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Wells Fargo Horror Story

lou   |     |   769 posts since 2010

While getting my hair cut this past weekend, the owner of the salon tells me an incredible story about her business checking account with Wells Fargo 8 years ago.

The new business checks she had ordered had the same check numbers as her old checks. This created problems with her financial software program so she requested new checks. Wells Fargo told her she had to return the incorrectly numbered checks before issuing her new checks. So she brought them in to the bank and gave them to the teller. The teller, instead of shredding them, threw them out in the dumpster behind the bank. As you can guess, someone found the checks and starting using them at a variety of department stores, supermarkets and check cashing companies. In a few days more than $8,000 had been cashed from her account before being notified by the bank or the various stores where the checks had bounced.  Naturally, she asked Wells Fargo to reimburse her for the $8,000 since the teller had discarded the checks in an insecure place. The bank refused and said she was responsible even though the teller admitted to discarding the checks.

She tried to work it out with the bank but they refused to admit responsibility for the stolen money, so she had to sue them in small claims court. To make a long story short, the court only awarded her $4,000. She had to take a loss of $4,000 even though she didn't do anything wrong. It is hard to believe that a court of law did not find in her favor for the full amount. I am blown away by the outcome of this case and how Wells Fargo handled the incident.

klink   |     |   197 posts since 2012
Not good at all. No wonder WF didn't want the TARP money. (according to the movie)
stormdog123   |     |   20 posts since 2011
I call BS on this story.

One provision of the UCC states that, when a single wrongdoer is involved in a series of forgeries, a bank is liable to its depositor for the amounts of forged checks cashed up to 30 days after the bank made available to you the first statement on which one of the forged checks appeared. The 30 day period is to allow you time to open and read the statement and reconcile it, identifying any unauthorized items. You have a responsibility to review the bank statement promptly. Unauthorized checks cashed that are forged by the same wrongdoer after the end of that 30 day period are the responsibility of the depositor, who could have prevented the losses by timely notification to the bank.
lou   |     |   769 posts since 2010
This story is absolutely true. I have known this woman for many years and I can vouch for her honesty and integrity.

I was also surprised that the bank wasn't fullly liable for the forged checks. I don't know the law but I think it is more complicated than you suggest. As Ken said, there may be differences in the law between business and personal checking accounts with respect to forgery and fraudulent checks.

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