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Overdraft Fees Verdict Upheld By Supreme Court

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On Monday, the United States Supreme Court rejected Wells Fargo’s efforts to overturn a $203 million verdict regarding overdraft fees.

Originally, Wells Fargo was charged with violating a California consumer protection law because it “stacked” customer bank transactions.  In a nutshell, Wells Fargo processed larger bank customer transactions first to maximize overdraft fees.  If, for example, a consumer wrote checks for $600.00, $125.00, $40.00, and $25.00, Wells Fargo would process the larger transactions first, rather than arrange them in the order they were written.  This led to additional overdraft fees and other penalties because a customer’s larger transactions were posted before the smaller ones.

“Nearly six years after a federal court ordered Wells Fargo to pay $203 million in refunds to customers victimized by the bank’s overdraft policies — and after years of bouncing back and forth through the appeals process — the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to let that judgment stand.” https://consumerist.com/2016/04/04/wells-fargo-must-pay-203m-to-customers-after-supreme-court-rejection/

This was one of two decisions issued on April 4, 2016 by the Supreme Court relating to class actions. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s bid to defeat more than a $150 million class action judgment for Pennsylvania workers was also rejected.  The justices declined to hear Wal-Mart’s appeal, leaving in place a 2014 ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that largely upheld a judgment awarding $187 million to the plaintiffs.

Both reflect relatively positive news for consumers generally and we will continue to monitor the class action developments from this divided Court.