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April 1, 2005

Wells Fargo: Year-Round Fools

I positively love the way Wells Fargo pretends you only have one account with them. There's no way to link accounts so they draw from each other, resulting in lovely things like what I had to deal with just now.

If you have a savings account and don't keep WF's minimum balance (which I don't, because I've moved my money to a bank that actually -- gasp! -- pays interest), they charge you $3 for that month. Of course, they don't tell you when this is going to happen, unlike most companies that see fit to bill you.

I logged into their online banking site this afternoon and voila, I'm 2 dollars and change in the hole on my unused savings account. Meanwhile, my checking account had plenty of money to cover the service fee.

I had the reverse happen once a couple years ago when eBay messed up and charged me by electronic funds transfer instead of card. eBay billed my empty checking account, Wells Fargo charged me an overdraft fee and was kind enough to cover it for me (their words) since it was a fifty cent overdraft. Nevermind savings would have covered it many times over at that point.

Wells Fargo used to offer a service where your checking account could always be kept at a certain balance (which is stupid but would have solved my eBay problem), but the last time I even asked about that, they don't offer it anymore.

Which leads me to the obvious question: When did banks forget they're supposed to serve the customer, and when did we start letting them forget it? Banks are built on our money. When my money isn't stuffed under my mattress, the bank gets to go out and invest or sell loans with it, making massive returns on the money I let them borrow. And then they go and smack me with a $35 overdraft fee for fifty cents while simultaneously paying only 1% of 1% interest on my savings account? Yeehaw, cowboy!

My mother wasn't terribly pleased when the teller asked if she wanted to add overdraft protection to her account for free as an established customer, she said yes, and a Wells Fargo credit card mysteriously showed up the next week, either.

Or when a teller told my kid brother he wasn't allowed to cash checks.

Or when a month was spent getting the runaround when WF screwed up.

If there was a bank that wasn't run by total assholes, I'd probably have closed my accounts and opened them elsewhere by now. (That said, if anyone's found a better bank here in Arizona, feel free to tell me.) There's no reason I -- or anyone else -- should have to put up with the money-grubbing tactics of the modern banking industry.

Posted by Colin at April 1, 2005 5:30 PM

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