Wells Fargo Hits Girl With Secret Fee Trifecta

Christina is broke as a joke. Wells Fargo doesn’t think this is funny and decides to shut down her account for having no money in it and no activity on it. No big whoop, she’ll just open another account. She does this twice. Then, whups! Those accounts were never closed! And we’re charging you fees because they were actually fee-based savings accounts! And you’re in collections! Good times, let them roll:

Christina writes:

Hi Consumerist,

I’m a recent graduate when this story begins. The joys of graduating into a recession! I haven’t got a job yet, and I have no money. My account balance is zero. Unbeknownst to be, Wells Fargo has adopted a policy of closing zero balance, non-active accounts after 30 days. I discover my account is closed, call, and am told it is an error, and that they’ve reopened it. A week later, I get new cards and checks – I’ve got a new account. Whatever, I think to myself, an account is an account.

2 months later, it happens again, and this is when I discover the 30 day closure policy. They open a new account. Months later, I get a letter from Wells Fargo. I call, am transferred around, and discover that when they closed and reopened/opened new accounts, they never closed the associated savings accounts. At one point I had THREE savings accounts, none of which I had ever used (see broke college kid), only one (the current one) that I was aware of. These savings accounts are fee based unless you have a checking account, or whatever their crazy series of rules are these days. So, fees accumulated, to the tune of nearly $100, on these accounts. I called, I called, I called. No one could help me but the person who opened my initial account, they told me. I called her, and she said she’d take care of it for me. The extra accounts were closed.

A little while passes, and I get a letter from collections. I call them, tell them this is disputed, and then call Wells Fargo again. Again they advise me that they are actually useless, and I have to go into the branch. At this point, I’m ashamed to admit, they broke me, and I gave up and let the whole thing go to hell in a handbasket.

Fast forward 3 months. I have a job! Yes! I can get my life back in order! So I go down to the Wells Fargo, paycheck in hand, and try and resolve it. Great! I explain my story and the banker seems receptive. He opens my account, cashes my check for me, and says he’s taken care of the fees on the old account. Hurray! I’m using the account happily for a few weeks. Today, I get an email that I’m in overdraft. What?! I discover that they’ve charged more than $80 in “setoff” charges to my account, plus a $25 overdraft fee. Holy Jesus, Goliath is not really dead.

New banker: the additional fees weren’t there when I opened your new account. Call the Wells Fargo collections people. Collections people: call the branch you opened the account with. The branch: you should have known that we never closed your savings accounts. It’s been more than 30 days. Nyah-nyah. I think this is the financial equivalent of lying in wait, only to smash my battered head when I think I’m finally safe.

You think you’re broke when you’re in college; then you graduate and you discover what real poverty is – and how banks treat you when they think they’ve finally bled you dry. I think I’ll keep my money under the mattress.

-Christina