Banking

‘This is getting ridiculous’: Wells Fargo customers rant about fresh online problems

Wells Fargo customers fumed on Friday over trouble using their online accounts, the latest in a string of similar problems that have plagued the bank this year.

Wells, which houses its largest employment hub in Charlotte, apologized on Twitter to customers who had experienced problems making payments and transfers. The San Francisco-based bank did not disclose to a reporter what had caused the problem.

Customers attacked the bank on Twitter, pointing out that they have been affected this year by other online-banking problems at Wells.

In addition to Friday’s problem, the bank has reported at least three other instances of similar outages this year — all occurring on a Thursday or Friday, when many people get paid.

“This is KILLING my business!” Twitter user @CrashSheridan wrote. “I’ve been trying to do transfers and wires since 7 AM!” he added.

“This is getting ridiculous,” Tweeted another user, @Annavwhite. “Can’t pay my rent if I can’t access my money. Will you be paying my late fees?”

In a statement, the bank said that customers who scheduled recurring or one-time transfers and payments were not impacted by Friday’s problem.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible,” the bank said.

Latest online banking problem

The apology comes after Wells in April said it was sorry for a systems issue that prevented some customers from signing onto online and mobile banking. The bank issued that apology on a Thursday, a day when some Americans receive their paychecks as a direct deposit.

In February, the bank apologized on a Thursday for problems with its online banking and mobile app. The bank’s homepage went down, and some customers reported that cards were being declined as well. At the time, the bank said the problems arose from a power shutdown at an unnamed facility after smoke was detected during routine maintenance.

Five days later, the bank tweeted that some customers were still having problems with their accounts.

That incident came after the bank, just six days before, apologized on a Friday when its online banking system and mobile app went down, preventing some customers from paying bills or accessing their accounts for hours.

Still recovering from scandals

Friday’s problem adds to the bank’s woes.

Wells has been working since September 2016 to fix its reputation following revelations that employees had opened millions of bank and credit card accounts without customer permission to meet unrealistic sales goals. Since then, the bank has disclosed instances of customer harm in other businesses.

In March, CEO Tim Sloan abruptly stepped down amid fallout from those disclosures.

On Friday, Wells disclosed in a securities filing new problems affecting consumers.

The bank said it had discovered “certain issues” with its automobile-collections processes for customers in default. Those include legal notice practices in some states and expenses charged in connection with certain repossessions, the bank said, adding that it expects it might have to provide remediation to customers.

In the same filing, the bank said it is reviewing its disclosures for the minimum qualifying debit card usage required to waive monthly service fees on deposit accounts. Based on possible confusion by some customers about which transactions counted toward a waiver, the bank said it expects to refund monthly service and related fees.

In a statement, Wells Fargo spokesman Peter Gilchrist noted that about 90 percent of Wells’s customers pay no monthly service fee on their checking accounts because they meet the qualifications for a waiver.

“We know the importance of clear and transparent communications about our products and pricing to help us deliver a great customer experience,” he said. “For this reason, we have made improvements in how we communicate all of the ways customers qualify for a monthly service fee waiver, and how they can track their progress.”

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Deon Roberts has covered Charlotte’s financial services industry for The Charlotte Observer since 2013. His beat includes Bank of America and Wells Fargo. He attended Loyola University in New Orleans and is a native of Lafitte, La.
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