Florida Debt Collection Law Firm Collecting Commercial Collection Accounts

 COMMERCIAL COLLECTION LAW FIRM

Our Florida collection attorneys will assist your company collect past due commercial accounts

Florida collection agencies have been collecting commercial debt in Florida for many years. When your company choices to engage a Florida collection agency it has become apparent that your customer who is located in Florida has stopped paying invoices in a timely fashion. Florida collection agencies typically hire debt collectors to make collection calls from their Florida collection agency.   Florida collection agencies then will send a series of collection letters to the debtor located in Florida.

Florida Collection Attorney Gebeloff

Florida Collection Attorney Gebeloff

Our Florida commercial debt collection law firm has been receiving debt collection cases from Florida commercial collection agencies when the Florida collection agency has been unsuccessful in collecting on the past due date. In that instance the Florida commercial collection agencies are obliged to increase the contingent collection rate that they charge so that they may then forward the debt collection matter to our Florida commercial debt collection law firm for further handling. Florida collection agencies are not licensed to practice law.

Our Florida commercial collection law firm just like a Florida collection agency will send our collection letters and place collection calls. The huge difference is the customer is now receiving a collection letter from a Florida collection attorney. Collection phone calls are made by a Florida debt collection law firm. There is a greater sense of urgency for your customer to make payment to your company when demand for payment is coming from a Commercial Collection firm rather than a Florida collection agency. Lastly, there is no middleman. Our firm will charge a flat contingent fee on collection. Again Florida collection agencies raise your company’s contingent collection rate upon collection when they forward the claim to a debt collection lawyer.

 

Please contact our Florida debt collection law firm and speak to one of our debt collection professionals. We would be happy to discuss a debt collection strategy that is best suited to help your company recover money that is justly owed.

 

Debt Collection Lawsuit

Debt Collection Lawsuit

Collection Attorneys Litigate Debt Collection Cases

When a debt collection law suit is filed your customer now knows this is their final chance to make payment arrangements. There are no guarantees that your company will get paid. However, the clock is now ticking for your customer. Our debt collection law firm calls your customer a debtor. Going forward we will refer to your customer as a debtor and we are pretty sure by the time you have had to sue your customer, you are also calling the customer a debtor.   There are several scenarios that may play out when a law suit is filed and we will discuss those below.

After a law suit is filed a summons is issued and either a private process server or a sheriff attempts to serve the debtor. If the debtor is served, the debtor has a certain amount of days to file a responsive pleading to the law suit. If the debtor does not respond, a default is entered by the clerk of court. After default is entered you typically be able to submit your proof of the debt to the court and request that a default judgment be entered against the debtor for the amount of the debt. The court typically will allow you to recover prejudgment interest and your court filing fees. Your reasonable legal fees will be allowed in some states only if there is a written contract or statute that allows for attorneys’ fees. Some states do not have this requirement and will also allow you to add attorneys’ fees to the judgment.

Debt Recovery Firm

Collection Law Firm

If the debtor is a corporation or limited liability company most states will not allow the debtor to represent itself. The fact that the debtor has to retain an attorney adds pressure on the debtor to settle with your company before spending money on an attorney to defend a lawsuit for payment on a debt that is justly owed to your company.   If the issue for not paying is the debtor’s cash flow, our debt recovery law firm has found that this is the time that the debtor will finally come forward with a repayment plan. Some debtors look to negotiate and will offer a percentage of the debt in a lump sum payment, other debtor will offer to pay the debt off in installments. Our clients our in the driver’s seat and can make a business decision on what payment arrangement they would be willing to accept or even to accept a payment arrangement at all. What is important for our clients to understand is that sometimes it’s best to allow for a payment plan as the debtor will voluntarily pay money. Payment plans are typically reduced to writing and filed with the court. If a debtor misses a payment, our client would be entitled to enter judgment for the full amount sought in the complaint, less any previous payments made and paid on the account by the debtor.

