Rambling over coffee.... Wells Fargo's outage on February 7th. Our 19 year history of being Wells Fargo customers and all the crap they have done

Yesterday morning I was deciding whether I wanted to log into our Wells Fargo account to schedule our mortgage payment.  It's due, although there is a window of time to pay before the late fees kick in.  I was either going to go ahead and schedule it yesterday or today... but no hurry, right?

So I hop online to have my morning coffee and check email accounts and a couple forums, a couple social media sites.  What do I see on Twitter's 'trending' list on the side of the page?  #WELLSFARGO.  Hmmm.  They're in the news AGAIN?  What this time?

And that is how I found out about the massive outage yesterday.  People all over the country were having their Wells Fargo debit and credit cards denied.  ATM's not working for them.  Online access down.  Mobile app access down.

In other words; if you have money in Wells Fargo bank, you cannot access it.  Some people said they were going to the branches but then it was reported even the branches systems were not letting them access the accounts so again; no access to your own money.

We do have a Wells Fargo account; although it's not our primary accounts for everyday life.

My first thoughts
  • My husband, who is on a business trip right now - does he have a Wells Fargo card with him? 
  • Do I have any payments planning to go through to our Wells Fargo account today?
  • Do any of our kids have Wells Fargo for their primary bank's debit or credit cards?
  • I wonder if their company computers were hacked?
  • Is my information safe?
  • Are my primary bank accounts that I have linked to our Wells Fargo accounts safe?
  • I have to pay our mortgage... I wonder how long this outage will last?

It's too bad that a few years ago I wiped the Coffee Talking slate clean of all my posts from 2004-2011 (?) or so because boy, I had some great 'ranting against Wells Fargo' posts up back in the day.   I'd love to go back and read them now.

We've had a Wells Fargo account since 2000.  With their lies, coverups, screw up, crappy customer service and other issues, WHY do we still have it?  Laziness on our part mostly.

We originally opened our accounts with them in the Spring of 2000 when we moved to a new city/state with my husbands job.  We lived there for 2 years, we were relocated again, moved again.  The new city's main bank was Wells Fargo and since we had had no issues with them, we kept them as our bank.  And two years later we relocated again.

My husband moved to the new city/state while I stayed behind with the kids to sell our home.  He was opening a new bank account at the new location and I was going to close out our Wells Fargo account.  I called them to do it, only to be told I could not close it out on the phone.  I had to come in... in person.  To the ORIGINAL LOCATION WHERE WE OPENED OUR ACCOUNT.

What?!  Umm... we don't LIVE THERE ANYMORE.  We haven't lived in that city/state for a couple years.  I cannot come in to close our account.  The person on the phone told me she didn't know what to tell me then.  Accounts had to have a signature in person to close them and our account was opened at another branch and still had that original routing number from their state/city.

WHAT THAT HAD TO DO WITH ANYTHING I HAVE NO IDEA.  But there ya go.  Was this because it was the early 2000's and their computer systems weren't able to connect to all Wells Fargo's across the country?  Who knows.

So, to make it easier on us I just said 'screw it' we'll stay with them for now.  Wells Fargo was still a local bank option for us at the new location.  We even opened up savings accounts for the kids at this point.

And then the troubles with Wells Fargo started.

I can't even remember all of them but I remember they started to mess up on things and we often had to go into the branch to talk to a person face to face to get them figured out.

They were also often 'off' on our balance.  Never a large amount...  but never correct.  Anything between $.10 - $4.00 would regularly go 'missing' from our account.  Sometimes I figured 'screw it' and would just deduct the balance from my total and go on with it; but other times I would call them and make them go over each and every deduction for the past billing cycle and when they had no answer for the missing funds, I would suddenly see the 'correct' balance show up by the next morning.

With our checking and saving account, a mortgage and 3 kids savings account all with their bank, you would think it would be easy to bank with them as our family alone had 6 accounts with them.  But I recall going on vacation one year and our last stop on our way out of town with a packed minivan full of kids, suitcases and beach toys was to swing through Wells Fargo drive-thru and cash my (very small) paycheck.  I worked for a small 2 person office with the city at that time and they didn't offer direct deposit since there were just the two of us running the city office.  I took my paper check, signed it just like I had for the previous 2 years and we pulled up to cash it.  It was a pitifully small amount at the time - I think it was around $230.  So we give them the signed check, my drivers license for ID and wait.  Just like a hundred times before.

And we wait.
And wait.
And in the meantime the other lanes of customers are slowly getting their service and continuing on... while we still wait.
We ask;  what is taking so long?  "We're just getting your account... thanks for waiting."



We have 3 kids waiting oh-so-patiently while these fucktards are blowing us off and not cashing a simple $200 check?  WHAT WAS THE FUCKING PROBLEM?

FINALLY SHE TELLS US:  "Umm, I don't think you have an account here.  I see a mortgage account you had once a few years ago but that was paid off.  I don't see any other accounts though..."

I was livid.


A current mortgage, a savings account, a checking account and THREE kids savings accounts.

She clicks something on her keyboard and says... (I kid you not....)   

"Oh! Here they are.  I didn't scroll to the next page."

She did not click to the next page.  She kept us waiting 23 minutes because she was too stupid to see if we had any accounts other than one old mortgage from our first house that was paid off.

We started to talk about closing out our Wells Fargo accounts completely after this and I checked into banks in our local suburb.  But then life got busy... work, school, 3 kids, sports, dance, cheer, you know how it goes.  So changing banks got put on the back burner.

Soon after that my daughter was old enough to get a part time job.

We did not have her open a checking account with them.  She opened it with a different bank.

