Wells Fargo has received final approval from a district court in California to settle a $142-million class action lawsuit, which provides compensation for customers affected by a sales scandal related to fake bank accounts. The settlement sets aside money to compensate customers after the bank opened consumer or small business accounts, credit cards or lines of credit without their knowledge between 2002 and April 2017. Wells Fargo is the nation’s fourth largest bank and agreed back in April to pay $1 billion to settle with regulators.
Federal officials alleged that the bank forced auto insurance on hundreds of thousands of customers and routinely hit homebuyers with excessive fees as well. While announcing the settlement in August, Wells Fargo also said that the mortgage and auto programs together trapped nearly 600,000 customers and would require about $300 million in refunds. Customers have until July 7 to claim money from this class action lawsuit. The scandal has significantly harmed Wells Fargo’s image. The bank has been under investigation and has faced several lawsuits over the scandal.
What Are Class Action Lawsuits?
A class action lawsuit is one that is filed together by a number of people who have suffered the same or similar injury or harm. For example, consumers who were victimized by the Wells Fargo scandal may not have suffered losses significant enough to file an individual lawsuit. Together, however, the value of the claims of the entire class can add up very quickly. Suing as a class also means consolidating the attorneys, defendant, evidence, witnesses and other aspects of litigation. If the number of people affected by the conduct is high, it is more practical and logical for the victims to band together as a class rather than file individual lawsuits.
Benefits of a Class Action Lawsuit
A class action lawsuit ensures that all plaintiffs receive some compensation for their lawsuit and are made whole. When the class wins the lawsuit, each participant receives some payment. In addition to receiving payment, members of the class or individuals who have been victimized by negligence or unethical practices, also get the satisfaction of having held the corporations accountable.
While they might not have been able to do so in an individual capacity, a class action lawsuit gives them the power and the ability to hold negligent and unethical corporations responsible for their actions. If you or a loved one has been victimized by such unfair or unethical practices, please contact an experienced California class action lawyer for more information about your legal rights and options.