Wells Fargo customers with auto loans eligible for refunds

Wells Fargo customers with auto loans eligible for refunds

Wells Fargo customers with auto loans eligible for refunds

Wells Fargo & Co. will refund about $80 million to approximately 570,000 customers who were improperly charged for auto insurance, it announced.

An internal review of the bank's auto lending found more than 500,000 clients may have unwittingly paid for protection against vehicle loss or damage while making monthly loan payments, even though many drivers already had their own policies, Wells Fargo said in a statement late Thursday. In total, approximately $64 million of cash remediation will be sent to customers in the coming months, along with $16 million of account adjustments, for a total of approximately $80 million in refunds, the company said. The contract also allows Wells Fargo to buy insurance on customers' behalf if they fail to buy it themselves.

"We take full responsibility for our failure to appropriately manage the [insurance] program and are extremely sorry for any harm this caused our customers, who expect and deserve better from us", Franklin Codel, head of Wells Fargo Consumer Lending, said in a statement.

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Wells Fargo said it began a review of the insurance policies in July of past year and stopped issuing such policies in September. Based on the initial findings, the company discontinued its CPI program in September 2016.

Evidently, Wells Fargo bought insurance for some customers - and charged them for it - even when they had their own. Wells Fargo was accused past year by the government of illegally repossessing 413 cars owned by service members without a court order. About 490,000 customers had duplicate vehicle insurance coverage and another 60,000 customers did not receive proper disclosures from vendors as required in their states.

Wells Fargo could also be in for more scrutiny from regulators and Congress.

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Wells Fargo was already attempting to regain the public's trust after a scandal over unauthorized accounts. That group will get $39 million. The report, commissioned to help the lender decide how to respond to its customers, was completed in February, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing internal affairs. Wells Fargo will also work with the credit bureaus to correct customers' credit records, if applicable.

State and federal authorities continue to investigate, including the Justice Department.

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