Report: #1120888

Complaint Review: Wells Fargo Bank

  • Submitted: Tue, February 04, 2014
  • Updated: Tue, February 04, 2014
  • Reported By: Zuesab — Zephyrhills Florida
  • Wells Fargo Bank
    801 W. 4th St.
    Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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I have been un-employed for some time and for the past year have been attending school on a veterans program for older, long term unemployed veterans called VRAP.  By benefits dried up in October of 2013, so I left $50 dollrs in my Wells Fargo account to keep it open until my tax return came in or I was re-emplyed, whichever came first.  I was somewhat taken aback to receive an overdraft notice from Wells Fargo, just in time for Christmas.  I hadn't used the account in some time so I only had two items on my statement, one for a free credit check srvice fee that I used in connection with a Veterans matter, and a $19.95 charge labeled Best Benefits.

  To be honest, I'm not a financial master-mind and possess remedial financial management skills, so I went to my friendly neighborhood Wells Fargo branch to enquire why I was in debt.  I will say that I do like the people in my local branch of Wells Fargo, and have since they were still a Wachovia branch.  A customer service rep was quite helpful and helped me to resolve the issue with the supposedly free credit check company who cheerfully refunded my money and the bank reversed the overdraft charges.  The Best Benefits issue was another matter.

I was suspicious right away, because nobody there could tell me what Best Benefits was or what they do, or why they were charging me $19.95 a month to do for me whatever it is they do for me.  Prior to my opening this can of worms I assumed it was some internal bank charge for overdraft insurance or some such thing and was hoping to turn it off and maybe get a little relief.  The truth was much darker and harder to get to.  We went on line, Googled Best Benefits, and started making inquiries.  When we finally got a phone number and an actual human to respond to my call I was greeted as a "Favored Wachovia Customer."  Wachovia has been dead since early 2011.  Bad sign.  When I enquired as to what Best Benefits is they told me that it was a discount club for favored Wachovia customers and for the tiny sum of $19.95 I was eligble for a wide range health service discounts.  I was further informed that I consented to this, which is ludicrous in light of the fact I have VA health care which I like very much and so would have no use for such a "service."  In addition, I never received anything at all from this outfit, no membership card, or monthly mailings of discounts for prostrate exams, or cheap Depends or whatever it is that they are ostensibly supposed to provide for me. 

So, after about 10 hours of Phone tag and internet spade work I finally had a clear picture of my situation.  In 2009, using information provided to them from crooked bank officers at the late Wachovia bank, Best benefits Robo-signed me up for this discount club swindle scam they operate along with other simialar operations.  They get an F rating from the BBB.  Google Best Benefits or MVQ and read the 20+ pages of complaints recounted by outraged consumers.  Many of them were simialar to my own.  Mine stands out for the timeframe.  I didn't catch it till now, $1230 later.  I'm rather upset.  So far all I've gotten back is the last 60 days of billing.  Wells Fargo is giving me the cold shoulder, denying any responsibility, and outright implying that I'm a stupid man and therefore it is completely right and proper for me to be swindled by these criminals, and by extension, Wells Fargo has no legal or ethical obligation to protect it's depositors from fraud they are surely well aware of.

Wachovia was successfuly sued, in a class-action for many millions of dollars, and so was Wells Fargo and Bank of America, among others.  They refuse to refund my money in spite of not even providing me with the Phony Baloney services they charged me for.  Mailings cost money, and tip off the victim that he's being robbed.  For them, outright theft seems to work out just fine.    Please help. 


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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/04/2014 02:33 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Author of original report

We've got to start meeting like this

AUTHOR: Zuesab - ()

Geez Robert, we've got to stop meeting like this.

 It's completely true that my situation is certainly a logical consequense of my foolish old Hippy-like indifference to commonly accepted standards of sound money managment.  I'll even admit to being somewhat embarrased about it.

As for your presumption that I was looking to you for a light at the end of the tunnel, I think I've given you the wrong impression.  When I was cruising through the various sites dealing with consumer affairs sites I mistakenly thought that Rip-Off Report was an ombudsman service that dealt with matters like mine in a useful and informative way.  If you find my story amusing in some way, and perhaps useful as a cautionary tale for the consequenses of financial indifference then that's fine.  Glad to oblige.  The point of my responses is that I'm not entirely unaware of my account activities, I perhaps foolishly, focused on my credit card account as the most likely source of problems.  I had a few, discovered them, and rectified them with little or no harm.  The only real account issue I've had is the one I've laid out in my report.  I knew in a sort of dim unfocused way that is peculiar to us "slow folk" that there was a charge there, but didn't realize the nature of it and for reasons I won't get into deeply, thought it was some sort of service charge connected to my account, either stemming from my car loan or my "way to save" account.

