Learn what these Wells Fargo lawsuits could mean for you.
There’s a lot to learn about recent lawsuits against Wells Fargo. As a customer, some of them might be relevant to your own issues.
Here is what you need to know:
For customers of many banks, your contract limits your right to sue. For instance, it’s possible your Wells Fargo contract says you can’t sue Wells Fargo in any court except Small Claims Court, thanks to an arbitration clause.
To find out if your account agreement includes this clause, you should look through it for terms such as “binding arbitration” and “dispute resolution.”
If your contract has this clause, you should know that suing through Small Claims Court can be time consuming and complicated. We suggest considering filing for consumer arbitration as a better solution.
Class action lawsuits are designed to bring together a group of individuals with the same complaint.
If your Wells Fargo contract does not have an arbitration clause, then you are eligible to join a class action lawsuit.
However, if you see an arbitration clause in your contract, you may not be able to file or join an existing class action lawsuit.
Several organizations accept complaints against companies like Wells Fargo. For instance you can take a look at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
But if you are looking to take legal action, you may have up to 3 options:
One option you have is to sue Wells Fargo in small claims court. If your claim qualifies for small claims court, you will be asked to attend a court hearing and pay legal fees to make your case.
Or, you may be able to do everything from your home. Consumer Arbitration is the process laid out by many contracts in place of a lawsuit. It lets you argue your case before an independent arbitrator (like a judge) who can force them to fix the problem and to compensate you. We at FairShake help make this process easy and convenient. (Find out how…)
If your Wells Fargo contract allows class action lawsuits, then you’ll want to find a lawyer or law firm currently suing the bank, or planning to do so.
Wells Fargo Lawsuit over Unwanted Auto Insurance
Earlier this year, Wells Fargo faced a massive lawsuit regarding signing car loan customers up for auto insurance that they did not ask for, per Reuters:
Wells Fargo & Co will pay customers at least $386 million to settle class-action claims that the bank signed them up for auto insurance they did not want or need when they took out car loans.
The proposed settlement was disclosed in filings on Thursday with the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California, and requires a judge’s approval.
National General Insurance Co, an underwriter, will pay an additional $7.5 million, making the total customer payout at least $393.5 million, according to the filings.
Wells Fargo denied wrongdoing but said it settled to avoid the risks, cost and distraction of litigation, and has set aside enough money for the payout. The defendants will also pay up to $36.5 million for the customers’ legal costs, court papers showed.
Wells Fargo Lawsuit for Numerous Customer Issues
A recent Wells Fargo lawsuit settlement outlined by Bankrate has led to the bank paying customers for a variety of different problems, such as unrequested credit cards, improper life insurance policies, unjust mortgage fees, and more:
Payday could finally be around the corner for customers who were harmed by Wells Fargo but haven’t been reimbursed.
The bank will maintain teams responsible for addressing the complaints of consumers impacted by a wide range of incidents. Customers who aren’t receiving relief under any existing restitution programs will be able to see if they’re eligible for refunds.
These obligations are part of a $575 million settlement made Dec. 28 with attorneys general in the District of Columbia and all 50 states.
The latest settlement holds Wells Fargo accountable for a number of missteps, including:
3.5 million unauthorized credit card and bank accounts opened without consent.
528,000 online bill pay enrollments stemming from questionable sales practices.
More than 6,500 simplified life insurance policy or renters insurance applications submitted improperly and payments made without permission from customer accounts.
More than 800,000 auto loan customers charged for unneeded insurance, including thousands whose cars were repossessed.
About 110,000 borrowers improperly charged for mortgage rate lock extension fees.
Failure to properly refund auto loan guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance to customers.
Wells Fargo Lawsuit for Ponzi Scheme Participation
Also a 2019 case, The Mercury News has this story of a Wells Fargo lawsuit wherein the company was assisting a Ponzi scheme by misusing investor funds:
Troubled banking giant Wells Fargo helped an investment company execute a $135 million Ponzi scheme, a new lawsuit seeking class action alleges.
“The scheme depended on the knowing participation of Wells Fargo,” the lawsuit by investors claims.
The legal action arose from a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into a father-son investment firm called EquityBuild, registered in Florida, with offices in Chicago. In August, a federal court judge banned EquityBuild’s Jerome Cohen, 63, and son Shaun, 39, from soliciting new investors while litigation is underway.
EquityBuild raised at least $135 million from more than 900 investors, according to the SEC. The Cohens each received about $1.5 million through the investment scheme, the SEC claimed in a court filing cited by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Wells Fargo aided in the fraud by “financing the interest payments owed to other investors with new investors’ money, rather than with the income from real estate properties that was supposed to support those returns,” the investors’ lawsuit claimed. “Wells Fargo had actual knowledge that it held fiduciary funds in its accounts … and knew that those funds were actively being misused.”
Wells Fargo Lawsuit over Unlawful Navajo Targeting
A different lawsuit was filed this year against Wells Fargo, regarding their mistreatment of a number of Navajo tribe members. The bank opened multiple accounts unlawfully, per Forbes:
Wells Fargo will pay the Navajo Nation $6.5 million to settle a lawsuit, in which the tribe accused it of “predatory and unlawful practices,” as the bank struggles to recover its reputation following nationwide scandals.
In the original complaint, the Navajo Nation claimed Wells Fargo opened accounts in the names of their tribal members without their consent, specifically by taking advantage of the elderly or those who do not speak fluent English.
Five Wells Fargo branches are located in the Navajo’s tribal land, which spans parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.
A federal court dismissed the Navajo Nation’s lawsuit in September. The tribe appealed the following month.
Wells Fargo said in a statement Thursday: “Our agreement with the Navajo Nation demonstrates our commitment to make things right regarding past sales practices issues as we continue the important transformation of our company. With this matter resolved, we look to continue building upon our long-standing relationships with the Navajo Nation and its members, and continue to help our customers and communities throughout Indian Country.”
Wells Fargo Lawsuit over DACA Recipient Loan Denial
Another Wells Fargo lawsuit was filed this year, when a DACA recipient had his loan request denied due to his citizenship status being expired during the loan period. KTVZ Oregon has this story:
Eduardo Peña and his wife moved out of Chicago last year to start a family together.
Like countless other newlyweds arriving in the suburbs, the couple quickly realized they’d need a second car to get them to work and fit the children they hope to raise.
Last fall, Peña, a tax manager who said he has been living in the United States for 25 years, went online to apply for an auto loan from Wells Fargo to finance the purchase of a used Land Rover.
“Everything seemed good — until my immigration status came up,” Peña told CNN Business.
A Wells Fargo representative told Peña by phone that the loan application had been rejected because his status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was set to expire during the loan period, according to a lawsuit Peña filed against the bank this week.
Peña, who was born in Mexico and obtained DACA status around 2012, filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo earlier this week arguing that the bank’s alleged policy of denying DACA recipients credit is “discriminatory and unlawful.” The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court in Northern California, is seeking class-action status.
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