Ripoff Report Verified™ REVIEW:
EDitor’s UPDATE: Positive rating and recognition has been given to Phillips Law Center
for its commitment to excellence in customer service.
Ripoff Report’s discussions with Phillips Law Center have uncovered an ongoing commitment by the company to total client satisfaction. This means that clients can expect that the company will work towards finding a mutually satisfactory resolution to any complaints or concerns. Phillips Law Center listens carefully to client concerns and sees them as an opportunity to learn from past mistakes and become more efficient as a company in the services offered and the support for those services. Phillips Law Center / Statements from Managing Attorney, Brent R. Phillips. ”
My name is Brent Phillips. I am the managing attorney at Phillips Law Center. Thank you for taking the time to review the services we provide and our philosophy. Phillips Law Center is a full-service law firm dedicated to helping consumers struggling with debt. Our goal is to provide consumers high quality legal representation at a reasonable fixed price. If you are behind or struggling to make you mortgage payment, have a high rate mortgage, have bill collectors calling you at home and work, or your wages are being garnished, Phillips Law Center has the experience and knowledge to assist you in getting your financial house in order.
Phillips Law Center has helped thousands of homeowners and consumers reduce their mortgage payments to fit their family's budget, or completely refinance their mortgage as well as stopping the collection calls, and wage garnishments. Our team of attorneys and underwriters has helped consumers achieve a fresh start whether through a modification of their existing mortgage, a refinance, debt settlement or a fresh start through bankruptcy. Our experience and knowledge can put you and your family on a path to a sound financial future.
Remember, your family’s financial security is a serious matter. So, don't put your family's financial security in the hands of amateurs. What sets us apart is our experience and commitment to each client. Our attorneys have represented clients ranging from family run businesses and individuals to Fortune 500 companies. Our attorneys take pride in providing the same high quality legal services to each client regardless of size. Phillips Law Center also has some of the most experienced, underwriters, negotiators, and processors in the industry. Each member of our team has extensive experience in the mortgage restructuring, and debt settlement and consolidation.
However, we do not accept just anyone as a client. Phillips Law Center is selective on its clientele. At Phillips Law Center, each client's file is put through a thorough screening process prior to us accepting any client. We analyze each client's financial, personal and property information to maximize the client's potential for success. So give us a call and find out if you qualify. There is no charge. It is as simple as picking up the phone.
Again, .. Mr Phillips reiterated to Ripoff Report that his personal philosophy is to provide high quality legal services at a reasonable price. “I have represented clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to individual clients facing financial difficulties. He believes that each client regardless of size is entitled to the same high quality legal services. As a successful businessman, Mr. Phillips feels it is critical to listen to his clients and respond properly and works to ensure complete client satisfaction. By always putting his clients first, Mr. Phillips has placed Phillips Law Center as one of the leading firms in the country focusing on consumer debt.”
Another attorney for Phillips Law Center told Ripoff Report that Mr. Phillips’ personal philosophy is based on the premise that "strives to add value in its services as they understand that a successful business model is based on value-added services, and client care”. Phillips Law Center’s mission statement says it all: Phillips Law Center philosophy is to provide high quality legal services at a reasonable price. Each client regardless of size is entitled to the same high quality legal services Some of the other things Rip-off Report learned in the course of its investigation: typical customer feedback reads: Phillips Law Center assisted me in getting my financial house in order and reducing my mortgage payment by hundreds of dollars a month. We are very pleased with the responsiveness that he and his employees showed us. They are serious about meeting commitments, and deliver on all their promises to assist us in relieving our debt.
Phillips Law Center’s team have expressed that they feel very confident doing their job. They recognize that which Phillips Law Center apart is its experience and commitment to each client. Phillips Law Center has some of the most experienced attorney, underwriters, negotiators, and processors in the field of consumer debt. Each member of our team has extensive experience in the mortgage restructuring, and debt settlement and consolidation.Ripoff Report Verified™ .. part of Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program.A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business.. The information provided in this report below is based on comments made by Brent Philips and Robert Newton in an interview held by a third party visit, by an on-site verification company with no biases toward Philips Law Center.
