fuck you, you fucking fucks!

Apparently every time I put more than $1000 on my credit card, Wells Fargo decides to cancel the card. I rent a car: my card gets cancelled. I leave the state: my card gets cancelled. I buy a video projector: my card gets cancelled.

Gaze into my crystal ball and witness my immediate future: watch as I go in to the bank, demand that they guarentee me that they will not do this to me again, they say "I'm sorry sir, there's nothing we can do" a lot; watch me close my account and open a new one at a different bank that cares equally little about service, and go through the whole thing all over again six months from now.

Do any of you know the magic words I can speak to these worthless pieces of banking shit to make them stop fucking with me? Is there a different kind of card I should have? "Credit limit" clearly has nothing to do with it, nor does the combo of "available funds" and "auto-payment." If I used the credit function of my ATM card, would that behave less badly? Or does the credit function on an ATM card also have the typical ATM $300/day limit?

"We don't care, we don't have to."

Update: Three transfers and one "let me talk to your supervisor" later, they put a "note in The System" (you can hear the Scare Capitals when they say it) that says, "never decline, never call." And maybe -- if a human is in the loop -- this will help, but often there is no human in the loop, it is a decision that Skynet, I mean, The System, made on its own. They also assured me that neither my credit card nor my ATM/debit card would be less susceptible to this nonsense than the other, though the debit card has a lower daily limit.

I am positively brimming over with hate.

I couldn't bring myself to actually close the account out of spite, because while that would be maximally inconvenient for me, I couldn't imagine it actually making things any better.

The best part was when they reminded me that the fine print in something I signed 14 years ago had a clause about how they're under no obligation to process any transaction at all for any reason. Sweet.

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32 Responses:

  1. aml says:

    wells-fargo has a $1k/day credit processing limit on debit cards, which was a pain in the ass when i was trying to buy an ibook from apple.com. especially since they inexplicably denied my echeck.

  2. ex_shaggy817 says:

    Right after the GeoCities IPO, I got them to bump my per-day on my check card to $5k, using the magic words "I have $115,000 in checking, and I'll walk it over to another bank tomorrow, if you give me this crap about 'per-diem limits protecting my bank balance' one more time."

  3. icis_machine says:

    now is this your credit card they are canceling or your lame ass atm/debit card?

    i know when i moved out here and started using my card regularly, i got a letter of concern and a phone call from capital one but they never cancelled it.

    maybe it's time to submit to marketing pressure and go with capital one. you can pay your balance via the web.

    • jwz says:

      It's my "real" credit card.

      I was just wondering whether I'd be less shafted were I to use my ATM/debit card instead.

      What's so magic about "paying balances via the web"? Can't all banks do that?

      • icis_machine says:

        *shrug*
        most of my friends are lame and use stamps.
        they don't have magic.

        like everyone else said, you'd be specially fucked unless you layed down the smack in an effective manner. i doubt you'd have trouble.

  4. siphet says:

    Their alternative lean aside, I've had no problems with my working assets card along the lines you're seeing, if you get pissed off enough to change.
    http://www.workingassets.com/creditcard.cfm?CFID=4748299&CFTOKEN=83711806

  5. baconmonkey says:

    so get a regular old Visa/mastercard/discover credit card.

  6. supersat says:

    The best part was when they reminded me that the fine print in something I signed 14 years ago had a clause about how they're under no obligation to process any transaction at all for any reason.

    ... and you're under no obligation to stay with them.

    Seriously, the whole situation is total crap. My ATM/Debit/Visa check card has no limits on Debit/Visa transactions. I once used it to buy $1500 worth of computer parts. AFAIK, it's cheaper for them to process debit/visa transactions than it is to process checks, so I have no idea why some banks have limits on daily transactions. Fraud protection maybe?

    • jwz says:

      Yes, apparently it's all about Skynet's Sophisticated Fraud Detection Heuristics.

      I, for one, wish our new robot masters would just let me carry on with being a good little consumer-unit unhindered. Isn't that what the overlords want? I'm trying! I'm trying!

