UNIQUE ASPECTS OF COMMERCIAL COLLECTIONS IN FLORIDA
Florida is a very unique state for many reasons. Not only is Florida a very transient state with a large percent of its population coming from other states and countries, it is also a very seasonal state. Many of the residents are part-time and will reside in the state from November through the end of May or thereabouts, resulting in a unique rippling effect throughout the Florida economy.
As a result of the seasonal influx of part-time residents, many if not most of the retail businesses and restaurants as well as just about any industry in the state of Florida does its majority of its business during these months.
Accordingly, if you are going to attempt to collect from a restaurant, retail business, or from just about anyone doing business in the State of Florida, the months referenced above are the best time to initiate collections for money owed to their various vendors and creditors. Not to say that there aren’t other industries that do a lot of business in the summertime such as air-conditioning contractors and water parks, but in my experience in doing commercial collections here in South Florida for almost thirty (30) years, the best time to hit these businesses with a law suit or possible bank garnishment is in the winter and spring months.
Another unique aspect of commercial collections here in the State of Florida are the numerous exemptions granted to individuals from levies and garnishment. Florida Statute Chapter 222 sets out various exemptions that are available to Florida residents. This is important when it comes to commercial collections in that many if not most credit applications personal guarantees on the part of a principal of the company.
Therefore, even if you obtain a Judgment against a business and its individual guarantor in the event that the company is defunct or asset-less, the collection options can be limited. Florida Statutes 222 provides for an exemption from forcing the sale of a Florida resident’s primary homestead residence. Many of you may be familiar with the fact that O.J. Simpson moved to Florida after having a large Judgment for wrongful death entered against him. Many were surprised that Mr. Simpson could own a nice home and play golf without the fear of the victims who obtained a large Judgment seizing his homestead property.
Additionally, in the event someone is making more than fifty-percent (50%) of the household income, his or her wages are exempt from garnishment. Furthermore, jointly-held property is also exempt.
While some of these unique aspects of Florida commercial collections can seem frustrating as they do represent some obstacles for the commercial creditor, my vast experience at dealing with all types of businesses and retailers here in Florida has given me a unique perspective and ability to collect. Additionally, many individuals may they think that they are exempt from collection efforts when they truly are not. As we state on our homepage, we truly leave no stone unturned in making sure that we use every effort to collect for our merchant, vendor, and distributor clients.