 

 

If the debtor does retain an attorney it may be the debtor has multiple creditors and is trying to stay afloat by filing an answer to the complaint and delaying the inevitable entry of judgment down the road   and then work out a payment plan at a later date. Other times, the debtor may have some legitimate reason for not pay some or all of the money our client claims is due. At this point in time, the claim becomes contested and like all other civil litigation cases discovery may be warranted. Each side has the right to conduct discovery, propound interrogatories, and request to produce documents and/or take depositions. The case most likely will be scheduled for mediation prior to trial. Mediation is the time in the case where the parties can set their own course and take the decision making out of the hands of the judge and jury. We encourage our clients to keep an open mind at mediation and strive to reach an amicable resolution to their debt collection case. If the case is not resolved at mediation, the case will proceed to trial.

Third Party Collection Agency

THIRD PARTY COLLECTIONS

COLLECTION AGENCY OR COLLECTION LAW FIRM

When your internal collection efforts have failed, it is time to consider turning the account over to either a collection agency or collection law firm. Your company has to consider whether they want to pursue hard or soft collections.

Soft collections is used when client relationships want to be maintained. Your customer is sent gentle demand letters and telephone calls are made to try and work with your customer to determine the root cause of the delinquency and then to try and establish creative solutions to recover your money in both an amicable and most expeditious way possible. The goal is not to alienate your customer with the hopes that once your customer’s account is brought current the business relationship can continue.

Hard collections are employed when it is apparent that your customer has no intention of or does not have the resources to pay for the services you have provided or for the goods that you have sold and delivered. The telephone calls are made and demand letters are written in a manner to make it clear to our customer that if payment arrangements are not made immediately, litigation may be started to recover your money.

Debt Collection Agency

Debt Collection Law Firm

A collection agency may be considered where balances on accounts are too small to consider filing a lawsuit. In this instance, the debt collection agency can continue to make collection calls and send letters. They can be a valuable resource for a company that has multiple small balance past due accounts. However, collection agencies have their limitations in that they are not attorneys and can only go so far in demanding payment. If litigation is required the collection agency has to outsource the account to a collection attorney and your company will end up paying a higher contingent fee as the collection agency typically charges a higher rate once an account is sent to an attorney.

 

A   debt collection law firm can perform the same debt recovery services as collection agency and more. The law firm is equipped to make telephone demands and send collection letters. The collection law firm can also utilize soft collections or hard collections as necessary. Importantly, the debt collection law firm gives your customer a stronger sense of urgency to resolve the outstanding debt. Further a collection attorney is able to file a lawsuit, levy on assets and garnish bank accounts if necessary to collect your money. A lawyer can give provide you with legal advice and opinions on the best course of action to take an alternative theories in which it may be possible to impose personal liability on officers of the company for the debt even if there are no personal guarantees on the account.

Collection Agency

 Retail Collection Agencies  Regulated by the FDCPA

A collection agency is employed to collect debts either on commercial debt collection or retail debt collection accounts. When collecting debts from consumers or individuals who owe money from transactions that are not related to a commercial transaction, the account is considered a retail debt collection account. The collection agency is regulated by the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act). The collection agency is prohibited from employing debt collection tactics that may mislead or be overly aggressive. There are many prohibitions detailed in the act and collection agencies should be very careful when attempting collection of consumer accounts. There are law firms that their entire law practice concentrates on suing collection agencies that violate the act.

Commercial Collection Agencies

Commercial collection agencies that only collect on commercial collection accounts are not bound by the FDCPA. Our debt collection law firm mainly collects on commercial collection accounts as we do not want to subject our debt recovery from to the rigors of the FDCPA. We perform the same services as a commercial collection agency and more. Just like a commercial collection agency our law firm will send out collection demand letters demanding payment for your company’s money. Our debt collection attorneys will also make telephone calls just like a commercial collection agency to attempt to collect money and to determine the nature of the dispute, if any.

