going to be before. But if you bring FCRA into your practice, you’re going to get a bunch of people who are going to come in who have inaccuracies on their credit report. And just as a bankruptcy attorney in general, people call your office for all kinds of stuff. They call your office and they say, “I don’t want to file bankruptcy. I have something on my credit report that’s inaccurate. It’s not right.” So that’s a good red flag.
But to be honest with you, if you want to make it systematic and you want to make sure you make money, you can do what I do, which is you make it a policy to follow up with your clients 30 days after discharge or 60 days after discharge or any time that you want but don’t wait too long. And tell them, “Pull your credit report for free and I’ll review it for you for free.”
And then people want to enter into the referral relationship with myself. I’m more than happy to do it ’cause I can represent anybody from around the country. It’s a federal law. You can get in touch with an attorney like me. If you don’t want to take the time and learn it… Takes a while to learn it, obviously. You’ve got to learn the FCRA. I mean, it’s a complicated statute. It’s easy for me now. I’ve written CE books about it. I know it.
But you just get your client’s credit report. My statistics show that 20 percent of my discharged clients have inaccuracies on their credit reports. And the reason I say 20 percent, that’s a number that I have tested. That’s also a number that 60 Minutes has tested. 60 Minutes did a special, 40 Million Errors, that was the name of the special. So the credit bureau try to just get it right. They get it wrong 20 percent of the time.
The beauty of people who receive a discharge is they don’t have to send a reinvestigation letter. Now, we set a trap to the credit bureau by sending a reinvestigation letter to add more claims when we file the case. But I mean, you make money. Now, just so you know, for every case, you’re not making $1,000.
Bob: Wait. Wait. Wait. Can you back up there in a sec. What is the trap that you’re setting for the credit [bureau]?
Michael: We still… We send a first party reinvestigation letter, just kind of saying, “update my credit report, yada yada yada yada.” And they kind of just throw it in the garbage and then when we file a case, we say, “Well, look, we sent a letter on this day. They ignored it and we filed bankruptcy. They knew about it, they ignored it, they didn’t do their job. So we want $1,000 for our client and we want our attorney fees.” And that’s the way we litigate it.
Bob: But you’re sending that letter after you request… So you file for the bankruptcy… Well, the bankruptcy is discharged, right? The bankruptcy needs to be discharged?
Bob: And then you wait 30 days or 60 days. Then you have the client request a credit report. Then you review it. If you see any inaccuracies, then you do send a reinvestigation letter? Or what did you call it?
Michael: Yeah, yeah, we do. Sometimes you don’t. It depends on the case. If the case is really strong without a reinvestigation letter, we just file the case under an unreasonable procedures claim.
There’s two claims you can make against a credit bureau. There’s unreasonable procedure claim, or failure to reinvestigate claim. Failure to reinvestigate claim requires you to send a reinvestigation letter and then prove that they didn’t do the investigation right. Unreasonable procedure means that the credit bureau themselves had an unreasonable procedure, which does not require a notice to the credit bureau. You just sue them based on their own procedures.
Bob: OK, so you’re saying there’s $1,000… Go ahead and explain what the payouts are for the…
Michael: A typical case, almost without fail, is going to settle where the client gets about $1,000 in damages and a completely updated credit report. And the attorney can expect about $4,000 or $5,000 in attorney fees without having to litigate, without having to go to court, without having to do anything. Literally, no litigation, no discovery, nothing.
Bob: Now, you told me something when we were just talking on the phone the other day. You said something about how long it’s been since the last time you were in court for an FCRA case. How long has it been?
Michael: About 10 years. About nine years.
Bob: So you haven’t even been into court because presumably, all these cases are settling. Right?
Michael: Yeah, I’ve never done a trial, ever. I filed a massive amount of these cases, never done a trial. I’d been to court one time, never even argued the motions.
Bob: Now, these cases… Are these FCRA cases received differently in different courts around the country or is it a pretty standard response?
Michael: Pretty standard, pretty standard, pretty standard. The boss is one person in the entire country for every credit bureau. There’s one boss. And they have one policy, and we know the policy. You know, we’re not going to sit here and go to court and maybe potentially lose a case which creates precedent that requires us to change our whole entire business model. We can’t do it.
99.9 percent of people don’t do anything about inaccuracy on their credit report. Never. They might call Lexington Law, which is a dumb company, and they might just send us a bunch of letters and maybe eventually update it but we never… You know, we’re making so much money.
We’re not going to sit here and have a judge tell us, “Change… You are no longer allowed to use an Indian offshore center and entering two-digit responses to credit inquiries. You can’t do that.” We do that now and that saves us a lot of money. But if we’re told that we have to sit here and physically sit down and review a file, well, we will shut down overnight because we can’t do that. We can’t afford it unless we charge $100 for a credit report, which we’re not going to do.
