3OYS: Glendale man says his car was repossessed by mistake

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- John Mrowiec makes a living running a religious retail shop in Phoenix.

On the day 3 On Your Side visited him at the store, he was busy assisting customers.

"Let us know if you need any help or assistance, OK?" he told one customer.

Like most of us, Mrowiec works to pay his bills, and paying bills is one thing he and his wife try to stay on top of.

"We always stay up on our bills, and most of our bills are paid by direct deposit anyways," he said.

The bill Mrowiec says he tries to pay first is his car payment, so you might be surprised to find out that his car was recently repossessed.

"I get a call from a towing agent that says, 'Hey, I got your car. Call Wells Fargo. End of story,' " Mrowiec recalled.

It turns out the repossession stemmed from a few months ago when Mrowiec started looking for less expensive car insurance. Mrowiec says shopping for the insurance was easy, and not only was the transition to another insurance seamless, but he immediately saw savings.

But Mrowiec says for some reason, Wells Fargo Dealer Services, which is who his car is financed through, thought he canceled his insurance instead of switching to another company. So, Wells Fargo Dealer Services automatically assigned him an insurance policy and added a $409 insurance bill to his car payment.

Mrowiec says he tried to explain to Wells Fargo Dealer Services that his car was always insured but claims the bank wouldn't listen to him.

According to Mrowiec, Wells Fargo kept telling him to just pay the amount with his next car payment but he refused.

"I'm already paying for insurance. I mean, I don't need to pay for it twice," he said.

Although Mrowiec paid his car payment month after month, he ignored the $409 insurance fee attached to his monthly statement. Still, he says he kept calling Wells Fargo and asking them to remove the insurance fee.

As a result, Wells Fargo repossessed his car.

"To make a long story short, it took me three days and $1,200 to get my car back," he said.

Mrowiec says he actually had to wire Wells Fargo Dealer Services $979 for the repossession fees and penalties, not to mention the insurance policy.  He also had to pay the repo company another $200 to release his car for a total of nearly $1,200.

It's all for a mistake that he says he never made. However, he believes someone at Wells Fargo Dealer Services sure did.

"All they simply have to do is verify my insurance. It's a simple process, and because of their lack of customer service, they won't do that," he said.

3 On Your Side asked Wells Fargo if they would investigate Mrowiec's dilemma and consider returning the $1,200. 3 On Your Side submitted documents, including a letter from Mrowiec's insurance broker confirming that he always had insurance on his vehicle and there was never a lapse in coverage when he switched to a less expensive insurance company.

Mrowiec says Wells Fargo Dealers Services has removed the derogatory repossession from his credit report but more importantly, the bank also returned all of his money.

Mrowiec said he is thrilled and owes it all to 3 On Your Side.

"I just want to thank 3 On Your Side and Gary Harper for their involvement. Wells Fargo did admit their fault in this matter and they're overnighting me a check for all of the money that I lost," he said.

Wells Fargo never gave a detailed explanation, but a spokesperson said in an email to 3 On Your Side, "We were able to make contact with the customer after repeated attempts to discuss their account were unsuccessful. Once contact was made, we worked together quickly and believe we handled the situation to the customer’s satisfaction.”