Wells Fargo Co.’s aggressive sales culture is drawing hundreds of comments from readers who said in emails and online comments that the bank opened accounts they never sought and charged them fees on those accounts without their knowledge.
The fees assessed ranged from monthly maintenance charges on unauthorized checking, savings and bank card accounts to charges for being overdrawn on those accounts or not paying balances down, according to customers and a lawsuit filed this week by the city of Los Angeles.
The city accused Wells of withdrawing money from customers’ authorized accounts to pay for the fees on unauthorized accounts, placing customers into collections when the unauthorized withdrawals went unpaid and putting derogatory information in credit reports when unauthorized fees went unpaid.
The suit’s allegations echo a Los Angeles Times investigation published in December 2013.
Wells Fargo wouldn’t comment on specific stories from customers, but said it would “vigorously defend ourselves against these allegations.”
“Wells Fargo's culture is focused on the best interests of its customers and creating a supportive, caring and ethical environment for our team members,” the bank said.
Below are a few of the hundreds of responses posted online. Let us know here or at the bottom of this story what your experience has been with the bank.
Maria Moffa: “At one time, I had at least 12 accounts open with them when I only needed & wanted 2.”
Carlos Ferreira: “Yep, they talked me into having 6 accounts I don't need. Once I called about fees, they asked me to open more accounts to avoid the fees.”
Gayle Robison, on opening two accounts at the insistance of an employee: “They proceeded to fee me to death on both accounts. I wrote perhaps two checks a month and barely had any transactions at all, but they insisted on charging me right and left.”
Kathy Bergh, on replacing her lost ATM card: She was directed to an employee who insisted on talking to her about opening a savings account. Bergh said she refused, but the next month, she had an account that carried fees.
Willow Hobartson, on moving her elderly parents' accounts out of Wells Fargo: “They will open and reopen accounts they do not need as well as talk them into CDs and other products that hold their money hostage.”
Rich Soltis: “They’ve been doing this for years. They opened an unauthorized account in my name 10 years ago.”
Sara Naor, on being mailed a new credit card when she asked only for information: “It is still in the process of being removed from my account.”
Laurie Sevy: “Started off with fees for closing an account. Fees added every month for a non-account. Don't go there.”
Toni Brooks: She was pressured into opening an account at Wells Fargo when she just went in to cash a check. She said she was charged $7.50.
Paul Burton: “Closing my account, that's for sure.”