Patrick Austin, J.D. | August 01, 2023
Edited by Hannah Locklear
Summary: New Mexico residents have access to a set of legal protections when it comes to interacting and engaging with debt collection agents and agencies. There are both state and federal laws, including the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, governing how and when debt collectors can communicate and more. SoloSuit can help you stand up for your rights against debt collectors and settle debt in New Mexico.
Residents in the Land of Enchantment have access to certain legal rights and protections when it comes to the conduct and actions of debt collectors in their pursuits to collect on a delinquent account. The rights afforded to New Mexico residents are described in the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the New Mexico Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (NMFDCPA). Let’s take a look at each law.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a seminal federal law passed by Congress in the 1970s. The federal FDCPA was drafted with the intention of protecting consumers from unfair, deceptive and inappropriate debt collection practices. For example, the FDCPA restricts debt collectors from using abusive, unfair and/or harassing tactics when engaging with a consumer and attempting to collect on a delinquent account.
The FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from doing the following:
The FDCPA requires debt collectors to disclose certain information about the delinquent account, upon request from a consumer. This is known as debt validation, and if a consumer requests such validation, a debt collector needs to respond within five days. The debt validation notice must contain specific pieces of information, including:
If a debt collector is found to be in violation of the FDCPA, a consumer also has the right to file a legal action to pursue monetary damages and other forms of restitution. Make a debt collector validate your debt by sending a Debt Validation Letter.
To learn more about how the FDCPA protects you, check out our guide on What Debt Collectors Cannot Do — FDCPA Explained.
In addition to the federal FDCPA, New Mexico has its own debt collection law, the New Mexico Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (NMFDCPA). This state law essentially mirrors the protections afforded under the federal FDCPA. It is designed to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive debt collection practices. For example, the NMFDCPA expressly prohibits the following actions by debt collectors:
The NMFDCPA also outlines remedies that consumers can seek if they are a victim of FDCPA violations, including:
Keep reading to learn more about how to report FDCPA violations and seek remedies in New Mexico.
Under New Mexico law, individuals possess the legal right to challenge and contest debt collection efforts. Specifically, if an individual believes the debt is inaccurate, they have the legal right to dispute the collection efforts. Please be aware that challenging a debt collection attempt must be done in writing.
Once an individual formally contests the debt collection attempts, the debt collection agent, or agency, is obligated to respond to the objection by conducting a formal investigation. If the debt collector is unable to verify and validate the debt, they are legally required to immediately halt their collection efforts.
Depending on your situation, there is the possibility you may be subjected to a lawsuit filed by the debt collector. However, the debt collector is required to take specific steps when filing a lawsuit concerning an unpaid debt, including:
Once you receive the Summons and Complaint, you can respond with an Answer. If you respond to the debt collector’s lawsuit, then the case will be set for trial and pre-trial matters will commence, including discovery, settlement conferences, motions for summary judgment, and so forth. Alternatively, the debt collector may dismiss the case if you deny their claims and they realize such claims are faulty and won’t stand before a judge.
When it comes to debt collection efforts, there is a specific amount of time a debt collection agent, or agency, is allotted to try and recover on the debt. This is known as the statute of limitations. It is a specific period of time frame in which a debt collector or creditor can attempt to hold you accountable for an alleged debt. New Mexico, much like other states, has different periods within its statutes of limitations that range from four to ten years depending on the type of debt.
Once the statute of limitations lapses, the debt is effectively time-barred and the creditor will not be able to try and recover repayment through a lawsuit.
Even though the statute of limitations may have passed on the debt, it is important to be aware that many debt collectors might continue to contact you about the debt and even pursue a lawsuit. As a result, it is important for you to proactively assert the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense, if it applies to your situation.
The table below outlines the statute of limitations on different types of debt in New Mexico:
|Credit Card||6 years|
|Auto Loan||6 years|
|Student Loan||6 years|
|Personal Loan||6 years|
|N.M. Stat. § 37-1-2 and § 37-1-3|
The surest way to get debt collectors off your back is by paying what you owe. But if you go about this wisely, you can usually settle your debt for a steep discount.
In a debt settlement, you offer your creditor a portion of the total amount due, usually at least 60% of the debt’s value. In exchange for a lump-sum payment, the creditor agrees to drop its legal claims against you and release you from the remaining balance.
If you decide to settle your obligation, you’ll want to ensure you get the terms of your agreement in writing and pay the creditor before your court date. If you’ve never tried debt settlement before, consider working with a professional organization that will guide you through the process.
To learn more about how to settle a debt in New Mexico, check out this video:
SoloSettle, powered by SoloSuit, is a tech-based approach to debt settlement. Our software helps you send and receive settlement offers until you reach an agreement with the collector. Once an agreement is reached, we’ll help you manage the settlement documentation and transfer your payment to the creditor or debt collector, helping you keep your financial information private and secure.
Read also: How to Settle a Debt in New Mexico
Debt collection laws in New Mexico were enacted with the goal of keeping consumers safe from abusive, predatory and inappropriate debt collection practices. These laws, including the federal and state FDCPA, help even the proverbial playing field and make it easier for consumers to defend themselves in and out of court against overly aggressive debt collection agencies. Here are some key takeaways from this article on New Mexico debt collection laws:
Hopefully this article has helped you learn more about your consumers rights under the FDCPA and New Mexico laws. And remember: if you’ve been sued for a debt in New Mexico, SoloSuit can help you respond to the lawsuit and stand up for your rights in court.
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now are are just look for support, we're here for you.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.
Out Debt Validation Letter is the best way to respond to a collection letter. Many debt collectors will simply give up after receiving it.
"Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly is kinda scary. I started researching on YouTube and found SoloSuit's channel. The videos were so helpful, easy to understand and encouraging. When I reached out to SoloSuit they were on it. Very professional, impeccably prompt. Thanks for the service!" - Heather