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Here’s why Wells Fargo forces its customers into arbitration: It wins most of the time

That is outrageous. Arbitration has been around since the Middle Ages but it was typically used by merchants to settle disputes between them. It was never intended to be used as it is today, when it is forced on consumers and hidden in the fine print of contracts.

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The fine print: portion of an arbitration clause from a Wells Fargo credit card agreement, which bin

The fine print: portion of an arbitration clause from a Wells Fargo credit card agreement, which binds the customer to arbitrate almost any dispute with the bank and forbids class actions. (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)

A new study shows just how advantageous arbitration has been for Wells Fargo. Short answer: For the bank, it’s been great.

The study comes from Level Playing Field, an Arizona nonprofit that maintains a database of arbitration awards. The group mined records of 215 cases filed against Wells Fargo in 2009-2016 for its report. Its core finding is that of 48 consumer-initiated arbitration cases that resulted in a financial award, consumers won a documented victory in only seven, collecting a total of $349,549. The bank prevailed in 13 cases, collecting $485,208. Records for…

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