Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has filed an unfair business practices lawsuit against Wells Fargo accusing the bank of victimizing customers "by using pernicious and often illegal sales tactics to maintain high levels of sales of their banking and financial products."
The suit, filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court (embedded below) and first reported in the Los Angeles Times, accuses the bank of setting unrealistically high sales targets for employees, who have responded by opening bank and credit accounts without customer authorization. The action seeks up to $5,000 in fines for each violation of California law and to force the bank to make restitution to customers allegedly victimized in the alleged scheme.
Wells Fargo, based in San Francisco, has denied allegations of systematic abuse and has blamed problems on individual employees the banks says it has disciplined or fired.
"Wells Fargo's culture is focused on the best interests of its customers and creating a supportive, caring and ethical environment for our team members," the bank said in a statement.
The Los Angeles lawsuit alleges, however, that the company's push to sign up customers for as many Wells Fargo services as possible has led to something else: a culture in which employees routinely "game" customers.