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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    “How Can I Prevent My Wells Fargo Account From Going Zombie?”

    You can’t. If you were able to truly close an account then how could they let third parties place charges on your account?

    If you were able to truly close an account then how could they collect dormant account fees (among others) for years without notifying you before selling them to a collection agency?

    If you were able to truly close an account, how would the banks be able to make money the old-fashioned way; such as in lending money?

    • The Beer Baron says:

      I say, my good man, but what exactly do you have against the idea of an honest banker making an honest dollar? Do you somehow hold the ideals of freedom of enterprise that this country was founded on in low esteem? Are you a Red Marxist, sir?

      • Blueskylaw says:

        I am a card carrying member in good standing
        comrade and I thank Stalin for my happy childhood.

        • The Beer Baron says:

          Sir, you can be assured that were I wearing pearls, I would be clutching them right now. Clutching them, I say!

  2. quail20 says:

    How ridiculous. Zombies don’t have bank accounts. // On another note, this is just poor management on a bank’s part. Either their IT guy’s are stupid or the bank wants these zombie account created.

  3. Not Given says:

    The only bank account that I ever closed that stayed closed was in a failed bank taken over by the FDIC.

  4. longfeltwant says:

    Indeed. Obviously, they should be able to close an account and decline future checks and payments. Duh.

    I would write a letter stating that you do not accept the terms and conditions for Wells Fargo accounts, therefore you demand that they completely close the account and decline all future activity on the account. Have the letter notarized and mention that you have filed a copy of the letter with your lawyer, and will sue them if they ever allow any activity on the account. You will receive no answer, but that is okay. After six months, try to cash a check on the account. If the check is not declined, follow through on suing them, because they put you into a business contract which you explicitly, specifically declined, in writing.

    • Murph1908 says:

      I was with you until you suggested committing check fraud by writing a check against a closed account.

      IANAL.

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Agreed. DO NOT write any fraudulent check. It is fraudulent once the account is closed (whether or not the bank does the right thing).

        • longfeltwant says:

          Is it really? I guess, maybe. I always thought of the “crime” of writing bad checks, as tantamount to the “crime” of paying another person for something using a bad check. If you write a check to yourself, to deposit into your new account, is that still fraud? Can you be prosecuted for “defrauding” yourself? It seems like a stretch, but it would depend on how the law is written. To me it seems like reasonable — even prudent — penetration testing.

          I just did a tiny bit of googling on it and it seems that “intent to defraud” is essential for the crime of writing bad checks. A lawyer would have to comment whether writing yourself a small check in order to prove that an old account is closed, constitutes an intent to defraud. Perhaps it does.

          • Free Legal Advice! says:

            Yes, it is a crime. You would be attempting to defraud the bank. I am a lawyer, and a prosecutor, and I would charge you with a felony if you did this in my jurisdiction.

            • longfeltwant says:

              Oh, you are exactly the kind of person who I hoped might respond! (“Free Legal Advice!”) I tried to look up the law but most of what I found were shady lawyer sites. Can you link to the law, perhaps from your jurisdiction, and say which part of it would define the crime in this scenario? I found that bad check laws are quite different in different states.

              It just seems to me that there is specifically no intent to defraud, when the check is written for the explicit purpose of wanting the check to be declined. Furthermore, there is no way for a bank to be defrauded, since either the check would bounce (no injury to either bank, plus they might get a fee) or clear (no injury to the second bank, which gets its money; first bank takes up the issue with me and charges me fees, according to its policies, so no injury there either). Nevertheless, the law could certainly be written without regard to intent, and without regard to injury.

              • benh999 says:

                Laws against passing bad paper are hardly obscure. It is not “intent to defraud” that must be proven, it is the intent to write a check against a closed account that easily would be.

                • longfeltwant says:

                  Well, see that is what I’m saying. Check out this law:

                  http://law.justia.com/codes/nebraska/2006/s28index/s2806011000.html

                  The operative part is subsection 3: “Whoever issues a check knowing that he has no account with the drawee at the time the check is issued shall be guilty.” The first annotation calls this “intent to defraud”, and that intent is essential to the crime.

                  But see, the entire purpose of this hypothetical check-writing exercise is because the check writer doesn’t actually know whether or not he has an account with the drawee. That’s the point: he doesn’t know, so he writes a check to find out; he is trying to determine whether or not he has that account. He ‘closed’ the account, but he suspects that the bank didn’t really close it.

                  You guys make a good case that it is probably a bad idea to try this, but I still have a hard time imagining a judge ruling such a person guilty of fraud. Then again, I have a hard time imagining a majority of the Supreme Court deciding that elections can be certified before counting enough votes to know who won, so my legal imagination doesn’t always match what judges actually do.

          • Not Given says:

            Your bank would charge you for depositing a bouncing check if it didn’t clear, if it did Wells Fargo would charge an overdraft and since you wrote the check they wouldn’t forgive it.

  5. oatmealpacket says:

    I’m actually curious about this – they mention that he needs to make sure there’s no further charges on his account to ensure it stays closed. But if if they did close it fully and more charges came to it, say recurring payments or something, what would they do with the charges? I’ve never closed a bank account before so I’m unsure if he would leave a sort of forwarding address or what.

  6. Lyn Torden says:

    Tell them that the account is being closed because your account information at an online retailer was obtained by hackers that broken in to their server.

