Wells Fargo charges huge DMV fee when trying to refinance

Dear Christine,

I actually got your name as a moderator for the website “creditcourt”. I tried to register and it said board moderators have not set up any new user groups that can accept new members, then it stated I should contact you.

I am really getting the run around by Wells Fargo and I think I could sue. The problem is, they’re causing me a big problem in the meantime.

In Sept ’09 I financed my car through them to buy out a lease on my Honda. It was a ridiculous interest rate, but being in the process of improving my credit, I took it with the plan to refinance when I could. I’m assuming at the time I signed the paperwork, I paid the DMV registration (reason for stating that to come).

Once refinanced, I received paperwork from where ever, they’re such a huge black hole of an organization. I signed it and returned it, never thinking any more about it.

On June 30, 2010, I was approved for a refinance loan through my credit union at close to half the interest rate. I was given a payoff quote (good until 7/13/10) by WF and I went into sign the loan docs. It was then that it was discovered that the registration I had still listed Honda Leasing as the lien holder, so of course my CU couldn’t proceed until the registration was corrected.

It has take until July 23 for them to correct the registration, and when they sent me a new payoff quote (good until 8/6/10), it increased by $1972.89! Upon close inspection I realized that $1726.44 is DMV fees they had to pay in order to correct the registration (not my responsibility, I paid those once) and the remaining $246 is interest they’re charging me over $8/day. There would have been no interest had I been able to proceed with the loan on June 30th. My payment was due July 12th, an I’m waiting for an added late fee for that. It was a long, arduous process to get put into the voicemail of the car loan supervisor today (July 24, 2010), was assured I would hear from him, and of course I haven’t. I assumed this large banking institution would behave in a reputable way, and now I’m very nervous that they won’t.

What can I do to fight for myself? Who do I contact? Do I write WF? Do I get an attorney, or just pay the different payoff amount then take them to small claims court? This is wrong. The IRS is more scrupulous.

Thank-you for any advise you could provide.

First of all, like all the large banks, Wells Fargo is pure scum.   You might have seen my documentary of how they stole Lynette’s mortgage payments after she made CASH payments at the branch:

2002: Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. and the Buckley Firm conspired to defraud Lynette and her family out of her home

Despite my publications, they only credited the funds for the payments for which she had receipts and there was never an investigation.

Please also see how the Citi Bank executives ADMIT to stealing customer funds and see NOTHING wrong with theft:

California judgment against Citibank for STEALING customer funds

Back to you:

You write very well and you submitted a coherent summary.  That goes a LONG way!

Two questions:

1) Are whether the DMV fees are ACCURATE? It sounds ridiculous to me, I can refinance a MORTGAGE for less.

2) Did WF make a MISTAKE?

If you are correct and you already paid the fee (review the paperwork for the loan) or the fees is bogus, you definitely can sue in small claims.  However, some states require a demand letter prior to accepting a small claims suit and you have to be well prepared and bring all your documentation.

In some states like Arizona they could actually transfer the case from small claims to the civil division where their corporate attorneys can crush you.

It sounds like you COULD refinance despite the fee, so I would go ahead and do so while also disputing the fee in writing with Wells Fargo and demanding complete accounting for the loan and that they refund the DMV fee AND the additional interest and other costs you incur.

Do you have the statement with the DMV fee when you got the loan?  If not, you also have to request it from Wells Fargo.

Mail with delivery confirmation as they will not hesitate to lie about receiving your demand!

If you do have all the paperwork to document the duplicate / fraudulent fee and they don’t resolve the issue, you might even be able to get an attorney to take your case on contingency.

This is the kind of fraud like to see documented here at Liars and Cheats EXPOSED!

As I previously wrote in response to another reader’s problem, it’s also the kind of work I like to do.  Of course my fee SHOULD be paid by Wells Fargo, but I learned many times (including in Lynette’s case) that most people simply cannot take their case to court without an attorney and few attorneys are willing to take on the large  banks.

Please feel free to ask questions here and I’d love to see an update with the outcome of your dispute.

2 Responses to “Wells Fargo charges huge DMV fee when trying to refinance”

  1. Dear Christine,

    Thank you so much for your speedy response. You’ve helped me tremendously already.

    To address your questions, yes, I have verified the fees and yes, this is absolutely WF’s error. I’ll try to be as clear in explaining this. I pulled the loan docs with WF dated 9/28/09.
    The “Itemization of Amount Financed” shows the following:

    Loan Origination Fee (Prepaid Finance Charge) – $xxx.00
    Amount Financed (Sum of amounts shown below) – $xx,xxx.00
    Amount Paid on Your Accounts – 0
    Amount Pd to You for Auto Security Plan – $xxx.00 (yes, I bought it )
    Amounts Paid To Others On Your Behalf
    To Public Official for Sales Tax – $1542.22
    To Public Officials for Recording Fees – $15.00
    To Honda Finance – $xx,xxx.00.

