The 51st Way to Leave Your Customer (Wells Fargo Redux)


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In August ’07, I posted a very sarcastic bit titled: “Wells Fargo: 50 Ways to Leave Your Customer.” After more than 20 years as a WF “Premiere Customer,” I was yanking all my business and needed to rant about all the slings and arrows (and fees) I’d endured. I expected a few commiseraters to read it. But most of all I wanted to say it and let it go.

Wrong on two counts. First, and much to my surprise, thousands read this post–in fact it drew the second most readers of any post I’ve written. Apparently, there’s lots of bad taste over Wells Fargo in lots of mouths out there. Comforting to know I hadn’t been singled out.

But I was also wrong about being able to “let it go.” Unfortunately, I’d forgotten that every month Wells Fargo draws a mortgage payment out of our checking account at our new bank. Out of sight out of mind–until we suffered major wind and hail damage to our domicile and had to file an insurance claim. But when we received the check from the insurance company, guess who had to endorse it? The mortgage holder, of course. And because the check was rather large, dear old Wells Fargo wouldn’t endorse it. Instead, we had to endorse it over to them so they could collect the funds, use the money (called “playing the float”), and dole it out to us in dribs and drabs after we’ve paid contractors and after their appraisers have approved the work. And once they finally approve a check to us drawn on our money, they take up to 10 business days to actually cut and mail it. That’s called “playing the float squared.”

No wonder thousands of people read that first missive. And to bolster my oft-shared perspective on Wells Fargo, last weekend’s Twin Cities newspaper reported that the second largest auto dealer network here was bouncing checks to other dealers for cross-dealer car purchases. Guess what happened? They decided to change banks, so Wells Fargo stopped honoring this dealer network’s checks while sitting on its money.

To steal from a cable news show host’s sarcastically comic routine, let’s nominate Wells Fargo for “today’s worst company in the world.”


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