An Easy Way To Get Wells Fargo To Remove A $30 Fee

Joe says Wells Fargo stuck him with a $30 fee because his accounts fell below a minimum threshold. A one-sentence email whipped the bank into shape and got it to rescind the charge.

He writes:

My combined savings plus checking balance fell below the minimum so Wells Fargo assessed a $30.00 fee. I sent a message saying “I was disappointed in how they treated loyal customers” and I got a message back saying they have rescinded the fee.

What’s the least you ever had to get a company to address your complaint?


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  1. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Easy way number 2: Don’t bank with Wells Fargo in the first place.

    Or any major bank for that matter.

    • Thassodar says:

      I put my money in my grandfather’s hollow leg from WW2.

    • Stubtify says:

      Agreed. Even better, find a good local credit union and give your business to them.

      I can’t stand the feeling of going inside big banks anymore. They really should work on the “welcome to a long line to stand in front of bulletproof glass” idea.

      Maybe its part of the strategy to annoy you so much you’ll not go inside and instead use the ATMs. Not sure how that sames them money, as they never add an extra teller no matter how long the line is.

      • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

        I have to agree — My Credit Union has always had THE BEST staff, always nice and helpful. Especially considering I always have less than $300 in there and they never charge any fees; well, once a year – I may have a $10 fee or something…But it beats the smack out of BOA,Chase or WF, of which I’ve personally used all 3.

    • DanRydell says:

      I make my own banks at home – out of porcelain.

    • zibby says:

      You should qualify that; if you bring substantial business to any bank, you will never need to worry. If you’re a piker, yeah, they will feel free to say, “Time for you to find another pond, tadpole.”

  2. rbb says:

    I was guessing the sentence would be “I have a gun.”

  3. Brink006 says:

    Today’s post has my mind contemplating the idea of ‘Loyal Customers.’ Does every customer believe that they are loyal? Most people are loyal to price to the point where customer service can take a back seat to price cutting. That seems to remove any incentive for the business to go beyond basic expectations.

    • zibby says:

      Precisely; and yet when the bank beats these people to the punch and fires them as customers they’re aggravated.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    OMG! How do I get that ATM card?! The kitteh!!

  5. Scoobatz says:

    A fine for not having any money. Brilliant.

    • DH405 says:

      Having no money is extremely expensive. Look at where poor folks’ money goes. Overdraft fees, interest charges, late fees of all sorts.. Being broke is a bad bad thing.

      • peebozi says:

        don’t forget booze, drugs, a TON of illegitimate kids, lottery, gambling, throwing money around strip clubs like it’s raining, fancy cars, rent (not owning) their house, pets, food, beverages, hub caps, stereo systems and gang clothing.

        i thought i’d save some of the other republicans some time by throwing out these talking points.

    • DanRydell says:

      A lot of free checking accounts have a minimum balance requirement, because the bank doesn’t want to waste money maintaining your account when you’re keeping an average balance of $200.

      • Conformist138 says:

        Glad to know I’m a waste for everyone. Those of us living on minimum wage don’t often have a huge stockpile of money. Luckily, I use a local CU and even my no-minimum free checking account bears some interest. They are more than happy to keep me around.

  6. bitslammer says:

    Why do people put up with these banks? We have plenty of great local banks and credit unions here that offer much better services and treat you like a person they want to do business with. I suppose in some areas you may have little choice but looking online there seems to be no real reason to deal with banks who have minimum balance fees.

    • redskull says:

      Welcome to our new world. Now that banks are being forced to cut out overdraft protection, they stand to lose billions. Most plan to partially make it up with minimum balance fees and no more free checking.

      • ExtraCelestial says:

        Newsflash (haha that is so early 90s)- They were charging for checking accounts and minimum balance fees long, long before any regulations were passed

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Not so much in every area. In my area, I am not easily eligible for any CUs (I can probably get into one if I test my luck), and the local banks seem to involve just as many fees and “catches” as BofA. I would have loved to “move my money”, but my best option is probably Schwab or USAA, not a local CU or bank.

      • Conformist138 says:

        What kind of credit unions do you have? I have nothing- crappy credit, minimum-wage living paycheck-to-paycheck. They didn’t give me any trouble, the account was opened with a smile, and I even have some interest on my checking account. The one time I overdrafted, I contacted them and explained the situation (they had charged it hours before my direct deposit went through, the bill I paid was supposed to be scheduled for the next day) and they reversed it without question. By far, dumping BOA for a local CU was the best thing ever, but I’ve never heard of all local CUs being so picky about their customers.