Michael: So there’s a system there. There’s a cottage industry and credit bureaus… You could look at it. I’m looking for the case that’s going to show up where somebody’s credit report causes them $1,000,000 in damages. I’ve never seen it. There are a couple of cases… There was one case out of Seattle that was like a $10,000,000 case. And another case in another state–I forget the state–but it was a $1,000,000 case. But they’re very rare.
We envy those cases. If that case comes across my desk, I’ll know, I’ll spot it because we do a lot of trials, we do a lot of motions, we do a lot of litigation, as you know from the student loan stuff. But we just don’t… We’ve never done it on the credit reporting, on the FCRA cases because thankfully, those guys know how to play ball. They know how to understand when they are wrong and admit that they’re wrong and make your client right.
If somebody makes an offer to make your client right and your client says, “I will accept,” you really don’t have the option. You have the ethical duty to settle that case for your client.
Michael: Whereas in other contexts, if your client was damaged $100,000 and somebody offers him $5,000 and your client doesn’t want to settle, then you go to trial. But in the credit reporting realm, if the credit bureau conveys an offer that you tell your client and the offer is, “I’m going to completely delete these tradelines, simply delete them and I’m going to pay your client $1,000 and I’m gonna pay your lawyer fees.” And you tell your client and the client says, “Yes, I don’t want to go to trial. I want to settle it.” Then you’re done.
And the credit bureaus are right by doing that because why would they go to trial? Because if they go to trial and they have to spend $20,000-$30,000 in lawyer fees against a guy like me who knows the law well, who knows the law really really well, who will hold them to account and they had to do that with me, if that’s their policy, then guess what, they’ll go out of business because they have to do it with everybody. They have to do it with every single person. I mean, there are these cases all around the country. So they do it right. They do it right.
Bob: So, Michael, you had mentioned to me that you can almost double your revenue. So I wanted to walk through some numbers to see how you can almost double your revenue. And so I want you to reality check some numbers as I walk through them. Is that OK?
Michael: Yeah, of course.
Bob: OK, so how much would you say the average… I don’t know, let’s stick to Chapter 7s, what’s the average Chapter 7 for most people in retainers?
Michael: I mean, it’s different from district to district. In Michigan, it’s about $700, $800. Other districts is $1,500. It really depends.
Bob: OK. So if you have $700 for a Chapter 7 and you have 100 cases, then you’re going to make $70,000. You also mentioned that there’s 20 percent of those cases… After discharge, 20 percent of those cases are going to result in a mistake that you can take an action on, right?
Michael: Yeah, about 20 percent. Yup.
Bob: And then how much can you make in attorney’s fees, on average, for a case like this?
Michael: About $4,000 or $5,000 per case.
Bob: OK, so let’s say $4,500.
Bob: So if you’re looking at 20 cases, 20 FCRA cases, with $4,500 in average attorney fees, then that’s $90,000 in FCRA revenue from those 100 initial filings. Right?
Bob: And if you’re only making $700 off of each Chapter 7, which is pretty low–it’s a pretty competitive rate–but that’s $70,000 in bankruptcy revenue, right?
Bob: So you’re making $90,000 from FCRA cases where you’re getting paid by the credit bureau versus $70,000 in straight up bankruptcy revenue. Right?
Bob: And another interesting way of putting that is that instead of your average case being worth $700, it’s actually worth $1,600 because you’re getting paid by the credit bureaus.
Bob: So really, if you’re taking a bankruptcy mill approach, you have to do the FCRA cases. Is that true? Or…
Michael: I mean, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.
Michael: More importantly… Here’s the way I look at it. Let’s just say that FCRA doesn’t exist. What are you taught in Marketing 101? Right? Let’s say FCRA doesn’t even exist, right? Marketing 101, you don’t leave a client at the discharge stage and then just say, “Thank you, have a great life.” You want to market your services. And you want to market yourself and remind them that you’re there.
So in 100 percent of the cases–not 20 percent–100 percent of the cases, you’re winning. Because in 100 percent of the cases, you are reaching out to your client to pull their credit report, for them to pull their credit report. And you are going to tell them, “I’m going to help you go through it.”
And even if they just ignore you, at a very minimum, you’re reminding them that you stuck it out with them and you cared about their credit and they’re going to refer you. And the people who pull their credit report and everything is copacetic and there’s no case there, that client is very satisfied.
Michael: They are very very very satisfied because they’re like, “Wow, this completely cleared my credit. There’s nothing on there and the guy just stuck with me.” And you can advertise that service before they retain you. And you are going to retain more clients.
If your pitch to a client is, “I’m going to help you wipe out your debt and get a discharge.” Great. But if your pitch is, “I’m going to help you get a discharge, wipe out your debt and I’m going to stick it out with you for a few months after to pull your credit report, to review it, to make sure everything is off of it, and if things are not off your credit report, I’m going to help you wipe it out. And I’m not going to charge you a penny. And I’m going to actually get you paid.” Then you’re going to retain more clients. It’s more of a philosophy that I’ve followed.
