• Report: #72399
Complaint Review:

First Union Now Wachovia Bank

  • Submitted: Tue, November 18, 2003
  • Updated: Fri, February 19, 2010

  • Reported By:Monroe North Carolina
First Union Now Wachovia Bank
5225 W. WT Harris Blvd. Charlotte, North Carolina U.S.A.
  • Phone:
  • Web:
  • Category: Banks


*UPDATE Employee: A few things for consideration...

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This is not limited to just Wachovia Bank, however all Banking entities do the same. What I am about to tell you is something you most likely are not aware of due to the very small print in the tiny disclosure tri-fold pamphlet you either receive when opening an account, sent out to you upon updates bank has made. However, it should be placed in Larger Bolder Writing, even RED in what they call Black Box as showing important information for what it cost you in the short and long run.

Here is my story. When you use your Check Card from a bank you don't realize when you charge on it, ie use it, be it using it as Debit or Credit doesn't make any difference, the place where you use the check card ask's for twice the amount to be held out of your account, with the blessings of the Bank, until the time the merchant ask for the funds with their merchant number along with other information, usually within 3 to 5 business days. YES!

Believe me. I worked for a bank and even I DID NOT know it until I became caught up in it. Example: say you use your Check Card for a gas purchase for your vehicle. You are going to use $10 dollars from your account that has a balance of say $50 dollars to make it simple. Then gas company,(all do it) not only ask for the $10 dollars, but they ask for $10 dollars more making it now $20 dollars. Now this is not counting the usual $1.50 for verifying the funds are there before you pump the gas okay?!! Which now they have a little more. However, to keep with being simple lets just leave out the buck fifty.

Now you need some cash on hand so you go by an ATM and withdraw $10 dollars, now that makes $30 dollars from your account, but you are thinking only $20 not aware that the extra ten is being held out for gas. So now that the total amount being held from your account is $30 dollars, you know you have a check out for lets say $25.00 dollars and tomorrow is pay day so you are not worried about being so low and after all you have enough for that check or so you think.

Before the payroll goes in the check for $25 dollars is presented to the bank for payment. All of a sudden the funds are not there and therefore you receive an Unavailable Funds Charge to your account through the mail. OH MY!!! But you had enough in the account. You still had $30 dollars until tomorrows pay roll went through. However, to your surprise, because the gas and bank were holding funds out twice equalling $20 dollars, you took $10 out for yourself, that equals to $30, you only have $50 in the account, the $25 dollars comes in and now all of sudden you are short $5 dollars??? How in the world did this happen you wonder???!!!! Well, now you know.

Now, can you imagine using your check card frequently and counting your money the way it should be only to find you are not only going to have to pay bank fees but return check fees to the merchant if they are returned by the bank (that is if they don't pay them). However, it doesn't matter if the bank goes ahead and pays them, the bank still charges you for UNAVAILABLE FUNDS!!! Now isn't that a kick!?!

The Bank calls it UNAVAILABLE FUNDS because, now listen close, the funds are there but are not available for use. The bank cannot call them NSF-NON SUFFIENT FUNDS CHARGE because they know that the funds are there and can be used when released after the merchant is issued the CORRECT FUNDS HELD FROM YOUR ACTUAL AMT. CHARGED.

Now that you are totally confussed about how they can do this to you, I have one other thing to add. How about what all these charges are called at the time you have a check bounce. UNAVAILABLE FUNDS CHARGE, NON SUFFICIENT FUNDS/INSUFFICIENT FUNDS/RETURNED CHECK CHARGE? You need to have them explain this to you, but have them to do it in writing.

Go to the web site or call and ask them to send you a letter or better yet, write them a letter asking them to explain that and not only that, but how check card funds are handled when used and charges are kept from the account. All in writing from you to them and them to you. Believe me, it will be well worth the 32 cent stamp. How in the world can they rightfully charge you $30 for a Return Check Charge or any of the other names listed above when rightfully the funds are there? Not only that, but even if they pay the merchant seeing you have the funds held, all right in front of the person posting your checks and deposits how could they charge you this $30 fee?

Now that this has confused you, I will add even another kicker to the story! Most banks, when you've been a good customer or even if you had NSF's etc.. occur to you before, but not often, will give every account a certain amount of lead way to paying a check or checks when they come in up to a certain amount, Oh let us say up to $100 dollars. Although they are taking it upon themselves to do this, they say for your benefit, instead of sending the check back, they will still charge you a FEE giving it whatever name it fits under at the time. They tell you, well we did this for you so you wouldn't have to pay double the fees.

