Wachovia Flooded Me With So Many Overdraft Fees I Don't Know Whether To Sink Or Swim

Jared thought he had enough money in his Wachovia checking account to cover a mini-spending spree, but he found out soon after that he’d racked up big-time overdraft fees. Now he’s not sure whether or not he should pay Wachovia the money he owes or just cut and run and start over with a new account somewhere else.

He writes:

At the beginning of this month I made the mistake of going to the mall with a friend and shopping. I had checked my Wachovia Checking balance online and it read 70 something dollars. Made a few purchases which totaled six transactions that day. Fast forward to Friday when I get my paycheck at work. I am told my account is past due and I ask the balance. The lady gave me a sheet that read -$230-something dollars! I was absolutely shocked. I had not made enough payments that day at the mall (or after) that totaled $70, so I went to talk to the bank manager. We went over my records, which indicated 6 overdraft fees of $35 and a $22 fee the day before. Apparently the day before I had been charged $22 overdraft on a transaction that was less than my balance (20 balance, $15 charge, $22 overdraft). Also, this showed the Wachovia online balance had been wildly inaccurate when I had checked online earlier that week. The $22 charge put my account in the red and all my purchases the next day added more overdraft charges.

Sure, I apparently have bad money management, but how could this happen? At all the places I shopped that day I selected Debit (except the pretzel place). I had been under the impression Debit payments are deducted directly from my account. If I had no money, then why was my card not declined?

That day I spoke with the bank manager, he personally eliminated the $22 charge and one of the $35 charges and said that was the best he could do. He was a great guy and did more than most people would. I used $80 of my paycheck to help boost the account. (I’m a student and work part time – so that was a lot of money).

My plan was simply to pay this off little by little (since I had not managed my money properly), but a few minutes ago I got a call from Wachovia. The call began “Hello we have an important message for this account” and I was put on hold for about a minute. Why I answered the phone to be put on hold is beyond me. I assumed this was a salesperson and I almost hung up when Trina came on. I know Trina was simply doing her job, but she was ridiculously rude to me. She told me I needed to get the account resolved today or else I would not be able to get a checking account for five years. She said the overdraft fees are a convenience for customers. I asked how being charged $35 for a $3 pretzel is convenient but she gave the same canned answer. She even suggested that I borrow the money to pay off the account (now $130) from friends or family or use my student loans.I made the mistake of mentioning I also had a Navy Federal Account and she tried to get me to use that to pay off Wachovia. (Not going to happen).

I am at the point where I have wasted $80 on this account and I don’t know if I should bother paying them the $130. How bad for my credit score will this be if I do not?

The moral of this story is 1) Keep track of your balance, 2) Overdraft fees are ridiculous and 3) Don’t bank with Wachovia.

If you have suggestions or answers for Jared, don’t be shy.