At 10:30 AM on Sunday, Valentine’s Day, my phone rang. Wells Fargo calling from their automated Idaho phone bank, asking for a person I have represented for years in payment of a car loan. The call shifted to a collector who asks for the individual. I respond that they have the written authorization to deal with me upon this person’s behalf. The individual I represent is not capable of dealing with interrogations by Wells Fargo. It upsets her mightily and makes her cry. Since I have four decades in banking, I volunteered to help.
The Wells Fargo employee informs me that they are attempting to collect a debt and proceeds to tell me that the account is delinquent. Lie #1. The loan is not past due and has not been past due for years. February’s payment was paid within the contractual grace period. No late fee due.
The collector insists that the payment is past due. Why then do I have a receipt showing the payment made? Don’t they have a computer at Wells Fargo that tells them when payments are made? This call and the other monthly calls are just harassment.
Until I caught them, Wells Fargo charged $25 per month for late fees on payments that were paid within the grace period. $300 was paid over the life of the loan. I did not catch the theft until I ordered the full payment history.
In December, the collector called at 8:30 AM Monday morning, to state that the grace period was 10 days. I asked for proof. He consulted his supervisor. His Supervisor indicated Wells Fargo had no 15-day grace period on any loans but only a ten day grace period. Lie #2. I asked to see the document that stated the grace period for this note.
This collector said he wanted to help fix the monthly harassment calls. He offered to have the payment date changed to the 20th rather than the 29th. He wanted two payments at Christmas time to fix his problem instead of one.
I suggested changing the computer instructions to stop calls if the payment is paid within the grace period. His supervisor vetoed that. I asked the Christmas collector to send me a copy of the dealer note since most contain a 15-day grace period. He agreed but no note was sent. Lie #3. I may not have a copy of the note but I do have Wells Fargo’s statements, which state clearly the payment date and a date on which to add the late fee. The spread is always 15 days.
When the last payment was made on the 13th, (late fee on the 15th), Wells Fargo’s receipt dated February 13, 2010 noted that the payment would not be credited until February 16, 2010. The payment was made at the Wells Fargo office, was receipted by Wells Fargo on the 13th, but Wells Fargo decided to credit it on the 16th so they could enjoy their holiday on Monday. Credit unions post deposits and payments immediately, on line. Their receipts are in real time not made up time. Presumably, Wells Fargo could buy a computer as good as Alaska USA’s.
Which banker at Wells Fargo came up with the scam to rip off consumers by phonying up due dates and receipt dates? A $25 late fee may not break the client and most won’t want to fight. But, think, $25 per month times millions of clients of Wells Fargo that are being ripped off with sleight of hand bookkeeping? And, we bailed out these bankers.
The ethics of banking have deteriorated to the point where federal trustbusters should break up the big banks. Dishonesty, outright lies and phony bookkeeping might gain a bit extra in late fees for Wells Fargo. That is just the tip of the iceberg, demonstrating the moral bankruptcy of today’s bankers.
Why waste a beautiful, sunny Sunday in Anchorage sharing this experience? It’s worth it if other consumers who have been lied to, cheated and treated with disrespect will ban together and boycott these bankers. In fairness, there are local folks at Wells Fargo I found a couple months ago who straighten out these shenanigans. The local lady whom I call regularly said late fees should not be paid when the payment is not late. Amen. Bless her, she simply reverses them.
Yet, monthly harassment calls continue.