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Wells Fargo Bank / terrible bank

1 420 Montgomery StreetSan Francisco, CA, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 800-869-3557

This past week my expenses exceeded my income and my account balance went negative. It's not because I'm living beyond my means - buying all sorts of stupid nonsense. My spending is not out of control. It's because my means have dropped significantly below the cost of living. This time it was the gas bill ($238.61) and the phone bill ($77.95) - both auto-pay. If I could have avoided it, I would have.

I know it's my fault. It's my job to make enough money to pay the bills. I won't go into all the methods that Wells Fargo Bank uses to steer people into overdrafts. And, I know that the official policy of Wells Fargo Bank is to aggressively take advantage of such situations and make as much money as possible from overdraft fees. And, it's common knowledge that our government (both state and federal) allows banks to do this with impunity. In fact, the government facilitates this activity. But, this report isn't about any of that. I'm writing this report to warn people about new tactics that Wells Fargo Bank used in my recent situation in an attempt to prolong the overdraft feeding frenzy.

Three deposits were made to my account since it went negative. The first one was two days ago, the second was yesterday. But, neither of these brought the balance above zero. Combined, they exceeded the original overdrafts (gas and phone bills) with some margin to spare. But, they didn't cover the overdraft fees ($455) for every little subsequent transaction (several small postage purchases). The third deposit was today and it did restore the account. All three deposits were from my merchant bank account (credit card processing). Basically, these were from credit card sales that I had earlier in the week. There have been six such deposits this month - all from the same source. Over the many years that I have operated my business, there have been several thousand such deposits.

Here's where the new scam starts:

1. I received a call from a Wells Fargo Bank representative this morning. She wanted to let me know that there was an unusual deposit in my account. She explained that the bank had flagged it as suspicious and suspected that it was some kind of fraudulent activity. They were going to deny it if I hadn't answered the phone and verified the source. Lucky me! If I hadn't answered the phone then this overdraft feeding frenzy would have continued through the weekend and well into the next week as I tried to get the merchant bank to re-submit the deposit!

Who ever heard of fraudulent deposit transactions? This is a new one on me! And, it's pretty difficult for me to believe that nobody noticed most of the other deposits in my account were from the exact same source.

2. The second thing that she tells me is that my debit cards have been cancelled. I didn't report them lost or stolen. There were no suspicious or fraudulent purchases. So I asked her why they did this. She explained that it was done because my account was overdrawn. They have never done this on any previous overdraft situations so I asked her why they did it this time. Why didn't they just deny payment? She claimed that there is a 'law' which prohibits them from denying payment for a debit card transaction - even when the account is empty. The only way for them to stop transactions is to cancel the cards. Well, this is complete nonsense and I told her so. There is no such law. The whole system is set up to allow for charges to be denied. That's why debit card transactions are labeled 'pending' in the account for the first two days. The money doesn't actually transfer until the merchant does a batch settlement and the charges are processed through the system.

She went on to tell me that I could open up a different kind of checking account with a debit card that allowed them to deny payment if the account was empty. Somehow, this 'law' was able to tell the difference between these two types of accounts. What she described sounded a lot like a 'pre-paid credit card', which has a considerable amount of fees and overhead. That's when I realized that she was going to try and sell me yet another predatory financial product so I told her that I wasn't interested.

It puzzled me for quite some time why Wells Fargo Bank would cancel my cards and use such a stupid lame excuse. Then it occurred to me. The overdraft fee is posted long before the actual money is transferred. 'Pending' transactions can't be voided or modified after the card is canceled. If they didn't cancel the card, then I could have called up vendors and asked them to void the transactions and accept a different card or form of payment. Their precious overdraft fees would have vaporized into nothing.

