Well, we finally closed our Wells Fargo account today. My husband (who hates to do the talking because he's foreign and is worried about discrimination) left me in charge of the conversation.
This probably wasn't the smartest idea, considering my tendency to rant and be blunt about things -- fine qualities that I got from both my mother and father which, when used in combination, make me a pretty irrational, irate customer (though I don't usually bring that side of me out).
I honestly thought I was behaving for the most part -- as he would gently nudge me under the table with his knee, reminding me that whatever I just said was a little mean. He nudged me about 3 times while the lady asked me why we were closing the account.
I warned her after the first question, telling her that she "really didn't want to ask me that" and that it had to do with "certain policies that they were enacting in the next 2 months." She prodded me more so I began to tell her that it was most specifically the checking account changes that targeted poor people who didn't have steady income and the fees to access my own money via debit card. (This was my first knee-nudge).
She puts in our information and comes back with, "Oh what's your address?" and we tell her (she HAD our licenses, so it should have been obvious). But nope, according to her, it turns out that for SOME REASON they thought we still lived in Alabama... Furthermore, the address they seemed to think we lived at is one that is more than 3 years old and wasn't even our last AL address (it was the address that was used to open the account). So she says, "You don't have to pay those fees on your debit card because they think you live in AL and they are only imposing that new fee in GA right now."
I tried SO HARD not to come back with something nasty... I honestly was very nice because I didn't tell her how stupid that logic was. First of all, we did a MORTGAGE inquiry with them THIS SPRING to see how much they would have pre-approved us for. They should have KNOWN at the very least from THAT, that there was a conflict in our address, but it was never brought up. Secondly, my husband is obsessive about finance, I seriously DOUBT that he never changed our address. So instead I told her, "It would only be a matter of time before everyone had to pay these fees."
"Oh but you should have come in earlier, there are still ways to avoid those fees. We could have worked something out! You had options." There is NO WAY a bank is going to pass up $36 worth of fees a year without secretly taking it out of my ass some other way. Like say... you have to keep some crazy amount of money in checking or savings at all times, or possibly sign up for some annual fee laden, super-special-platinum-rewards card that never actually gives you rewards. Please, how stupid do I look? They aren't going to "cut me a deal" unless there is something in it for them.
So, in response to that I say, "I know I had options, that's why I'm closing this account!" (I got a long knee nudge for that one).
"Oh but it will only be a matter of time before all banks charge these fees. It's the Federal Government, they just imposed all those new rules." Yeah I remember when the Fed said,
"You can't charge retailers more than X-number of cents for a transaction through your bank system, and you can't impose whatever kinds of fees you want by forcing them to use your routing system. We know what it costs, so stop pretending it costs more." So, now we see this is their secret way to get around that new rule and make some quick cash until the Federal Reserve has to write another new rule that says, "No, you can't do that either..." Way to take advantage of bureaucratic red tape, Wells Fargo! You get the "Scrooge McDuck Award" for being Epic Misers.
I responded with, "That's not the answer I got when I e-mailed Wells Fargo. They told me in the letter that they are doing it 'because everyone else is' and just because everyone else is doing it, it doesn't make it RIGHT!" (I got the third nudge for that one).
See, that IS what they told me in the e-mail. None of this whining about the big bad Federal Government taking their profits for transactions that should cost pennies to make! The e-mail I got from Wells Fargo said some corporate BS like, "Every once in a while we have to analyze the fees and practices of our competitors and make adjustments to our policies in order to stay competitive." That translates to, "We're doing it because Chase thought it was a good way to make some fast cash. We wanted to see how many people will just bend over and take it, and how many people will be smart enough to flee." I don't see anything in there about the Federal Government forcing them to allow retailers to choose who to route money through. (As if overdraft charges and ATM fees when people are on vacation won't make up for it somewhere else).
When the lady went to go get our cash, my husband told me I shouldn't be so hard on her because she just works there. I am well aware of that. I am also aware that she has a script that she is supposed to follow and the company tells her what to say. But I honestly wasn't that mean. I didn't say anything that was "untrue," and I didn't yell at her. I was just a little curt and didn't beat around the bush.
So, we are done with them. As we were leaving she again reminded me that we "had options for our checking account" and "it will only be a matter of time before everyone imposes the fees." Yeah, ok whatever. I belong to a Federal Credit Union now, and they are generally not lumped into the same category as banks. So, I think it will be a while before they get crazy with the fees. Furthermore, the reason why you have a one-time membership fee with Credit Unions is because they "belong" to everyone who is a member you essentially own a piece of their stock.
The Federal Reserve's policy targeted only big banks (those who are worth $10 billion or more) who were taking advantage of retailers and were forcing retailers to route the transaction exclusively through their network thus allowing them to charge whatever they wanted for said transaction -- which was up to 44 cents per transaction before the rules went into effect. Heck the Fed even back paddled on their initial decision and upped the cap banks can impose from 12 cents to 21 cents! No one is hurting here! It doesn't cost you 21-44 cents to move a few bytes around in your server to change the number of dollars in my account, I'm willing to bet it costs less than 3 cents. (And I don't want to hear some BS about fraud protection, because last I checked that was about 1 cent per transaction-- so 4 cents does not explain what the other 17 cents are for!) This nonsense is about pure profit, you got called on it, and now you are looking for more ways to get that profit back. Anyone who is foolish enough to think that the new regulations are some kind of hardship on large banks (especially the revised ones where the Fed gave in, in order to prevent what is currently happening from happening), deserves to pay $36 a year to use their card.