        • BurtReynolds says:

          I live in the DC suburbs. I am not ex-military or a federal employee so that rules out most of them for me. Others that have branches anywhere close to my house are for teachers (Apple FCU), FAA employees (Aspire), Chicagoland area residents (yes in Northern VA) (Alliant), people who live in Arlington County. I could probably do Pentagon FCU (my gf is a member and they allow “roommates” to join), but there are no ATMs near me and they don’t offer reimbursement. For checking and savings, the local non-CU banks may possibly be worse for me than BofA.

    • NewsMuncher says:

      I originally went with Wells Fargo for portability.
      USAA and Navy Fed are good about portability (but you have to be military to qualify, and they are generally found where you find military bases – tho NFCU isn’t so popular at Army/AF installations), but my parents’ CU from when my dad was in the AF NG, and has since moved several times, isn’t.

  7. joe23521 says:

    My phone/internet bill went up substantially last month from the previous year and when I called, they reminded me that I had a special intro rate for the first 12 months. Right when I was about to hang up and accept the higher rate, the lady said, “If you threaten to leave us, I can transfer you to a supervisor and they might be able to do something for you.” Five minutes later, my monthly bill went DOWN by $15 instead of up by $25.

  8. ryan444123 says:

    FYI deal with a credit union. My local credit union has been great to me. Also, the same lady who opened my account ten years ago is still working there today. A job that actually isn’t going away!

  9. ShikhaCadimillac says:

    The finish on the exterior doorknobs and deadbolts on my new home started flaking off. I called the company’s customer service and simply said “The finish is flaking off my doorknobs and deadbolts.” The customer service person asked only how many and what type of knobs I had and she asked my address. She didn’t even ask for proof I actually owned said doorknobs. Completely new knobs and locks showed up in less than two weeks.

    Now that is customer service.

  10. Aeirlys says:

    I bought a new washer and dryer this weekend at Lowe’s. The sales guy offered to price match a deal at Sears that I didn’t know about by 10% more than Lowe’s policy. I never asked for a price match and wouldn’t have shopped at Sears anyway because I’m outside their free delivery zone.

  11. peebozi says:

    i went to pep boys to by new windshield wipers. i was talked into their brand which was about 1/2 the cost after mail-in-rebate. i bought what they suggested, didn’t do the mail in rebate and they were the worst wipers I’ve ever bought. i didn’t complain to them, i saved it for somewhere that cared.

  12. tomz17 says:

    Little known trick about nickel/dime bank fees is that they go away very easily if you just ask… Just tell them that you don’t want to pay that fee. EVERY single bank / credit card I’ve used has backed off on fees with a single call/visit.

    • dg says:

      I agree. I call them up, tell them that I don’t pay fees, and that I want it refunded. If they say no, then I ask how to dispute it. It always gets refunded – whether by the Rep or the Supervisor. One time it didn’t on a credit card, so I deducted it from the payment owed. Didn’t use that card again until they kept calling me about the amount owed (which was the fee + interest + more fees) – told them it wasn’t a valid debt and that I’d been disputing it since it was implemented. Everything got refunded…

      Fight back. Always.

    • phallusu says:

      that might be true if it weren’t for settlements like closson v bank of america or the recently announced decision in gutierrez v wells fargo from those transactions that you claim to make disappear

  13. MeCatLikesMeHamSanwich says:

    The sound of my cell phone opening up as I started calling the cops.

  14. sqeelar says:

    It also works on the job. Corporations are all about keeping “loyal employees.”

  15. Dallas_shopper says:

    I sent Kroger corporate an e-mail telling them how bad the service/atmosphere was at one of their stores and they sent me a $25 gift card. And did nothing about the store itself. So I used the gift card, then stopped shopping there.

  16. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Most banks with good systems won’t endanger the relationship with a profitable customer over something small like $30 – they’ll do a one-time refund. Make a habit out of it, and they get a lot less amenable.

  17. milk says:

    Last month my Sprint bill had a $22 charge for text overage. I was surprised I’d gone over since I never do, but I gave it a shot. I emailed saying I didn’t have the money to pay it, and the next day I got an automated email about a $22 credit being added to my account. I guess I could have taken responsibility, but they just took away part of my monthly discounts. That $22 will just about cover my annual loss in discounts.

  18. brinks says:

    Is Joe a parent? Because that sounds a lot like what my parents’ old “I’m not mad. I’m just DISAPPOINTED” routine.

    Guilt trip ensues, problem solved. Well done, Joe.

