ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – KRQE News 13 has learned the red light camera company, Redflex, is settling a lawsuit with thousands of Albuquerque drivers.
Those drivers claimed Redflex and the company’s debt collector were hassling them non-stop to pay up. Now, Redflex will be cutting checks to thousands of people in Albuquerque.
For years, red light cameras in Albuquerque snapped away and thousands of drivers were sent citations.
Albuquerque voters pulled the plug on the program in 2011, and the cameras came down.
However, the Arizona company, Redflex Traffic Systems, which operated the cameras, still wanted to collect on unpaid fines: $21 million, including late fees.
Back in 2012, Greg Wheeler, with the City of Albuquerque, told KRQE News 13, “As a matter of state law we can’t just let those people go, so there will be a collection effort.”
At that point, Redflex hired CreditWatch Services to start collecting fines for red light traffic citations.
According to the settlement, pre-recorded ‘robocalls’ were sent to the cell phones of about 42,000 people to collect red light ticket fines.
Now, as part of a $3.5 million class action lawsuit settlement agreement, the people who received those calls can now collect themselves.
Attorneys claim CreditWatch violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
Since Redflex didn’t have phone numbers of alleged violators, attorneys said CreditWatch used a third-party “skip-tracing” service that hunted down those numbers.
Attorneys said the automated phone calls to cell phones are illegal and a “nuisance and an invasion of privacy.”
According to the settlement agreement, anyone who received one or more calls on their cell phone from CreditWatch to collect red light ticket fines from August 21, 2010 to January 15, 2016, is eligible for about $200.
Those eligible for settlement money won’t get a check just yet. A federal district court judge needs to sign off on the settlement agreement first.
At that point, a post card will be sent to those who qualify with instructions on how to get paid.
Redflex is facing a number of lawsuits around the country. One of the biggest battles is a $30 million suit from the City of Chicago, accusing Redflex of bribing city officials there to land a huge red light camera contract. There have been felony convictions in that corruption case.
KRQE News 13 reached out to Redflex, and asked whether the company is still trying to collect fines in Albuquerque.
Reflex sent the following statement to News 13:
“Redflex is no longer collecting on unpaid citations. The class action settlement relates to the actions of a subcontractor and is unrelated to photo enforcement or the validity of the citations themselves.”
They later added: “The debt was NOT sold and to our knowledge no one is collecting at this time. Your question may be best posed to the City of ABQ (since they are the ones to whom the fines are owed) in the event they are collecting but I doubt that they are.”