  7. ch says:

    No problem here with my Discover card or my AT&T Universal VISA card. During my start-up, I bought $100K's of stuff on those cards. Occasionally I get a call from the fraud prevention department, but that's it.

    • altamira16 says:

      Find a bank that cares less about you and whether your credit card gets stolen. Discover doesn't care. I don't think Chase cares either. I don't think "Retailer's National Bank" -- issuer of the Target Credit Cards cares either.

      • ch says:

        I can't comment on Chase or Retailer's, but the last time Discover's fraud unit called me about a transaction, it was indeed fraudulent -- some yahoo had my card number and was trying to have a bunch of Gateway computers shipped to NYC.

        Merchant banks deploy a lot of sophisticated anti-fraud technology. After all losses due to fraud after the first $50 are theirs(*).

        (*) n.b., not true of debit cards.

      • badger says:

        (normal Visa card, Chase Manhattan) Chase has a tendency to auto-deny the transaction if I happen to go off on a spending spree (happens occasionally), or if I'm performing a single transaction over about $5k. Whenever this happens, the merchant gets instructions from Chase to call them, the merchant hands the phone to me, I talk to them and verify my identity, everything's fine and I get my stuff. Chase is pretty good on catching things, too: I got a call from their fraud division once because my card had been used in my city of residence for lunch and three hours later three states away for gas and a suit of clothes. They've also given me zero hassle the 2-3 times I've needed to contest a charge from a merchant who was ripping me off.

        • altamira16 says:

          Good to know. I just figured they didn't love me enough to suspend my credit when I go on long road trips. Other people I know have their credit cards cancelled when they are driving through many states, but maybe they are buying more than gas and food.

  8. octal says:

    Why don't you take your account elsewhere? WAMU seems to suck less, and brokerage money market accounts pretty much rock as bank accounts, since they're designed for high-net-worth individuals and have pretty reasonable service, and low fees relative to banks (the banking services are basically a loss-leader for the high-rate brokerage services)

    • jwz says:

      Only because it's hard to believe anywhere else would be any different. What's WAMU?

      My real money is in a brokerage account elsewhere, but I don't use the credit card associated with that, since the potential hassle someone could cause with it is higher. I just use the Wells account as a buffer.

      • My advice is to screw your bank's credit card and get one with Citibank, Capital One, or MBNA. Hell, screw your bank and join a credit union.

      • octal says:

        WAMU == Washington Mutual, which sucks in Washington, but is good here.

        I'd just have your brokerage set you up with a sub-account with a smaller amount in the account and be done with it. This is a standard problem.

        Also possibly a real credit card from one of the big credit card issuing banks.

    • ex_shaggy817 says:

      WaMu has managed to make three of my checks bounce since xmas with shady transaction processes (taking credits made at the bank and debits made after-hours, and inverting the order of the transaction, in order to cause NSF fees, etc), including my rent check. When we went to pay the cashier's check, my landlord (400+ unit complex) said the only problems they have with banks causing bounces, like ours, is with WaMu. I've been forced to move enough into this account to make sure nothing could ever bounce, which loses me interest on it, etc...

      We're investigating alternatives as we speak.

      • g_na says:

        I thought there was some law that said daily credits had to be applied before debits?

        • ex_shaggy817 says:

          The actual dodge is applying credits the next business day. So debits happen at 2359hrs, and credits happen at 0001hrs, or something like that...

          It's a shady dodge, especially for a bank that markets itself on not playing the same tricks the other guys do.

  9. netik says:

    The worst part about wells fargo is their automatic 'go fuck yourself' when you depost $10K or more.

    They have to go alert the IRS and DEA (Gotta love those Anti-Drug Laws), then hold your check for 20-30 days while they 'confirm' it.

    We all know they can confirm funds in 30 seconds. They just want to fuck with you.

    • m4dh4tt3r says:

      IIRC, It's federal law that any transaction over $10k is reported to IRS and DEA. It's not just Wells. All banks are required to do so.

