Old Man Locked Inside Callous Philly Wachovia

Going to a bank can be a thumbtack in the rectum but at least they let you leave when it’s over. Not so for Robyn who got locked in a Wachovia bank at closing time yesterday. The manager asked Robyn and an older feller to wait while they were stuck at the door. After five minutes the older guy spoke up and the manager told them to keep waiting and stop being disruptive. The gentlemen did not cease. The manager came over and told the old man, saying if he didn’t calm down, he was going to close the man’s bank account.

“Now I want to write a letter to Wachovia,” writes Robyn, “but I’m not sure of the best way to reach some sort of regional-level Philadelphia customer services folks…”

Here’s an address we found for you at ConsumerAction.gov

Wachovia Corporation
Customer Service
1525 West W.T. Harris Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28212

Robyn’s full letter, inside.

“Greetings, Consumerist:

I went to my local Wachovia branch yesterday to deposit a check. I noticed the sign on the door listed their closing time for Monday as 3PM, so I hurried inside. There were a couple of people in line in front of me and it was 2:50. No big deal. I was able to get to the teller and get the check deposited and it was still a few minutes short of three. I noticed that the man I assumed was the manager had locked the front door, so I walked to the back door, along with an older gentleman.

When I got to the back exit door, it was locked. The older man called into the store, “The door’s locked,” and the manager-type replied, “I know, give me a minute.” So, we waited patiently and ended up chatting for what ended up over five minutes. Finally the older man asked again, “Can you please open the door?” I couldn’t see the manager, because there was another set of doors between him and us, but I heard him yell, “Sir, you’re going to need to calm down. You’re being disruptive.”

This seemed to piss the old dude off, understandably so, since he had actually been really respectful and calm in making what I felt was a reasonable request to please let us out of the building!

After a few more minutes, the manager came up to us, and asked for the old guy’s name, which the older man refused to give. The manager said, “You need to calm down, if you’re going to act like this I’m going to close your account.”

The old dude asked, “You’re really going to close my account over this, because I ask you to let us out and you won’t?”

The manager continued to yell at the old dude, and finally turned to me and said “I’m sorry about this, miss,” and unlocked the door, holding it open for me. It seemed more like a show of being overly polite to me in order to be rude to the older man, and the older man also took it that way, because once he got outside he started yelling back.
The point of all of this is that 1.) it doesn’t seem like a good idea to lock customers into the store, even if it is close to closing time, and 2.) the manager’s reaction was way out of line considering it was a reasonable request on the old dude’s part to ask to be let out of the building.

I felt bad seeing the older man being treated that way, and it certainly didn’t leave me feeling like Wachovia cares about its customers. Clearly this was nowhere near as awful as the Fran/Target nightmare incident, but it still sucked.

Now I want to write a letter to Wachovia, but I’m not sure of the best way to reach some sort of regional-level Philadelphia customer services folks, as their website is more focused on customer services for the web-based features and I don’t want to contact the branch directly since it was the manager who was rude.

I don’t know if this is Consumerist-worthy, but I felt like it might be worth sharing.

Thank you!


Edit Your Comment

  1. Wow…that is awful…and I dare say maybe illegal. I’m not sure of laws relating to banks, but preventing someone from leaving a building is False Imprisonment if I’m not mistaken…maybe you should file a police report, that ought to get Wachovia’s attention.

  2. Zach Everson says:

    I used to work at Wachovia (when it was First Union) in customer service. Robyn should call Wachovia and get the address for the office of the CEO. The reps in that office are superior to the ones at the regular mailing address (which is just a huge customer-service warehouse).

  3. 1) Who locks any building without making sure there’s no one else in there.

    2) If you do make that mistake you’re supposed to apologize and keep apologizing until you get the door open again. This guy just gave the old man an additional reason to take his business elsewhere by threatening to close his account. Perhaps the manager is confused and thinks Wachovia has no competition.

    3) How long does it take to open a door?

  4. DeeJayQueue says:

    Most states (and I believe PA is one of them) have laws regarding this. That’s what those stickers on doorways that say “This Door To Remain Unlocked During Business Hours” are for. Just because the bank didn’t have one doesn’t mean they aren’t liable.

  5. ikes says:

    During this whole time Robyn just kept silent? When the manager said “I’m sorry about this, miss”, why didn’t she tell the manager he was out of line?

  6. homerjay says:

    Well, it looks like we know where Fran went on her ‘vacation’ from Target.

    I think the laws are fire related- not false imprisonment.

  7. Soulgenesis says:

    I currently work at a National Bank. Though, it’s quite true that Doors are open during business hours, we are free to lock them after. As soon as 5pm hits (or a little after, someone locks the doors, regardless if there are customers inside.

    This is to help us finish up the day and get to our ending sequence of final balancing and such.

    But we wouldn’t go as far as to make someone wait to be let out. That was just rude of them. Tsk Tsk.

  8. Morgan says:

    I’m also pretty sure that locking someone in is false imprisonment (though the stickers are probably fire safety related, as homerjay said). You can set any conditions you want for people entering a store, but preventing them from leaving if they haven’t committed a crime in your view while in the building is, to my knowledge, illegal.

  9. robyns says:

    to ikes: after seeing how the manager treated the old man, I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I figured I’d accomplish more once I was outside the building.

  10. robyns says:

    To ikes: after seeing how the manager treated the old man, I just wanted to get the hell out of there! I figured I could make an appropriate complaint later.

  11. robyns says:

    Oops, sorry about the double post above. I took Zach’s advice, and was given this address: 301 S. College St., Charlotte, NC 28202.

  12. North of 49 says:

    Definately some sort of “false imprisonment.” If I had been there with a celphone I would have called 911 if they had not been quick to let me out. I know that some stores can’t count the cash till all the customers are gone. Wouldn’t they rather have their customers out of the building at closing time instead of teed off over being held against their will?

  13. Zach Everson says:

    It’s been a while since I worked there, but that address looks correct, Robyns. Also, I recommend following the usual customer service procedure: document every time you intreact with them. Good luck!

  14. notlazyjustdontcare says:

    Don’t do business with Wachovia. They have used overseas tax shelters to avoid paying billions in federal income tax. We, the people, pick up the tab.