More small businesses join federal class action suit against Wells Fargo

By: Jason Stoogenke

Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - More small businesses are latching on to the potential federal class action against embattled Wells Fargo.

 Business owners said the bank lied to them when it came to credit cards. They said Wells Fargo charged them hidden and excessive fees to process credit card transactions. They also accuse the bank of instilling hefty penalties if they took their business elsewhere.

In August, a Charlotte tour group, Queen City Tours, was one of the first two businesses in the country to sue Wells Fargo over this credit card controversy.  A Pennsylvania restaurant, Patti's Pitas, was the other. 

Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke found four more companies are plaintiffs in the lawsuit: a California dentist, a California manufacturer, a Texas cafe and a Colorado chiropractor.

Thomas Chapman, owner of TJ's Quality RV Storage in Concord, said his company is not one of the ones suing Wells Fargo, but he accuses the bank of the same things as the businesses which are suing. 

He said the bank was supposed to charge him less than 3 percent when his customers paid by credit card, but charged him 4.75 percent and more than 5 percent instead. 

Chapman dropped the bank and said it tried to charge him a $500 early termination fee. 

Chapman said he didn't see that coming and complained. He said the bank waived the fee, but still expects him to keep paying for the credit card equipment, which is more than $70 per month. 

Chapman said he still has roughly 30 months left on that lease and said Wells Fargo has not waived that.

"I feel betrayed, I feel lied to, totally," Chapman said. "I feel like my bank robbed me."

Wells Fargo officials said the bank's original statement still applies from when the lawsuit was filed. 

Officials said, "We believe our negotiated pricing terms are fair and were administered appropriately. We deny these claims and intend to defend against the lawsuit." 

As for Chapman, the bank said, "We are currently looking into this individual merchant complaint and cannot disclose details per customer confidentiality."

This is the latest controversy for Wells Fargo. 

First, there was the fake account scandal. Then, bank officials admitted signing customers up for auto insurance they didn't want or need. There have also been allegations involving gap insurance. Finally, there are these allegations involving credit card processing for businesses.

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