Sadly, but honestly, as long as my accounts were in an acceptable range of balance, I didn't worry about it.  I'm just a foolish old rube who during the period in question worked a whole lot of hours and drove a whole lot of miles to earn my modest wages.  If it makes you feel good to ridicule me for my predicament, feel free, enjoy, I'm fine with that.  I don't need your help, I don't know you, and vice-versa.  I do think you have a clever way with words and admit I sort of enjoy wasting my time in these little pissing matches all good fun.

As to your query about the Wachovia settlement, you can find it on complaint wire.  My computer skills are no better than my money management skills so all I can say is I stumbled over it early in the process of trying to find out what Best Benefits is after I realized it wasn't some sort of In house banking sevice charge from the Banking for Dummies program at Wachovia/Wells Fargo.  There I found a huge number of complaints simialar to mine from working class people, single mom's,elderly retiree's, and yes, even a few run of the mill rubes like me.  A good many of them are outraged and venting with their caplocks on thinking that they're going to sue someone and that people were going to jail and etc.

It's all very sad.  At the VA last week I met an elderly disabled Vet who was swindled by Best Benefits for a not unsubstantial sum.  I was more offended on his behalf than for myself.  I'd rather see him get restitution than get one for myself.  I know this: Anger doesn't serve you well in this case.  The thing to do is to follow a series of logical steps without getting angry and impatient and hope for some sort of decent outcome.  If nothing else, I've learned a valuable lesson.

                                                           Cheers, Zuesab


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#2 Consumer Comment

Back the truck up....

AUTHOR: Robert - ()

 You start off originally saying that you are not a "finanical master-mind" and posess "remedial" financial management skills.  Then all of the sudden in your last report you not only monitor your SEVERAL accounts for fraud you supposidly caught some fradulent activity and reported it to another bank.  You even go as far as saying that you did actually track your accounts and as long as your account was within $25 of what you "thought" it should be you were fine.

Will the real "rube" please stand up....You don't get it both ways.  You don't on the one hand basically try to place yourself as a victim and the very next day say that you are some "reconcilling wizard" in monitoring your several accounts.

So I will just restate this again since you seem to be a bit slow in understanding.

This was not a situation where you were being charged for a month or two...this was a situation where you were charged EVERY month since 2009 and EVERY month you did NOTHING about it.   If anything your last post killed what ever shred of credibility you may have had. 

One suit cost them $125,000,000 dollars.

- Please post a link to this suit.

How do you conclude that I'm unwilling or unable to help myself.

- Okay again since you seem to be a bit let this go on since 2009..unable.  Your very last line on the original post..Please Help..unwilling.

When this matter belatedly came to my attention

- It wasn't exactly was over 4 years after it started, where by my calculations you had a minimum of 48 times to catch it.

Do you get it yet?  Do you have the faintest Idea why you need to start acting like an adult and take responsibility?  No..probably not.  So good luck in your quest and if you get anything more than what you have already gotten..consider yourself very, very lucky.

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#3 Author of original report


AUTHOR: Zuesab - ()

I suppose I can't blame you for concluding that I'm a fool for letting this happen.  I have to take exception to the idea that I willingly consented to this raid on my finances.  I'm not completely oblivious to the status of my several accounts.  On several occasions I've detected fraud on my credit card and the nice folks at the Chase bank chase these things down quickly and efficiently. 

One of the reasons I was blindsided (other than my own financial dyslexia) by this raid is that I never used my Wachovia/Wells Fargo debit card to purchase things over the phone or on line.  In fact I almost never buy anything except in a cash and carry, point of sale transaction because I,m an old Hippy and I like the bargaining edge you get from cash deals.

 My debit card was mostly used during my days as an over the road trucker and was a useful tool for seperating personal expenditures from tax-deductible ones.  It was also my direct deposit account.  Typically, after 20+ days on the road, I,d come home dog tired with perhaps three days to enjoy my home life.  Excuse me for not making it a priority to tear open a bank statement to see what my financial situation was several weeks ago.  I did always track my expenditures, so if my current balance was within say twenty-five dollars of what I thought it should be I was fine with that.  Experience keeps a dear school, but a fool will learn at no other.

Anyway, if you doubt my account of this sad tale, Google Best Benefits/Wachovia scam and peruse the 10+ pages of anecdotal tales told by honest hardworking Americans who were swindled by Best Benefits, in collusion with a number of our larger banks.  On a personal note, while I'm not offended by the fact that I look foolish in this matter, I am somewhat perturbed by the tone of your response which I interpret as "Well, He's a dumb a*s and it's only right and proper that he should have his money stolen."  Even if you think I'm stupid, I can't fathom why you wouild condone fraud and malfeasance.  Also, your remarks were in no way helpful and come off as smug, complascentand well, kind of d***ish.

