Monday, January 12, 2004

Fighting trim

The very last thing that a person waiting on hold for 20 minutes wants to hear is a never-ending sales pitch on behalf of the offending establishment. Marketing to the enraged is probably not a successful concept. I can't believe that I invested an hour in working on getting the evil Wells Fargo to rescind a surprise and unwarranted 20-dollar fee. Not only that, I persuaded a bank branch manager to invest an hour of her time in this project, ultimately successful. I had already spoken with no fewer than six "customer care" types and their supervisors. It was very stupid for the Wells Fargo people to start by taking these positions: (a) the charge had always been there, (b) I should know why it was there, (c) asserting a reason for its existence that was contrary to the truth of the situation, (d) claiming that they couldn't discuss in general terms the ways to avoid imposition of the charge in future because the account in question isn't, strictly speaking, mine, but belongs to another member of the household, (e) cutting a call off, although later claiming that such was not the case ("I was just putting it on hold and then there was nobody there"), (f) behaving with general rudeness, (g) giving a dump address to which to send complaints, (h) claiming that under no circumstances ever does Wells Fargo waive fees, and on and on and on. I suspect that the branch manager met with some of the same behavior because she was very apologetic when she called after her little experience with these people. Because of the convenience of the branch location (diminished since our traditional favorite branch started closing Saturdays, but still there since another branch is just as close, even though it's not the favorite one), some business will stay there. K. has long since moved the bulk of his business to one of two other institutions, much less convenient, but much more polite! I still have a golden and never-ending deal on my personal business with Wells Fargo as the result of a prior consumer run-in on which I was the winner, but K. doesn't benefit from it. People who seldom use credit cards and who pay the revolving credit charges on time and completely are not really the customers wanted these days. This business of adding miscellaneous fees and charges and anticipating that customers will not read the documents sent and customers will not bother to combat them no doubt brings in the bucks. Only last month there was one of these items on the telephone bill, but at least it was promptly and courteously removed. There are a lot of infobits and rants out there on the Web to be found using the search string (evil+Wells+Fargo). Advice of the day: stay away from Wells Fargo. Many, many bank mergers ago, we were customers of Franklin Savings, which was the only institution willing to lend on not-new houses in South Austin and was housed in the Walter-Tips house, now a Wells Fargo branch.


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