Wells Fargo Bank will pay $8.5 million in a settlement reached with six California counties over the bank’s practices of recording phone conversations.
The settlement announced Tuesday was the result of a civil complaint filed against the bank for failing to timely and adequately disclose automatic recording of phone calls, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
California law states that anyone on the line must be told a conversation is being recorded at the beginning of a phone call.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office filed the civil complaint in conjunction with the state Attorney's General's Office and district attorneys in Riverside, San Diego, Alameda and Ventura counties.
"Wells Fargo failed to recognize that Californians place a high value on privacy," Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. "Today's settlement takes another step toward ensuring that consumers' rights are protected."
Wells Fargo did not admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, and the company has worked with authorities to change its notification policies. The bank also agreed to implement an internal compliance program to ensure that changes are made.
The bank will pay civil penalties totaling $7.61 million and will pay $384,000 to cover prosecutors' investigative costs. It will also contribute $500,000 to the Consumer Protection Prosecution Trust Fund and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
Prosecutors noted that California law is strict about requiring both parties in a conversation to be alerted at the outset if a call is being recorded.
Wells Fargo will also give $500,000 to two statewide consumer protection and privacy rights organizations, the DA’s office stated.
City News Service contributed to this report.