  19. rmorin says:

    I Called Executive Costumer Service at Bank of America as listed on Consumerist once. I Did not even finish explaining while I was calling before the women offered to rescind the fees that I was protesting. Literally took under 3 minutes. YMMV, but BOA always treated me well….

  20. ThunderRoad says:

    How about “please close my account”.

  21. Hartert says:

    My combined checking accounts were well **above the minimum **, but Wells Fargo assessed charges of $14/month for June, July, and August of this month. Each month I would call Wells Fargo to get the charges removed and that worked. Each month the customer service rep would say it was a computer glitch.

    I disagree. It is not a “glitch,” and not when it occurs three months in a row. It is theft pure and simple. Wells Fargo must think I’m stupid and won’t check the account often enough to see the fees.

    Do this enough times with enough customers and it is real money. Had i not caught the charges, they would have accumulated at a rate of about $200/year.

    Joe may have gotten his $30 back this month. Wait until September to see what happens!

  22. BigErn says:

    Two words: ING Direct. I don’t know why you are all wasting time with major banks. Be a consumer – vote with your feet. I know it’s a pain in the a** to switch, but it makes your life better.

    • Max5695 says:

      ING took a 10 Billion Euro bailout from the Dutch Government. That is over $13 billion. They still have not repaid their bailout to the taxpayers. The company is in a great deal of debt.

      ING was near collapse in 2008. The only way they could stay alive was to take bailout money. ING must sell off ING Direct USA by 2013 as a condition of their bailout from taxpayers.

      I refuse to do business with a company that is as poorly mismanaged as they are. Corrupt bank executives don’t deserve your hard earned money.

      I have compared bank rates at and Alliant Credit Union beats ING with 1.5%. I am glad that I have moved my money out of greedy and corrupt banks.

  23. Jthon says:

    I had a similar fee from Wells Fargo after having been a customer for several years. They wouldn’t budge on the $12 fee and I closed out a couple large accounts.

    The best part is that I only dropped below the minimum balance because of how they ordered transactions. I transferred money from savings to checking then withdrew it, and the transfer showed up after the withdrawal. Because of their stupid fees I refuse to do business with them ever again.

  24. jim says:

    banks do that for the first fee/charge of that sort. try it next month and report the results…

  25. Westrunner says:

    Some general info: the $30.00 is the largest potential monthly service fee on a single account at Wells. It’s what the wealthy customers get for dropping below their overall $25,000 threshold. This account has some noteworthy benefits: 1) It makes all other accounts free 2) it comes with 100 free stock trades and waives the yearly IRA fee 3) free checks (now the only account that always provides free checks) 4) a significant safety deposit box discount and 5) bonus rates on both accounts and loans that can be fairly significant. .25-50% on virtually everything.

    Wells actually has a worksheet that takes into account a number of factors for fee reversals: length of relationship, number of previous reversals, number of overdrafts (these are bad), etc… if the form says reverse the fee, then the fee gets reversed. Not every branch uses it, but the customer service line always does. If the form is going to rule in your favor, then you can literally say “reverse my fee because I say so.” And the bank will.

    Bankers, in general, have no reason to not try and get your fee reversed, but in the end it’s usually branch management with the final call, and if they have too high of a fee reversal rate it’s unlikely that the fee will get reversed. This varies dramatically amongst branches, the problem being that only the branch that opened the account has authority to reverse the fee, otherwise you have to go through the 1800 number.

    The most compelling thing that a customer can say to a banker that will get a fee reversed is “I was not told of this term/condition.” Simply saying “I was disappointed in how they treated loyal customers” is not necessarily persuasive, as most bank employees will expect their customers to understand a concept as simple as “if you drop below 25K, please let us know so we can adjust your account accordingly and you will avoid fees.” Changing account tiers is fairly painless, and yes in a perfect world it would auto-adjust, but I don’t see it as unreasonable. Now if the customer was incorrectly informed, that’s a different story altogether.

  26. gtm773 says:

    Sorry, but some of these commenters make it sound like there’s someone sitting in a cube at Wells Fargo actively looking for people to charge monthly maintenance fees. I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest that there’s not. The statement cycle ended, the balance was below the minimum, so their computer system charged the fee. It has nothing to do with being a loyal customer. Had a goodwill fee been requested and denied, then the “loyal customer” card might have been an appropriate argument.

  27. Fte says:

    I ran into this fee as well. I wonder how many people keep 25k in their checking account. I spent forty minutes on hold with the rats to discuss it. Only to be denied (and my stock account is a bit more than 25k). Can’t wait to dump them. Bail out bums