? asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 9 years ago

Did the bank freeze my funds unfairly?

I received a convenience check(a balance transfer check issued by Chase against the line of credit of my credit card) with 0%APR which I could write to myself and deposit into my checking account. I deposited the check into a Wells Fargo ATM as i had a checking account with Wells Fargo. Two days later, the Wells Fargo ATM operations office calls me and tells me that they cannot process such balance transfer checks and they have to be presented at a local branch. They informed me that they will be sending me the legal copy of the check back which I can deposit at a Wells Fargo branch. After two days, I find out that a bill payment i scheduled using my Wells Fargo checking account was not sent due to insufficient funds. On inquiring, I find out that since the ATM operations group sent my check back to me, it was marked as "Refer to Maker" in bank records and the Loss Prevention Group of Wells Fargo decided to close my checking/savings account, freeze my funds without notifying me. I explain the matter to 7 people on phone(out of which 3 were from the Corporate Executive Office). The people in the phone told me that though they know that it is not my mistake nothing can be done, bank decision to close my account is final and the inconvenience caused to me due to bill payments not getting processed, not having access to my funds is not their concern.

I wrote to John Stumpf(head of the Wells Fargo) about the whole situation but did not hear back and don't expect will) .

1. Do banking regulations allow any bank to terminate a consumer's checking/savings account, freeze their funds without notifying the customer like they did to me? I thought adequate notice was required by law

2. I am in Florida. So, where I can complain about this malpractice of bank? Dept of Financial Regulations which regulates banks in Florida or Office of Comptroller who regulates banks nationally or both?

3. Is it worth complaining or is it a waste of time as the government regulators could be buddies of Wells Fargo? I notice on the Facebook page of wells Fargo they have thousands of such disgruntled customers like me.

Update:

USFisnumber 1:

1. You are wrong and I will tell you why. Those checks were such. They clearly stated that and i checked with Chase and they confirmed I can do that, FYI, I have deposited such checks worth 19K in Bank of America ATM and they were cashed. Naturally, there was a hold.

2. I had enough money for bill payments i scheduled. I was expecting the check to pay for it.

3. Read 2, and why is it a questionable check? Read 1, where I tell you what happened with 19K checks

Constitution Hawk:

1. The check was NOT bad. Remember, if i had deposited the same check into Bank of America ATM it would have been cashed. Problem is not with check, but with WF policy in ATM operations who do not process such checks. My account was more than 18 months old. Why do you think it is new? Why do you assume so much incorrect information(and you are a fraud investigator for one of the largest banks)?

Business is a two way street and banking is no different. There is consumer law. Remember, a la

Update 2:

USFisnumber 1:

1. You are wrong and I will tell you why. Those checks were such. They clearly stated that and i checked with Chase and they confirmed I can do that, FYI, I have deposited such checks worth 19K in Bank of America ATM and they were cashed. Naturally, there was a hold.

2. I had enough money for bill payments i scheduled before i deposited the check. I was NOT expecting the check to pay for it.

3. Read 2, and why is it a questionable check? Read 1, where I tell you what happened with 19K checks. I was NOT expecting the check to pay for it. I was expecting funds already in my account to be used for bill payments.

Why do you need to assume so much incorrectly?

Constitution Hawk:

1. The check was NOT bad. Remember, if i had deposited the same check into Bank of America ATM it would have been cashed. Problem is not with check, but with WF policy in ATM operations who do not process such checks. My account was more than 18 months old. Why do you think it is new? Why do

Update 3:

Constitution Hawk:

Remember, a landlord cannot kick you out any minute he wants without giving u 30 day notice or a judge's order? Why?

You are at discretion of bank and they are at yours. Meaning either party can terminate their relationship anytime by providing ADEQUATE notice. Can you close your any bank account today and expect bill payments/checks to not be processed anymore? There is a reason notice is required so branch has time to close and you have time to move to another bank.

Yes, I can go to another bank, but does it occur to you the funds in WF are mine. I may have 3K in bank before tried to deposit the check. Can you imagine i might have written some checks, tried to use the debit card at a store, ATM and it was rejected. The 3K funds are mine and WF has NO right to not let me use them. You think this is not malpractice then what is it?

Why do you also need to assume so much incorrectly?

I appreciate that both of you spent time on my question, but please stop thinki

Update 4:

USFisnumber 1:

Does it occur to you the funds in WF are mine? I may have 3K in bank before I tried to deposit the check. Can you imagine i might have written some checks, tried to use the debit card at a store, ATM machine and it was rejected? The 3K funds are mine and WF has NO right to not let me use them. Why do u think they acted appropriately? Would you say the same if your money was with WF, your monthly mortgage could not get processed, you could not buy groceries/gas because WF froze your account?

Update 5:

BTW, if either of you(USFisnumber 1 or needs clarifications beyond what i posted(which i guess should be sufficient), my email communications is enabled.

4 Answers

Relevance
  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    Yes, it was unfair and you should complain

  • 9 years ago

    YOU made a lot of mistakes.

    1. Those checks are NOT so you can write yourself some money. They are so you can use them to pay off other credit cards, transferring your DEBT to the Chase card. You obviously did not read the fine print and tried to use the check in an inappropriate manner. Wells Fargo caught it and told you that it had to be presented at a bank so a live person could tell you what the problem was.

    2. Never ever write a check or set up a payment if you do not for sure have the money in the bank. Even if this check had been good, you have to give it time to clear. You should have waited until that happened. It looks to me like you knew you were short on money, you used the check to PAY yourself and then expected Wells Fargo to take it and pay out to your creditor. You goofed.

    3. Even though Wells Fargo told you it was not your mistake, it was not their mistake either. They acted appropriately. You presented a questionable check, they declined to cash it via an ATM machine.. In the meantime you did not stop automatic payments. You should have known there was insufficient funds in your account. You do keep a check book right?

    You screwed up. You have got to read that fine print and not try to rob Peter to pay Paul, which is what you did. I doubt you will get any lawyer to take your case and even if you do, he will want to be paid $200 per hour for handling it as he will not take it on a contingency...

  • JYISGG
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    First of all, you need to understand that you are banking at the discretion of the bank, and like in a retail store, banks reserve the right to refuse/terminate your business at any time. Having said that, what WF did in relation to closing your account is pretty much the consensus across the board amongst big banks. As you can imagine, big banks lose billions of dollars every year in bank fraud, and try to curtail their loses as best they can by closing high risk accounts. When you deposited that check into the ATM, you account was flagged as depositing a bad check, and given you account was so new, it makes sense that they closed your account for that reason.

    There is no “malpractice” here unless you can prove that a specific regulation was broken, or that you were discriminated against in anyway. Given what you told me, it doesn’t seem that the bank broke the law in anyway, or violated any of your Reg E rights.

    In all honesty, you are wasting your time. If WF doesn’t want your business, you have plenty of other options.

    Source(s): I'm a fraud investigator for one of the largest banks in the country.
  • 9 years ago

    I had an account that I had in calif,I got a new job that payed every 2 weeks.So I didn't get my

    1st check till 3 weeks later.Balance already low but do to charges for Not enough cash there they closed my account before I could cover the expense.Even after my being a client for 15 or so years.

    So they can do what they want.it's bad mark on credit.

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