Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wells Fargo, Are You Freakin' Kidding Me?

About a year ago we decided to part ways with Wells Fargo Bank after a ten year banking business relationship.

It's wasn't us as the saying goes, it was very much Wells Fargo.

I came to realize that Wells Fargo looked at me and my thriving commercial shark diving business the way a gut parasite worms its way into a host and less as a business partner that was there to actually help me with my ongoing finances.

Spend a minute and really picture the gut parasite, in case you need a visual aid there's one here that aptly covers my metaphor (NSFW).

Wells Fargo propaganda is very good, but after the 200th "mystery charge," those $5-20 miscellaneous charges that appear on accounts every single month, ones that bankers apologize for effusively and then remove with a wry smile, you get the feeling that Wells Fargo has some institutional problems.

Additionally, never sign up for Wells Fargo credit card processing services. If you have ever tried to buy a new car and met the middle aged, greasy, slick, worn suit wearing guy who made you and your entire family feel like they needed a bath after the encounter, that's pretty much our experience letting Wells Fargo get their calloused hands on our main line finances.

Our little shark diving company was overcharge $15,000 in "unexplained fees" in that first and only year with Wells Credit Card Processing. We have since moved to a great little processing company that charges a flat 2.0% rate and have a loyalty to them that is completely sacrosanct.

We decided to make the move from Wells to a nice little Community Bank - but did our research first.

The first thing you need to become aware of are Zombie Accounts. A back end way large banks like Wells Fargo keep your bank accounts very much alive in the hopes that recurring charges like online bill pay for cable will re-activate your dead account at Wells Fargo causing you to rack up fees with the bank long after you have left.

We were prepared for this when we sat down to untangle our web of accounts with a Wells banker which took over an hour. We also requested that Wells Fargo CLOSE all our accounts, citing Zombie Banking and providing articles to that effect to impress upon them. We thought we were being smart consumers and not banking victims.

Good luck. Our banker smiled, told us what we wanted to hear, and we left.

I am here to testify that Zombie Banking is alive and well at Wells Fargo. Seems this bank loves it's customers so much they never, ever, want to see you go and have recalled us twice now months later with rounds of "mystery charges" to bank accounts that never really closed.

It's not incompetence, I wish it was.

This is programmed theft. This is the way Wells Fargo sees customers. As the great showman PT Barnum once said, "There's a sucker born every minute," Wells Fargo has adopted that motto and created an entire empire based on "taking" money from their customers as a way of doing business.

Sure it's $5 here and there, the occasional $20, assaying a .05% additional processing fee on credit cards, but it adds up to tens of billions each and every year and you are the sucker.

We're still fighting the good fight with our Zombie Accounts. This last week a mystery $100 Fed Ex charge appeared on one of our so called dead accounts, 10 months later, and we walked back into our local branch to once again do battle with the bank that loves too much.

It would be o.k if they served fresh baked goods and mediocre coffee, but instead I have to watch Wells Fargo Drones go about their minimum wage jobs under harsh fluorescent lighting armed with pasted on rictus smiles, shuffling from one part of the bank to the other...much like real Zombies.

Frankly I am over it and if you currently bank with Wells Fargo, maybe you should be over it too.

As for the folks from Wells?

I'll see you folks again in two months. It's always good to know that even if the world ended with a fiery meteor the size of Kansas that blasted us all into space, somewhere in that deep dark vacuum Wells Fargo staff would be hard at work on my dead bank accounts trying to resurrect another $60-200 from them.


Patric Douglas CEO

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.


OfficetoOcean said...

Superb rant!

It's amazing that if I went into someone's house, rifled through their belongings and robbed them blind, people would quite rightly want me hung, drawn and quartered, however, if you wear a tie and use a pen instead of a knife, people don't seem to mind being robbed so much.

You do though and it warms my heart to see such piss and vinegar against the banks.

Daniel said...

Wells Fargo = Bank of America = Fraud