The offices of Phillips Law Center are located in Costa Mesa, CA in a multi-tenant property. There is no marquee on the property, and no company signs were present on the door or in the building. The main office is a call Center with cubicles, and five private offices are occupied by Brent Phillips (Attorney at Law), Robert Newton (Resolution Manager) and several generic managers. The marketing consultant, Anthony Terah, does not have an office on-site. Two separate interviews were conducted with company representatives: The first was with Robert Newton and Anthony Terah, and was followed by a second interview with Brent Phillips.
Per Brent Phillips, (the purported namesake of the company) his office relocated from Newport Beach, CA in October of 2012. Phillips Law Center (or PLC) has no relation to Phillips Professional Law Corporation, which is a California corporation with separate offices. Although Farmer’s Law Center and Forest Law are both names that complainants have attributed to Brent’s business, he states that the name “Farmer’s Law Center” was a domain name created by a former employee that they never used (he thought the name was cheesy), and confirmed that they have never had any association with a Forest Law Center.
According to Brent Phillips, his business is an Arizona corporation that does general litigation and foreclosure prevention, although there is no restructuring available in California because it is against the law to take advanced fees for Mortgage Restructuring in that state. This is a federal law, and is referred to as the Mars rule. There is an exception if you are a licensed attorney in the state and the fees have to be deposited in an attorney/client trust fund in uniformity with that states rule of responsibility. Brent is licensed in CA, AZ, and MD and has attorneys working for him in other states that work on the specific mortgage restructuring.
According to Anthony Terah, leads are obtained by purchasing data and information from credit bureaus such as Experian and Equifax, and then a “legal ad” is sent to the potential client via regular mail. Per both Brent and Anthony, when a potential client calls in, “The needs of the client are evaluated, as there are many factors to determine, like when the home is purchased, the debt to income ratio, loan to value of the home and any personal hardships.” Mr. Phillips reviews the files before a client is taken on. If the client agrees to work with them, funds are deposited into a trust account in uniformity with the state rules.
Mr. Phillips and Mr. Terah had consistent responses when they were asked about the typical experience a client receives with their company. Mr. Phillips made it clear that “No experience is typical. A lot of it’s just financial, and it’s a lot like doing your taxes or bankruptcy, it’s not greater legal theory. We hone the financials, draft the appropriate hardship letters. Those are sent out (to the potential clients); they call in and speak with an intake agent. Intake agents are directed to qualify the client, not waste time. You can figure it out in ten minutes, by asking key questions. Then someone senior reviews it and it if is something that meets the criteria set out, or if there are questions, they call me right away. If the file meets criteria, we’ll have them sign a retainer, I’ll review it, and once I approve it the processing begins. The client sends in documents, and if they do not send in the complete documents, more time goes by. Also, Lenders are not as diligent about the restructuring in the loss mitigation room as they are in making new loans. In loss mitigation, they are losing money; on the other end, they’re making money. Restructuring is not their top priority.” This can often cause delays in the restructuring process.
In regard to complaint resolution, Mr. Phillip’s gave the following example to illustrate how he deals with complaints: “One gentleman we accepted looked good initially. We started drilling into it, uncovered some factors that didn’t look so good. We called him, and told him the issues we saw, asked if he would like us to proceed even though it is a bit of a difficult file. If you want us to proceed, we’d be more than happy to submit your file, or it’s ok – if you would like us to cancel we will send your money back. He chose to have his money sent back. Plenty of other clients with a similar scenario want to proceed.” When asked how the client reacted, Brent responded: “Clients who are dealing with financial hardship are only as happy as they allow themselves to be. There are less than one percent who are not happy with their outcome.” Brent feels that he creates more friends and positive outcomes than the few that insist on being dissatisfied no matter what service is given.