They are speaking of the Bank's Fee's and then the Merchants Fee for a return check. Well heck don't do me any favor's!!! Gee!!!

Think about it! They'll hold out more funds than they should and charge you, but they'll turn around and GIVE YOU money you don't have and say they are trying to help you not incur extra fees from the merchant!!!

Now People, what is WRONG with this Picture!!!???!!! Please, tell me what you think? Surely this has occurred with you before if not at least once. How would you feel if it happened all at once and all of a sudden you had fees amounting over $300 dollars and that is just the bank fees alone! That is not counting some of the checks that were actually returned.

And let me tell you this also. When you have a check card be it a Visa or Mastercard Check Card, these are guaranteed funds. OH YES! Even though they call it a Check Card and tell you right out it is the same as using a check, that is a lie. If you use a check and the check comes in, they don't charge you more for the check than what the amount is wrote on the check now do they?! However, as a Credit or Debit, the only two choices you have, so that means debit as the same as an ATM which means immediately withdrawn, these funds are held at twice the amount.

However, if you go to your banks ATM and withdraw $10 dollars from your account, that is all that is taken from your account at that time, period!! But, use it at a merchant and no where is it called a check card on their register, but either a credit or debit, but both brings with it desaster and that's being double charges.

But, remember, being used either way, these funds are guaranteed by what ever finanical entity is backing them and it is not the bank where you bank. The bank is another bank, such as a really big one, for instance MBNA backing those funds which is a large financial instituation that backs a great many cards issued in todays market. So although you are charged a fee for not having funds, or so called not having those funds, those charges have to be paid!!! That is why they call them guaranteed funds. This makes me SICK TO MY STOMACH!! How BLATANT can you get in RIPPING OFF CONSUMERS!!! And what is the kicker, they say it is ALL LEGAL!!!

Now, are you going to tell me this is Legal?! I don't think so, but you know something, IT IS!! OH YES! ALL BECAUSE WE AS CONSUMERS DID NOT OR DO NOT READ THE DISCALIMER THEY SEND OUT TO US ALL BECAUSE OF BEING ON A TRI-FOLD OR BI-FOLD PAMPHLET THAT DOESN'T LOOK IMPRORTANT OR HAS ANY INDICATION AS BEING SUCH TO FIND THIS OUT! I Know we are not suppose to use capitals being hard to read, but that needed to be in capital letters. Fellow Consumers, if we don't make a stand in rebuttal to this and allow for all legal factors to kick in at the multitudes that have been and are going through this and will continue to go through this, seeing how much banks are making off of us then we are only to fault for it. We may not be able to get any money back, but I feel we can make enough noise, a huge enough difference to be counted for and make a change in this most unfair, blatant underhanded way of treating the common man there is!! You cannot tell me I am the only one.

Working previously for a bank the bank makes it known to their employee's that FEE'S ARE WHERE IT IS!!! THIS IS WHERE THE MONEY IS MADE. IF THEY SAY NOT THEN THEY ARE LIER'S, BECAUSE ITF THIS WERE NOT SO WHY DO THEY FEE YOU TO DEATH OVER EVERY LITTLE THING. Then when I worked for First Union Bank, now Wachovia through a merger, there was a certain department, customer service that offered 10% up to $10 thousand dollars for any idea that would make the bank money.

So, when an idea of charging fees for using certain aspects of the computerized customer services in Quicken and so forth, there were two people at two different times that made that 10 percent and got up to the $10 thousand mark each for it. Do you have any idea as to the amount of money their idea made for the bank for them to achieve this goal amount in a bonus? You do the figures. Ten percent of what makes 10 grand? The kicker is that this could have been and was something charged to you the consumers in fees that you used a great deal of and it made the bank far, far more than 100 grand monthly, even annually. That is just all the bank would pay up to.

Do you know that with Wachovia if you have a stack of deposit's sitting in front of that posting person and a stack of checks and charges, that deposits will go in by date, but even though a deposit will post at midnight that very day and a check that came in that very day is before them, they will post the check and/or charges making FEES OCCUR and then put the deposit in afterwards and their justification is that the deposit wasn't due to go in until the next day, when that could have been as much as 1 minute away from midnight. The only way you could possibly know this is to have the account audited and all the funds posted for that night and/or month pulled showing the exact time all the transactions were actually punched into the computer and who the person was by their code number given to find out if in essence you deserved this fee or not. Think about it.

