Big bank to pay $8.5m over recording customer calls

by Ryan Smith31 Mar 2016
One of the nation’s largest lenders has agreed to fork over $8.5 million to California in order to settle charges that it violated customers’ privacy by illicitly recording their phone calls.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris said the bank broke state privacy laws, according to a Reuters report. In California, both parties are required to be made aware that a call is being recorded.

Harris joined with district attorneys for Los Angeles, San Diego, Alameda, Riverside and Ventura counties to pursue the lawsuit. The six offices will split $7.6 million of the settlement, according to Reuters. The bank will also reimburse nearly $400,000 in prosecutors’ investigative costs, according to the Ventura County Star.

According to a Wells Fargo spokesman, the company has put procedures in place to make sure customers are notified at the beginning of a call if they are being recorded. The Ventura County district attorney’s office confirmed that the company had “worked cooperatively” to implement new procedures nationwide, according to a Ventura County Star report. The bank also agreed to contribute $500,000 to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the Consumer Protection Trust Fund.

Wells Fargo neither admitted nor denied any liability in the settlement agreement, Reuters reported.


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