|Wells Fargo Settlement Agreement Information Page||Fact Sheet||Settlement Agreement||Press Release|
What is the compensation (payment) for?
On May 31, 2011, Wells Fargo & Company (Wells Fargo) entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (Department). The Agreement requires Wells Fargo to compensate (pay) certain individuals who experienced disability discrimination in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when trying to call Wells Fargo, visit one of Wells Fargo's banks or retail stores, or otherwise access Wells Fargo's services.
Who may be eligible to receive compensation (payment) from Wells Fargo?
Any person who experienced disability-based discrimination in violation of Title III of the ADA based on something Wells Fargo did or didn't do that happened on or before May 31, 2011 and who contacts the Department on or before January 29, 2012.
What disability-based discrimination must I have experienced?
Any disability discrimination by Wells Fargo in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that happened on or before May 31, 2011. Disability discrimination includes, but is not limited to, a denial of equal access or equal services that is based on an individual's disability. Here are some examples:
Disability discrimination also includes the failure to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication. If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, are blind or have low vision, or have a speech disability and needed help to communicate with Wells Fargo but were denied such help, you may have been discriminated against. Here are some examples of auxiliary aids or services you may have needed and should file a claim about if any were denied:
Who must have discriminated against me?
Wells Fargo and/or its employees and contractors. This includes the Wells Fargo banking branches, Wells Fargo Advisors (brokerage services), Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and Wells Fargo's credit card services. It also includes Wachovia and/or its employees and contractors.
What if I'm not sure if I was discriminated against?
If you are not sure if you experienced discrimination that would be compensated, you should submit a claim. Disability Rights Section staff at the U.S. Department of Justice will interview you and decide if you are eligible.
How can I file a claim?
You can begin the process of filing a claim by sending your name, address, email address, and day and evening telephone numbers by email to WFclaims@usdoj.gov or by leaving a message at 1-866-708-1273 (voice mail) or 1-866-544-5309 (TTY). ACT QUICKLY! The time period for filing a claim, established by the settlement agreement ends on January 29, 2012.
When leaving a voice mail message, speak clearly and repeat your email address and telephone numbers. If you are difficult to reach by telephone, please leave your email address and/or please let us know the best time of the day to call you. Please let us know how to contact you for an interview if you are deaf, are hard of hearing, or have a speech disability (e.g., videophone, TTY) and let us know the types of written materials we should send (e.g., Braille, large print, email) if you are blind or have low vision. If your mailing address, email address, or telephone number changes, please notify us promptly.
What if I am having trouble making a claim?
If you are having problems sending an email or leaving a voice mail or TTY message, please contact the ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (voice) or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY). Our Information Specialists will either assist you or connect you with a member of the Wells Fargo Claims Team. Information Specialists are available on the ADA Information Line on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). On Thursday, the information line is staffed from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Must an individual with a disability file his or her own claim?
No. If an individual with a disability requires assistance, another person may file a claim on that individual's behalf. Disability Rights Section staff will generally need to interview an individual with a disability and obtain signed documents from that individual before determining if he or she is eligible for payment. If there is a disability-based reason why an interview cannot occur, please provide that information to us when you contact us.
What will happen after I file a claim?
A staff member of the Disability Rights Section will contact you to conduct an interview and obtain any information and documents needed to determine if you are eligible for payment. We may also send you a questionnaire by email. Before any payment can be made, individuals found eligible for possible payment must sign certain documents, including a Waiver and Release of Claims against Wells Fargo & Company and a W-9 Form (Request for Taxpayer Information and Certification). Please respond quickly when asked to provide information or sign documents. If you fail to provide requested information or fail to sign documents in a timely manner, you may be denied payment from the fund.
How will I know if my claim is received?
If you submit a claim by e-mail (WFclaims@usdoj.gov) and we receive it, you will receive an automatic e-mail confirmation of receipt that you should keep for your records. If you leave a voice mail message or TTY message at one of our toll free telephone numbers – 866-708-1273 (voice mail) or 866-544-5309 (TTY) -- you will hear back from the Disability Rights Section.
If you are unsure whether your claim has been received and are having problems reaching the Wells Fargo Claims Team by e-mail, voice mail, or TTY, please contact the ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (voice) or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY). Our Information Specialists will make arrangements for a member of the Wells Fargo Claims Team to contact you. Information Specialists are available on the ADA Information Line on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). On Thursday, the information line is staffed from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
How will eligibility for payment be determined?
The determination of eligibility for payment and the amount of any payment will be made by the U.S. Department of Justice after all claims have been received. To be determined eligible for payment, a claim must involve disability-based discrimination by Wells Fargo that is prohibited by Title III of the ADA.
How can I find out more about the settlement agreement with Wells Fargo?
The U.S. Department of Justice opened an investigation against Wells Fargo after receiving complaints under Title III of the ADA filed by numerous individuals who are deaf, are hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities. The complainants alleged that Wells Fargo would not do business with them over the phone using a telecommunications relay service. Instead, the individuals were directed to call a TTY/TDD line that asked them to leave a message, which went unanswered. The Department also received a variety of other complaints alleging ADA violations by Wells Fargo, including the failure to provide financial documents to people who are blind or have low vision in alternate formats (e.g., Braille or large print), the failure to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services upon request for in-person meetings between Wells Fargo staff and individuals who are deaf, and the failure to remove barriers to access for individuals with mobility disabilities.
The settlement agreement requires Wells Fargo to accept calls made through a relay service by customers who are deaf, are hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities; remove physical barriers to access identified at its retail stores; provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language or oral interpreters, computer-assisted real-time transcription, qualified readers, and documents in alternate formats (Braille, large print, audio format, accessible electronic format) to persons with disabilities when necessary to ensure effective communication throughout its financial services and programs; ensure that its ATMs and websites are accessible to individuals with disabilities; and remedy all other instances of discrimination – including architectural barriers and operational issues -- under Title III of the ADA that are identified during the claims process. The settlement agreement provides for resolution of all complaints alleging violation of the ADA in connection with Wells Fargo's financial services and retail facilities based on events occurring before May 31, 2011.
The settlement agreement also requires Wells Fargo to pay up to $16 million to compensate individuals who experienced discrimination in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when trying to call Wells Fargo, access Wells Fargo's services, or visit one of Wells Fargo's retail stores; pay a civil penalty of $55,000 to the United States, and make $1 million in charitable donations to non-profit organizations that will assist veterans with disabilities caused by injuries sustained while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan to live independently in the community.
The settlement agreement will be in effect for two years, except for the provisions related to the claims process which are in effect for five years and two months. Some corrective actions to fix architectural issues may also extend beyond the two year period following the date when the agreement was signed. The Department will track compliance with the agreement until all required actions have been completed. The settlement agreement and a fact sheet describing the investigation and settlement agreement are available at http://www.ada.gov/wells_fargo.