How Do 60 Minute Wait Times & 10% Unemployment Relate?


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Believe me, I’m not trying to use Wells Fargo as a whipping boy. But when customer service gets this intolerably bad, someone in San Francisco needs to wake up. Or are they dead?

My wife & I had an HSA (Health Savings Account) with Wells Fargo. I won’t bore you with all the customer-unfriendly stuff they pulled, but recently and for unknown reasons they decided to change our account number and issue a new card with a new PIN, despite our old cards being valid until 2011. Only they sent only my card, without one for my wife. Hey, not more than a minor inconvenience no? No. I tried calling them, got into a waiting queue, and waited and waited and waited. For over an hour.

While I was waiting I tried to reach HSA customer service over the web. You can’t. Then I tried to access general customer service but faced drop down fields for questions giving no appropriate answers. Should I call an HSA account an “auto loan?”Guess where that e-mail would wind up. So I tried their general “call a banker” service for telephone banking. Got through in about 10 minutes. The first question the “banker” asked? “What’s an HSA?” She finally agreed to try contacting HSA service using their internal phone numbers, and I made her promise not to transfer me back into the same queue.

I don’t have to tell you what she did. So, right now, I have no means of getting a second card. Their contact center is that understaffed, despite skilled people galore on the streets, many willing to work for whatever paltry wage they offer phone reps. And I’ll bet most already know what an HSA is. As a customer, I am disgusted WF lets customers stew on the phone for over an hour (maybe multiple hours, who knows?) without dipping into the endlessly deep unemployment pools to put more agents on the phone. Just one more example of how they put customers last.

Why are we still with them? Actually, we used to be 100% Wells Fargo – two businesses and all our personal banking. Private banking, even. We shifted our accounts to a smaller, regional bank two years ago, but forgot to transfer our HSA. When we started having trouble – as in having our HSA debit cards rejected when we had more than ample funds in the account (you know, we used the card too many times in one month, or went over our “limit,” which happens to be less than what’s in the account), we were sort of stuck. As impending empty nesters we’re city-bound, but we don’t know where exactly so don’t know where we’ll bank. But this is so over the top that I’m going to get my wife a card by switching our HSA to a different bank, any bank.

A couple years ago, when we pulled all our other business from Wells Fargo, I posted a blog in CustomerThink titled: “Wells Fargo, 50 Ways to Leave Your Customer.” It drew over 16,000 hits – a near record. Guess lots of others have similar stories.

PS: I wrote this while on hold the second time. When I finished, I needed to go out for lunch. So I decided to leave the call on hold while I was out. When I cam beck, guess what greeted me? “Your call is important to us…”

PPS: A half-hour after the initial post someone did pick up the call. They switched to a new data system that can only generate one card per account. Brilliant, eh?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. My husband and I got the same shameful treatment as you did. We can’t use our family’s 1 (and only) new HSA card because Wells Fargo WITHOUT MY HUSBAND’S PERMISSION changed his HSA fluid account funds into an “investment only” status. Telephone lines are tied up endlessly. And he cannot even access the account online anymore because Wells Fargo made his old password obsolete when they issued him a new card and account number (WITHOUT HIS PERMISSION).

    What did you and your wife end up doing to get access to your funds?

    I’m of the opinion that my husband I should lodge a complaint with the state of California’s Department of Financial Institutions. Wells Fargo due to its high-handed draconian new policies has in effect confiscated our HSA money preventing us from using it for our family’s pressing medical needs. We cannot even transfer the HSA funds to another banking institution.

  2. Dick Lee – I finally found out what’s going on (at least some of it). Wells Fargo has been switching over to a new computer system for HSA. Unfortunately, the new system is a disaster. It can’t issue two cards for one account, which is why my wife didn’t get one. But ypical of Wells Fargo, we weren’t notified.

    Although there’s no way of knowing, the switch in your account status may be one more system glitch. But that doesn’t help you much when the phone lines are clogged with callers whose accounts the system has also messed up.

    I finally got through be putting my call to CS on speaker, then ignoring all the “Your business is valuable to us” (or whatever) announcements for about 3 hours. If you have an office with door, that might be the ticket.

    We haven’t yet got our hands on all our funds, but we’re moving our entire account as soon as my wife gets back from a trip. I cannot think of language strong enough, even in private, to describe Wells Fargo’s ethical problems and insensitivity to customers.

    Good luck

  3. I also (unfortunately) have an HSA with Wells Fargo, and have been trying to contact their customer service for 2 weeks, to no avail. I call the “customer service” line and get put on hold for an hour or longer and never get through. You cannot email them if you have an HSA, they do not provide any email address or email form to HSA customers. WHat a nightmare! This is the worst most customer unfriendly banking experience of my life. I will never bank with Wells Fargo again.

  4. It is a Saturday and I fear I’ll be on hold until Monday when they tell me there are no weekend hours, though their computer called me this morning to say that they suspected fraud on my card. That was me, trying to buy my own medication (a refill from the same pharmacy I’ve used in the past with the same card). The card was declined. Now I can’t reach them or use my card. What a nightmare. I’ll join the class if there is one.


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