Do you know that the posting person's get paid by how many entries they make, so speed counts. Do you know how many error's could be or could have been made in your account over the years that you may not have caught, some from simply not keeping an exact accounting of your funds and balancing your checking account? If you have Savings or Money Market Accounts, CD's how do you know the calculations are figured correctly unless you keep a running total of them yourself. Do you have any idea how many calculating error's are done in that field as well and money falls by the way side. I know, I have checked and often more than not there are calculating error's made all the time. Now you times that by the millions of customers and clients a bank has from people like you and me to large business, corporation accounts and you tell me what you think. Do you honestly think the bank cares about you and your little bit of funds that mean so very much to you? NO THEY DO NOT.

That is the more reason you have to stand up and be counted with others and as a group be heard ove this and even through legal channels if necessary. Lawyers look over these claims all the time, the more claims they are OF the more that can be looked into. Who knows, could this be so blatant that it is fraudulant in the way the banks do not properly notify you as a consumer about these transactions? I personally would think so. If we only get them to change the way they write the disclaimers or even just this in the disclaimer so people can read it more clearly, pay a fine and even those involved in the lawsuit a certain settlement, then we've achieved something and if this happens to one bank it is just as good as happening to all of them as it will have a Temendous Impact on how Banking Fees are charged making them to have to stand up and take notice and changing their tactic's fo sure.

YOU ARE BEING RIPPED-OFF MY FRIENDS. IT ISN'T JUST ME. SO HOW DO YOU LIKE IT??? DOESN'T FEEL TOO GOOD NOW DOES IT... WHAT A YA SAY TO A REBUTTAL ON THIS AND EVERYONE BE A PART OF THIS RIP-OFF ALERT AND TRY TO MAKE A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER, FOR ALL...???? This is certainly the time and place. We are all having very hard times in these days and most likely many more days to come. We don't need to be ripped off within our own country now do with by those we have to count on for financial assistance. This to me ranks just as much up there with Enron and those others who ripped off many consumers, employees and we should not stand by and allow this to be done to us either. The financial Instituations need to take a long hard look at themselves and if they don't on their own, then it is up to the comsumers and any other entities to make sure they do. I hope anyone that has had this to happen to them has learned from it and just STOP using your Check Cards. I KNOW I HAVE STOPPED. This hurts them also and hits them where it counts, in the Fees.
See, I didn't say the other word!!!

Monroe, North Carolina

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/18/2003 11:33 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/first-union-now-wachovia-bank/charlotte-north-carolina-28052/first-union-now-wachovia-bank-check-card-rip-off-bank-holds-twice-the-money-for-charges-yo-72399. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

A few things for consideration...

AUTHOR: Striderq - (U.S.A.)

First let me admit I didn't read all of your diatribe. The errors in the first few paragraphs were enough to prevent me from finishing.

When you make a gas purchase, if you use your card as credit there is no hold created and the purchase does not reflect in your balance until it posts. If you use your card as debit it will create a hold against your account balance. There is no fee of $1.50 or any other amount for the store to verify the funds. There are some gas stations that will charge a set amount when you use a prepaid pump and refund the difference it you do not use the entire amount. The one example I've seen of the, the amount charged was $50 and then since the customer only bought $20 they had $30 refunded. However in talking with the customer and the station owner the pumps have this warning clearly posted on them.  So in your example with the purchase of $10 of gas, with the card used a credit in almost all cases there will not be a hold generated. So then there will be a hold for $10 for your ATM transaction and the check. No fee unless you have less than $35 available in your account. In your example you say the account had $30 in it but you spent $25 in check and $20 on your card. So you've spent $45 of the $30 you had available. This is the cause of the fees, not some bogus double hold.

Which brings us to the rest of your post. Yes, Wachovia and a lot if not most or all other banks do charge an unavailable funds fee. It has been discussed on this forum for a couple of years, nothing new. But as in the responses of a lot of posters, if you keep an accurate register, subtracting all debits as you make them and posting credits as they are available and you keep your register balance in the positive you will not have a OD fee charged. In the exteremely rare cases that you mentioned (the prepaid pump charging $50 and then giving a refund, similar to openeing a tab at a bar and they process your card for $50 or $100) then it is possible to have OD fee(s) accessed without realizing it. In most cases the bank will take your history into account for a possible refund. But these cases are very rae and far between. In my 5 years as a PSR I've run into the prepaid pump situation once. And thecustomers complaints actually wasn't over the $50 charge, he knew about that but about the gas station running his card for another $20 after he pumped the gas.

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