Wells Fargo Has to Pay More Than $2B to Consumers. Here's How to Get Your Payout

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KEY POINTS

  • Wells Fargo reached an agreement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to pay $2 billion to customers harmed by bank practices.
  • The majority of Wells Fargo customers impacted have already been reached by the bank and received payment.
  • To get the ball rolling on your claim, contact Wells Fargo at 1 (800) 869-3557. If you need more help, call CFPB at 1 (855) 411-2372.

If you were harmed by Wells Fargo practices but have not received compensation, here's the next step to take.

Wells Fargo Bank has recently been on the hot seat. In December, the bank was ordered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to pay a total of $3.7 billion for mismanagement of auto loans, mortgage loans, and deposit accounts.

Here's what happened

According to the CFPB, the bank repeatedly misapplied loan payments. These improperly applied payments led to home foreclosures, repossessed vehicles, and incorrectly assessed fees and interest payments. There were also surprise overdraft fees that left customers confused and frustrated. CFPB estimates that these practices impacted more than 16 million Wells Fargo customers.

The bank was ordered to pay a total of $3.7 billion in penalties, more than $2 billion of which is to go to customers impacted by the bank errors. The CFPB laid out the specific ways Wells Fargo customers were harmed:

  • Auto loans: The bank incorrectly applied auto payments, improperly charged fees and interest on auto loans, and wrongfully repossessed vehicles. In addition, Wells Fargo failed to refund certain fees when a loan ended early.
  • Mortgage loans: The CFPB contends that during at least a seven-year period, the bank denied thousands of mortgage loan modifications. These denials sometimes led to a customer losing their home in a wrongful foreclosure. Furthermore, the CFPB says that Wells Fargo was aware of the issue for years before it was finally addressed.
  • Surprise bank fees: Let's say someone went grocery shopping in the morning and used their debit card to pay. The bank authorized the transaction and it appeared all was well. Later that day, a check covering their electric bill hit the account but there was not enough money to cover that expense. Wells Fargo would not only charge an overdraft fee for the electric bill, but would go back and charge an overdraft for the debit transaction from earlier in the day -- even though the bank had approved the purchase.
  • Frozen accounts: Based on a faulty automated filter, the bank determined that there may have been a fraudulent deposit in more than 1 million consumer accounts. Wells Fargo automatically froze those bank accounts, harming consumers who could not access their money through no fault of their own. On average, accounts were frozen for at least two weeks.

Most consumers have received reparation

Once an agreement was reached with the CFPB, Wells Fargo did not waste any time contacting as many of the 16 million customers as it could locate. However, because the unfair practices took place over a span of years, some consumers have been difficult to pin down. For example, some have moved and left no forwarding address, while others have changed their contact information, or simply switched banks.

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If you're owed money

If you were a Wells Fargo customer who was harmed by its practices but have yet to receive payment, your next step is easy. First, contact Wells Fargo at 1 (800) 869-3557. Let them know more about your situation, including why you've been difficult to locate.

If you don't get anywhere with the bank, you can call CFPB toll free at 1 (855) 411-2372. They will provide you with the information you need to receive compensation for your trouble.

As a government agency, CFPB is designed to ensure that you're treated fairly by banks, lenders, and other financial institutions. If that's not the case, CFPB has the authority to enforce federal protections on your behalf.

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