“As long as you disclose the problems in the file, it’s up to the client to make the decision. Many times they don’t have other options, they are in a bad loan, and they are upside down. For instance, they are not a Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae loan where they have a Harp loan that allows for negative equity. There is a protocol, homes affordable refinance program, which allows people with negative equity up to any amount to refinance. No other lender has that program. You go anywhere else, you generally need 20% equity. There has been a precipitous drop in home values.” Brent said he will sometimes charge the client half for services, and tell the client that if they are successful, he will charge the other half. The retainer that the client signs at the beginning of the process states what they will be doing, and they acknowledge that they have no guarantees. In the last six months, they have started recording interviews. People hear what they want to hear, and we now have a recorded interview where they were told and acknowledge that there are no guarantees.”
Anthony Terah’s approach to explaining complaint resolution was more specific about the process. He said that all accounts are updated every fourteen days in a system that the clients can see, and that all calls are returned within 24-48 hours. Because each processor handles around 155 files a piece, they do their best to accommodate the clients; however, they have assigned one person to specifically monitor all communications for all files to make sure calls are returned. If a complaint cannot be resolved by the processing staff, resolution manager Robert Newton speaks to them. In some cases, Newton will refer cases on to Mr. Phillips to deal with personally. “We always settle in a way that is amicable,” says Newton.” If a client is not happy, they are referred to speak with the attorney assigned to their state.
Brent explains that there are a number of factors that will affect results: besides the loan companies, clients are not always compliant. “We get great results. I’ve probably had 5,000 clients over the years, but you’re going to have the 1%. I understand. People, when they don’t achieve the results they desire, they complain. And the unfortunate part is, people you get results for, they never write anything. I’m not saying every file we have worked on has been perfect, no business can say that. But we send them their money back. We’ve given refunds because people complain or there are cancellations. So we try to do our best, to get what I think is fair. Simply because they didn’t get a good result, we still give them something back so they don’t leave on a bad note.”
Brent and his representatives, in separate interviews, were asked about their responses to the specific complaints on Ripoff Report by former clients who claimed they were forced into foreclosure because of bad advice, or they were charged for services they did not receive. Mr. Phillips was very adamant in his response: “No one is forced into foreclosure! No one told them not to make their payments.”
Mr. Phillips explained that with Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans, the process is straightforward, but if someone has a “Harper” loan, (which he describes as the high-interest loans that caused the mortgage bubble to break) they have negative equity. For instance, Mr. Phillips worked with a 74-year old widow who was given a negative amortization loan. It took 54% of her income to make her mortgage payment, which never went to her principal but only paid interest. She had the option to use her life savings to work with the original company, who had her loan, but her life savings would be depleted and the company would still foreclose, which, Brent alludes, has happened frequently when people work with these companies on their own.
He helps people resubmit, and informs the customers about what is going to happen. Brent continued, “If they’re going to foreclose, (as the widow) I’d rather keep my $50,000 in savings. At that point, we re-submitted it (when she was in hardship) and got it approved. When we first submitted it, because she was not behind, the lender Indy Mac likes to play this little game. Since you’re not behind, we’re not going to do it (the restructure).”
However, some customers take that warning about their original loan companies and voluntarily decide to stop making their payments. Brent says he never tells people to stop making their payments. He lets them know that lenders are more inclined to do something if they are behind, and that they need to sit down with their family and decide what they need to do, because the lender can foreclose, and it takes up to a year in Maryland, for instance, for a foreclosure to go through and he encourages clients to do what they think is best in regard to saving money in payments so they can get another house after the eventual foreclosure.
According to Anthony, many of them are also applying for restructuring on their own with their company, apart from hiring Phillips Law Center, and they withdraw their request for help when they are successful on their own and expect not to have to pay anything for services. Brent says, “A misunderstanding occurs when people say, ‘I hired you to do my mortgage restructure’, but my reply is, ‘No; you hired me to perform services;’ there are no guarantees to the outcome.”
