Log into your bank accounts EVERY month
And when I say “every month”, I mean EV. ER. Y. MONTH.
Banks are like surly, sneaky teenagers who refuse to get their own jobs for their cash.
When I was a kid, I would periodically go through every single purse in my aunt’s closet and collect the stray singles and handfuls of dimes. My haul was usually somewhere around $20 (and this was in the 80s – plenty for the food court at the mall with my friends). Banks are like my teenage self: if you don’t pay attention, they cipher your money away a little at a time without you really noticing unless you know how to protect yourself.
No, fuck that. Banks are outright thieves.
So today we’re going to talk about Wells Fargo.
All banks are thieves, practicing legalized thievery with their thieving thieve business structures. And I know Wells Fargo is an easy target, given their thievery exposure in the last 3 years, creating accounts without customer knowledge, charging them fees on the sneaked accounts, stealing from their customers and facing zero consequences for their thievery (has any Wells Fargo executive gone to jail?), firing their middle class middling managers for the thievery instead of their .01% gazillionaire brain-trust executives. And I’d love to write a thievery banks-are-assholes post without being cliché and writing about the thieves at Wells Fargo. But, honestly, they do it to themselves.
This morning I get an email from Wells Fargo stating my savings account is in the negative.
“What’s this?”, I thought. How can an account I never use and have mostly forgotten about be negative? Last I knew, I had 50ish dollars in it, and only because I signed up for the account when I opened the checking account, and the account rep emphasized over and over again that it was free, it was free, it was free, and I should put money in there and have it act like an overdraft pool. I shrugged and did just that.
For the first year, nothing happened. I mostly ignored the savings account. I ignored it the second year too. We’re now in my third year, and here I am in the negative. Wells Fargo decided in the middle of my second year that I should not have a free savings account, they decided I should have a savings account that charges me $5 a month. The account statements even show zero activity for a little more than a year, then suddenly subtracting $5 a month.
I called Wells Fargo and said “Why are you stealing form me, give me my money back, and hey, are you thieves pulling your sneaky thieve games again?”
The agent tried the accusatory tactic: “Your savings account charges $5 a month if you don’t xyz”
I said “I didn’t sign up for an account that requires xyz. Gimme my money back”
Long story short, the agent was able to confirm that I did not, in fact, sign up for anything requiring me to do xyz or abc or anything other than giving Wells Fargo the privilege of hanging onto $50 of my money. In the end, I shut down the account and got back $30 (the agent couldn’t get further back than 6 months, and I’ll be going into a physical branch to collect the rest of my stolen money).
There are two lessons here:
1. Monitor your bank accounts. Banks are thieves and if they find they can get away with stealing your money, they will do it until you notice and tell them to stop.
2. Call the bank and get fees reversed. Seriously – even if you think you mistakenly signed up for something that charges a fee without realizing it, ask for it back. If YOU don’t realize you’re going to be charged fees, that’s THEIR fault for not emphasizing it up front. THEY stole from YOU, not the other way around. Get your money back.
PS. I suppose there’s one more lesson: don’t have more accounts than you need. If you don’t have a specific purpose for a checking/savings account, then don’t have it.
PPS. Banks provide a necessary service and they deserve to get paid. I get that. But banks should not be allowed to steal from their customers, legally or otherwise.