Reprehensible Wells Fargo

I read an article at Huffington Post this morning about a federal bankruptcy judge in Louisiana who ordered Wells Fargo to pay $3.1 million dollars to a homeowner for their “highly reprehensible” actions against that homeowner.

Read the article in full here.

The article got me thinking about the many people who’ve shared their own horror stories of dealing with Wells Fargo, and the conversation I had with the Wells Fargo representative named Cody who told me I should be thankful my student loan through them isn’t a mortgage because they would already have taken my home by now.

That in itself speaks volumes, and is a confirmation of the stories friends and relatives have shared with me. It also illustrates a pattern of abuse by Wells Fargo (see below). Even worse, when I met with representatives from my Congressmen about my problems with Wells Fargo, one said, “Wells Fargo really shouldn’t be in the business of lending money to anyone, since they repeatedly show no interest in helping their own customers”. This representative then shared that they (Congress, a broader “they”) receive more complaints about Wells Fargo each year than any other bank or loan company. Considering that the representatives for my area are some of the most conservative in the country, it was quite surprising to hear those statements from their offices.

I decided to see what other people across the country have to say about their experiences with Wells Fargo. A simple search returned thousands of results, a vast majority of which were extremely negative. Just browse the Wells Fargo page at Consumer Affairs to see for yourself. Of the 686 responses on that page, 81% rated their experience the lowest possible (1 star of 5). Another 11% rated it 2 stars. That’s a huge disapproval rate. Granted, it’s a website that caters mostly to complaints, so those scores are somewhat expected, but dramatic nonetheless. I encourage you to read through some of the stories people shared.

Back to the search results. Scroll through the 28 pages of complaints at the Complaint Board. Or visit the Customer Service Scoreboard, where Wells Fargo currently has 784 negative reviews and only 22 positive reviews.

Now, these are the ratings for Wells Fargo as a whole. How does Wells Fargo Education Financial Services, the division responsible for student loans, stack up? Back at Consumer Affairs, all 48 reviewers have given them the lowest score possible (again, 1 out of 5 stars possible). Many of the experiences shared are similar in nature to mine. Here’s one that really struck a chord:

Mike of La Crosse, WI on March 29, 2010

I’ve had enough harassment. My son has fallen behind in his payments on a student loan I co-signed. We have both contacted Wells Fargo on several occasions explaining our situation looking for options. After graduating from college, he has tirelessly interviewed for jobs. He currently is working for Target Corporation, part-time, hoping to go full-time soon. In the meantime, Wells Fargo calls me 4-5 times a day to inform me that he is late on his payment.

I try to explain that we have talked to a Wells Fargo representative and as soon as he gets a paycheck, he pays on the loan. I have put payments on my credit card at times to help get him caught up. I’m also paying on student loans. Finally last week I told the representative, this is enough. I’m tired of them calling. We’re doing our best to make payments. The representative got extremely rude telling me there were no other options, nor did she care about our situation. She went on to threaten me with a lien on my house and garnishing my wages.

The real irony is that I couldn’t make a payment with my credit card because Wells Fargo lowered my credit limit because of the late payments on the student loan…so I couldn’t pay if I wanted to. My credit card is maxed out. When I suggested that other companies offer payment options, she replied, “We are not other companies!”. I have since moved all of my accounts out of Wells Fargo including my home mortgage. It almost appears they are hoping we fail. When I asked if she preferred if he defaulted on his loan, she once again threatened me. This has been going on for months even though he’s only behind by $750.00.

Everyone getting screwed over by Wells Fargo needs to write their congresspeople! It’s great to share your stories online but in order to gain traction, all of us need to band together and get in touch with legislators. Alone, there’s not much we can do, but working together, and with our representatives, we may be able to accomplish something. Not only for ourselves, but to prevent these types of things from happening in the future.