In July 2017, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $142 million to its customers in a settlement over the 3.5 million potentially fake accounts the bank admitted to opening without their permission.
The agreement means a payout for any account holders affected by the scandal, all of whom were given about nine months to file for reimbursement.
The deadline to file a claim was July 7, 2018. That date has passed, but it’s worth knowing whether you’re eligible for the Wells Fargo settlement, how much money you could receive and when you should expect payment. Here’s everything you need to know about the Wells Fargo settlement.
The $142 million Wells Fargo settlement
The Wells Fargo settlement stems from a series of revelations about the bank’s retail sales practices, which found that for years, Wells Fargo employees had created accounts in their customers’ names without their consent.
These accounts included credit cards, lines of credit, checking accounts and savings accounts, with the wrongdoing spanning a 15-year period between 2002 and 2017. There are three reasons a person may be included in the Wells Fargo settlement:
- You had one or more unauthorized Wells Fargo accounts opened in your name between May 1, 2002, and April 20, 2017.
- You had one or more unauthorized Wells Fargo accounts applied for in your name between May 1, 2002, and April 20, 2017, regardless of whether that account was opened.
- You obtained identity theft protection services from Wells Fargo between May 1, 2002, and April 20, 2017.
The original deadline to file a claim was Feb. 3, 2018. But, in March 2018, a California court ruled to extend that date to July 7, 2018, so those affected could have more time to apply.
When will payments be made?
It’s too early to know when payments will be issued, as the Wells Fargo settlement is wrapped up in an appeal that has stalled reimbursement. The appeal, which, among other issues, claimed the court awarded excessive legal fees to certain lawyers involved in the case, must be resolved before payments can begin.
Once that happens, Wells Fargo still has to calculate the total cost of damages for each claimant. The bank will then distribute checks to each person at the same time.
You can check www.wfsettlement.com to track the progress of payments.
How do I know if I’m included?
The Wells Fargo settlement includes anyone who had fake accounts applied for or opened in their name, as well as anyone who obtained fraud protection services during the 15-year time frame.
Exceptions to this include Wells Fargo employees, court officers who have worked with or are related to the case, and anyone who opted to be excluded.
Those who qualified for reimbursement would have been mailed a notice in November 2017. Customers can check their status by calling 866-431-8549 or visiting www.wfsettlement.com.
How much will I be paid if I’m receiving a settlement?
While reimbursements will differ from claimant to claimant, Wells Fargo has announced what each settlement will cover. There are three types of payments a customer may receive from the bank, depending on the extent of the damages:
- Fee reimbursement: Anyone who was charged fees for an unauthorized account will be repaid for those charges. For fees charged between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 20, 2017, that money will be paid back. Those who had fees charged between May 1, 2002, and Dec. 31, 2008, will receive a flat-rate reimbursement since the bank said it is unable to calculate the exact cost of those fees.
- Credit impact damages: Customers who paid higher interest rates because their credit score was harmed by a fake account will also receive reimbursements. These payments will vary based on how badly a person’s finances were affected by a reduced credit score.
- Additional compensation: After the other payments have been calculated, Wells Fargo will divide the remaining settlement money among all the claimants. The amount each customer receives will vary, depending on how many fake accounts were tied to their name and whether they had enrolled in fraud protection services.
Wells Fargo in the news
The $142 million Wells Fargo settlement hasn’t been the only thing keeping the bank in the news lately.
In late December, the bank agreed to a $575 million settlement with the attorneys general of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. That payment is also tied to the fake account scandal, as well as other issues relating to auto loans and mortgages.
Not every state will get an equal share of the settlement, though. California, for example, is set to receive $148.7 million — about $100 million more than the next highest payout. Washington, D.C., will receive the least money, getting $1,112,853.
The fake accounts scandal also spawned a securities fraud suit, which was settled last March. That agreement, filed by Wells Fargo shareholders who said the bank misstated and omitted information related to the scandal, resulted in a $480 million payout.