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Comfortably Numb
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Discussion Starter #1
So today I log-in my bank and what do I see? A little over $-400 ($320 in fees!) Yep, that's a negative sign alright. Hmm, so normally this would mean I used my debit card numerous times when I didn't have the money. I did use my debit card numerous times, which added up to roughly $90, but there's one little important fact; I also deposited $100 cash before doing so. Here's where it gets weird. When my bank accounted for all of the transactions at night somehow they decided I didn't have the money to cover each transaction so I was charged $320 in fees! Obviously some computer glitch happened and ignored my $100 deposit and then assumed I deserved numerous overdrafts. You know whats even more suspicious? The $100 deposit now shows that I made it AFTER making the debit card purchases when I look online. (It looks as if I deposited the money to pay off some of the overdraft fees instead!) Just check out the screen shot below. That $100 is now at the very top as if I already saw all the overdrafts and said "I think I'll just hand over $100 to my bank today." (Which is exactly what online banking is claiming since it says my current balance is $-410 but available is $-310)

Luckily I kept the ATM receipt that shows I clearly had enough money before any such transactions are made and I definitely made the $100 deposit BEFORE the other transactions. (After dealing with a teller I always hit the ATM to verify they did everything right) Knowing banks though I'm sure it'll be fun calling them up tomorrow morning and fighting to convince them they made a major error. Even more so, I wouldn't doubt I'll be forced to come into my local branch and show the receipt clearly proving the error which should be real fun for SA.

Anyhow, just a warning to you all. Check your bank statements constantly because you never know when your bank might conveniently "mess up". Considering it's obviously their error I wonder if I can get away billing them $40 for each bank error? I could use the $320. :\
 

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Starlight and moonbeams
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20,920 Posts
Wow, that's crazy. I hate it when banks screw up.

I remember my bank charged me a $75 overdraft fee once, because of a charge I didn't make. I disputed the charge, and Paypal gave me back the $7 that I didn't charge, and the bank put 30 or so dollars back into my account.
 

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Comfortably Numb
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347 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Today has been insane, I've been fighting with the bank most of the day. My bank still refuses to acknowledge the error. This is after four phone calls, speaking to two branch managers, faxing the receipt to show I'm in the right, and a visit in person to my local branch. I'm working on a letter that I'm going to send to HQ explaining the situation and explaining to them that I intend to file a claim in small claims court if this isn't resolved via them directly.

Although my SA will be raging if I have to sue I refuse to be taken advantage of and will fight back the best I can. I've already obtained the proper info from the county clerk regarding the resident agent, which is the person I'm supposed to serve. We'll see what happens. I'm hoping that once they realize I'm not going to give up they will just refund it. The good news is I hear small claims suits with corporations rarely actually go to trial. Usually no one shows and you get a default judgment. Most likely because it's more expensive to send someone to defend themselves than it is to simply refund my $320. Furthermore, apparently 2/3's of all cases involving overdrafts where the account holder was at fault are still won because the fees are considered "excessive & unfair". I actually have proof this was a bank error though, so it's definitely looking good for me. But yeah.. I really hope I don't have to waste tax dollars and time dealing with this crap. (Not to mention the stress of standing up in front of a judge!)
 

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Après moi, le déluge
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5,682 Posts
You should also close your accounts and go to a new bank. And tell them your doing it. Sometimes they'll give in. Banks hate losing accounts.

Then, if they give in and give you your money back, wait until it posts and then close your account anyway. Why have to go through all of that if it happens again?

Have a nice day,
Kelly :)
 

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Viva La Raza!
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34,841 Posts
is it wells fargo? i have a co-worker that closed her wells fargo account for this reason. i think what they do first is take any purchases youve made then take any deposits. something like that. she switched to BOA because they dont do that. im happy with wells fargo though
 

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Comfortably Numb
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347 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Kelly, unfortunately I threatened closing the account but the lady was really rude and didn't care. I sent a certified, return receipt letter stating my intent to sue to HQ today. They probably won't get it for a few days so I'm going to give them until May 1st to respond and then initiate the serving process to their Resident Agent. Oddly enough, even if this eventually gets resolved without the need to sue it's pretty interesting learning the whole small claims process.

Nubly, It's not Wells Fargo. It's smaller a smaller bank, compared to the biggies, called Susquehanna Bank. Although it's still fairly big. They serve all of PA, MD, NJ, and maybe some other states?