3. Now, I've had my debit cards canceled before. It's a major hassle. I use them with most of my suppliers and service providers. I can't order supplies and goods that I need to fill orders. Several on-line services receive payment through these cards. My business comes to a screeching halt and I can't make money until I receive the new cards. My bank account shrinks and, you guessed it, becomes overdrawn again. So, getting these cards sent out quickly is paramount to me. Therefore, I insist that she verify the address. She reads back an address that I haven't used in nearly ten years! I know that they have my current address because I receive my bank statements and my payments are accepted (phone orders require address and zip code verification). In fact, replacement cards have been sent to the new address in previous card cancellation episodes. So, it's pretty difficult to imagine why Wells Fargo was all primed to send my new cards to a bogus address. Beyond doubt, their arrival would have been hopelessly delayed.

Well, at this point I wasn't sure what to think. I suspected that she was not a real Wells Fargo Agent so I challenged her authority. She provided confidential information verifying to my satisfaction that she was the genuine article. Then she reads the correct address, verifying that she knew where to send the cards all along. It's hard for me to believe that this wasn't yet another deliberate tactic.

You would think that banks would be treading pretty lightly these days. Apparently not so with Wells Fargo Bank. The malevolent greed which created the banking crisis is still alive and well creating more scams like the ones I have described here. Beware of Wells Fargo Bank, they are constantly dreaming up new and clever tricks to use against their customers.

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  • Va
      25th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree to the woman with the file #379797. Wells fargo is making money off honest people. The bank says that they don't have to tell you anything about overdraft charges or when the cut off of deposit for the same day!! I have asked the employees of the Rohnert Park Branch, they say that they don't have to answer the consumers questions. I owe OVER $100.00 in overdraft fees, they don't tell you that when you use your ATM card for purchases that they can take it out TWICE!! Which is really unlawful, the merchant gets the cut and so does the bank! If i am going to use my ATM card to purchase one thing, i will NOT be charged for it twice!!! Plus if they don't close your acct when you tell them to, they add on a $5 every day until you pay for their mistake! THERE SHOULD BE A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!

  • Ad
      15th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    We have been customers of Wells Fargo bank for about two years. We are currently in the process of seeking out a more honest bank to switch our accounts to.

    Wells Fargo has made it a habit of fabricating overdraft charges every month and in all has probably stolen more than $1000 from us by doing this. They do this by 'moving around' charges so that if we come close to 'going over' they can charge more overdrafts by putting smaller charges towards the end.

    They do this by charging Overdraft fees on the SAME day we make large deposits. They do this AFTER we have deposited the money; acting as though it was not yet in there.

    They do this by placing a 'hold' on our PAYCHECKS when we deposit them. Our PAYCHECKS!! They will not clear them until midnight that day or sometimes not until midnight the NEXT day. These are paychecks from known, reputable companies.

    Despite REPEATED efforts over the years (ten+ times) of talking with a banking representative, they have only agreed to take off a charge ONCE. Most all of our phone calls to the bank results in them 'talking down' to us and suggesting that we manage our money better.

    This company is shady at best and does NOT have the customer's best interest in mind. We would very much be willing to participate in a class-action lawsuit, if anyone is pursuing one.

    I would definitely recommend that people watch out for this bank and not let them get a hold of your hard-earned money like they have done to us and so many others.

  • Ad
      22nd of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    join the lawsuite at and inform everyone else,
    who deserve to get the settlement .

  • Ji
      2nd of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I called them yesterday morning about the damage they had done with all the extra overdraft fees and they were just plain rude. I had bought an energy drink on Friday and they overdrafted. So a single can cost me $38.00. They said the have the wright to charge a overdraft fee for each transaction. On my way to work I had to make a purchase and new I would overdraft because they wiped out my account but what I didn't expect was three (3) overdraft fee for the one (1) transaction. That's got to be illegal. If you want to file a suite then reply here and we can get the ball rolling...

  • Ro
      4th of May, 2009
    0 Votes

    I was charged a $25 annual fee for the Wells Fargo Check Card Rewards program. I was surprised to see this fee because I canceled the program three years ago. It took a 15 minute call and talking with three customer service reps before one admitted that there was an error made and yes I had indeed canceled the program three years ago. Seems, they explained, that I was somehow re-enrolled on April 1st and then charged the $25 fee. The customer service rep said this had been happening recently to some customers with no further information. She said she would have to de-enroll me in the Check Card Rewards program and that it would take 7-10 business days for them to return the money to my bank account. I'm curious about how many others were 'accidentally' charged this bogus fee. I'm suspicious that Wells Fargo will ignore this problem with their system because they assume most folks won't notice a little extra $25 fee taken from their bank accounts.

