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Wells Fargo Refuses to Honor an Old Cashier’s Check

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Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo is refusing to honor a 1982 cashier’s check. The 73-year-old man purchased the cashier’s check at Central Fidelity Bank in Virginia. That bank was later acquired by Wachovia which just recently was acquired by Wells Fargo. Full details of this dispute are described in this Herald-Tribune article in this Tampa Bay Times article.

Wells Fargo claims it doesn’t have to pay since there’s a five-year statute of limitations on cashier's checks. However, the man’s attorney says "Cashiers checks have to be paid regardless of the time that goes by [..] There's no five-year limit on the payment. They are a substitute for cash and have to be paid.” Apparently, the circuit court judge agreed and awarded the man $10,768 from Wells Fargo. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo decided to appeal the decision. You have to wonder how much of that money he’ll ever get back after he pays all of the attorney fees. On top of that, he’s waiting for a kidney transplant.

This reminds me a little of the time when Wells Fargo refused to honor its CD documentation that designated me as a beneficiary after my dad’s death. Fortunately, I was able to resolve this without an attorney (see my review).

This issue is also a good reminder to be careful with cashier’s checks. They should not be considered equivalent to cash. According to the Tampa Bay Times article:

Today's cashier's checks typically carry disclaimers saying they will be voided if not cashed in a specified period of time, often 90 days or six months.

That was not the case in 1982 when this man purchased that cashier’s check.


  Tags: Wells Fargo Bank

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Comments
18 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I am not surprised at all that Wells Fargo would do this.  That's why I closed my Wells Fargo account.

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Comment #2 by rosie43 posted on
rosie43
I also had problems with a credit union and designated benificiaries.

My husband had a traditional IRA and 4 months after his death I went to convert part of a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, take his RMD and disclaim the rest of this IRA and the rest of the traditional IRA's to the contingent beneficiaries, our children.  The credit union could not find the paper with the beneficiaries even though I had a copy of it when it was opened with the credit unions managers signature on it they refused to honor it. I did have the disclosure (that we had to ask for when it was opened) that stated if there were no beneficiaries it would go to the wife, if no wife, then children, if no children, parents, if no parents, brothers and sisters, if no brothers and sisters, then to probate. Their new disclosure now states if the credit union has no copies of the beneficiary it will automatically go to probate. I now have written all the banks and credit union where I have money in and have on their letterhead who the is beneficiary on all of my IRA's, CDs's, checking and savings accounts and life insurance polcies. I have them all back except for one credit union. When I get that one I will make copies for each of the children and give them each a copy. I have become more skeptical. Another good idea is to divide each IRA and have one child on each IRA, but I have not done this because I want each child to know that I am dividing things equally. By having them all on each IRA they will have that information and not ever wonder. Just another note this credit union did not even know what disclaiming was. This was a whole other issue.

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I believe that check would have been escheated to the state after a certain number of years.  He should have checked with the state where it was issued to find it.

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Comment #4 by Bancxman (anonymous) posted on
Bancxman
I just have to ask. Why would anyone choose to use a cashier's checks as a de facto savings account? Especially for 30 years. This allows inflation to eat at the principle and deprives the holder of any income the funds might generate. It's also just begging for this sort of trouble. At the very least, this gentlemen should have cashed the checks and stored the cash in a safe deposit box. I suppose I should be sympathetic, but I'm baffled by his behavior.

3
Comment #5 by rosie43 posted on
rosie43
To #3 When Wells Fargo first refused to cash his checks, Yaffe went to the Virginia Department of Treasury, which keeps track of unclaimed funds.

That agency found one of the checks for $1,800 in its records and sent him the money. But the treasury department said the other checks, totaling $10,000, had been returned to Central Fidelity Bank in June 1987. They had become a liability of that bank when it was sold to Wachovia in 1998.

To #4 I worked in a bank for 30 years and there are several instances to use a cashier check

hiding money from a husband or wife, hiding it from IRS (though that never works), being able to  carry a large sum of money while traveling thinking you could cash it anyplace at anytime, having it available anytime anywhere day or night in an emergency, trying to hide assests during a bankruptcy. Some have kept large sums of cash in the house and lost it during a robbery or a fire. Even fireproof safes only work for a specified amount of time.  I know of a customer who buried cash in a jar inside of another jar and went back 2 years later and the moisture made it look like mice had gotten into it. A bunch of pieces. They had to send it into the fed and got back about 10¢ on the dollar.

