Posted by: facetothewind | November 29, 2006

Wells Fargo Bank: Bad Business Practices

Here’s a letter I sent to the Comptroller of Currency and Thomas Shippee, the President & CEO of Wells Fargo Bank:

Office of the Comptroller of Currency November 29, 2006
Customer Assistance
1301 McKinney Street, Suite 3450
Houston, TX 77010

Dear Comptroller –

I am writing to you with a complaint about the deplorable business practices of Wells Fargo Bank with regard to my HELOC account #XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

On August 15, 2006, I sent a principal payment for $1,000 to Wells Fargo’s address specified for principal payments only. I wrote this on the check and mailed, it as instructed, to: P.O. Box 515485, Los Angeles, CA 90051-6785.

On September 25, my statement arrived showing that the payment had NOT been applied to principal and was applied to my interest payment. This set off a series of unbelievable errors that have cost me an enormous amount of time and frustration and have probably damaged my credit rating. In addition, I have had to pay the interest on the unresolved account.

I immediately called and told them to apply that $1,000 to principal and not interest. I was assured this had been done. What I was not told is that because my interest payment, that is routinely paid automatically out of my checking account, had been satisfied (by my supposed principal payment) the automatic payment of my interest for that month was cancelled. This then caused my next month’s automatic interest payment to be cancelled as well. I was told that the WFB procedure is that if your interest payment is cancelled (for whatever reason) one month, the next month will also be cancelled – assuming that one has defaulted on the payment…which I had not.

I had no idea all this had occurred and left my Hawaii home for the mainland. Notification that I had “defaulted” on my loan was sent to the Hawaii mailing address. The house caretaker contacted me about the notices and I called in October to check on the bank to make sure that that original payment of $1,000 toward principal had been properly credited. For some reason, I could not get through by telephone and kept getting disconnected. After several frustrating attempts at this, I demanded to speak to a supervisor who told me rudely that my account was delinquent and I had been sent to collections and that is why I could not access my account by phone! I was horrified. I have been a loyal and responsible customer with an excellent credit rating for years. There is no logical justification for being sent to collections.

I spent the next several days on the phone trying to sort this gigantic mess out by phone.

On November 9, I walked into a branch in Tucson to get resolution on this and was put in touch with Regina Oaks who very graciously worked as intermediary and agreed to reduce my interest rate to 7.5% in compensation for WFB’s errors.

I was told that I would receive papers in the mail that would reflect my new interest rate and a lock-in for 3 years at 7.5%. What arrived in the mail was a partial amount of my balance at the new interest rate and the remaining amount (approx $2500) at the old rate. This was not what we had agreed to.

I contacted Ms. Oaks again and explained the problem. She had the HELOC folks revise the papers and re-send them. What arrived on November 17, was a document with the full amount of my balance ($116,891) but NOT at the new interest promised. It was at 7.835% when it should have been 7.5%.

So I contacted Ms. Oaks again and she followed up and agreed to resolve the situation and get the correct interest rate on the papers. On November 21, the papers arrived by fax with the wrong interest rate, AGAIN! It was still at 7.835%, not 7.5%. I was told that the interest rate in their computer said 7.5% but what was sent to me was 7.835%. I have all this documentation as evidence should you want it.

Finally on November 22, the correct interest rate and amount were faxed to me. I signed them and mailed them in. I called Nathan Goodbaudy at WFB’s Home Equity Customer Management for an explanation of these errors. I never received a phone call from him.

Ms. Oaks returned my call and did not have an explanation why I had been sent the wrong papers 3 times.

All of this to say, that it is almost December now and I still have not had my loan locked-in at the lower interest rate. Of course, I’ve had to pay the extra interest for the months that it has taken the bank to resolve this issue.

My assertion is that Wells Fargo Bank, by design or by incompetence, is guilty of very unscrupulous business practices that don’t allow customers to pay down their principal and are guilty of trying to hike rates without consent from the customer. If I had not carefully read my loan papers, I would be locked in at a higher rate than I was promised and for only part of my loan. If I had not called, I would have soon heard from a collection agency and had my credit rating destroyed simply because I wished to pay down my principal.

I would like to hear from you with regard to this matter.

Sincerely,

David Gilmore

Cc: Sally Damiani, WFB N. Oracle branch, Tucson, AZ
Cc: Thomas Shippee, President & CEO, WFB

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