And I don’t know what part of my success is related to that because you just don’t know. Once you develop a policy, once you develop a way of doing business, then it just kind of… Everything works, you don’t know in what proportion it worked. You don’t know, is 80 percent of it attributable to that? 20 percent of it? But I can guarantee you a good portion of it is attributable to that.
And if you make just an extra $10,000 a year doing FCRA cases, you’ll make a lot more. But let’s just say you make an extra $10,000 a year, just an extra $20,000 a year doing FCRA. That’s extra money that you can use to advertise for bankruptcy cases. And then the whole thing kind of just folds on top of one another, just kind of like a snowball effect.
Bob: Michael, that’s a really interesting way of putting it. If you change the situation a little bit, I think it makes it more obvious, like, how doing this work leads to a better result. Let’s say that you’re a doctor and you cure cancer 100 percent of the time but then you never meet with the patient after you’ve cured his or her cancer and said, “Your cancer’s cured.” Well, that person is going to be kind of freaked out about cancer for the next year, five years, you know.
But if you actually meet with them and say, “Hey, not only did I cure your cancer, but here’s your blood test and you’re totally cured,” they’re going to be crying with tears of happiness, and it’s just a much better experience for them.
Michael: Yeah. No. I mean, I’m all about… I’m all in favor of following up with clients and giving them a total experience. You know, I thought of this back when I was still in law school and one of my buddies filed bankruptcy with my other friend’s older brother, who was a bankruptcy attorney, and he was maligning that attorney. And I told him, “Why? What was your experience?” He’s like, “Everything’s still on my credit report, he did nothing for me. He hurt me. He didn’t do anything. He did the bankruptcy, I paid him and everything’s still on my credit report.”
And that stuck with me ’cause I knew I was going to become a bankruptcy attorney, right, when I was in law school. And that stuck with me. It stuck with me because I had to figure out why did that happen. I figured out, basically, when I became an attorney, all of my colleagues would complain and say, “We do the bankruptcy but God knows if the credit bureau takes things off their credit report. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. And, young man, when you file a bankruptcy, always tell your client, “I’m not a credit report attorney. I can’t guarantee you the credit bureau is going to do their job. You got to send them letters.”
And that is exactly when I came up with the whole philosophy. I researched FCRA. I studied it. I sat down and committed myself for about seven months. Seven months, I read two to three hours a day from the NCLC manual and every book and every case I could find. And I became a subject matter expert. Then I folded into my bankruptcy practice. And then from that point on, I never looked back.
Bob: OK. Michael, let’s take a step back here because the cool thing about what you’ve told me is that with one action, you can double your revenue. And that one action is having the client pull his or her credit report 30 or 60 days after the bankruptcy discharge. So we know that that works and we’ve run the numbers and we can see how that’s profitable.
Let’s kind of start over and let’s talk about what we can do to get the maximum number of people to actually pull their credit report. Well, actually, let’s first go into why does a client need to be the one to pull the credit report? Why can’t you or a paralegal at your office pull the credit report? Why does it have to be the client? Let’s start there.
Michael: Long story. Won’t happen. Cannot happen. Credit bureaus, the law protects them. They do not have to pull credit reports to anybody except for a permissible end-user. An attorney is the exact opposite of a permissible end-user. You will never be allowed to pull someone’s credit report. Don’t even try. There are long long long ways of really really working your tail off to get consent from your client and then they still reject you, and then they ask your client to send them three identifying… It’s a mess. Don’t even try.
The only permissible end-users for a credit report are banking institutions, governments and the actual individual themselves. That’s it. Attorneys are not permissible end-users. You never will be. We will never be allowed to do it. Whereas a person pulling their own credit report, they can do it in two minutes for free without any problem. That’s the first reason.
Michael: The second reason is… I read an amazing book a long time ago that changed my life when I used to suffer through this, an amazing amazing book by a consumer attorney. And he was a consumer attorney that did lemon law. OK. He said, “I have a policy on the practice of consumer law. If you want to make money in consumer law and actually be a consumer law attorney, here’s my philosophy. I do warranty law. A lot of people come to me and they complain and they say, “I took my car to this mechanic and this mechanic ruined my car. I talked to another mechanic, a master mechanic, he’s licensed, he’s certified and they said, “Yeah, you could sue them for that. And they were negligent.” I have a policy. I do not meet with that client. I refuse to take their case. I don’t do anything.
You know what I tell them? “Before you ever come to my office to meet with me, I will take your case. I will not charge you any money. I will do everything. I’ll go to the moon for you. For this, I have one requirement. You have to fill out this application here and you have to go get what that other mechanic told you. I need you to get it to me in writing over his signature before I meet with him, before the first meeting.”
