Do I need a license?
To start a credit repair business, one of the basic requirements you will need to meet is having an occupational license. You will need to apply for the license through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. This is a general state requirement, and the license fee is $15 for a three-year license.
Florida law requires any credit repair business to obtain a surety bond of $10,000 by a surety company that is admitted to do business in Florida under Florida Statute 817.7005. Obtaining a surety bond will generally cost you between 1% and 10% of your personal credit, as the business owner. Surety bonds can be acquired from a number of insurance companies, so it is important to compare them to find the most favorable rate.
Your credit repair business must establish a trust account at a federally insured bank or savings and loan association located in Florida.
Credit Repair Contracts
Before you provide your consumers with any credit repair services, you are required to provide them with written Credit Repair Contracts. Under Florida law, these contracts must contain:
- A statement in bold, immediately next to the consumer’s signature, that informs them of their cancellation rights with respect to the contract.
- The terms and conditions of payment, including specific payment amounts.
- A full and detailed description of all services your business will perform, including all guarantees and promises of refunds.
- Your business’s principal business address and the name of your agent authorized to receive service of process.
- A “Notice of Cancellation” form attached to the contract.
Does my credit repair business need to obtain certification?
While it is not an official requirement, anyone wishing to start a credit repair business should get certified. There are a multitude of online certification courses that can help build your credibility as a credit repair business. Additionally, you can build credibility for your business by applying for accreditation from the Better Business Bureau once your business is able to meet the accreditation standards. Some states require credit repair businesses to register as Credit Service Organizations, but that is not a requirement in Florida.
What laws do I need to comply with?
Credit repair businesses are heavily regulated. Any credit repair service organization must comply with the Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA), which is Title IV of the Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA). Your business must also comply with the Florida Credit Service Organizations Act.
It is important to fully understand these laws before you start a credit repair business. In part, these laws prevent your business from:
- Making a false or misleading statement with respect to a consumer’s credit worthiness to the consumer or to credit bureaus;
- Making false or misleading statements in any credit repair service organization advertisements
- Engaging in any kind of business that would constitute fraud or deception.
If you would like to learn more about starting a credit repair business in Florida, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced business attorneys at EPGD Business Law, with offices in Miami, FL, Washington, D.C., New York, NY and West Palm Beach, FL. Call us at (786) 837-6787 or email us to schedule a consultation.
*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*