Florida Collection Agency

Florida Collection Agency

A commercial collection agency is not a collection law firm. Collection agencies are not licensed to practice law. A collection agency cannot file a lawsuit to collect your money. The collection agency has to send your debt collection account to a collection law firm. In most cases, the collection agency will be obligated to charge a higher contingent fee rate   to act as an intermediary between the collection attorney and the client. If your company knows form the outset that the account is going to be difficult to collect or require litigation, rather than placing the account with a collection agency, retaining a commercial collection law firm with experienced debt collection attorneys and paralegals.

 

Feel free to contact one of our debt collection lawyers or paralegals to discuss your company’s debt collection needs.

Collection Agency or Collection Law Firm

 Debt Collection Agency or

 Debt Collection Law Firm

When your internal collection efforts have failed, it is time to consider turning the account over to either a collection agency or collection law firm. Your company has to consider whether they want to pursue hard or soft collections.

Soft collections is used when client relationships want to be maintained. Your customer is sent gentle demand letters and telephone calls are made to try and work with your customer to determine the root cause of the delinquency and then to try and establish creative solutions to recover your money in both an amicable and most expeditious way possible. The goal is not to alienate your customer with the hopes that once your customer’s account is brought current the business relationship can continue.

Hard collections are employed when it is apparent that your customer has no intention of or does not have the resources to pay for the services you have provided or for the goods that you have sold and delivered. The telephone calls are made and demand letters are written in a manner to make it clear to our customer that if payment arrangements are not made immediately, litigation may be started to recover your money.

Using a Collection Agency

A collection agency may be considered where balances on accounts are too small to consider filing a lawsuit. In this instance, the debt collection agency can continue to make collection calls and send letters. They can be a valuable resource for a company that has multiple small balance past due accounts. However, collection agencies have their limitations in that they are not attorneys and can only go so far in demanding payment. If litigation is required the collection agency has to outsource the account to a collection attorney and your company will end up paying a higher contingent fee as the collection agency typically charges a higher rate once an account is sent to an attorney.

Debt Collection Agency

Debt Collection Law Firm

A   debt collection law firm can perform the same debt recovery services as collection agency and more. The law firm is equipped to make telephone demands and send collection letters. The collection law firm can also utilize soft collections or hard collections as necessary. Importantly, the debt collection law firm gives your customer a stronger sense of urgency to resolve the outstanding debt. Further a collection attorney is able to file a lawsuit, levy on assets and garnish bank accounts if necessary to collect your money. A lawyer can give provide you with legal advice and opinions onthe best course of action to take an alternative theories in which it may be possible to impose personal liability on officers of the company for the debt even if there are no personal guarantees on the account.

 

Florida Debt Collection Agency

Florida Debt Collection Agency

What to consider when deciding to use a Florida  Collection Agency

A Florida debt collection agency may be ideal for creditors with multiple past due accounts with small balances that are past due. When collecting money a Florida debt collection agency may send demand letters and make phone calls in an attempt to collect your money. A Florida debt collection agency usually hires debt collectors   to make numerous phone calls   to persuade the debtor to pay.

A Florida debt collection agency cannot practice law. If the Florida debt collection agency is unable to collect your money with phone calls and debt collection letters the collection agency must then send the account to a Florida debt collection law firm.

Florida commercial collection agency

Florida Debt Collection Agency

Our Florida debt collection law firm receives many accounts from a Florida debt collection agency that has been unable to collect the debt by phone calls and letters alone. We find often that a Florida debt collection agency will hold on to the account to long before forwarding the claim to our law firm for collection. The collection agency does not want to forward the account if it does not have to because their contingency fee will be reduced in that the case has now been sent to a collection lawyer.