And the reason I do that is because hey, I’m already a consumer attorney. I’m already working for pennies. I’m not also going to take everybody’s story at face value. I can’t do it because everyone’s going to give you a sob story, everyone’s going to tell you that their case is the right case, it’s the real case. Whereas, every mechanic who wants to sell you on their services is going to tell you, “Yes, the other mechanic was wrong. And they messed up your car and you can sue them for it.” They’re going to tell you that because they want you to hire them. Right?
But when you actually present them with a written document saying, “Hey, sign this. This is your opinion.” They’re going to double back at that point. And so why am I going to waste my time and chase them to sign a statement? You do it. Well, I already know, most of the time, they’re going to refuse to sign the statement.
OK, now what does that have to do with credit report? Here’s what I have to do with credit reports. If somebody is truly truly truly wanting your services, truly, and they truly truly want to move forward with your services, they, at a very minimum, should invest five minutes and pull out their own credit report. You don’t want to make it that convenient for them.
If you make it that convenient for them, then when you work your tail off and you get their credit report and then you prepare the complaint and you’re ready to sign it and you need them to sign it, they might say, “I’m too busy. I’m taking a nap. I don’t know. How much is this going to cost me? Nothing… Yes, I’ve got to come to your office and sign the retainer, the complaint, I’ll get back to you.” Right? You never miss something.
We are consumer attorneys. We are not representing millionaires and billionaires. We’re not representing people who own business. You know, most of the time, we’re representing people that are completely scared of anybody in a suit. OK? We’re representing people that live in perpetual fear.
And so if somebody is not willing to invest five minutes in pulling their own credit report, I don’t want that person’s case. And so once I came up with that philosophy, my life became a lot simpler and a lot easier. And I was working less and making more progress for my clients and making more money.
Bob: OK. So there’s another issue here which is that what’s the website where you can get your free credit report once a year?
Michael: So under the federal statute, the law created something called the centralized source that requires credit bureaus to give you your credit report for free easily without you having to pay money. And that is annualcreditreport.com. That is not a business to make money. That is called the centralized source. It’s referenced in the statute. That is a requirement for credit bureaus to give it to you there. Everybody else who says they’re free, they’re not. That’s actually truly free and it’s required by federal law.
Now having said that, I’ve revised that lately to also add Credit Karma. Credit Karma has passed my test. Credit Karma’s a new app. It really is genuinely free. I was suspicious of it in the beginning because everybody else’s like, “There’s a web site called freecreditreport.com.” It wasn’t free. In my definition, it wasn’t. You have to put in your credit card information and sign up if you want the service. All these other companies… Anyway, point is, those other people are not really the ones you want to use.
You want to use annualcreditreport.com. But Credit Karma, I could also see Credit Karma also hedging their way. We’re getting credit reports from that for free for our clients. I’m using them as exhibits to complaints and it’s working out well. But annualcreditreport.com is the best by far. If your client goes on annualcreditreport.com, they’ll get their credit report for free.
Bob: Great. So here’s my next question which is that… You know I’m a marketing consultant specializing in helping bankruptcy lawyers. A lot of bankruptcy lawyers seem to divide into two groups. The first group of bankruptcy lawyers ask prospective clients to pull their own credit report. The second group uses a service like CIN Legal Data Services, something like that, to pull their credit report for the customer. It’s not a traditional credit report but it gives them the information necessary to kind of audit their finances for the bankruptcy filing. My question is, if someone has already pulled their credit report prior to filing from annual…
Michael: No. No. No.
Bob: Go ahead.
Michael: Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up. I am Mr. CIN Legal Group. I absolutely insist on using all my bankruptcy files. I pull the premium one, not the basic one. I pull the one that actually cost an extra $10.
Bob: $40. The $40 one?
Michael: Which tells them… Yeah, the predictive credit score that gives you your predictive credit score. I use it in sales. No no no no no. That’s not a credit report. That is a bankruptcy report. Don’t be confused with that. That’s not a credit report.
Bob: Well, what about bankruptcy lawyers that ask their clients to generate a free credit report from a service like annualcreditreport.com?
Michael: I don’t like that. I like pulling the CIN… Here’s the thing. It saves you money and time and data entry to pay money, pull their credit report and import everything into their schedule. Then they just get their regular credit report and have to go through it. No no no no.
I’m an absolute advocate of pulling the CIN report. It’s an absolutely beautiful report. It gives you things that the credit bureau now won’t even give you, which is a records of lawsuits, judgments, tax and all those kinds of things. No no no no. I absolutely recommend pulling the CIN report.
Michael: But that’s not a real credit report. So that’s not a real credit report. It doesn’t have payment history. It doesn’t have delinquent… It doesn’t have any of that stuff. And that’s a pre-bankruptcy report. That’s not a report that you pull after the case is filed.
Bob: So what if you don’t use CIN Legal Data Services right now and you ask your clients to pull a credit report outside of CIN and you just tell them, “Go to annualcreditreport.com and pull that and bring that…”
Michael: It will matter.
