Falling deep into a financial hole can take a tremendous physical and emotional toll on you. It gets much worse when the financial hole is dug deeper by the phone calls made from a debt collection agency.
The calls start out polite, but after just a few days, the third party debt collector goes full blown aggressive in an attempt to get you to pay off an outstanding credit card or personal loan account.
Fortunately for consumers, the United States Congress passed a law in 1977 that many legal experts refer to as the ultimate consumer bill of rights. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), bill collectors are no longer allowed to go full blown aggressive on consumers.
In fact, the FDCPA outlaws dozens of debt collection agency tactics. The landmark consumer protection law also gives you the opportunity to file a claim against a debt collection agency, if you can prove one or more FDCPA violations caused physical and/or emotional duress.
How New Mexico Handles FDCPA Laws
Congress wrote the FDCPA into law to provide every American consumer the right to stop bill collector harassment. This means the FDCPA carries the same legal weight in Maine as it does in California.
Shortly after passage of the FDCPA, several state enacted FDCPA laws that either mirror the legal language written into the federal FDCPA or bolstered the federal consumer protection law by creating new and improved protective provisions.
Like every other state, New Mexico has established a statute of limitations for the collection of delinquent consumer debts. In the Land of Enchantment, debt collection agencies have six years to pursue outstanding debts derived from written contracts. All other credit arrangements have a statute of limitations of four years.
Harassment Tactics Banned by the FDCPA and State Collection Laws
Under the FDCPA, third party debt collectors are prohibited from trying to collect more money on a consumer debt than the consumer is legally liable to owe. Bill collectors are not permitted to take money out of consumer bank accounts, without first obtaining a wage garnishment order from the appropriate court.
Perhaps the most important restriction written into the FDCPA involves phone calls. The FDCPA makes it illegal for debt collection agencies to call consumers at home or on their cell phones multiple times a day. Moreover, third party debt collectors must limit phone calls made to consumer to between 8 am and 9 pm.
The phone call provisions of the FDCPA is where New Mexico FDCPA laws fill in a legal hole. It’s is difficult to prove phone call violations unless you have evidence of repeated phone calls or phone calls made by a bill collector after 9 pm and before 8 am.
New Mexico is considered a one party consent state, which means only one person participating in a phone call is necessary for consent to the tape record the phone call. A tape recorded phone call will present a time stamp when the phone call took place.
If you believe that a debt collector is violating New Mexico’s FDCPA laws, you should seek the help of an FDCPA attorney. You may be able to seek up to $1,000 in damages for each violation of the FDCPA. An attorney will be able to help navigate you through the entire process.