Here is a letter I wrote to WF. I have yet to receive a response. BTW, I used some phrases I found on this site that others had written. It helps my cause and I thank you!
My husband and I moved from California to Northern New York in November, 2004. We kept our Wells Fargo checking account open because it contained the proceeds from the sale of our house. After a while, most of that money had been transferred over time to our Key Bank account here in New York.
In April 2005, I spoke with a Wells Fargo (herein referred to as WF) Customer Service Representative (herein referred to as CSR) in an attempt to close our checking account. I do not recall the exact amount but there was a balance of $8.00 and some change in the account. The CSR I spoke with checked my account to see if there was any pending activity (which there wasn't) and asked me if I had any checks left from the account and I said yes.
He told me all I would have to do was write a check for cash and deposit in my existing Key Bank account, then call WF after the deposit cleared to officially close the account. He told me this would take approximately 5 to 10 business days. In hindsight, I should have asked him why WF could not just cut me a bank check for the amount and close the account right then and there, but it didn't occur to me at the time.
Perhaps because of the small amount owed us and the time passing, the situation eventually slipped my mind and I ended up completely forgetting about the money owed to us.
On June 1, 2005, we received a phone call from Key Bank telling us that our current checking accounts, including my husband's business account would have to be closed because we had been reported to ChexSystems by WF. I immediately called WF in an attempt to settle this matter as soon as possible so we could get our accounts reopened.
I was told that we now owed $432.55, of which $359.90 was in fees alone. When I asked how this could have gone from $8.00 to over $400.00, I was told that most likely during the 5 to 10 day check-clearing period, an automatic payment was put through. The CSR could not give me detailed information because the account was closed (I find this very hard to believe).
I believe the amount was about $15.00 from Stamps.com but will not know for sure until we get our final statement, which the CSR said could take up to 60 days, another fact I find hard to believe. Since we had less than $15.00 in the account, an NSF fee was applied. From what I can gather, because our account had a negative balance, more fees were applied over the next two months until the total amount accumulated to $432.55.
I asked the CSR what the quickest way would be to get this matter resolved and she gave me two options:
1)I could mail the amount but wouldn't be sent a confirmation letter until about 20 days after WF credited the payment to the account
2)I could contact a friend or relative in California to physically make the deposit at a branch and a confirmation letter would be sent out five days after WF credited the payment to the account.
On June 2, 2005, I sent my brother a money order to his work address via USPS Overnight at a cost of $14.00. Upon receiving it, he immediately took time out of his work schedule to go to a WF branch, made the deposit on my behalf, and received a receipt for it. He was then told that the payment went through and that I could expect a confirmation letter in about three weeks.
At this point, I was losing all patience. It was a Friday night so I would not be able to call WF until the following week. When I did call on June 7, 2005, I asked the CSR I spoke with why I was told two different stories. She said that it was just WF's procedure regardless of the method of payment and there was nothing she could do about expediting the letter and the first CSR I spoke with should not have told me it would take only five days.
Words cannot convey the anger and frustration I was feeling by now. We could not pay our bills and my husband's business had been virtually shut down. No bank would accept us until our names were removed from ChexSystems. We were also told that a confirmation letter would not guarantee removal.
When we did go to a bank to see if they would accept us, we were told that the ChexSystems report said we were reported for account abuse. These are very strong words to use for extremely loyal customers such as we were.
We opened our WF account in 1996. We had a checking account, a savings account, a car loan, an equity line of credit and our current mortgage all with WF. We even made it a point to go with WF for our current mortgage even though there are no branches or offices in Northern New York. We were being treated like common criminals.
When I called WF to try to recover part, if not all, of the fees, I was told that I could not because we had already been sent to collections..
While we take responsibility for not closing the Stamps.com account, we hold WF responsible for the situation escalating the way it did for a number of reasons:
1)WF should have just written us a check for the amount in our account and immediately closed or frozen the account.
2)Not having our mailing address is not an excuse to stop trying to contact us when WF had on file our phone numbers and email address. They also had all the correct contact information on our mortgage account. We think there was minimal effort on WF's part solely to maximize the amount of fees they could get from us.
3)WF should not have accepted the $15.00 in the first place knowing we were trying to close the account and knowing there had not been any activity (especially deposits) in the account for quite some time. If this was a credit card, we would have been deemed over limit and the $15.00 would not have gone through. How is this any different? It would be very easy to implement a denial of service based on insufficient funds, rather than to openly allow individuals to complete transactions that they obviously do not have the funds to cover.
4)Our Key bank account was closed because of being reported to ChexSystems, yet when I tried to get it settled, the first thing I was told was to send a check to get it resolved. Now, what is the logic of freezing my money in another account if I could use it to pay the WF balance?
The banking industry has the power to completely eliminate this problem, and yet they do not. Why? Well, then they could not generate all that easy revenue, could they? It is quite apparent that the banking industry does not have the best interest of their clients in mind.
We think WF could make its customers a lot happier by following the business models of some of its competitors. For those of you who say the customer is not always right, well... the customer is the one bringing money into your bank. Your company draws interest off that money which it invests, making quite a nice, little profit. Where do you think your salary comes from?
WF also nickels and dimes the consumers with their fees while you, their President and CEO, earn $50+ million dollars a year. Do you care about, or can you even fathom the degree of stress, frustration, inconvenience and anger that we have experienced throughout this ridiculous incident?
Because the policies and practices only benefit WF and not the consumer, WF fooled us into thinking they were an institution with heart and that cared. Apparently, our patronage and history meant nothing and we were left holding the bag.
Over the years, WF has acquired other banks (and vice-versa). In their efforts to become larger, they have left customer service and, most importantly, customers behind. Because of this incident, my brother and his wife will be closing their WF account. Too bad for you because they are in the market for a new house and will need a loan.
In conclusion, what we would like from WF is the following:
1)A refund of $387.55. This would allow WF to keep the original $15.00 plus ONE of the NSF fees of $30.00.
2)Our names COMPLETELY removed from ChexSystems.
We expect a prompt reply and resolution to this matter.
Ogdensburg, New York
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Wells Fargo Bank