Brent made it clear that their service is to give the legal advice and help for applying for loan restructuring; however, the lenders can say no, and depending on the type of loan they have, the likelihood of success obviously affects the outcome, as well as the level of customer cooperation. In a separate interview, Anthony Terah said “You cannot promise or guarantee your lender will approve the modification application. As required by state law, they are directed to make their payments while the modification is in progress. What’s online is not accurate. It is also easy to track Brent through the state bar, where his cell phone number is on file.” Terah reiterated that clients sign an extensive retainer agreement, and calls with the customers are recorded to verify their compliance with the terms because so many erroneous complaints have come through. Terah says that Mr. Phillips does quite a bit of Pro-bono work for elderly clients, but this is never noted on the Ripoff Reports. ANY BUSINESS THAT CAN ADMIT THEY MADE MISTAKES AND CORRECTS THOSE MISTAKES IS A BUSINESS YOU CAN TRUST AND WORTH DOING BUSINESS WITH .
To deal with their level of service, improvements have been made in the process to make clients feel more comfortable and informed; Phillips Law Center has hired more customer service representatives, and has mandated that every possible attempt to contact the client during developments is made. Terah stated that “All complaints are handled with a refund, even the unfounded ones. Some clients submit their own file while in process with us, and then withdraw their request, and they are refunded.”
Mr. Phillips, in his effort to “do whatever it takes” to satisfy his customers and deal with complaints, had this to say: “If the file is not handled properly a refund is made. I’ve started bringing in more customer service people and keeping customers more apprised, getting back with clients in a timely fashion.”
Mr. Phillips’ response on being part of the Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program for Ripoff report was, simply, “We adhere to a higher ethical and business standard. We also take a personal interest in each client.” Also, he said that what sets their business apart is that they have experienced staff and follow the law. “We have licensed attorneys in every state; Maryland, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Most other businesses (of their type) do not have hands-on attorneys. STATED IMPROVEMENTS FROM PHILLIPS LAW CENTER.
Phillips Law Center employee feedback and surveys reveal comments such as this: "Phillips Law Center provides a very positive environment to work. Opportunities for suggestions and improvements are encouraged. Brent is truly concerned about our contribution to the company and providing growth opportunities for us. He takes the time to listen and communicate with employees and customers." Ripoff Report was pleased to learn that Phillips Law Center’s past and current approach to business is focused on its pledge to total commitment towards client and employee satisfaction.
Phillips Law Center recognizes that complaints posted on Ripoff Report (whether true or not) are issues that need to be addressed, not ignored. If handled correctly, complaints can be valuable learning opportunities. With the feedback generated by Ripoff Report’s Investigation Phillips Law Center has made organizational changes allowing its clients and employees a more streamlined approach to problem resolution and a commitment to a great client experience.
In summary, after our investigation, which included discussions with Mr. Phillips and many of his past and current associates, Ripoff Report is convinced that Phillips Law Center is committed to quality delivery of services resulting in total client satisfaction. Read more about why consumers should feel confident when doing business with a member of Rip-off Report's Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program. Yes, it’s a long name for a program that does a lot for both consumers and businesses alike. Read about Rip-off Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program,.. A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business. this program works.
As a matter of policy, when a business becomes a member of the Corporate Advocacy Program they agree to allow Ripoff Report to contact every client who filed a complaint so they can make things right with them. In order to confirm that the complaints were resolved, Ripoff Report is copied on all responses so we can insure that the member business did right by their customer. NOW TO THE ORIGINAL REPORT THAT WAS FILED
Phillips Law Center PLC Con artist offering help lowering mortgage payments Newport Beach, California
i was sent a mailer regarding my mortgage with Bank of America and enrollment in the making home affordable program. I usually throw out these types of mailers, but I had contacted Bank of America as they were my mortgage company and was unable to enroll in the MHA program myself, so I figured I would give them a call. I advised them that my mortgage was now handled through a different bank, but they assured me they could help me.