Bob: What about the… You only get one free credit report a year, though?
Michael: Yeah. Yeah, you can. But you can get another one from the same website but you just pay $7.
Bob: Oh, it’s just $7. OK.
Michael: Yeah, it’s just $7, yes.
Michael: Or you go to Credit Karma and get it for free all the time.
Bob: All right. Do you know how Credit Karma makes money? I mean, I’ve seen their ads. I don’t know how they make money.
Michael: Yeah, I know how they make money. Yeah, I know. They make money the same way all the other guys, the guys that used to charge you and they don’t charge you anymore. They all make money the same way by promoting you… They sell your information. They sell space on their website to lenders who want to advertise for their loans. And those lenders pay them money to promote them for people to use them to borrow money.
Michael: They’re basically like YouTube. They’re basically just like YouTube. You come to me to watch content, then I’m going to charge people to sell lipstick and nail polish. With Credit Karma, people come to me for their credit, I’m going to let Bank of America advertise a new promotional rate on vehicle loans. That’s how they make money. They’re very happy to be free. Trust me. They want everyone in the United States of America having their app and using it out of reference for their credit.
Bob: OK. Again from the bankruptcy lawyer’s perspective, let’s take a step back and let’s look at what you should say to the prospects throughout the bankruptcy filing process to maximize the chance that they will actually pull their credit report 30 to 60 days after the bankruptcy discharge. Right?
Michael: Yeah, pull their credit report and then give it to the attorney. And again, if the attorney sees any inaccuracies, then at that point he can reach out to any attorney that he trusts that knows how to do these cases or if they can–I’m not trying to promote myself–but they can reach out to me and I could easily be happy to take the case. Obviously, I take it on contingencies. I pay referral fees to attorneys and that’s the way it works.
Bob: OK. But the brunt of my question here is: what should we say to prospects to maximize the chance that they’ll actually pull their credit report? Like from day one, are there things that you can say to your prospective client even before they come to you, even before they retain you as a bankruptcy client, that increase the chance that they’ll actually pull their own credit report 30 or 60 days after the discharge?
Michael: Yes, there’s absolutely something they can do. Absolutely. When I first… First, it has to become a part of your culture. If it’s a part of your culture, then it permeates throughout your organization. If you’re a solo practitioner, that’s easy. If you’re not a solo practitioner, it becomes harder. If you have a larger firm, it becomes very tough. But it can be done.
You got to make it a part of your culture. And the way it becomes a part of your culture is you tell everybody when you first sell a person on our bankruptcy services, you say everything the way you’re saying it now. But at the end of the pitch you say, “And by the way, we’re going to stick with you after the discharge to make sure everything’s off your credit report. And if it’s not, we’re going to sue the credit bureau. We’re not going to charge you a penny and we’re going to get you paid.” And some absolutely 100 percent accurate promise that you’re allowed to make.
Once you make that a part of your culture, then at that point, the client is aware, they’re apprized from day one that that’s a possibility. And believe it or not, clients cling down to that. They don’t forget that. That’s a big deal to them. OK? And you sell more bankruptcies. Then after that is done, then it’s easy for you to have an assistant or somebody be designated to, “Hey, when we get a discharge…”
Right now, every firm has a protocol with discharges. They do something with a discharge. They had notate the file, they send a letter to the client, something. Well, just add to that protocol, whatever your protocol is. Add to that protocol: “Hey please go on to annualcreditreport.com, pull your credit reports for free and call us.” And if you want, just schedule people for an appointment. Schedule them for a telephone consultation.
Bob: So you just have them email the PDF that they pull from annualcredireport.com? You say, “E-mail that to us and…”
Bob: And using this protocol, what percentage of your… Out of every hundred filings, what percentage of people actually get back to you?
Michael: I’ll give you an example. We called 14 people yesterday and four of them were so excited, they went and pulled their credit report yesterday. The other 10, we have to leave the voicemail for.
Michael: And they’ll probably call back. That’s just yesterday. People do it. People want that. People have nothing else going on and they have the ability to clean up their credit report. I mean, people look forward to a couple of things every year. When they file bankruptcy, they look forward to their tax return, and they look forward to the ability to go and finance a vehicle, a brand new car, a nice Chevy Malibu, a nice Chevy something, something they’re gonna put their family in that runs, that they don’t have to go to a used car dealership but they can actually walk into the dealership and not be kicked out.
And they were told by their attorney and on the Internet and by Google and by their colleagues at the bar who also filed bankruptcy that if you file bankruptcy, all the harassment stops and your credit will improve and you can actually get a loan. You’re not going to get rejected for a loan.
So if their attorney tells them, “Go pull your credit report and I’m going to make sure everything is completely off or I’m going to sue them if it’s not,” people take that very seriously. They take it very seriously. But for them to take it seriously, the attorney has to take it seriously first.
