The story was first reported by The Capitol Forum, a paywalled investigative site catering to policymakers and investors, and based on several dozen consumer complaints filed online and with the Federal Trade Commission. Complainants allege that they discovered surprise charges on their mortgage bills for the service, labeled an "optional product," and found it difficult to get Wells Fargo to remove them.
"I was never contacted … with any offer, they never sent any receipt or contract; but I was billed $43 extra on my mortgage bill by Wells Fargo," claims one borrower from Herndon, Virginia, who didn't leave a name. After appearing to rectify the matter, a similar charge appeared again the next month.
An FTC spokesman would neither confirm nor deny whether the commission had looked into the complaints, citing government policy regarding public comments. Such complaints, when they become public, tend to attract class-action attorneys, who suspect the complaints might just be the tip of the iceberg.