Is Wilshire Credit Corporation calling you? Here's what you need to know.
If you owe a lot of money to credit cards, student loans, your mortgage lender, and other types of creditor you’re not alone. A recent report from the Center for Responsible Lending confirms that nearly one out of every seven Americans is the target of a debt collector.
What’s even more disconcerting is that many of these debt collectors are unprofessional in their approach and methods. They intimidate, harass, and embarrass you until you pay up, even if it’s a junk debt that you no longer legally owe. If this happens to you, remember that you have legal rights, and don’t have to tolerate mistreatment.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, prohibits acts like the following when committed while collecting or attempting to collect a debt.
- Threatening to harm you, damage your property, or ruin your credit rating
- Failing to identify themselves as debt collectors in every communication
- Refusing to validate the debt upon request
- Calling outside of the hours to 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in your time zone
- Telling your friends and family that you owe a debt to embarrass you
Unfortunately, too many debt collectors act as if the FDCPA doesn’t exist.
Wilshire Credit Corporation, which was acquired by International Business Machines Corp. in 2010, is a specialty loan servicing company that collects delinquent residential mortgage loans. It was established in 1987, is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, and has around 40 employees. Records retained by the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website confirm that Wilshire Credit Corporation has been sued frequently for allegedly using illegal debt collection practices.
David Stiff v. Wilshire Credit Corporation
In or about July 1996, Arizona resident David Stiff obtained a second mortgage secured by a deed of trust to make improvements to his home. He subsequently became delinquent on his payments to Empire Funding, the creditor. In December 1997 the property was foreclosed upon by the first mortgage holder, at which point Mr. Stiff still owed approximately $13,000 on the second mortgage. He later insisted that his mortgage insurance paid Empire the full balance owing.
Subsequent to the foreclosure sale, Empire Funding provided the account to Wilshire Credit Corporation to collect the alleged balance due. In or about November 2002, Mr. Stiff obtained a copy of his Experian credit file, which reflected a trade line from Wilshire reporting a $25,000 balance owing on the mortgage.
Mr. Stiff disputed the Wilshire reporting on his Equifax credit file. In December 2002 he received a copy of his credit file from Equifax, which showed that Wilshire had verified to Equifax that its trade line was reported correctly. The notation remained on Mr. Stiff’s credit file, which resulted in his being refused credit on a number of occasions.
Frustrated, he hired a consumer attorney and filed a complaint that accused Wilshire Credit Corporation of the following FDCPA violations:
- Using false, deceptive, and misleading means to collect the debt (15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e)
- Misrepresenting the character, amount, or legal status of the debt ( 15 U.S.C. 1692e(2)(a))
- Communicating credit information which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed (15 U.S.C. 1692e(8))
- Using false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect the debt ( 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e(10))
- Collecting an amount that is not expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or permitted by law (15 U.S.C. 1692f(1))
The matter was later settled.
Wilshire Credit Corporation has three known phone numbers: 1-888-502-0100, 503-952-7947, and 503-223-5600. Should any of them appear on your caller ID, a debt collector is trying to contact you about an alleged debt. If they report an amount you don’t recognize to the credit bureaus or fail to indicate that you are disputing a debt, contact a consumer attorney.
Both actions are illegal under the FDCPA, and your attorney can help you ensure that Wilshire Credit Corporation corrects their errors. If the matter proceeds to court, you could win $1,000 per FDCPA violation as well as court costs, attorney’s fees, and any actual damages. The law is on your side in a situation like this, and debt collectors ignore it at considerable financial risk.
*Case taken from PACER (www.pacer.gov). File number is 3:05-cv-00462-MEA, from United States District Court, District of Arizona
Disclaimer: The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be constructed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Wilshire Credit Corporation, or any other third-party collection agency, you may not be entitled to any compensation.