If you’ve been hearing from Wilshire Consumer Credit (WCC), you’re dealing with one of the more aggressive debt collection agencies in the marketplace. Most likely, this third-party debt collector believes you owe money on an auto loan or title loan. The resulting collection account will damage your credit score.
Read on to learn how to remove a WCC collection account from your credit report and stop phone calls and other forms of harassment.
WCC, also known as Wilshire Commercial Capital, LLC, is a small debt collection agency and auto financing company located in Los Angeles. This agency is a subsidiary of Westlake Services.
Like most debt collectors, WCC has had many consumer complaints over the years. In the past three years, the Better Business Bureau has closed over 900 complaints against this agency. WCC has also been involved in about 10 cases of civil litigation. These numbers are high even by debt collection standards.
Many of the consumer complaints accuse WCC of violating the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a law that prevents debt collectors from harassing or abusing consumers. This law also prohibits debt collectors and consumer finance companies like WCC from employing deceptive business practices, such as using fake caller IDs to misrepresent themselves.
If you experience these kinds of problems in your dealings with WCC or any other negative item on your credit report, you have the right to file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB regulates debt collectors and enforces the FDCPA and other consumer protections such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
How to get WCC off your credit report
Getting a collection account off of your credit report isn’t always easy, but it’s possible. Doing so should boost your credit score, especially if WCC’s account is the only inaccurate or negative item on your credit reports with the major credit bureaus. Here are the steps to take to remove WCC from your credit history (and from your life).
Step 1: Ask WCC for debt validation
When the original creditor transfers debt to a debt collection agency, it may come with inaccurate information related to details like dates of account activity or debt balances. Alternatively, the debt may not be yours to begin with — an administrator may have entered the account number incorrectly.
When you first hear from WCC, you have the right to request debt validation. The debt collector must then prove you owe the money. The FDCPA gives you this right because consumers in the past have been held responsible for debts they don’t owe.
Be aware that debt validation is time sensitive. You need to request validation within 30 days of first hearing from WCC. Otherwise, the debt collector can claim that you’ve accepted the debt as yours.
How to request debt validation and how it can help
To request debt validation, you’ll need to send WCC a Section 609 letter. This is a formal request to obtain the information WCC has on file about your debt.
In your letter, include your account number, name, and original creditor so that WCC can quickly locate your debt in its system. The FDCPA requires WCC to respond to your request within 30 days of receiving your debt validation letter. Make sure to request a return receipt when you send your letter to ensure the agency has received your letter.
In response, WCC should then provide documents detailing your debt. Go through each page and make sure everything matches up with your own records. If anything doesn’t match what you know to be true, you can contact the major credit bureaus and file a dispute. They will investigate and remove WCC’s account if they agree that there was inaccurate reporting.
Step 2: Negotiate a settlement
If WCC provides the documents to validate your debt, the agency has proven you owe the money and will require you to repay the debt. This will probably be the case for many borrowers, since WCC collects on auto and title loan debt that originates with its sister company. There’s less room for transfer errors in this arrangement.
But remember, your payments can serve as leverage to get WCC deleted from your credit reports. If you simply pay off the debt, WCC will not remove it from your credit reports. You’ll have a paid collection status, which still shows you’ve had debt in collections. Your credit will suffer as if you never paid off the old debt.
Because of this, you should try to work out a pay-for-delete agreement rather than pay off the debt. A pay-for-delete settlement allows you to restore your credit report to its former glory while also closing the WCC collection account for good.
Start by offering WCC a portion of your total balance in exchange for the account’s removal with all three major credit reporting bureaus. As the major credit bureaus frown on this practice, WCC won’t be all that receptive at first, so you’ll need to go back and forth with the agency until you come to a compromise. You may need to speak with several different agents before reaching someone with the authority to cut a deal.
Once WCC agrees to remove the account, write up a contract that lists the terms and conditions in clear language. Make sure WCC signs this contract before you submit a payment on the debt.
It usually takes about a month for WCC’s entry to disappear from your credit report after you’ve paid as agreed. Keep an eye on your report to make sure that it follows through on its end of the agreement.
Why does a pay-for-delete settlement work?
Many people don’t believe WCC would ever take less money than the account balance that’s due. They also don’t expect a debt collection agency to give in and delete negative information from their credit history. And it’s true that sometimes it doesn’t work.
But more often than you might think, it does. It works because debt collectors value cash more than they value keeping negative marks on your credit report. You’re offering something the agency needs — money paid on your debt — in exchange for something you need, which is credit repair.
Give it a shot and be willing to persist. Negotiating a settlement is never quick and easy. Expect some back and forth with several different people. And, once again, make sure WCC sends you the agreement in writing and signs it before you make a payment.
