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Duty to Investigate Dispute Remains Whether or Not Consumer Responds to Request for Information


Sponer v. Wells Fargo, et al.


D. Ore – Portland

Consumer/Plaintiff was victim of identity fraud – his ID was used to purchase a vehicle when he was out of the country.  Police arrested the man who used the Plaintiff’s identity, confiscated the stolen vehicle, and obtained a confession from thief. 

Wells Fargo was notified of this by letter from the Plaintiff.  Wells Fargo contacted the police on multiple occasions who confirmed the underlying facts and who returned the vehicle to Wells Fargo.

Despite this, Wells Fargo refused to remove the loan off of the Plaintiff’s credit report claiming that it’s obligation to conduct a reasonable investigation was extinguished when the Plaintiff failed to provide the specific documents requested. The Court didn’t buy this reasoning and noted that Wells Fargo had access to all, or nearly all, of the information it was requesting. The Court also noted that Wells Fargo cited no authority supporting this position.

The Court ruled that a jury could find that this investigation was not reasonable and allowed the count to move forward.