 

 

Please keep in mind that our debt collection law firm   uses collection lawyers and debt collection paralegals to attempt the collection of past due accounts. Just like a Florida debt collection agency our debt collection firm can send demand letters and make collection phone calls. The advantage to a client coming to our collection practice instead of using a Florida debt collection agency is that the contingency rate will be lower if the account has to go to litigation, collection demands are coming from a collection law firm and collection attorneys and paralegals are handling the account. Putting the power of a debt collection law firm may be right for you before your company considers a Florida debt collection agency. Please feel free to contact our debt recovery law firm to discuss your options.

Collection Agencies Must Be Licensed

Collection Agencies Must Be Licensed

Florida collection agencies are licensed in the State of Florida to collect debt. It is important when choosing a commercial collection agency in Florida to make sure the collection agency is in fact licensed. Several of our clients have come to our Florida debt recovery law firm after first utilizing the services of what they believed at the time to be a reputable licensed full service commercial collection agency.

Our collection law firm recognizes there are several good commercial collection agencies in Florida. As we have stated in past articles, a Florida collection agency can be a very good option for clients that have a high volume of debt collection cases with small balances. The collection agencies can send out several demand letters and make multiple collection calls in an attempt to collect on the past due account receivable. These small balance cases do not warrant filing a law suit to recover your company’s money as the cost would be prohibitive.

Florida commercial collection agency

Florida Commercial Collection Agency

It is important for our law firm’s clients and potential clients to recognize that a commercial collection law firm can provide the same debt collection services as a Florida commercial collection agency. However, what is most important to recognize is that Florida commercial collection agencies are not licensed to practice law. The collection agency cannot file suit. The case must be referred to an attorney. The end result is that you will have to pay a higher contingency fee on the collection of your money as the collection agency will share the contingent fee.

 

If you would like to call our Florida commercial collection law firm, one of our collection paralegals or collection attorneys would be happy to assist you in deciding the best debt collection strategy that is right for your company.

 

Internal Collection Procedures

Debt Collection Attorney to Author E-Book

Our debt collection clients have been asking our debt collection law firm questions about collecting their past due accounts.  There are common patterns  in the debt collection cycle.  We decided to begin putting together an e-book on  debt collection  to try and help our clients maximize their recovery of  account receivables.  The  debt collection book  will discuss  internal company credit and collection policy and procedures as well  as what to expect when an account is turned over to a debt collection attorney. Below are several paragraphs from the book.   As we progress with written the book, we will post excerpts as they become available.

  • Internal Collections

Whether your company has full time employees assigned to credit and collections or if you are a sole proprietor managing this task, it is important to have internal collection procedures in place. Be proactive when it comes to collecting the money that your company has earned by providing services or for the goods sold and delivered to your customer. Make sure that you provide an invoice at the time of providing the service or at the time of delivery of the goods sold and delivered. If the invoice cannot be generated immediately make sure that an invoice is generated within the first forty-eight (48) hours.

If payment is not received from your customer within the payment terms you have established, do not hesitate to make a phone call. The first call can be as simple as determining whether or not the invoice was received by your customer. You would be surprised that by simply calling to see if your invoice was received will move the invoice up on your customer’s payable list. The phone call also helps establish a rapport with the customer and perhaps some repeat business. Most customers will be glad to hear from you, talk about the product or service. You will find most of your customers will even tell you a check is being mailed on a date certain. Make note of when payment was promised and if not received within a reasonable time after that date make a second call.

Debt collection Law Firm Florida

Debt collection law firm

Unfortunately, in some instances during the initial call, this may be time that you may pick up on the fact that your customer may be struggling and will not be paying the receivable in a timely manner. Depending on the nature of the call you will be able to determine if your customer is sincere in its desire to pay your company or is ducking the obligation. During this call make notes of what your customer may tell you. If a reasonable repayment plan can be established, confirm the plan in an email. Ask your customer to confirm the debt and repayment plan. This may prove useful later down the road if the account has to be turned over to a lawyer for suit. Remember, the goal is to get paid and receive repeat business. In an ideal world this would be the case. However, in today’s economy, this is not always the case.

