Mexico cracks down on consumer credit debt, by docking payrolls

Supreme Court rules that credit debt can now be taken from a worker's salary

MEXICO.- Stores like Coppel, Elektra and Famsa have long offered easy credit for almost anything and to almost anyone who asks for it. These Mexican retailers and their insistence sticking consumers with debt for almost everything, from a microwave to a refrigerator and even a piece of clothing, take advantage of the fact that more than half of Mexico lives under the official poverty line, which means that their only option for acquiring many middle-class items is cheap credit.

A lot of people however, buy goods that ultimately can't be payed for with their low-wages, and prefer to default on their debt of just let it affect their credit rating, assuming that the worst that can happen is that they simply don't get credit for more stuff at retailers. They figure, correctly, companies won't seek prosecution for debets as low as 30 or 20 dollars. Besides owning money to companies is not a crime according to article 17 of the Mexican constitution, so that's one less issue to worry about. Until now


You still won't go to jail, but the Mexican Supreme Court just ruled that a provision in the latest financial and tax reform law approved last year is constitutional, so workers can now be docked up to 30 percent their pay that exceeds the minimum wage in Mexico. If you make around 1,000 dollars a month more than the minimum wage, 30 percent of that 1,000 dollars can be removed from your paycheck, or less of course, if it takes less for you to pay your debt.

This is a first for the country, which previously prohibited such actions from creditors and limited docking a worker's payroll to only child support debts.

That doesn't mean that clothing stores or other retailers will be able to take part of your wage for something like a winter coat you liked and can't pay anymore, just anytime they want. They have to demand you pay them, through a judge in order to get a court order signed by a notary, inform you, you must respond and confirm you have been informed, and then if you lose in the proceedings, ONLY THEN can a JUDGE force you to pay-up.

In reality, most creditors will go after large consumer debts from purchases like automobiles, houses, expensive jewelry, or something else rather than clothing.

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