I'm starting a judgment enforcement business in Florida. How will I be classified?

I'm BUYING delinquent judgments and enforcing payment. I will not be a bill collection agency, I will be collecting on behalf of myself as the new owner of the judgment. There will not be a client relationship, just buyer, seller. I will be clean cut and follow ALL rules and laws to the letter. I know Florida has some quirky laws in terms of judgment collections, can some one give me some details on how to further avoid UPL?

Jacksonville, FL -

Attorney Answers (2)

Michael J. Ireland

Michael J. Ireland

Bankruptcy Attorney - Thousand Oaks, CA
Answered

You are jumping into deep and perilous waters.

Not only must you comply with Florida law, you must also comply with federal law and, if any of your debtors are in states other than Florida, those state laws too on debt collections.

You don't mention if you are enforcing judgments against business or consumers, but the laws are usually different (more protective of consumers).

I STRONGLY URGE YOU to retain a competent Florida lawyer and PAY to get solid advice and guidance on your business. The ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is applicable here. After you screw up and get sued, it probably will be too late to save yourself. And people LOVE to sue debt collectors.

I am not sure how the UPL (unauthorized practice of law) figures into this situation - you are allowed to represent yourself as long as you are doing business as an individual. If your business is an LLC or corporation, you MUST have a lawyer represent the entity in any legal proceedings with courts.

Good luck.

If you need further clarity, please email me at MICHAEL@MIRELAND.US Answers to questions are for general... more
Young Walgenkim

Young Walgenkim

Lemon Law Attorney - Salem, OR
Answered

I agree with the previous answer. If you are purchasing and collecting defaulted consumer debt, you are classified as a "debt collector" for the purposes of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) even if you will only be collecting on the accounts you own.

I also strongly urge you to retain a lawyer who is familiar with the FDCPA, the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, and other relevant statutes before starting any collection activity.

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