Wells Fargo mailed out notices in December to their customers informing them of the intent to remove the right to become a party to any class-action lawsuit or even sue the bank themselves should they continue as a customer after February 15, 2012. This is possibly due to Wells Fargo facing multibillion dollar class action lawsuits by customers as a result of deceptive and fraudulent banking practices.
Any and all disputes would be mediated through a binding arbitration process after February 15, 2012. This move by Wells Fargo to utilize arbitration favors the corporation over the individual as arbitration is a business and if they rule in favor of the corporation, then that corporation will more than likely bring more business to the arbitrator.
Consumerism Commentary notes the following when flushing out the expenses, fees and potential rewards for the bank and customer:
"A consumer initiating arbitration through the American Arbitration Association, the administer Wells Fargo identifies in its new terms, would be subject to fees, such as:
$250 for telephone consultation if the claim is less than $75,000, higher otherwise
$750 for in-person consultation of the claim is less than $75,000, higher otherwise
Up to $125 in additional fees if the claim is less than $10,000, up to $375 if the claim is less than $75,000, higher otherwise
The business would be subject to fees higher than those listed above for the consumer, but the total expense for a corporation could still be considerably less than dealing with a lawsuit. Not every arbitration organization follows the same pattern for fees, though. In some cases, the consumer could spend more money initiating arbitration than filing his or her own suit."
The American people deserve to bank with an institution that keeps their rights top of mind while operating in a manner which demands integrity and transparency. After all, the American people did bail Wells Fargo out during a time of economic uncertainty. Removing the customer's ability to have their cases heard in a court of law is a slap in the face to the American people.
We are petitioning Wells Fargo to do the right thing and give their current and new customers a fair chance in a court of law should a conflict arise. If Wells Fargo does not change this impending policy by February 15th, then we are urging all current Wells Fargo customers to move their money to a bank which respects their right to have the option to take their issues to a court of law where they will have the case heard by a judge or jury of their peers.