  • Sa
      27th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I paid off my student loan, last July of 2007. I got the exact payoff from them direct. Since than they have said that I still owe 400$. They are nasty, they lie and say they have no notes. In May of January, and May of 2008 I sent them 60$, and than 100$, I spoke to the rep and we agreed I was done and the account would be satisfied as an agreement. Well here I am, October of 2008, they still say, I owe them 400$, they are threating me, my father, and I am frustrated. I am also a New York City Fireifgter, who just received two stents in my heart. I am freaking out!!! I hope someone can help me!!!

  • An
      30th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    Happened to me too (excessive O/D fee's and ridiculous WF employee excuses why they cant assist you) ~ the first couple times I just dealt with it ~ then the last time I took the info down to the Branch, explained how the charges were incorrectly hitting my account which is causing the O/D's ...the Branch Manager said she didnt have the authority to change anything ~ even tho all I was asking is the extra O/D fee's to be removed and how I could prove with receipts ect and even the shops deposit records that WF was posting the charges incorrectly. When the branch wouldnt do anything about it ~ I scanned all the info and sent to the customer service contact given to me to contact. This is what I got back

    Overdraft and Return Check fees are posted to your account on the business day after the actual overdraft occurs.
    In reviewing your overdraft fees, I found that although you made your Check Card purchase at xxxx for $8.25 and $5.75 on 10/16/2009, xxxx did not present this transaction to Wells Fargo for payment until 10/19/2009.

    (more blah blah blah on how its not THEIR FAULT etc ... but note I never said it was or wasnt their fault I was asking that 2 of the 3 O/D charges be removed because I could prove with receipts that their was funds in the account at the time of the charge...but Nooooooo they'd rather lose a customer than lose their precious extra fee's and predatory income they sooooo rely on ...all Ive found are bad reports on Wells Fargo ~ so never again with me and Im telling everyone I know how they treated me...the letter continued)

    At your request, I have closed your Custom Management Checking account effective today.
    We realize that in today's environment, customer service often becomes the deciding factor when a customer chooses a financial institution. Wells Fargo is truly committed to coming through for its customers. ( Yah right~~!) Our goal is to continue to meet and exceed your service expectations. (If that was so a simple ~ removal of excess fee's wouldve been the answer!)
    We are sorry that we failed to meet your expectations but hope you will allow us the chance to serve you again in the future. (Again ~ Never again!!! EVER!)

    ~ BOY COTT WELLS FARGO ~ until they change their policys.

  • Tr
      8th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    WELLS FARGO WORSE THAN BANK OF AMERICA? Let's face the facts, the big bank doesn't care about their customers, especially on "small" accounts (read as me and you).

    Seems to me they must be very busy adding up all the fees and ways to collect more fees from their small account holders...this must be why they treat their customers so badly in their branch offices. Wells Fargo has obviously been on a big campaign to gain a large market share of our local Hispanic community, but once they have accounts the bad customer service begins. It is unbelievable to me the way they treat their customers who feel compelled to come into the branch for teller assistance. Their policy seems to be to keep only one window open for every fifteen or more customers in line and to completely ignore their merchant customers (assigning only one teller while all the other on duty tellers completely ignore the merchant customers) and then close windows for breaks and parties / meetings in the vault during peak hours. The employees aren't there to provide customer service, but to hide from their customers. Ladies and Gentlemen behind the aren't good at customer service...move on to another job! Don't take it out on us (the customers) we did not choose your career track.

    When I have complained, the teller calls over the teller supervisor du jour who then says they will tell the manager. I'm 100% sure the manager never hears about it and the sincerity of this interaction is non existent...they must hear the same complaint all day, but don't seem to be convinced they need to improve.

    Take your money to a local credit union. Wells Fargo, BofA, Chase...they are all exactly the same...use a credit union.

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