Make sure the written agreement requires WCC to delete its negative credit information about you with all three bureaus. Also, make sure the agreement requires WCC to close your account and stop trying to collect.
Otherwise, your payment could restart the statute of limitations, exposing yourself to more liability than necessary. The statute of limitations is the time period in which parties in a potential lawsuit can initiate legal action before the dispute is too old to take to court.
Step 3: Hire a credit repair company
If negotiating with debt collectors just isn’t in your wheelhouse, you can always outsource that task to a credit repair company. Credit repair companies can be a lifesaver for people who are either too busy or too nervous to deal with WCC directly.
Credit repair pros can take over the communications and negotiations so you don’t have to worry about it — beyond paying the credit repair team’s monthly fees and an initial set-up fee.
A credit repair company won’t do anything you couldn’t do yourself. It’ll just work more quickly and more efficiently because it isn’t learning as it goes. These firms have done this kind of negotiating with debt collectors for decades. But it’s important to work with a company that is worth the money you’re paying it.
Lexington Law and Credit Saint are some of the best. Consider learning about these companies and the other top credit repair companies to find the best fit for your credit fix.
Frequently asked questions about WCC
Readers ask these sorts of questions a lot, so here are the answers to some of them.
Will WCC sue me?
WCC has the right to sue you for repayment of debt, but this isn’t likely unless you owe an unusually large sum of money on a title loan or auto loan. In most cases, the costs of a lawsuit would outweigh the financial gains for the company.
WCC doesn’t have the authority to press criminal charges against you or threaten you with criminal action. If you feel threatened over the phone, report your interaction to the CFPB.
Will WCC garnish my wages?
For WCC to garnish your wages, it needs to first sue you and win the lawsuit against you in civil court. Then, it would have to petition the judge to get access to your wages as repayment for the debt.
Keep this in mind if an agent from WCC or any other debt collector threatens to garnish your wages. Yes, it is legally possible for this to happen. But it won’t happen overnight. Many consumer complaints about WCC cite these kinds of threats, but these false threats are illegal debt collection tactics, and you should report them.
Will WCC help fix my credit score?
No, WCC is not particularly concerned about your credit score — beyond your score’s ability to motivate you to make a payment. If an agent promises to help fix your credit score in exchange for a payment, know that this likely won’t happen unless you have the agreement in writing first.
What’s the address for WCC?
WCC’s headquarters are at:
4727 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010
However, you should send letters to:
P.O. Box 76809
Los Angeles, CA 90076-0809
How do I stop the phone calls from WCC?
This is actually very easy. You simply ask WCC to stop calling you, as you have this right under the FDCPA. But remember, not getting phone calls doesn’t mean you’re out of debt. You can also request that WCC only calls you on a specific phone number or at a certain time of the day or day of the week.
It's advisable to ask WCC to contact you only by mail. This stops the phone calls and also gives you a paper trail if you need to file a complaint or dispute negative information.
Is WCC a scam?
No, WCC is not a scam. It’s a bona fide debt collection agency in Southern California. If you’re hearing from this agency, it believes you owe it money. Unless you act, this company will harm your credit and contact you regularly about the debt.
What if I don’t owe the money?
This happens more often than you might think because of mistaken identity or identity fraud. It means that someone who no longer owes money or never owed money to begin with can be on the hook for debt.
Know that federal laws protect your rights in this case. The debt validation processes this article described above should provide the tools you need to dispute the debt.
How much will WCC hurt my credit score?
This depends on what your credit score was before WCC reported its collection account to the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Someone with excellent credit could see a 100-point drop because of a collection account.
On the other hand, someone who already has several other collection agencies reporting derogatory marks may not notice a big credit score drop. Incidentally, it’s people in this boat who can get the most bang for their buck when they hire a credit repair company such as Lexington Law.
Protecting your credit from WCC
Before you pick up the phone and pay WCC, you should try to stop the agency’s collections by removing the collection entry from your credit reports. Even if you can’t remove the debt through validation, you can still work out a settlement that benefits both parties.
Dealing with debt collectors is one of the first steps to cleaning up your credit history. It’s best to handle WCC now so that you don’t have to deal with the consequences later. And it’s never too late to improve your credit score.
Update: This article has been updated to reflect the current number of BBB complaints against WWC and provide current contact information. Unverifiable information has been removed.
Disclaimer: This story was originally published on December 29, 2020, on BetterCreditBlog.org. To find the most relevant information concerning collections or credit card inquiries, please visit: https://money.com/how-to-remove-collections-from-credit-report/ or https://money.com/get-items-removed-from-credit-report/