Tuesday, August 8, 2017
A class action lawsuit filed Aug. 4, 2017, against Wells Fargo & Co.’s merchant services division is the latest in a series of grievances against the company. Plaintiffs in Patti’s Pitas LLC and Queen City Tours v. Wells Fargo Merchant Services LLC accuse the bank of coercive sales tactics and hidden fees. The prosecution claims Wells Fargo misstated fee policies, even after restructuring its card processing division in response to customer complaints.
“As has become obvious in recent months, Wells Fargo had a corporate culture which emphasized revenue and profit over customer wellbeing,” stated Adam Webb Esq. of Atlanta-based Webb, Klase & Lemond LLC. “In April of 2017, internal reports surfaced that confirmed that this culture had infected the Merchant Services division. We have seen evidence of this through the experiences of our clients, who have learned the hard way that profit trumps promises at Wells Fargo.”
Queen City Tours and Patti’s Pitas, both customers of Wells Fargo Bank, claimed they were not advised of three-year contract terms or $500 early termination fees; they also allege the defendant failed to honor contractual fee structures. Following is a partial list of complaints:
On March 28, 2017, Wells Fargo & Co. reached a $110 million settlement on Jabbari v. Wells Fargo N.A., et al., a 2015 class action lawsuit brought against the bank for fraudulent sales practices that created 2 million unauthorized consumer bank and credit card accounts. The bank faces additional legal actions from consumer advocacy groups, including the National Consumer League, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation, and Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, for unfair banking and lending practices. “Wells Fargo reached these agreements consistent with our commitment to customers and in the interest of putting this matter behind us, is committed to putting our customers’ interests first 100 percent of the time, and we regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request,” stated Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan.
Wells Fargo is working on rebuilding its brand. It refunded $2.6 million in fees following a review of banking deposit and credit card accounts, with refunds averaging $25. It has terminated managers and employees and created incentive programs that tie employee performance to customer satisfaction, loyalty and ethics. New customers receive confirming emails within one hour of opening a deposit account, as well as acknowledgement and decision status letters after applying for a credit card, Sloan noted.
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