[Jennifer] Zeleny, a lawyer who lives outside Salt Lake City and opened a Wells Fargo account when she started a new law practice, said it would be impossible for her to agree to arbitrate her dispute over an account that she had never signed up for in the first place.
The bank’s counterargument: The arbitration clauses included in the legitimate contracts customers signed to open bank accounts also cover disputes related to the false ones set up in their names.
Arbitration is reasonable on a case-by-case basis but it’s a hard concept to defend:
- Ideologically, when a corporation is responsible for the deliberate mass-deception of its customers
- Contractually, when the affected customers never agreed to anything at all with regard to the accounts at issue
If Wells Fargo has any intellect in the board room or in the C-suites they’re taking this tough stance in public but working quietly on negotiating a mass settlement fund.
Of course, any intellect in the board room or the C-suites would likely prevent the type of sales environment which catalyzed this large-scale fraud and identity theft operation.