I'm going to have to pay these overdraft fees off for the time being to avoid a bad report on ChexSystems. However, I've already opened a bank account somewhere else. Also, if I can resolve it they will probably have to refund it directly to the account so it's probably wise to leave it open at this point. (The balance will remain at a few cents from now on though and be closed once I figure out whats going to happen.)
 

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Comfortably Numb
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347 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Here's an interesting short documentary where a guy sues Wells Fargo and wins without it even going to trial. He intentionally gets overdrafts too!

http://current.com/items/88849140_how-to-beat-the-bank.htm

It's funny, my SA isn't nearly as bad when I feel like I've been taken advantage of. Even if I don't win I'll appeal and waste as much of their money as I can doing so. From what I hear nearly all of these cases are won so that shouldn't be an issue.
 

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Comfortably Numb
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347 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I don't know if anyone's even following this but I figured I'd post another update. I contacted all the local news stations regarding my story and figured nothing would come of it. It was more of a "I've been talking to the media" argument to say to the bank if I needed it. (Advice given to me by someone in the know) Guess what? I was actually contacted back by one of the news stations interested in the story. They left a message on my answering machine asking for me to call back and it's actually a local reporter I've seen on TV! The thing is I've already sent certified letters to my bank demanding a refund and stating that if I don't receive a response by June 1st I'm going to sue. I'm probably going to call the reporter Monday and explain the situation and get a feel for what I should do. I'd really like to use this as leverage when communicating with the bank. Now hopefully my SA will just cooperate. So far I'm too busy looking for justice instead of worrying about SA but that could all change if I find out I'm going on TV, lol.

I'll update this thread when I figure out what'll happen. If anyone's in MD and you see a story about a bank ripping someone off with a guy standing there shaking like crazy attempting to explain the story; you'll know why. :p
 

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I'm sure they did it on purpose. I read an article a few years ago about how banks were rigging the timing on things so they could make money with the overdraft fees.
 

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Hey that's funny...I bank at the same bank you do.

But yeah. Question. Did you deposit $100 in cash? If you did, then it's definitely not your fault, because cash is available immediately (they're on a live system.) I don't know what their policy is with checks. Sometimes it takes two business days or more for the funds to be available - at least where i work.
 

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This is done on purpose to maximize the fees. There have been a few stories like this I've heard and some are trying to make it illegal.
 

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Comfortably Numb
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347 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
kidA, it was a check. As per banking policy a $100 credit is initiated immediately and has always been treated like the same as cash. Unfortunately this policy changed without any prior notification from the bank. The bank is technically in breach of contract because of it.

I was contacted by my local branch, who received one of the certified letters. The manager I spoke with prior who refused to help me is now attempting to cover herself since she never returned my phone call. She actually had the nerve to lie and claim she left a message; luckily I've already contacted my phone carrier and requested a log of received phone calls proving this never happened. The vast majority of the call resulted in her arguing the exact same propaganda she's obviously been instructed to say and me arguing my side. Finally she informed me her boss, who I assume is the manager of all the banks in this area, would take a look at this case and get back to me Tuesday. I informed her that I've already been in contact with the media and she seemed genuinely concerned with this bit of information. Regardless, I walked away from the phone call feeling like they were attempting to show they won't back down; perhaps in an attempt to call my bluff. The very fact they called me on a Saturday makes it seem like they are definitely nervous about this.

coldmorning, Bank Of America recently settled a $35 million dollar class action lawsuit regarding overdraft fees. The fees were found to be "unfair and excessive". The bank refused to acknowledge any wrong doing but the very fact they lost millions of dollars is a major win for the little guy.

Also, there's currently a bill in congress, HR 1456, which would require banks to ask if you want them to allow overdrafts or just decline transactions like they used to do. You can track the bills progress at: http://thomas.loc.gov/

You can also contact your reps at http://uspoverty.change.org/actions...tection_fair_practices_act_needs_your_support

One good thing about SA is I've got so much time on my hands that I can spend several hours a day building my case while the banks won't dare invest the time and money for something as petty as this. Although the money, $520 total, hurt a bit it isn't about the money anymore. It's about fighting for whats right and I will fight back as much as I can even if it involves spending four times the amount lost doing so. :)
 

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Après moi, le déluge
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I think it's great that you're doing this, SA and all. Please keep us updated on what happens. :)

Have a nice day,
Kelly :)
 

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Also, there's currently a bill in congress, HR 1456, which would require banks to ask if you want them to allow overdrafts or just decline transactions like they used to do. You can track the bills progress at: http://thomas.loc.gov/
Wow, I had no idea anything like this was going on. But I hope it passes, it just makes sense.

