Earlier this year, Wells Fargo admitted it had opened thousands of accounts without the consent of their customers and publically declared a reorganization in an effort to earn back the public’s trust. According to the New York Times, however, the bank is now using a legal technique called arbitration to quietly kill lawsuits that have been filed by their affected customers.
Due to this year’s scandal, we now know that Wells Fargo’s dubious sales tactics have been going on for years. Under intense pressure to meet quotas, sales representatives would open accounts in Wells Fargo customers’ names without their permission. When the practice became a federal matter, the banks leaders appeared before Congress to admit their wrongdoing.
Longtime Wells Fargo CEO John G. Stumpf stepped down and the new CEO released a statement saying that his “immediate and highest priority is to restore trust in Wells Fargo.” In the months that have followed, however, customers who are seeking restitution from the bank have not faced the same graciousness the bank exhibited to the public.
What Is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a legal process for resolving a dispute between two parties that has become known for favoring corporate entities. There are a few reasons why this is. First of all, arbitration is kept secret, which means it is not a matter of public record like a civil trial. In fact, the reason why it took so long for the Wells Fargo sales scandal to be exposed was because it was taking affected customers to arbitration to settle their grievances for years.
Arbitration also doesn’t extensively address conflicts of interests and often the arbitrator themselves (acting in a decision-making role) has questionable ties to the involved businesses. The arbitration process also prevents similar plaintiffs from consolidating their complaints against a company as a class action. Instead, each individual claim is arbitrated separately. This is how Wells Fargo is currently ending many of the suits filed against them by customers affected by the sham accounts.
“It is ridiculous,” Jennifer Zeleny of Utah told the New York Times. “This is an issue of identity theft—my identity was used so employees could meet sales goals. This is something that needs to be litigated in a public forum.”
Knowing Your Legal Options
If you have a claim against a large corporate entity, like an insurance or healthcare provider, there is a chance that they will want to steer your suit into arbitration to secure a swift and favorable solution. That is why it is always advised that you have dedicated and knowledgeable counsel by your side when seeking relief for wrongdoing against one of these companies.
At Christian & Christian, we’re well aware of the tactics large companies use to minimize the claims of their customers and reduce their liability. If you or a loved one have been hurt or wronged by an insurance or healthcare provider, we invite you to call our Greenville personal injury attorneys today. Our team has recovered millions of dollars for our clients and is ready to bring an incisive, proactive approach towards pursuing the compensation you deserve.
Start exploring your options with us today. Use our online form to request a free case evaluation.