They explained to me how the MHA program works to lower the interest rate and payment on home loans and that banks don't usually answer honestly when an average customer requests enrollment. They carefully went over with me how I should not be paying more than 35% of my income in mortgage payment and advised me if I had a recent drop in income that my payments could be reduced due to the MHA program being made available until the end of the year by the goverment. They even e-mailed me youtube news posts showing how banks lie in order to not enroll people in the program and lower their payments. They requested my personal bank statements, w2 forms, pay stubs, copy of a utility bill, etc., so they could determine how much my mortgage could be reduced by enrolling. i had called my bank myself and so everything they said seemed believable. I paid them the $2995 they requested and mailed them the check along with hard copies of the documents mentioned. They advised me to write a hardship letter to my mortgage company advising that I would hold off on making payments while the PLC firm was handling overwriting my loan, they advised me to describe my lower income and request those few payments be added to the end of the loan. They told me the money I was paying them ($2995) would be basically the same money I would not be paying to the mortgage company for the next 2 months while they secure the new payment amount. They did an excellent job convincing me because I usually do not fall for these types of things.
I began getting calls from my mortgage company when I did not make a payment, and I had been current on my payments when I began this process. I asked them if they received the hardship letter and they had not, they only wanted me to make a payment immediately and it was a Saturday at the end of the month, they advised I would be turned to collections on Monday. I was upset and tried to contact PLC and could not get an answer. I sent numerous e-mails to them, even one to Brent Phillips, the head of the firm, whose information I found online. I wrote a report with the BBB in Newport Beach that day. I received a call after that from Brent Phillips who advised me they were moving from building to building and the phones were off, and he apologized, he said that the mortgage company/collectors were lying to me and that is how they get people to pay them money and said they were collection agents, not really the mortgage company and that I should not believe them. I advised my mortgage company at that point to only talk to Phillips Law Center with regards to my file as they had power of attorney. Now my mortgage company could not get PLC to answer when they called, and they had a note on the file from me stating they were only to speak to them. My mortgage company began the process of foreclosure and each time i received a letter in the mail, I would call PLC and be advised this is normal and to ignore it, they would be done soon and they were only waiting to hear from the mortgage company. Once I received final notification from my mortgage company on foreclosure and what payments I would need to arrange to make it stop, I started frantically calling PLC to only get answering machines and no return calls to many messages. I called the original 800 number where I began this journey and did get an answer, but they would only take a message and promise a call back within 48 hours, I was even given the name of the person who answered and told to call him if I did not get a call back from the rep I was working with. I did call him back and he gave me the supervisor who promised she would handle it and call me in 24 hours, again, no call back. At this point, I made the deal with my mortgage company to keep myself from being foreclosed on and losing my home.
I went in to this with $3000 in savings and current on my mortgage. I was struggling to make that mortgage payment, but I was making it. I am legally blind, on disability and have suffered a big loss of income this past year. My husband is awaiting trial sitting in jail for a crime he did not commit so he cannot work right now and contribute to the household. PLC learned of my hardships and took advantage of it and did nothing for me except almost lose me my house. Do not deal with these people, they are very good at e-mailing information, but only call on the phone when it is something they wouldn't want to leave in writing where you could use it against them. They claim on their website to be BBB approved, they are not and have many complaints filed against them. I have filed a complaint with the goverment, as advised to do by my morgage company, and I surely wish I could get my money back. Right now, all I can do is warn others to stay away from these people. I dealt with many of them, and the names I have memory of or e-mails from are: Lydia Lopez, Henry, Vanessa, Veronica Guitterez, Elizabeth Hinojoza, Carolina Lucas and of course, Brent Phillips.