Good luck with everything Steve, I hope you get it sorted out. And way to be persistent and not take crap from them!
 

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Comfortably Numb
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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks a lot for the encouragement Kelly and kidA!

kidA, I had no idea either until I did some research on the subject. One of my favorite politicians is sponsoring it, Barney Frank. He seems to be one of the very few politicians who can't be bought by big corp.
 

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Comfortably Numb
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Discussion Starter #17
So I spoke to the next Boss today who started the phone call with "I've read your letter and I agree 100% with everything." Then she proceeded to tell me why I was in the wrong, hah. She double talked a lot; she kept this pattern up throughout the call. Anyhow, she eventually told me she'd issue a $80 refund and acted as if I had already accepted it. (Obviously if I accepted the $80 I'd void my lawsuit) I literally laughed out loud, apologized for the outburst, and notified her that I respectfully decline. She sounded surprised by this; I think she thought she could just throw a bit of scraps my way to get me to shut up. Anyhow, she informed me she'd get her boss to contact me back. Up the chain I go! I also filed a BBB complaint today just to show them how annoying I can be. Considering the man hours already spent on this I've already wasted a decent amount of the banks time/money. I'm winning already!

If the new boss continues the same tactics tomorrow it'll be time to turn into the "annoying customer who's worth just giving what he wants to have him STFU even if we disagree with him". I learned this tactic from The Consumerist. (Website regarding consumer rights) Of course as far as I'm concerned I'm just trying to keep the bank up to date on the issue. This involves becoming very annoying and showing you can obtain information of people really powerful in the bank and actually get them to resolve it directly; not really because they are great people but rather they hate dealing with customers. (I.E. Personal emails of COO/Vice President, fax numbers to their offices, and some other really slick ways of getting noticed. All of this can be found via SEC, creative googling, etc.)

Anyhow, updates coming tomorrow. :)
 

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Comfortably Numb
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Discussion Starter #18
Today has been fun. /sarcasm

I never received a phone call back so I called the person I last spoke to. (The double talker) She once again spent five minutes or so apologizing for the fact no one called and insisted someone would call my cell today. Several hours later I get a call on my home phone, which I asked not to be called probably eighty times now, and was greeted by a rude lady who said nothing more than:

"We're looking into it, I have no time-frame when it'll be resolved, and you'll either get a phone call or letter from us when it is."

While they take their time, or perhaps just BS me, I'll be sure to contact the 'Pennsylvania Department of Banking' and the 'Commissioner of Financial Regulation' in MD just to make sure they follow up on their promise. Apparently these places are the banks worst nightmare with the exception of an actual lawsuit. (I'm contacting both because this took place in both PA and MD)

My claim in small claims may be delayed due to these official complaints because they both take forty-five days to resolve. Regardless, I've got plenty of time and total costs thus far have been $0. I doubt the bank can say the same. ;)
 

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Today has been fun. /sarcasm

I never received a phone call back so I called the person I last spoke to. (The double talker) She once again spent five minutes or so apologizing for the fact no one called and insisted someone would call my cell today. Several hours later I get a call on my home phone, which I asked not to be called probably eighty times now, and was greeted by a rude lady who said nothing more than:

"We're looking into it, I have no time-frame when it'll be resolved, and you'll either get a phone call or letter from us when it is."
Wow, what a *****. Really. How do you move up in the banking industry with an attitude like that? How about "I'm working to resolve this issue immediately, thank you so much for your patience" - at LEAST.

Geez. Kick some Susquehanna butt, Steve. :D
 

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Comfortably Numb
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347 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Good news, I WON!!! The bank called me today and the lady who originally refused to help me said she spoke to higher management and would refund the charges tonight. Now hopefully I actually see that refund tonight when they update. :D!

Although I was willing to do it I'm insanely relieved I don't have to go to court. I haven't slept good since this all started so it'll be nice sleeping in tomorrow.
 
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