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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wells Fargo ordered to pay $203 Million in restitution for overdraft fee practices - Denise Richardson




Something is not right here. Wells Fargo has been doing these practices or practices similar to this one since the early 1990's, not the early 2000's. The simple solution was to offer customers THE OPTION on whether to pay the higher amount checks first, or instead, pay the lower amount checks first.

I recall in the early 90's that Wells Fargo may have had a policy that if your account could pay for four of the five checks that came in in the same night, but the fifth check put you over, ALL the checks might get hit with a penalty. Basically, the policy in the early 90's was every bit as loopy as the one that is being fought over in court, and it may very well have been the very same policy as is being challenged now.

Secondly, does this Wells Fargo lawsuit address the banking practice of charging a fee every time money from the customer supplied overdraft account was used to pay off a checking account that would otherwise go negative?

How many millions of customers figured out that the banks charging a smaller fee from the overdraft account every time it was accessed makes the overdraft account less useful. Over time, a customer could rack up hundreds of dollars of smaller overdraft fees just to avoid the same amount of fees without an overdraft account!

Lets say someone has an overdraft account with 500 dollars in it. If the customer were to add the 500 dollars to their checking account they could then use that 500 dollars as a way to create a "positive zero" amount of... 500 dollars as their zero balance. Then the customer could avoid all of the banking fees because even if they dip below their "zero balance" of 500 dollars, they may still never get to "real" zero, therefore they would never be assessed ANY fee!

Yet, many people may not have figured that out and instead gave up on an overdraft account as they saw the fees add up for using the account as a way to be responsible. This should be part of the lawsuit as well since charging fees simply for accessing a customer's own money becomes a deterrent to the customer having an over draft account.



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