We had other issues with them - I don't recall all of them but I remember them messing up the order I had for currency when we were planning a trip to Italy.  I recall more than a few times having to stop in at the local branch to get them to fix their latest screw ups.

Then my son was old enough to get a part time job.  Because we already banked at Wells Fargo, he did opt to get his checking account with them as all he was going to be doing is cashing his check and putting half of every check into savings; it would be easier to just stay with them since his savings account was with them.


It was now a few years later and we were getting ready to relocate yet again with my husbands job.  This time to a location 1000 miles away.  By this time we had closed out 2 of our kids savings accounts but our son still had his checking and savings account.  It was a FREE STUDENTS ACCOUNT (important).  But not only were we moving, HE was graduating high school, had just quit his part time job going off to college about 6 hours away.

It was time for our son to close out his Wells Fargo accounts.

Being 18 and wanting to be adult about it - and figuring it was a pretty easy thing to do - just closing out his checking and savings accounts, he wanted to do this alone without me there with him.  Should be quick and simple, right?

So off my 18 year old son goes to the Wells Fargo branch to let them know he was going off to college and would need to CLOSE his free student account and his savings account.  Period.

His first real 'ADULT' task to do regarding finances.  He was a little bit nervous as he didn't know anything about how the banking and finance part of being an adult worked...  but off he went.

When he returned home about 1 1/2 hours later he was quiet.  He had a couple pieces of paper in hand and he looked confused.

He said he went to close his account but they made him meet with a lady who confused him with everything she was saying and she told him he couldn't close his account but needed to open a different account now that he was going off to college.

She had double-talked him - a kid in high school - and lied to him.  The short version of the story is she OPENED UP A NEW ACCOUNT IN HIS NAME.

A new checking account that was going to cost him $10 a month in fees...  a kid that had NO JOB any longer as he had just QUIT it to move hours away to go to college full time.

I was pissed.

I was on the phone with "BETTY" and ripped her a new one.  We ended up getting his account CLOSED but I had HAD it with that damn bank and their lies.


I'm sure BETTY was getting a huge bonus for all her 'new' accounts she was landing.

So his account was closed.
And we moved.  My intention was to close that stupid Wells Fargo account once we got settled in our new state.

We opened an account with a completely different bank in the new city/state.

And after a really crappy, difficult, stressful and awful relocation... I landed in the new city and state.

For the next 3 months I dealt with a host of issues with the new home, fall out from a really awful moving experience with a crappy company and yada yada.

Our Wells Fargo account just sat their during that time; which was fine.  And then... I just didn't worry about it.  It sat there.  We used our primary checking and savings from our new bank.  The Wells Fargo account was kind of a backup account - and since a number of financial accounts were already 'tied' to it; it actually made it easy to not close it as we would have had to go through the hassle of changing out the deposit and routing numbers for those financial accounts and wait for our new bank to be verified and such.


Plus - our new mortgage was 'sold' (as most are right after you take them out) to...  Wells Fargo.

Over the past couple years I've OFTEN thought about ditching them.  But changing out those accounts seemed like a hassle I didn't want to deal with.

I almost closed them out again when Wells Fargo changed the rules of their checking accounts and were going to begin to charge me $14 a month as a fee.  But then we were told because our account was so 'old' we would be grandfathered in.

Then they changed the rules AGAIN and once again were going to charge the $14 a month just to have a checking account with them.  I was thiiiiiis close to closing it again - damn the work involved to contact and change out the accounts linked with it that we've used for deposits, etc.  But, they saved themselves by the skin of their teeth again because if we had a minimum balance, the fee would be charged and credited back every month resulting in it continuing to be free.

So that is why we still had/have a savings and checking account with Wells Fargo.  Although the mortgage with them is NOT our choice.  We have no control over that one.


As of this morning I checked and although I can log into our Wells Fargo account, I can't actually click on or see our accounts.  Just the summary.

I also can't pay our mortgage (since I can't click on anything on the page... just view it.)

Am I considering YET AGAIN telling Wells Fargo to f-off?  Sure.

Honestly, I don't know what I'm going to do.  IF they were our actual primary bank and I was relying on them for my checking and savings account;  yeah, we would dump them.  We would have already actually.  But because we just use them as a backup account and it's nice to be 'forced' to have a little savings account I don't ever touch because it would mean going below the minimum balance requirement, it's tempting to just let it set there.

I don't deal with them hardly ever.
They don't screw around with missing money in our account like they did years back.
It's used so little that I would immediately notice missing funds even down to a penny.
When we are relocating across the country, it's nice to have two separate accounts for Mr. Coffee and I - he can use one at the new location while I'm using one at 'home' and we don't have to worry about one or the other over spending because we are living separately at the time and aren't always communicating about every penny being spent during the buying and selling process.
If at ANY time they take away our 'grandfathered in' free checking, yeah, I'd close out our accounts in two seconds.  I told that to the face of the smarmy and arrogant young asshole in the suit that I talked to at the local branch when I was wiring money to my daughter overnight... and he was being a pushy douche bag trying to convince me to change our checking account over to one of their premium accounts instead... I pointed out our account was free - he ARGUED WITH ME and told me I was paying $14 a month for it.  I informed him I certainly was NOT.  And that we were grandfathered in... and if they EVER charged me a fee for having a checking account with them, I would close all my accounts with them so fast it would make his head spin.  (He then looked back at his computer screen, scrolled down and said 'ohhhh I see it now.  You are charged and then credited back each month because you were grandfathered in on the..."  blah blah.

Insert me rolling my eyes.



Laziness on my part I suppose.

Pure laziness.

Don't mind me... it's just the coffee talking again.


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