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Fact Sheet
Settlement Agreement between United States and Wells Fargo & Company

On May 31, 2011, the Department of Justice reached a settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Wells Fargo & Company ("Wells Fargo"), which offers financial services at nearly 10,000 retail banking and financial services locations nationwide. The settlement resolves an investigation conducted by the Department in response to complaints from multiple individuals with disabilities alleging that Wells Fargo had violated the ADA by failing to accept calls made using relay services, failing to answer calls made with a TTY / TDD and/or requiring these callers to leave messages which never resulted in a return call or access to services available to individuals without disabilities via telephone, failing to provide effective communication through sign language interpreters upon request during meetings with customers who are deaf or hard of hearing, failing to remove physical barriers to access by individuals with mobility disabilities, or otherwise discriminating against individuals in violation of ADA requirements.

The Department's Disability Rights Section and United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California investigated Wells Fargo under Title III of the ADA, confirming, among other things, the allegations regarding the refusal to accept relay calls. Wells Fargo has denied any violations of the ADA but worked cooperatively with the Department to reach a comprehensive resolution without litigation.

In the settlement agreement, Wells Fargo agrees to take the following actions to improve access for individuals with disabilities:

The Department will be administering the claims process and actively monitoring compliance with this agreement.

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities by financial institutions, medical centers, offices of accountants, lawyers, and doctors, and other businesses that serve the public, which are known as places of public accommodation. Under Title III, businesses must accept calls made through relay services from individuals who are deaf, are hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities. TTY and Internet Protocol relay services involve a relay operator who uses both a standard telephone and a TTY or computer terminal to type the voice messages to the TTY / computer user and read the TTY / computer messages to the standard telephone user. Video relay services involve a relay operator who uses both a standard telephone and a computer video terminal to communicate voice messages in sign language to the computer video terminal user and to voice the sign language messages to the standard telephone user.

Discrimination includes:

More information on the ADA is available on the Department's ADA Home Page at www.ada.gov and at the toll-free ADA Information Line, 1-800-514-0301 (voice) and 1-800-514-0383 (TTY).


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