Bob: Absolutely. That’s the first thing you learn about leadership, right? What the leader thinks is important.
Bob: You mentioned earlier that 20 percent of credit reports are wrong. Do you point that out to your prospective clients, when they’re retaining you, that this is an important step that they want to take for their own protection because 20 percent of the time, their credit report will have some mistakes on it?
Bob: And they responded well to that message?
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And I protect myself too. I protect myself because one type of call that I never received in my practice that I’m pretty sure every other bankruptcy attorney receives is, “Why is everything still on my credit report? What did I pay you for?”
I am pretty sure every bankruptcy attorney sees that all around the country with 20 percent of their clients. I don’t. People call me back and say the following, they say: “Yeah, you told me so. And I didn’t listen to you. And I was wrong. You are right. Can you still help me out?” And I tell people yes.
Michael: Those are the types of calls I get.
Bob: Well, that’s nice. I mean, that’s very nice. I mean, I hate when I work really hard for a customer and then the customer comes back and I’m like, “Oh, actually you have a point. I let you down.” That’s the worst feeling in the world as a service provider. One of the things that you just mentioned is that you’re going to have a post-discharge process where you contact the customer or the client. And at that time, you can tell them to pull their credit report. But that’s not going to be 30 to 60 days after the discharge. So how do you handle that time shift? You know what I mean?
Michael: I actually… What I do is I move them to a stage of my database where there’s an automatic task for my assistant that actually says, “Call them to get their credit report.” And they stay in that step for 60 days. And then we follow up with them twice in the next 60 days. And then after that, we move them to another step where we keep sending them e-mails every 30 days telling them, “You’ve never pulled your credit report for free. You have the absolute right. Yada yada yada yada yada.” And in that way, we’ll keep following up with them.
If we follow up with them with two phone calls and voicemails and e-mails, or e-mails and voicemails for two years and they have no incentive to do it, then at that point, that’s fine. Maybe they’ve moved on, maybe they never want to think about the process again, maybe they died, maybe… You never know. But the vast majority of people… The overwhelming majority of my clients take it seriously and they go for it. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have filed bankruptcy in the first place.
Bob: Sure. No, I see what you’re saying. The whole point of bankruptcy is essentially to have a clean credit report and to get creditors to stop hassling you.
Michael: Yeah, I agree.
Bob: So you talked about automating your follow-up. Do you use like Infusionsoft or one of these sorts of services to automate your follow-up?
Michael: I almost used Infusionsoft, I use ActionStep. ActionStep is a total practice management database. And there’s many like it. I recommend it to my friends and colleagues but it doesn’t matter what you use.
I mean, everything, Time Matters, Clio, MyCase, Rocket Matter, there’s a lot of nice practice management softwares that allow you to operate a volume business.
Bob: Okay. So how often… In terms of follow up, what have you found to be effective? You ask your assistant to follow up with customers. So let’s walk through an actual example. If someone, their bankruptcy is discharged on January 1st, then you’re going to wait, let’s say, 60 days to contact them. Well, you might contact them right away and then wait 60 days to tell them to pull their credit report. So now we’re talking March 1st and you start contacting them or your assistant does. What do you have your assistant do in that first week?
Michael: I have her call the client to tell them, “Congratulations, you received your discharge. Here’s what that means. And here’s why this is a good news. And let’s talk about your credit.” And then she goes through the script, right? That happens right away. And we do it twice until we get a hold of the client. We also e-mail the client the same thing. And that’s what happens in the 60 days. So it’s two phone calls to try to get the client on the line or trying to get the client to call us back.
Michael: And that’s pretty much all we do with the 60 days after. And we’ve already told a client from the beginning of the process that this is coming after the case is done.
Bob: OK. If their bankruptcy is discharged in January 1st, you’re going to call them in January 2nd and let them know. But you have to pick… You have to pick up the phone again or contact them somehow again on March 1st to let them know they should pull their credit report, right?
Michael: Yes, correct.
Bob: So then you… So what is the protocol at March 1st? What do you do?
Michael: On March 1st, 60 days later, we move them to a step where we knew we couldn’t get a hold of client to do it. So what we do is we e-mail the client and leave them a voicemail every 30 days for two years to ask them to pull their credit report for free. And we follow through the same script. So we’ve tried for two years. But in the first 60 days, we do it with like a personal personal personal call.
Bob: OK. I get it. You said that you settle every case but you still need to probably file a motion or… What’s the first step?
Michael: Complaints, complaints.
Bob: So you file a complaint. And then how long does it usually take for the credit bureaus to contact you to settle them, the cases?
Michael: Within two weeks.
Bob: Within two weeks? Are there any kind of exceptions to that?
Michael: No, they have 30 days to respond. They always always want to settle right away.
