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Wells Fargo and Rels Valuation Face Potential Home Evaluation Class Action

Two homeowners in Phoenix recently filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) and its appraisal subsidiary Rels Valuation, claiming the mortgage giant illegally rigged the appraisal process and referred appraisal business to its subsidiary in a scheme to boost profits at the expense of homeowners.

The lawsuit, filed under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act (RICO), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and state law, claims that Wells Fargo requires homeowners to use Rels Valuation for appraisals. In return, Rels Valuation gives Wells Fargo visibility into and control over the appraisal process.

The suit claims Rels Valuation subcontracts the work to independent appraisers, demanding large price concessions then charges homeowners more than double the actual cost of the appraisal.

The plaintiffs, Grant and Lanie Gomez of Arizona, refinanced their home in March 2007. Wells Fargo required them to use Rels Valuation for their home appraisal. In the company's good faith estimate, Wells Fargo disclosed its relationship with Rels Valuation and estimated appraisal charges would range from $50 to $650.

The complaint states the Gomez's received an appraisal fee of $495 from Rels Valuation. The suit alleges Rels Valuation does not appraise properties and instead hired a third party to complete the work for $200 or less.

Rels Valuation only hires appraisers who accept $250 or less on an appraisal, the suit alleges, they then submit a bill to Wells Fargo for an amount that exceeds $350. The lawsuit alleges defendants netted more than one hundred million dollars in phony and unearned fees through the appraisal fee scheme.

The lawsuit claims the practices may affect upwards of hundreds of thousands of home loan customers. Multiply that by an inflated fee of $200 per transaction and over the course of a year Wells Fargo sees an additional $20 million or more for no work completed, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, seeks to represent all homeowners who purchased or refinanced their home through Wells Fargo and Rels Valuation, and asks the court to award plaintiffs damages.

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Published on Feb-3-09


Posted by

I just talked to Wells Fargo about removing my PMI fee. They said I need another Appraisal done on my house witch I had done less then a year ago. They said I couldn't use that because it's more then six months old. I paid about $370 for the Appraisal , now less then a year later they want to charge me $550 to do it again even though it's been less then a year since the last appraisal!!! Talk about scamming people!!!!!

Posted by

I recently attempted to purchase a home with WELLS FARGO BANK. It took almost 3 weeks for an appraisal from RELS VALUATION. I paid $450 to WELLS FARGO for that appraisal which was done by RELS. The sale didn't go through and I went to another BANK they told me I had to pay for another appraisal because they wouldn't accept RELS appraisal. New appraisal was $2000 more than original appraisal from RELS. If there is anyone in Missouri that had a similar problem with RELS and WELLS FARGO please respond. Would like to start a class action suit against them. Please Reply

Posted by

I just requested an appraisal of my property on 8/3/2016 and Wells Fargo sent a form for me to use Rels Valuation which charged me 550.00 dollars. This seems excessive as 18 months ago Wells Fargo stated appraisals were 300.00 dollars.

Palmer L Greene


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