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To #6 Evidently you don't know what a cashier check is. It is always completely filled in.  The name of the person it goes to and the person it is from is ALWAYS TYPED IN THE CHECK. What you found was most likely a money order. They are not as a rule for large amounts. 

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Comment #8 by rosie43 (anonymous) posted on
rosie43
To #6 Forgot to add that money orders are only good for 90 days. Most are usually made for under $500 though I have seen some bank money orders for up to $1000. It is illegal to have no name or who it is from not filled in with a cashier check 

3
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The

Cashier’s Checks are actually bank drafts now. The gentelman will loose in court.

3
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
#9 proves my point again that lose "loose" is the most misspelled word in the English language. If he will "loose" in court, do you mean he will undo his pants or something?  The word is LOSE.  Look it up.

5
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I know that is not what this topic is all about, but, rosie43, I find it amusing that undisturbed paper money would go to pieces from moisture penetrating two jars.  My wife washed my clothes several times with paper money left in my pockets.  The bills always came out in good enough shape to be accepted by any merchant.  But talk about "laundered money"! 

3
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
What about your and you're?  I see that mistake a lot.

3
Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Dinosaur here. Anyone else here remember when checks were *actually* used as negotiable promissory instruments, i.e., payable in cash to last signatory?

4
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To #11,

World English Dictionary
loose  (lu?s)
 
adj
1. free or released from confinement or restraint
2. not close, compact, or tight in structure or arrangement
3. not fitted or fitting closely: loose clothing is cooler
4. not bundled, packaged, fastened, or put in a container: loose nails
5. inexact; imprecise: a loose translation
6. (of funds, cash, etc) not allocated or locked away; readily available
7. a. (esp of women) promiscuous or easy
  b. (of attitudes, ways of life, etc) immoral or dissolute
8. lacking a sense of responsibility or propriety: loose talk
9. a. (of the bowels) emptying easily, esp excessively; lax
  b. (of a cough) accompanied by phlegm, mucus, etc
10. (of a dye or dyed article) fading as a result of washing; not fast
11. informal chiefly  ( US ), ( Canadian ) very relaxed; easy
 
n
12. rugby the loose  See scrum the part of play when the forwards close round the ball in a ruck or loose scrum
13. on the loose
  a. free from confinement or restraint
  b. informal  on a spree
 
adv
14. a. in a loose manner; loosely
  b. ( in combination ): loose-fitting
15. informal chiefly  ( US ) hang loose  to behave in a relaxed, easy fashion
 
vb  (when intr, often foll by  off )
16. ( tr ) to set free or release, as from confinement, restraint, or obligation
17. ( tr ) to unfasten or untie
18. to make or become less strict, tight, firmly attached, compact, etc
19. to let fly (a bullet, arrow, or other missile)
 
[C13 (in the sense: not bound): from Old Norse lauss  free; related to Old English leas  free from, -less ]
 Now pick your choice.

1
Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Oh, dear! Paper money disintegrating in a bottle buried under the ground? Mega-banks refusing to cash cashier's checks that they issued! Now, I know why I put the money I wanted to keep in the house into hard yellow gold. It lasts forever, never needs to be "cashed" and can't be eaten by mice. I'll bury it somewhere safe. But, the rest of my "cash" is still in the form of electrons at a big internet based bank...

2
Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
T0 #10. I have also washed paper bills that also went through the dryer and came out fine. My children saved $2 bills and coin in a 5 gallon glass jug with no top and the paper bills fell apart. Go figure? 

1
Comment #17 by RJM posted on
RJM
Wells Fargo is losing far more in the court of public opnion than the lousy CD.

 

Pay the 73 year old.

2
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
to #13 - with the new check scanning ATMs at Chase and Wells Fargo, checks are basically negotiable. You can stick pretty much any check in there and it will take it, no questions asked.

1
Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Even with the new scanning ATM's,  checks are not negotiable until the next business day. You cannot deposit the check Monday morning and go to the store and write a check that electronically takes the money from your account immediately and expect it to be paid according to a person I spoke to at Chase. 

1