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Friday, August 10, 2012

Wells Fargo loves sending Debit cards


I opened an account with Wachovia few years ago. Wachovia is now Wells Fargo so I am a customer of Wells Fargo.

Earlier in 2011, I walked into a Wells Fargo branch. As I was talking to a representative there, he was offering me some services. During our conversation, I mentioned that I am interested in opening a PMA account within a couple months. It was my understanding that PMA package came with a $30 monthly service fees if eligible balance is less than $25,000. At that time I needed a couple of months to have $25,000 and I did not want to pay $30 monthly service fees. I told banker that because of this reason I am going to open PMA account after a couple of months.

To my surprise banker told me that my understanding was not correct. You don’t need to maintain a balance of $25,000 for first three months in order to avoid $30 monthly service fees. He told me that I can open the account now and I won’t be charged $30 monthly service fees for first three months. I was pleasantly surprised and I asked him to open the account.

In the process of opening PMA account, he asked me to open a Debit Card. I said don’t need Debit Card. He told me that I need to open PIN for security reasons and in order to have a PIN I need to have a Debit Card. So I said okay.

So he went ahead and opened accounts. After he was done opening accounts through his system, he gave me papers to sign to confirm account opening process. To my surprise he opened two accounts: PMA account and High Yield Savings account.  I told him that I did not ask you to open a High Yield Savings account. Why did you open that account? He mentioned that because it pays higher interest with the balance of $25,000 or more and since I am going to come up with $25,000, I should have High Yield Savings. At this point I was tired of sitting with him for long time and I did not want to argue with him and wanted to leave bank as soon as possible, so I did not say much. So I agreed to open High Yield Savings account and I left bank.

A couple of weeks after this, I received Debit card in the mail. There were 4 Debit cards! I had two checking accounts and I am joint owner on these accounts with my spouse. He opened a card per checking account per account owner and that is how we got four Debit cards in the mail. That made me angry. I did some research and I came to know that customer does not need to have PIN for security reasons, but banker told me so. #1. I also found out that PIN that I opened at bank was different than PIN that we have for our Debit cards. #2. I got 4 Debit cards when I asked for one. #3.

I called customer service # and expressed my frustration. Phone representative told me that she wrote my incident down and I should go talk to bank manager about this. So I went to bank to meet manager to talk about this. As I am sitting with manager and explaining everything that I experienced, she told me that PMA account does not have three months grace period. The reason I am not going to be charged $30 monthly service fees is because banker that helped me was second to the bank manager (herself) in authority and he made a note on my account mentioning that my accounts needs to be checked every month for first three months and $30 monthly service fees should be removed if it was charged for having balance of less than $25,000. I was not given this information before. #4.

When I was talking to bank manager about PIN and Debit card experience I had, she told me that it is good to have one Debit Card per each account per each owner. She told me that she takes care of her mother and put the money into separate checking account and gives a Debit card to her mother so that she can manage her mother’s finances. She mentioned that banker might have thought about it and issued four Debit cards for my benefit! #5. I told her that I did not come to her or banker for getting personal finance advice and I would appreciate if I should not given products that I don’t ask for. This conversation with bank manager was very disappointing as I felt that I was not being heard and I just wasted time by going to bank manager. I asked her to close all Debits cards and High Saving account. And I asked her to put a note on my profile clearly stating that I should not receive any product that I did not ask for. This was my last visit to this particular branch and I decided not to go to this branch again.

Fast forward to today (mid 2012). We got 4 Debit Cards in the mail. One per each checking account per each account owner! This time I did not get angry, but I smiled as I know it was Debit Card and Wells Fargo! I called phone representative to ask about these cards. I asked him to verify why did I get these cards and who opened them. He said he is not able to find any trace. He also mentioned that only a representative from a physical bank can opened Debit cards. I did not care much and I asked him to close all my Debits cards. He closed mine and said my spouse needs to call them back in order to close her cards. A week after that I went to bank as I had to deposit a check. (I always go to bank to deposit checks and don’t do it via ATM because I think that it gives teller to do something and may be few tellers would loose their job if more people start doing the same.) While depositing my check, I asked teller about Debit cards that I got recently. He was not able to answer my question so he grabbed someone quickly. Other representative told me that I should have Debit card for security reason and I told him that I had unpleasant experience with Wells Fargo regarding Debit card in the past and I don’t want to have Debit card for now. The representative asked me if I went to other branch. I told him that this is the only branch that I go to for last year or so. He told me that for sure no one from his branch opened Debit cards and it must be phone banker. #6. I asked him to make a note on my profile saying I should not be given any product if I did not ask for. He said he can make a note, but there is no guarantee that a banker would read it before sending me Debit cards again in future. I smiled and said okay make the note anyway!

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