    • 180CS says:

      ^This. It’s exactly what I would do, then close the new account they make you because “you’re just uncomfortable banking where an account was once hacked”

  7. cspschofield says:

    I had a zombie account problem once with Chevy Chase (the bank, not the actor). They actually began sending me account balances again, so I had notice. I tried to solve the issue by calling, and was told “You need to contact the source of the charge, and resolve the issue”. The source of the charge had a phone number attached, so I called them. Their answering machine message listed business hours that I was calling during. I wrote Chevy Chase saying bluntly that I had had no dealings with the business in question, and considered it highly likely that they were a fraud. I also said that if Chevy Chase did not deny the charge and close the account permanently I would make dragging them through every court I could think of my personal Crusade/Hobby.

    They closed the account.

  8. dolemite says:

    There needs to be laws on this. Meaning, a law when an account is closed, and a charge/withdrawal attempts to go through, it simply bounces and does not re-open an old account.

    • castlecraver says:

      Agreed 100%. Really, this should be common sense. Closed should mean closed forever, and the bank has no right to decide when there can be an exception to that. The law requiring consumers to opt-IN to overdraft “protection” needs to be extended to cover re-opening of zombie accounts. Banks need to just reject the debit as they would in the overdraft scenario.

    • Lyn Torden says:

      It really needs to be consumer choice. The law needs to define specific terminology so no games can be played by the banks. The option for “absolutely closed and all transactions rejected as ‘not an open account'” needs to be the mandated available option and the default. Then if the banks wants provide other clearly written options for the customer to choose, they can.

  9. Hi_Hello says:

    to answer the question:
    You leave the account open with a small sum in it until I’m sure nothing will be coming through. Small enough to avoid any bank fee though.

    I have my accounts for years, everything that get charge to it (not much stuff) is in a list. I have another list for everything charged to my credit card. So I can be 99.998% sure everything is good.

    • Captain Spock says:

      Until amazon or your electric company mistakenly replaces your new info with your old info and attempts to charge the account.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        hence the month wait. make sure charge went to the new account.

        • Captain Spock says:

          yes, but there have been stories about companies doing this years later, say when implementing a new database and importing the wrong table.

    • ARP3 says:

      The problem is that many banks have a high minimum balance to avoid a bank fee. For example, Citibank is $6000. So you’re stuck paying $8-15 per month for a few months just to make sure the account is truly closed. If you wanted to be extra careful, you’d leave it open for the year in case there’s an annual charge you’re missing. In the end, you’re paying around $120 for a year + mony in the account because the bank refuses to flip a switch to simply decline a transaction in hopes that you overdraw and can hit your account with fees, in addition to the fees that it gets for keeping such a small amount in your old account.

      • Hi_Hello says:

        I don’t automate yearly stuff. I might forget about them. So I have semi/annual bill sent to me and I pay when I get the bill.

        1 month is good. 2 month max if you keep a list of all your auto charge account. you can see if new charges went to the new account or not.

        with wellfargo, even you don’t have the min. that’s about 2-3 bucks fee a month.. I forgot.
        I wouldn’t mind paying 3-6 bucks to make sure I did everything I needed to do properly.

        I’m not saying that it isn’t the bank’s fault for creating zombie account, but people need to do their own part.

        • Kate Blue says:

          Why is it the customer has to do his part and protect the bank from the results of not doing the ethical honorable thing?

      • Lyn Torden says:

        I keep track of my charges and checks. I should not have to deal with this. If any charges come through later, they are errors or fraud.

    • Kate Blue says:

      An account with a small amount in it generates fees for the bank. Gee I wonder why they like that?

  10. NorthAlabama says:

    change debit card numbers after you’re all settled with your new bank, and that’ll handle any erroneous card charges to that account.

    i’m in the process of closing my account with wells fargo myself right now…

  11. Rhinoguy says:

    You can’t close an account with any certainty. These “zombie” accounts that pop up on an all too regular basis are not glitches or mistakes. They are built into the software that the banks use. The banks count on very few people fighting them long enough to win. It’s deliberate abuse of their customers and since almost all banks use the same software you really have nowhere to go.

    • cspschofield says:

      The banks are not, generally speaking, smart enough about computers to do this deliberately. Which doesn’t mean they are above taking advantage of the situation.

      I’m not a big fan of “There oughta be a Lawr”, but in this case I would LOVE to see things changed so that a bank that re-opened an account contrary to a customer’s written instructions could be charged with fraud.

  12. kaley1kt says:

    I have had to close two checking accounts at Wells Fargo – one for identity theft and another because I no longer needed it. I am ready to close my final account and move to another bank due to bad service.

    I was never told that something could clear at a later date on either of my closed checking accounts. Once I closed them they were gone – no longer listed online, I could not access history, old statements or view cleared checks or past transaction. When I closed them I had to authorize any outstanding checks with check number or auto debits/credits to be cleared in writing otherwise they would have been rejected. When I needed to get an old check copy it took two weeks for customer service at Wells to find it even though the account had only been closed for a few months.

    I would either go into your branch (if you still live close) or speak to a supervisor. It does not sound the like the rep(s) you spoke with have the correct information. At the very least you may be able to request an authorization request from yourself be required for any future transactions.