Bob: And so they usually respond within two weeks. Are there any tricks that you can do to get more money for your client and maybe for yourself? Or I don’t know…
Michael: No no. I mean, we have a good solid retainer that protects us but really, I mean, it’s pretty basic. You’re not going to make like $1,000,000 per case. You’re going to make a good $4,000 or $5,000 in attorney fees on a typical case. I rarely rarely make less than that. Time to time, we’ll make a good $10,000 to $12,000 in attorney fees. It just depends on that case. It depends on the fact pattern. Depends on the egregiousness of the mistake as well.
Bob: Can you get into that, that egregiousness of the mistake. What makes a mistake more egregious or less?
Michael: Yeah. So there’s mistakes like somebody filed a bankruptcy and there’s three tradelines that she’ll discharge in bankruptcy but they also sold, say, 120 days delinquent and they had a payment history. That’s more egregious than somebody who, let’s say, has some… The credit bureau leaves something that’s technically accurate but is misleading. You know what I mean?
Like, last delinquency was two years ago or something like that. That’s technically accurate but it’s misleading. So that’s pretty much… It varies but most… You’re in that range, you’re in that $4,000 to $10,000 range pretty much every single case.
Bob: OK. And then in terms of understanding the FCRA law… At this point I think we understand why filing FCRA cases and tracking people’s credit report down 60 days after a bankruptcy discharge, we understand why that’s valuable. But in terms of the mechanics of filing an FCRA case, it took you seven months of intense reading and study to figure out FCRA, what would you recommend to a bankruptcy attorney who knows how to spell FCRA but not much more?
Michael: I would take a seminar. The good thing is it’s federal law so you don’t have to worry whether your local bar has one. Find a seminar. But I would get the NCLC manual. If they want to really read it, that’s the way I learned it. Now, it took me seven months.
So, I guess, it’ll take you a lifetime. I mean, I have experience in litigation that keeps building and building and compiling. But anybody can get that if you’re a young attorney or even if you’re a middle-aged attorney. It’s not too late to start. If you’re at the tail end of your career, you definitely don’t want to pick up something this technical and start. I wouldn’t do it. That’s like trying to become a divorce attorney when you’re 55 or 60. Learning that… You don’t want to do that. It’s not worth the grief.
I would pick up the NCLC manual and I’d read it. And don’t be fooled by the word “manual”. It’s not a manual. It’s a 2,000-page technical book written in small print where you’re not reading a novel. You’re reading a very technical treatise that requires slow reading. That’s why it took me seven months.
Bob: Well, what about… You wrote a chapter in a book about the Fair Credit Reporting Act. What was the name of that book? And do you think that would be applicable to…
Michael: Yeah, yeah, it is. Like I said, it’s the federal law. So it’s called the Michigan Causes of Action Formbook. But this is a federal law, it has nothing to do with Michigan law. Anybody could pick that up. But no one’s going to want to pay $160 for that, which is a book that’s primarily tailored to Michigan attorneys, whereas they can pay the same amount of money and get a book that’s tailored solely to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and they can use it as a reference point for anything they might do.
Bob: Well, I’m looking at your book. In your book, you have… It’s Chapter 9, the Fair Credit Reporting Act by Michael Jaafar, but like, the benefit of that is that you just have to read a chapter of a book as opposed to 2,000 pages or whatever.
Michael: Yeah, yeah. I mean, yeah… And it has sample complaints and everything. But I don’t recommend that only because if you are getting into it for the first time, you’re going to want to use something that has exhibits. That’s more of a quick synopsis to teach you the basics but you’re going to want to know… If you’re going to get into this and you’re going to file a complaint, you’re going to make the representation to your client. The first couple of times I filed complaints, I wasn’t able to settle anything. Right?
I had to dismiss one because the attorney on the other side… Well, before they call you… They’re not going to just see your name on a pleading and say, “Please, let me settle.” No, they’re going to review and try to find if there’s anything wrong. They’ll never find anything wrong with my complaints because there’s nothing wrong with them. But in the first one I filed, the credit bureau for Experian called and said, “Did you know that your client misspelled her name on several forms that she filled out? This is wrong. This is not her. This is not her.” I was like, “I’m so sorry.” I basically begged her to let me dismiss the cases when I was a young attorney. Right? And I bit off more than I could chew.
And I never made those mistakes again. And I sat down, I committed myself to understand the law. Like I said, it’s not rocket science. It’s not rocket science. Any attorney can understand it and they can actually become a master at it. But I’ve figured out the secret. The secret is to reading that book, the NCLC manual.
Michael: I would absolutely recommend that you read that book. If you are going to do this without another experienced attorney doing these cases, last thing you want to do is put in all that time aiming to make $4,000 or $5,000 and you don’t understand the law and then you wasted your time. Whereas, if you read the NCLC manual, you’re not going to get it wrong, by the way. You will always get it right.
