How Wells Fargo Cost my Business $5000

We've been banking with Wells Fargo since Edoceo started in 2001. Some recent incompetence by Wells Fargo ("WF") has caused us to re-evaluate that position.

Mis-Represented Fees

When we started there and opened the three standard accounts (Checking, Savings, Line of Credit) they were all linked together. We were told that if we had enough assets (or liabilities) with WF that fees for these accounts would be waived. Naturally, this appealed to us.

So, the owners personal banking moved to WF, a second business interest also created accounts there. The sum total of these accounts was well over their minimum threshold to waive the fees. It met the requirements we were told about: the assets of this one natural-person exceeded the base-line set by WF.

However, the fees were not waived. We had few in-branch visits, brought this to the attention of the tellers, who said it would be resolved. They manually reversed fees; but next month they were back. This process continued for a few months.

Then, on one visit we were told that we didn't meet their minimum asset requirements; It isn't the sum-total of assets from one natural-person; it's measured per account operator (Edoceo, the Owner and one other business interest). So, despite meeting the requirements stated to us by in-person bankers we're still charged fees.

We were told that if we did an automatic transfer that fees would be waived; so we set that up. Guess what? Still charged fees.

Those account fees, bill-pay fees have a sum-total over $2000. That number doesn't include any penalties or other charges - it's just account fees.

Failure to Auto-Pay

When our three business accounts were created we had them all tied together - as advised by the banking staff. The Line of Credit; attached to our checking was subscribed to auto-pay (a very common practice). That process worked properly for quite some time. In about 2008 that stopped for some unknown reason. As a result we missed two payments against that LoC; which caused the rates to sky-rocket and cost fees.

We went into a branch, spoke to a teller who apologised for their mistake. Told me they were re-enabling the auto-pay feature and that all would be OK. Auto-pay then worked properly for 2008 and 2009 but again magically stopped towards the end of 2010.

Talking to the bank about it again we were told it was never configured to auto-pay (but how did it for the previous nine years?). We were asked to fill out and sign some form, in the branch, to re-enable auto-pay. We've done that (twice now) and auto-pay is still not working properly.

The Address Debacle

This one has cost the most head-ache; Wells Fargo cannot seem to get our address correct.

When the office moved in 2008 we dutifully went to the on-line banking application and update our address in their system. As of 2012 the old address is still floating around their system (and impacts us later). In 2011 our statements and other forms suddenly reverted to the previous address, w/o warning. And, oddly, a change of address was sent to notify us - but that notification also went to the pre-2008 address. We missed statements and other necessary business information due to this error by WF.

Going back into the on-line banking system we again corrected our address. Change notification was sent, and we thought all was well. Until again in 2012 we noticed that WF was issue tax documents for our business that again had that four year old address. It also contained the WRONG COMPANY NAME.

We've spent more than 10 hours in the branch or on the phone with WF to attempt to correct this issue. Each time the representative from WF said it would be fixed once-and-for all. Imagine our surprise when, just yesterday, we received forms from the bank - which again had the wrong company name and address.

This clearly demonstrates that Wells Fargo cannot even manage even the simplest set of data for their customers.

Unauthorised Account Creation

This was the biggest disaster (so far). Towards the end of 2011 we received a call from a banker at Wells Fargo. Paul told us there was a way that we could reduce our account fees if we simply switched our account package from A to B. We told him we were interested.

A few days later we discovered that we had six, yes six, new accounts a Wells Fargo - two new checking, two new savings and two new LoC accounts. What was really odd is that the account numbers for these new account were different by only five numbers. As if this guy Paul created new accounts for us; then repeated the process. I hope those six new accounts helped put him over his new account quota for the month.

We've had to cancel/close those accounts; but not before paying some fees for those accounts - which we never authorised in the first place. Not to mention the fact that it took three requests (one phone, two in branch) to get those accounts to properly close.

Bottom Line

Mis-representing their products and disabling the auto-pay has increased our fees and charges with the bank. Repeated mistakes with our address has cost us time & time & time. Expensive time; missing bank-statements because they went to the wrong address (again and again) costs a small business time and money they don't have. And those unauthorised new accounts, cost again time and money to get resolved.

It's not a stretch; by any measure to conclude that we've spent not only a good deal of cash-money dealing with their incompetence but also (and more importantly) we've had to use our valuable time to correct their mistakes. For a small business operator that time is valuable - every hour spent in branch or on the phone to fix what WF broke is time we cannot bill for.

So, yes, obviously, after reviewing our situation it's unlikely that we'll continue with WF; nor would we recommend their services to anyone. It appears that the small-local banks might be the better option for your small business.