WELLS FARGO BANK SEIZES $1500 FROM IMMIGRANT FOR $25 DEBT
Original post made by Jim Neal, Old Mountain View, on Aug 26, 2013
She had only used the card once since we got it and immediately paid the balance due in full. In June, we finally got her permanent green card and her social security card so we thought it would be a good idea to get her a card with a higher limit and use it on our trip to Mexico this month. We went to Wells Fargo on August 1st and talked to a banker about raising the limit on her secured card to $1500. He said it should be no problem and proceeded to call the credit card arm of Wells Fargo Bank. The credit agent on the phone said that there was no problem and that once we paid the additional $1200, the credit limit would be raised in 3-5 business days. We gave the banker $1200 in cash and got the receipt.
Then, this Saturday just a few hours before we were to get on the plane to Mexico, my wife and I went to the store to buy a few last minute items and she decided to use her card to make sure that it was working and that she would not have any problems with the pin if needed, and the card was rejected several times. I used my debit card and it worked fine so when we got home I called Wells Fargo's credit department and they told us that my wife's card had been cancelled because the $25 annual fee hadn't been paid!
We were outraged because we had never received a phone call or even a letter saying that there was any outstanding amount due!
We checked her account online and there were none of the electronic alerts that Wells Fargo sends any time there is an overdraft or a problem with the account. I looked over the last two statements (which are only available online) and I found that the annual fee had been automatically deducted from her credit card as well as 3 monthly fees of $1. I didn't see anything that said the account was about to be closed until I read all the small print at the bottom of the statement where they put the announcements, and it was in the middle!
My wife hadn't even checked the online statements because she hadn't made any purchases and had no reason to think that there was anything wrong with the account. After all, every time there has been a problem with one of my accounts, we always get a letter in the mail!
After we discovered this, we went to the Wells Fargo branch here in Mountain View and talked to the banker. He called the credit card department for us and explained the situation to them. The credit card representative told us that there was nothing that they could do and that the account could not be reopened. When we asked for my wife's money back, first they said that they could not put the money back into the account because they had already mailed out a check, then they said that she would not get her money for 60 DAYS!!!!! Needless to say, we had to cancel our vacation because we would have arrived in Mexico with very little money to use because the hotel puts a hold on the entire amount due in advance.
The credit card arm of Wells Fargo accepted my wife's $1200 cash deposit even though they were already planning to cancel the card and without telling her that she need to pay the $25. In my opinion, this is incredibly irresponsible; and if it is not illegal, it seems to me to be highly unethical! There is no reason for them to keep her money for that period of time because it certainly only took them less than 60 seconds to accept it!
Needless to say, we are now in the process of evaluating other banks and we are hoping that we can find one that treats it customers and their hard earned money with the respect they deserve!
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