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Customers Sue Wells Fargo Over Check Fees

June 25, 1998| Bloomberg News

Wells Fargo & Co. customers are suing the bank, America's 10th-largest, over what they claim is its refusal to honor past promises of lifetime checking accounts without fees. Three customers sued the San Francisco-based bank this week in San Francisco County Superior Court, seeking class-action status. At least two other suits are pending, said customer attorney Barry Himmelstein of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein. The suits were triggered by May 28 letters from the bank to 150,000 account holders saying that beginning Wednesday, they will be charged as much as $10 per month. After customer complaints, Wells Fargo spokeswoman Kim Kellogg said that some customers had been promised fee-free checking, perhaps by banks that were later acquired by Wells Fargo, and that those pledges would be kept. "If they can tell us why they believe it, we will honor that pledge," she said. The letters were sent because many accounts had no indication of why fees weren't being charged. The suit seeks unspecified damages for breach of contract and unfair competition as well as continued free checking. Wells Fargo shares rose $2.81 to close at $356.06 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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