    All these add up to the Amount Financed, in other words, I paid those. The Sales Tax and Recording Fees are to the DMV (I believe).

    Timeline of Events:
    December 2009– got Power of Attorney from Phoenix – signed and returned
    February 2009 (or there abouts) – got Title from San Francisco – signed and returned
    A week or so later – got a call from SF requesting title, I told him I returned it already, he replys they never received it, he a little miffed that he would have to order a duplicate title, will send it to me to sign. I say okay. I go on about my life, it never occurred to me that I never got the title in the mail. (work full-time, grad school full-time, got other stuff going on)
    June 30, 2010 – get refinanced through my CU, go into sign docs and discover registration still lists lien holder as Honda. I contact WF Financial where I got the loan and told manager my car, that has been financed through them for the last 9 months, has the wrong lien holder on it and I need the corrected registration. He says “wow”, that should not have happened, then told me he would look into it, get the required paperwork, call me to come pick it up and I could take it to the DMV for correction. I live in California and the DMV is a nightmare here, at least a 3 hour endeavor. I told him it was an error on WF part, I would come and sign the paperwork (which turned out to be the Power of Attorney and a duplicate Title, do these guys have any idea what their doing?) but it was their obligation to take it to the DMV, then fax it to my CU. He said I would have to pay the DMV fees for a new registration, I said “no, don’t think so”. They finally did what they needed to do, however, it literally took weeks, on July 23rd, they finally faxed the corrected registration the my CU.

    On the registration the fees listed are:
    Amount Due: $1726.00
    Chck $ 150.00
    CRDT $1576.22
    Refund .22

    This tells me they never paid the sales tax and recording fees that was listed in my loan doc and was part of my loan, I paid these fees at the time of signing. The DMV slammed them for some penalties, big ones, which they do, and through my modified payoff quote, they passed these fees directly on to me.

    And as I stated in my first email to you, they have also charged me $246 in interest fees.
    I’ll go ahead and get this loan, I’ll have to put the balance on my credit card because my car doesn’t bluebook for the new payoff amount, but I need to get out from under WF. I’ll check out the small claims laws here in CA, see what have to take place prior to a claim. I will also pursue WF, but unsure who and how I contact anyone with any authority here. I feel entitled to reimbursement totaling $1972.89. I’ll also look into an attorney, but I’m sure you’re right, who would take this on?
    I will certainly keep you posted.
    My deepest appreciation,

  2. Cheryl, as you wrote, it looks like WF didn’t pay the fees to the DMV, POCKETED the money and now bills you again.

    HOWEVER, if I were to handle this dispute, I’d start by requesting FULL ACCOUNTING for the loan. You might even already have access to it through online banking. Theoretically, they could have applied the original DMV payment to principal. And regardless, you need the full accounting for the court or an attorney.

    It’s not important to get to some person with the power to get this corrected, but you need to write to the correct address.

    So if you can’t print out the full accounting, request it by writing to the address on your statement. Usually they have one address for payments and another address for disputes or general correspondence.

    Most people don’t realize that most national banks actually have NUMEROUS corporations, all with similar sounding names, and if you write to the wrong corporation it might cause you to lose in court.

    NEVER use addresses posted on the web by other consumers who intend to be helpful. I continually receive notices addressed to Target (with my street address) from bankruptcy courts. I suspect they confuse me with Target because I posted my litigation against Target and apparently the bankruptcy attorneys are too stupid to figure that out.

    So anyway, I’d write something like this:

    Loan # ….

    It appears that you failed to properly change the lien holder when you financed the purchase of my car and you failed to pay the sales tax included with my loan. As I’m now refinancing with my credit union, you again billed me for the sales tax and DMV penalties.

    Please immediately correct your errors, refund the amount overcharged and provide me with the complete account history for this loan.

    Also, please refund the interest charges incurred due to your errors. My new rate is x% and I would have paid you off by [date]. The difference in interest is $… /day until payoff.


    Well, something like this. You can even add interest AFTER payoff — whatever you pay on your credit card.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been in California small claims court and they used to require the demand letter — this would be sufficient.

    Also, if they don’t correct the error, you’re entitled to a whopping $50 statutory penalty under the Fair Credit Billing Act. A cruel joke? Still better than nothing.

    California is one of the better state to be in because there are numerous consumer attorneys and additional state laws, although they might not apply since Wells Fargo is a national bank.

    Attorneys usually look for people with HUGE damages.

    But, you might still find an attorney to take your case on contingency once you have the account history. It should contain absolute proof that WF ripped you off.

    It would NOT surprise me at all if they pocketed the sales tax and DMV fees, but you do need the accounting to prove it.

    Please keep us updated,


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