      Confirming funds between banks is still done the old fashioned way. My brother worked at the Federal Reserve Bank in SF for a while. They have people actually verify that all the transactions balance. They don't trust the computers, and for good reason. My brother had quite a bit of work tracking down single checks that would throw a balance sheet of several 100 million dollars off by a few hundred dollars.

  10. thesliver says:

    The US banking and credit system generally sucks for individuals compared to almost anywhere else on the planet.

    You could get a card from Mexico or Bermuda or something but then you'd probably get a knock on the door from the Homeland Security folk...

  11. pexor says:

    For all the commercial rhetoric against "Bank of the Northern Hemisphere", I've been fabulously happy with Bank of America. I have a checking account, credit card, and car loan through them. I had a minor hiccup with a check card that was turned off before I'd received the replacement, but that was mostly due to my local post office bouncing half of my mail (a problem which four trips to said post office has not resolved). The greatest value Bank of America holds for me is the fact that it's EVERYWHERE. When I was still receiving live checks from work and was in California for a month on business, I had the office send my check to my hotel room and was able to deposit it the next day.

  12. forthdude says:

    American Express - I've been generally happy with their service; I've charged thousands of dollars at a time on it and the most hassle I've experienced is a phone call to check on unusual spending habits. Of course, the down side is not every place accepts it (Fry's comes to mind, but then I have more problems with them besides taking AMEX...)

    • jwz says:

      Everybody keeps saying "oh, ____ has been fine, except for unusual spending habits." Well that's the whole problem! They consider it unusual for me to charge a hundred bucks a month, and then once or twice a year, spend $5k. And when they consider it unusual, they suspend my card. Which means, in addition to nonsense like this last weekend, my card also gets suspended almost every time I leave town on vacation (car rental, gas, etc. pushing it over their "panic limit.") Oh, sure, they (usually) call me before they turn off my card -- which doesn't help in the vacation case, because I'm not home.

      • forthdude says:

        I've had the same experience with you describe with Visa/MC when I travel, but never with Amex. I've had a Visa suspended while I was working in London (living on the card and they turned it off when it came time to pay the hotel bill. Thanks, I only wanted to spend money...).

        Amex is different. I've only had two phone calls with them, never a denied charge. The first call was shortly after I got the card and happened at the point of purchase; they were just verifying that I was me (this was over 15 years ago). The other was a call to my house to verify that I knew about some charges that triggered some kind of fraud alarm (I traveled across the US in four days by rental truck).

        They more or less expect large swings in your spending (they're used to travelers).

  13. jlindquist says:

    Neither Discover nor Citibank (MasterCard) give me shit.

    Citibank's fraud detection didn't wow me. I discovered the fraudulent activity on my account when Staples declined me hours after I'd updated Quicken and confirmed I still had $400 in credit left. (However, they handled it wonderfully. And they were pleased when I called asking where to send copies of the notice I got when the Champaign County DA nailed the pigfucker.) Six years later, they don't bother me, and I read my bill.

    Discover had Office Despot call them and put me on the phone the month after I got a card. I'd just booked two flights that morning. After I authenticated myself and confirmed the day's activities, they've left me alone ever since.

    Neither one strikes me as a wonderful company, but they get the job done without getting in my way--including a trip to India two years ago.

    Bank of America... *sigh* They're evil, but they're everywhere. (Except Chicago, so I've resigned to medium-size withdrawals before I leave San Diego.) They held my stock option cash-out check for ten days to let it clear. Fuckers. Like Fidelity's going to fuck them over. (In the future, large transactions will be done by wire transfer, $20-$50 is worth the savings in my time and annoyance.) They have a $1200/day limit on credit purchase through the debit/credit card, so I just put all the large-ticket items on the "real" credit cards.

    On a side note: The "Casino Cash" ATMs found all over the Las Vegas Strip are owned and run by BofA (I've seen them serviced, and some still have BofA rape fee warning labels on them,) but don't let that fool you into thinking you can use them for free.

