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

Aaron is ditching Wells Fargo. Not out of any animosity toward megabanks or dissatisfaction with their policies, though. He’s just moving to an area where they don’t have any branches. He did what you do when breaking up with a bank: withdrew his money and closed out the account. Well, he tried to. He wanted to. Perhaps he did. But the employee who helped him couldn’t guarantee that a stray old check or a recurring charge he failed to change over wouldn’t bring the closed account back to life, resulting in overdraft charges and a zombie account lumbering around.

He writes:

I have used Wells Fargo as my primary bank account for many years but
recently moved to an area without any local branches. I decided to
close my account and things were going fine with the representative I
was working with until she asked if I was absolutely certain that no
more charges would come through on this account “because if any do it
will reopen the account and put it in the negative”. I calmly
explained that I did not want any kind of protections of any sort I
simply wanted to close out the account entirely, never to be used
again. She said she could close the account but could not prevent
future charges from going through and suggested I leave the account
open with a small sum in it until I’m sure nothing will be coming
through. I declined this and asked her to close the account and asked
her again if it was possible for her to prevent any charges from going
through, she again stated that she simply could not.

I left feeling somewhat frustrated and the more I think about this the
more angry I feel. For one thing I find it hard to believe that it is
not in the banks power to completely close out an account such that
any future charges would simply be declined. Even if it’s true that
this particular representative couldn’t do it I have to believe that
someone up the chain could.

Secondly, while I transferred all my recurring charges from this
account that I could think of this is an account that I’ve had for
years and I can’t be 100% certain that no charges might slip through
in the future. This means that I now have to periodically check this
“closed” account to make sure there is no activity or I risk accruing
overdraft charges and fines, which I’m sure is exactly what Wells
Fargo is hoping for.

My question is if anyone else has experienced this. Is what I was told
even true? In my mind if an account is closed then it shouldn’t be
possible for there to be any activity. What can I do to ensure that
this account is really and truly closed?

We recently published the story of a Bank of America account that was raised from the dead years after it had (supposedly) been closed. Evidently, even an account that staffers say has been closed can be zombified at any time.

To protect yourself, gather anything in writing that you can to confirm that the account has been closed. A closing statement, a letter from the branch: ask politely and firmly if there’s anything they can provide so you’ll have evidence to back up your story that the account was indeed closed.