   Good Luck and Best Wishes,

  Your Friend, Zuesab


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#4 Author of original report

Thanks a Pantload Robert

AUTHOR: Zuesab - ()

First I would begin by acknowledging the fact that people and institutions aren't all one thing.  As I stated in my complaint, I am actually rather fond of the nice folks that work at my local branch of Wells Fargo.  They have been as helpful as the situation allows as well as unfailingly courteous.  I would be wrong and unfair to not state that.  Also, Three out of five of the people I've spoken with on their Fraud/Complaint line have been both decent and supportive and have given me their honest take on the issue of bank account fraud and swindles like Best Benefits.  Two of them were less candid in expressing their knowledge of the Best Benefits swindle.

Am I in any way responsible for my situation? Sure I am, and in my complaint I was very self deprecating on the subject and in fact described my financial management skills as "remedial at best."  I wouldn't blame someone for calling me stupid, foolish or naive regarding my lackadaisical oversight of my personal finances.  I do not, however, quack like a duck.  Clearly you have confused me with Gilbert Gottfried.

How do you conclude that I'm unwilling or unable to help myself.  When this matter belatedly came to my attention I looked up Best Benefits on line, partly because everyone at the bank couldn't, or wouldn't tell me what it was or give me a billing history.  While in the office of a customer service rep at my home branch we called a Best Benefits service number and had a phone meeting with a rep who greeted me as a "Preferred Wachovia Customer."  At that point the idea that the bank was at least peripherally involved became a logical conclusion.  The other fellow, who titled his post "Agreed" went on to give me a very condescending explanation about what membership clubs were, and based on my own lack of oversight into this matter, concluded that I was a dufus.

Quack Quack. Anyway, I certainly never gave anyone permission to raid my cookie jar and did not some how accidentally join this club.  AS I found out by reading 10+ pages of posts on complaintwire from outraged consumers whose story is almost identical to mine I found some useful info on Best Benefits, how they operate, and a number of anecdotal references to a number of legal cases rising from this fetid swamp of corruption.  Wels Fargo, Citi-Bank, Chase, Wamu, Bank of America (naturally) and Wachovia were all called to account legally for giving these scam artists and swindlers access to their customers info.  One suit cost them $125,000,000 dollars.

Any way, I have taken all the proper steps to redress this grievance because the nice (mostly) mutually supportive folks on the complaintwire actually sided with the people who don't think it's OK to steal from Stupid people,quacking ducks or people who are looking the other way.  Steling make no mistake about it, this is flat out theft and/or fraud and nothing else is wrong and illegal.  Unfortunately the consequences of inattention are harder on a working class sucker than the people who steal

If you're so smart and informed, why don't you try saying something helpful or at least suppotive.  Kharma!

                                                                                        Best Wishes, Zuesab

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#5 Consumer Comment

If you aren't going to help yourself..why expect anyyone else too?

AUTHOR: Robert - ()

 Sorry but regardless of how the situation started, where you are now is 100% your fault because of your lack of resposibility over your money.

You can play the "ignorant" card all you want, but it doesn't take a financial genius to look at your monthly statement and realize that there are charges on your account from places you don't recongnize.  Where when you saw this you would say "Humm..I don't know who these people are perhaps I should investigate".

While it is very likely that you signed up for this benefit without knowing what you were doing.  Even if that was the case where had you caught this charge a month or even 2 months after this started you would have a 100% valid complaint.  But after 4(going on 5) years the responsibility for this lies with you 100%. 

Your other problem is that if you didn't catch this for this length of time, it blows any credibility you have with any assertion that you NEVER received any documentation.  Just like you missed this, you could have thrown away everything they ever sent you.

Wells Fargo is giving me the cold shoulder, denying any responsibility, and outright implying that I'm a stupid man

- Well I am sorry to say that if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck...then it must be a duck.

You infer that they are not protecting it's customers against fraud.  Well how were they "surely aware"  that this was a fraudlent charge?  The charged showed up on your account EVERY month and EVERY month you did nothing. 

I don't want to say that you are totally lucky that Wells Fargo gave you your money back, but I will say don't expect any more..because it won't be coming.

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#6 General Comment


AUTHOR: Tyg - ()

 It is unfortunate but if you are not examining your bank statements then this is what happends. The program is a MEMBERSHIP program. Which means that you recieved the services you just NEVER used them. They wouldnt JUST robosign you. Odds are it was buried in something you had to sign. Youre not going to see any of the past amount refunded to you.

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