Bob: OK. So I’m looking… I went to Google and typed in “NCLC manual”. There’s a lot of… There’s a reference to the NCLC digital library. Is this the book, the Fair Credit Reporting? What’s the…
Michael: Yes yes yes yes. My book is a great great great great precursor to teach you the basics on how to file a complaint on what the Fair Credit Reporting Act does. But you got to look at that as one chapter in one book, whereas the NCLC manual has 26 chapters.
Michael: And it’s a big organization that’s devoted solely to this discipline.
Bob: But the book that you would recommend is the Fair Credit Reporting book here?
Michael: I’d recommend reading my book first if you can find a copy there for free. But don’t spend $160. Don’t spend on them because the book that I’m in is $160 book that is absolute mandatory–not mandatory–but absolute essential in the state of Michigan for attorneys who are filing all kinds of complaints in the state of Michigan. This is called the Michigan Causes of Action Formbook. And you buy it in the state of Michigan to help you with breach of contract cases, you know, with the derivative shareholder lawsuits, all kinds of things.
And one of them is my chapter on the Fair Credit Reporting Act, whereas if you’re going to make a cottage industry out of doing this type of law, you’ve got to read the NCLC manual.
Bob: Ok. But I don’t mean to beat a dead horse but is that the book called the Fair Credit Reporting?
Michael: Yes, yes. That’s what it’s called.
Bob: Because there’s just like dozens of… There’s Fair Debt Collection, Federal Deception Law, Credit Discrimination, there’s a lot of different kind of titles out there.
Bob: Got it. Awesome. And then the attorney’s fees that are paid, do you need to do anything special to like, when the settlement occurs, do the credit bureaus just pay you directly and then you do dispersal to your client? How does that work?
Michael: Yeah, they just write a check to you, put in your IOLTA account and disburse you and then your client.
Bob: Okay, awesome. Awesome. Is there anything else that you think that we should cover for wannabe FCRA attorneys out there?
Michael: No, this has been a pretty good discussion. The difficult thing is marketing it, changing the culture within your firm, that’s really the difficult part.
Michael: Habits, that’s the difficult part. That is it. That’s the main main thing.
Bob: Well, do you have any tips for like, you have a crusty old paralegal who sometimes corrects you and is just crusty and has maybe his or her own way of doing things and then you tell them, “Look, this is really important.” Like, how do you get them to change their ways?
Michael: That’s tough. I wasn’t able to easily fix that with my first paralegal. Thankfully, she moved on and I was able to hire new people. I did this early on. I did this, I think, two years into my career. So it’s easier for me but I have colleagues who have been in practice much longer than me and they are just completely unable. And that’s why they’re kind of dinosaurs and relics in the practice now for many reasons. The technology age came in and people aren’t meeting their attorneys as much face-to-face. People want telephone consultations and it’s kind of like with everything else in the practice. Everything is different now in the age of Twitter and Facebook. Everything is just different.
So with respect to having a crusty old paralegal, that means that the attorney themselves may be crusty old attorney. If you yourselves… If the attorney believes in it and he wants to do it, then it will permeate throughout his organization and it will happen. It’s kind of like the discussion you and I had on the private student loans. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.
Even though we just had an article in MarketWatch on a big victory we had since our podcast in the Western District of Michigan against Wells Fargo, it doesn’t matter if I send them that article and say, “Hey, listen. We’re beating these guys. We can discharge private student loans. Let me go through your files with you and file some good cases.” They just don’t care, right?
Michael: So it’s kind of with anything. If you believe in it, everyone in your organization will believe in it. If you wake up in the morning and say, “I’m going to focus on this today. I’m going to find cases for private student loans. I’m going to train my staffs on the FCRA. We’re going to have a new culture here. We’re going to help people with their credit reports.” If you have that, great. If you don’t have that, then you’re not going to be able to do anything, really. No, you just don’t even try.
Bob: I really like this FCRA stuff for the two reasons that we’ve already discussed. But just to review, number one, you’re offering a better experience to your client and you’re making sure that you’re giving 100 percent of your clients the full benefit of a bankruptcy, which includes a clear credit report. So I really like that.
And the second thing I really like is that you can more than double your revenues if you start filing FCRA complaints and you don’t need to be Clarence Darrow, an amazing litigator. Michael Jaafar hasn’t been in court for 10 years and settles hundreds of FCRA complaints a year, perhaps.
Michael: Yep yep yep.
Bob: So this all sounds very doable. If you’re out there, start believing in FCRA and buy those books. And, Michael, if they want to reach out to you for some help or maybe to be co-council on some complicated FCRA cases, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Michael: They can contact me directly. I always give my direct number to all my colleagues around the country. My direct line is (313) 801-8809, (313) 801-8809. Or they can email me: mike at fairmaxlaw dot com.
Bob: Awesome. Thank you so much for coming back and schooling us on this stuff too.
Michael: It’s great talking to you, by the way. Thank you so much.
Bob: All right. Thanks. Bye bye.