 

Send   a statement of account to customers with balances over thirty (30) days old with a handwritten note simply stating “Please be so kind to pay your balance.”   This is another gentle reminder that payment is past due and that payment is expected. If payment is not received within forty-five (45) days, place another call. This is the time where it will become apparent if payment will be forthcoming, if payment terms need to be discussed or if it is time to turn the account over to a third party to assist with collecting your money.

How To Maximize Collecting Your Receivables

Debt Collection Attorney to Author E-Book

Our debt collection clients have been asking our debt collection law firm questions about collecting their past due accounts.  There are common patterns  in the debt collection cycle.  We decided to begin putting together an e-book on  debt collection  to try and help our clients maximize their recovery of  account receivables.  The  debt collection book  will discuss  internal company credit and collection policy and procedures as well  as what to expect when an account is turned over to a debt collection attorney. Below are several paragraphs from the book.   As we progress with written the book, we will post excerpts as they become available.

  • Consistent Company Credit and Collection Policies

The name of the game in any business whether it be large or small is cash flow. Without cash flow most businesses, unless they huge reserves set aside struggle. Being consistent with your companies credit and collection practices is essential to keeping the money earned from services your company has rendered or has invoiced for the product your company has provided.

It is important all the personal in your company are made aware of your company’s credit and collection policies. Customer retention should be the goal. However, there will become a time in any business where a debt becomes past due. At some point your company has to start to make a decision, is the customer having a temporary cash flow issue that a simple phone call may determine or is it becoming apparent that the customer no longer has the ability to pay or does has the ability to pay but, simply is ignoring demand for payment.

When it is apparent to your company that an acceptable repayment plan will not be established, the debtor simply will not pay or the debtor is in the process of liquidating, it is time for your company to get third party help to help collect the money that is due to your company for services rendered and/or goods sold and delivered.

  •  The Importance of the Credit Application

The Credit Application is very often overlooked by many companies. Our debt collection law firm cannot stress the importance of having your customer provide complete and accurate information on the application. From this document you can gain insight on how creditworthy your customer is. The customer may not always be truthful about its financial status but, from a credit and collection standpoint what our collection law firm is looking for, if the account becomes delinquent, is there a valid address to serve the summons and complaint and to see if a legal entity is even identified.

Too many times we see our clients invoicing a company that does not even legally exist. You can verify the corporate charter of any business by going to the Department of State, Division of Corporations Website, in the State that your customer claims it is incorporated.

Debt collection Law Firm Florida

Debt collection law firm

The credit application should have a paragraph added to allow for the recovery of costs and collection fees in the event your company has to retain a debt collection law firm to assist with the recovery of an account receivable. Unless specifically stated in the credit application or allowed by state statute, recovering your costs and attorneys’ fees, if you do have to take a case to court. varies from State to State. In Florida, if the credit application, contract or a Florida Statute does not specify entitlement to attorneys’ fees, each party to the lawsuit would be responsible for paying their own costs and attorneys’ fees. For this reason we advise all of our clients to include a paragraph substantially similar to: “In the event (name of your company) has to pursue collection on past due invoices for services rendered and/or goods sold and delivered, (name of your company) shall be entitled to recover its costs of collection, court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.”

 

 

Personal Guarantee paragraphs should be added to the credit application. With so many businesses open today and closed tomorrow a personal guarantee will ensure there is still someone to pursue if your customer goes out of business and there are still past due invoices that due to your company. However, keep in mind, a personal guarantee is only as good as the individual guaranteeing the obligation. There are some customers whose officers will refuse to sign a personal guarantee. A business decision needs to be made whether or not to extend credit to. If your company is willing to take a risk by extending credit to a newly formed business do so with open eyes.

In sum, your company needs to make decisions on who to grant credit to. Use the information obtained in the credit application to make a prudent decision. But, perhaps if an officer is unwilling to sign a personal guarantee that should be a red flag that the officer of the company is not willing to personally back the obligation.

( C) Copyright, Stephen B. Gebeloff, P.A. June 2015