Wells Fargo Chisels Them, Homeowners Say

     CHICAGO (CN) - Wells Fargo unfairly passed a Cook County duplicate tax bill fee onto homeowners, a charge meant for banks and mortgage companies that make electronic property tax payments in bulk, according to a class action suit in Cook County Court.
     Homeowners claim in the contract complaint that when Wells Fargo removed escrow funds to pay borrowers' property taxes, it also deducted a $5 fee for the duplicate tax bills.
     Wells Fargo incurred the fee from the Cook County Treasurer's Office, which has said that the bank is "subject to the $5 duplicate tax bill fee, not the homeowner" and that Wells Fargo must pay the fee "because it has chosen to pay tax bills in bulk electronically," according to the complaint.
     The homeowners claim that "Wells Fargo has no right to pass on the duplicate tax bill fee as a 'charge' ... because the fee is not an item that can be subject to a lien on the property." 
     Mortgage documents state that the "lender shall not charge borrower for holding and applying the funds, annually analyzing the escrow account, or verifying the escrow items, unless lender pays borrower interest on the funds," according to the complaint. 
     Homeowners claim that Wells Fargo is wrongfully charging them a duplicate tax bill fee, and has not paid them any interest on their escrow funds.
     The class is represented by Robert Coleman.