June 6, 2017
Contact: Amanda Werner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomorrow, a federal judge in Utah will decide whether more than 50 consumers defrauded by banking giant Wells Fargo in its fake account scandal will be forced to pursue claims one-by-one in a secret arbitration system. As the bank loudly promises to restore consumer trust, Wells Fargo is quietly insisting that defrauded customers should be barred from holding it accountable in court by pointing to “ripoff clauses” buried deep in its contracts.
Customers represented in Mitchell v. Wells Fargo argue that the bank cannot use its contracts as a shield against liability for systemic fraud.
While forced arbitration has been upheld in many contexts, the customers claim they could not reasonably understand that signing a standard agreement for one product would block them from suing over a separate account they never agreed to open. Indeed, at least one consumer
represented in this class action never even banked with Wells Fargo or signed an account contract.