$4 million settlement with Wells Fargo Dealer Services
Wells Fargo will pay over $4.1 million to resolve allegations that it violated the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) by repossessing 413 cars owned by protected servicemembers without obtaining a court order.
The settlement, which is still subject to court approval, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The department launched an investigation after it received a complaint in March 2015 from the U.S. Army’s Legal Assistance Program alleging that Wells Fargo had repossessed Army National Guardsman Dennis Singleton’s used car in Hendersonville, North Carolina, while he was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan to fight in Operation Enduring Freedom.
After Wells Fargo repossessed the car, it sold it at a public auction and then tried to collect a deficiency balance of over $10,000 from Singleton and his family. In October 2014, while seeking assistance with debt consolidation, Army National Guardsman Singleton met with a National Guard attorney, who informed him of his rights under the SCRA.
The attorney requested information from Wells Fargo about the original loan and repossession, and asked for copies of the correspondence and payment history. The attorney never received a response from Wells Fargo.
The department’s subsequent investigation corroborated Singleton’s complaint and found a pattern of unlawful repossessions spanning over more than seven years. ■