  14. vsync says:

    All banks.

    When I was reasonably flush with cash, I banked at Wells Fargo. They had an ATM within walking distance from my apartment, Internet access to my transactions, and were otherwise reasonably unobtrusive. And I got a debit card that worked seamlessly other than the $1000 limit (which I only ran into once, when buying a pointlessly extravagant but fun glass desk).

    Deposited paychecks didn't take too long to post, but eventually I got around to setting up direct deposit, and strange things started to happen. My pay would show up in the account for a day, then disappear over the weekend, then come back on Monday. Calling Wells Fargo got me a response that seemed to consist of "That's normal, and whether it is or not you're not sophisticated enough to understand why money is popping in and out of your checking account."

    Once I moved out to Colorado and got a far less enjoyable and far far less well-paying job, things got worse. The holds on deposits got longer and longer, even if I went to a human teller with a printed payroll check. So I told them I was dumping them and moving everything into my credit union. I stopped putting money in, but of course I was too lazy to cancel the account.

    Then the credit union started putting holds on things. First it was that I had come in after 17:00. So I went in during business hours, and they put a hold on my deposit accidentally. They took it off when I yelled at them, but still.

    Now I'm in northwest Colorado, which is a bunch of hicks in the boonies, and a ski town plunked right in the middle. Vectra Bank and Wells Fargo are the only banks with a reasonable distribution of branches, and out of principle I picked the one that wasn't Wells Fargo.

    Vectra Bank has been reasonably good to me, although they have a policy of putting a 2-day hold on all deposits. At least it's uniform, except that 14:01 is tomorrow. Plus, I found out I can take my paycheck in, say "cash this and deposit it", and have the funds available right away. (See, my employer finds it difficult to get direct deposit working.) Oh, and they have the fastest-wearing-out debit card in existence.

    My current problems come from merchants billing for things I didn't buy, or people paying me with bad checks. Both caused me to overdraw my account, with no end of hassle. And then I called about creditexpert.com billing my debit card even though I cancelled, they told me "You should use a real credit card instead of the debit card."

    1. It's not my fault you morons can't invent a secure banking infrastructure.
    2. If you don't want me using the debit card, why did you sign me up automatically for it when I opened the account?
    3. Thanks for making me feel even more special about VoiceStream and Cross Country Bank refusing to process my change of address and reporting me as delinquent on the late fees for the accounts that were supposed to be closed, and for GetSmart (the 1 of 3 credit cards I didn't cancel) closing my account without telling me.

    So what I'm doing now is keeping most of my money with Vectra Bank, but putting a few hundred in Wells Fargo to have around in case of a screwup with my main account. Of course, Wells Fargo seems to be having problems switching me from "custom" to "free" checking, so I'm still getting hit with a monthly fee. I'm told they'll refund it as soon as I go in during business hours.

    Strangely, the only money-holding organization I've had no problems with has been PayPal. For all the complaints I've heard about them, they seem very reasonable (when my account was overdrawn, they didn't charge me a fee, just tried redoing the transfer a few days later), transactions show up on the history right away, and the debit card works everywhere.

    My girlfriend has had her share of strange problems too, like the gas station's $50 authorization not clearing, or her old AOL account simultaneously getting reactivated and TOSed because some joker h4x0red the password and used it for 300 spam distributions, then autobilling her checking account, or her bank declining transactions randomly.

    I hate banks.

    • drstein says:

      You know, I have also never had any trouble with PayPal. Then again, they're not an official bank.

      All banks suck. If PayPal became a bank, I'm sure they'd start to suck too.

      There's a lot to be said for the ol' "stick cash in the sock drawer" bit. ;)

  15. frosch says:

    every time MBNA has denied one of my cards it has turned out to be a fraudulent transaction.

    BoA has erred on the other side; they've missed one or two cases of fraud, but one phone call takes care of the problem. All I had to do was call customer service and say "fraud".