Your credit score can determine if you can get a loan, buy insurance, rent an apartment or even get a job. If your credit score sinks, you will feel the pain.
Fortunately, credit repair companies can help you remedy this situation. In many cases, people's credit scores are depressed by inaccurate and outdated information.
In those situations, credit repair companies can become important allies of consumers by helping to ensure that credit histories are accurate.
Leadership in Industy Credit Repair
Credit Saint opened new paths in credit repair by offering the first full refund policy.
If a customer does not see negative items removed from their credit report in 90 days, all fees are fully refunded.
In the intervening years, other companies have adopted similar policies.
Recent Challenges Credit Saint's ability to reach its potential customers has not diminished Mr. LaPietra's determination to operate as a "consumer-centric" company dedicated to helping people repair their credit histories.
We speak with him to gain a deeper understanding of the vital role that credit repair plays in the lives of consumers burdened by bad credit.
Some questions and answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Why do people, according to their experience, look for credit repair companies like yours?
People who have inaccuracies in their credit history are our target audience. There are a lot of Americans going through this and, as a result, they are paying too much interest or paying more than they should for the credit.
If you try to contact a creditor and tell him about a mistake in your credit report, nobody wants to take responsibility or make changes that would correct things. They make you jump through a lot of hoops and then people feel defeated by creditors who will not update their credit history.
How do the negative elements on a credit report affect a person's score?
The value of negative items in the credit history is based on their seniority. So, there are several different types of items and different ways in which they can damage someone's credit history.
How does having a bad credit history affect people's lives on a day-to-day basis?
Creditors try to use your credit score to predict your ability to pay in the future. A low credit score will cause you to pay fines that you would not have to pay if you had a good credit score, or even an acceptable credit rating.
If you have something in your credit history that harms your report, it affects your ability to obtain credit in certain situations that can be serious.
If you have a child who is in school and has an error in your history that prevents you from providing them, what about the future of that child?
What happens if you have to buy a new car and there is damage to your report that prevents you (doing that)? There is a domino effect of other things that go wrong in their lives for something that is not even their fault in the first place. Your credit report affects more than your finances.
I could name a thousand examples. There is a refinancing of your mortgage, there is security clearance, there is a job, insurance … credit is everywhere now.
And most importantly, it affects your level of real income. Suppose you are making $ 50,000 a year but you are overpaying for a car or a house, this reduces your overall income. It reduces your ability to care for your family and many other things.
In the end, (credit is) the core of so many decisions that are made in the financial world.
Credit Saint was founded in 2007. What prompted you to start this company that helps so many people?
I saw another company doing it at that time with no intention of helping anyone.
And with a real refund policy and an A + rating of Better Business Bureau, we entered and with a plan to offer services that would really see changes to people.
You mentioned the refund policy, which is very popular from what I deduce. Why did you implement such a policy? Was there a particular catalyst?
I wanted our customers to feel they were covered in case we failed. I think people feel more comfortable if they turn in case nothing changes in their history.
Then, at that time no other credit repair company offered a refund policy. It took people years to start copying us. Only after having assumed most of the Google market, people saw us as a possible risk and began copying our refund policy. You definitely have to put your money where your mouth is in an industry like this.
What is the first thing that happens when someone seeks help with bad credit?
The first step is to look at your credit history and see if it really do I need our help. We want to make sure they have a reason to discuss an article and not just blindly challenge things.
Suppose you find that there are some things in a particular client's credit report that they could legitimately and should be questioned. What do you do?
We build an argument based on the client's own words. Then we ask you to tell us specifically why you want to dispute an article; We will not invent challenges. And then we take that argument, that truthful argument, we include it in the Fair Credit Reporting Act and we give it to the credit bureaus.
Credit bureaus are trying to make sure they give the best possible information on credit reports. Its objective is to have reports without errors, and we are trying to make our argument one that comes home as something that is not frivolous and is based on truth with integrity. Hopefully, they see it our way. We win many times, but sometimes we don't win.
Is it done by paper letter or web form? How does it work?
The most aggressive challenges are made on paper.
But why do consumers pay him to make that happen? Isn't it something they could do themselves?
Insurance. They can challenge things online for themselves. They can challenge paper things for themselves.
The only difference is that we will write legally charged letters and have systems that are (in tune) with the response times required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
As soon as the time periods in the investigations have elapsed, we return to the top of the credit bureaus with a new challenge, instead of deviating from life, which is what happens to normal people.
The credit bureaus will investigate and we will keep abreast of them. Our people have been doing this for 14 years. We are the type of company you are seeing every minute. You have to keep up the pressure. There is no magic wand here.
How would you describe your ideal client?
The people who are looking for us are the ones who are being educated about credit repair. Our customer base is a comparison of purchases.
So they are looking and not going with the first thing they see: they are comparing. Every time someone opens the door to shopping comparison, Credit Saint is always number one.
You are essentially relying on your experience. Because although I can do the same tasks, it would be better to trust them in a company with experts in the field. Right?
Anyone can teach himself how to do this. It is not rocket science to challenge your credit history, but maybe your time is better spent doing something else.
So, suppose our program costs $ 79 per month. If the time you spend on this and the distraction it will take to keep up is worth more than $ 79, then we are the right program for you.
He described the service he provides as a superior product. How did you get to develop it? Was there any reverse engineering involved on your part?
In 2007, to offer something different, I looked at what the industry leader was doing. Since then, we have developed a challenge system that is the most aggressive in the industry and has the best results. That's why we offer a refund policy. And other companies that do not do the same level of work per dollar, cannot match us
We are focused on the consumer from scratch. It is expensive for us to do it our way and many humans are needed compared to the computer system, to capture the nuances in the full report and build the best possible argument.