I’m not gonna lie: saying goodbye to the mortgage lender that screwed up our closing beyond belief felt pretty good. We found another lender with a much better rate that actually seemed to treat its customers pretty well.
Kyla did all the legwork on this one. Based on recommendations from her parents, she got a quote from Quicken Loans and liked what she saw. Just for giggles, she called up Wells Fargo to see if they could beat it. To our surprise, they claimed they could (but they were lying). The rep gave Kyla almost unbelievably favorable terms over the phone. So we provided the required documentation (which in and of itself is just mind numbingly stupid considering all of the documentation required was of accounts with WF in the first place).
Kyla called Quicken Loans back up to see if they could beat the offer from WF. The QL rep was shocked at the deal WF was offering and claimed it must be a mistake (he was right). Nonetheless, he was willing to try and get a lower rate than previously quoted for us. Kyla called WF back and got a completely different story, with much worse rates. At that point I would have been amazed if that didn’t happen, such is my disgust with Wells Fargo. Kyla called QL back, and even after telling them that WF had indeed lied to her, they still gave us an even better rate than before. So Wells Fargo screwed the pooch on that one, and we went with Quicken Loans to refinance our mortgage.
Of course once we officially started the process, we were inundated with letters from WF telling us about how good of a deal we could get if we stayed with them, etc. It was like getting letters from an ex-girlfriend that wants to get back together — one that you broke it off with after she went bitchcakes crazy and stabbed your dog. Or something. Okay, so it was nothing like that, but you get the idea. We had ourselves a good chuckle over the idea of going back to WF at that point.
So we went ahead with the refinancing, and that all went according to plan. Better yet, WF now owes us quite a nice refund of our escrow account that was tied to our mortgage. Hey, wouldn’t it be awesome if WF just gave us our money? No way, WF would never do that! It’s been a month since our mortgage was paid in full, and still no check. Again, let’s take a moment to pause and wonder at the sheer ridiculousness of not being able to pay a customer their money within 30 days even though the same customer has half a dozen accounts with the bank. We’ve been paying our mortgage by simply moving funds from our checking account into the mortgage account each month. Escrow payments and disbursements go in and out of that account all the time. But once WF actually owes the customer some money, for some reason it taks a full month to get processed and mailed.
Here’s a quick timeline:
Sep 5th: QL makes full payment to WF
Sep 7th: WF acknowledges payment, starts “processing”
Sep 10th: Kyla calls WF to confirm timing of escrow refund
Sep 20th: WF completes “processing”
Sep 21st: WF mails check (or did they?)
Oct 1st: Jake calls WF, says “WTH’s my check?” WF says to wait until 10/5
Oct 5th: Jake calls WF, says “WTH’s my check?” WF says to wait until 10/12
As you can imagine, we keep tabs on large checks that are supposed to be coming to us. After closing with QL, Kyla got on the phone to confirm with WF the amount and timing of the final refund of our escrow account. They claimed it could take up to 3 weeks total: 2 weeks to “process” the payment, and 1 week for the mail to arrive. 3 weeks came and went. We called back. This time and a few subsequent times we were told that it could take up to 10 business days from the day that the check was put in the mail (i.e., they lied when they said it would take 3 weeks total). We were also told multiple times that if it did not in fact arrive by then, they would overnight a replacement. Alright, fine. We waited 10 business days and called back. Now we were told that it could take up 15 business days for the mail to arrive. Here’s how that conversation went:
Me: Hi, we’re waiting for our escrow refund check. We were told it would definitely be here by today, but it’s not here. We were also told that if it wasn’t here, you guys would cut a new check and overnight it.
WF Handler: Well it can take up to 15 business days for the mail to arrive after its sent. It shows here that the check was sent on September 21st. Here let’s count the business days. Let’s see … today is only the 10th business day.
Me: Sir, I understand it’s the 10th business day today. However, I’ve been told at least 4 times by different representatives now that the check should be here by the 10th business day. I’ve also been told that if it hasn’t arrived by then that you guys would overnight a new check.
WF Handler: No, it takes up to 15 business days.
Me: So the 4 other reps I talked to were wrong?
WF Handler: Yes, they were wrong. We get so many new people all the time, it’s entirely possible that they had their information wrong. The system won’t even allow me to void the previous check and cut a new one until 15 business days after the first one was sent.
Me: Alright. Where was this check supposedly mailed from?
WF Handler: Most likely it came from our processing center in Iowa.
Me: Wow, that’s amazing. I’ve never heard of domestic mail taking a full 14 days to arrive. There’s got to be some law that limits the amount of time a bank has to refund escrow balances. *
WF Handler: Well, that’s really just how long it takes. You know with all these new regulations, sometimes it takes longer to process the mail. They have to check it for anthrax, for example.
Me: Oh, so it probably wasn’t actually mailed out on the 21st like I’ve been told several times now?
WF Handler: It could have gotten mailed that following Monday.
Me: Okay, when you say “mailed,” you mean actually being sent, right? Not screened for anthrax or something, but actually physically leaving, right?
WF Handler: Right.
Me: Alright, well I guess there’s nothing we can do then. I’ll be calling in 1 week just to tell you that it got lost in the mail, because there’s no way the check shouldn’t have gotten here by now if you guys sent it when you said you did.
WF Handler: Well I fully expect that the check will be arriving probably by Wednesday of next week.
* There are actually laws that stipulate that the escrow refund has to be made within 30 days (or 60, as some people seem to claim). I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not going to waste my time looking deep into Texas law unless I have to. This isn’t about the law, it’s about WF lying to me repeatedly. Also, a quick search seems to indicate that domestic mail should take no more than 3 to 7 days.
Either this guy is cocky and incompetent (a dangerous combination) or he’s a pathological liar. Any time a rep says “the system won’t let me …” you know it’s complete and utter BS, or at the very best misleading. The system can do anything you want it to provided you have the credentials. If you don’t have the credentials, you could easily get someone that does. And if by some bizarre design the system actually cannot do something this simple, you have only proven your incompetence further by using it to move gazillions of dollars daily. This guy was clearly a handler rather than the typical mortgage rep. He was not overtly rude, but his responses were absolutely comical — an assault on logic itself. Lucky for him, I’m far too nice (lazy, stupid?) to get really hard on him.
And here’s the kicker to this whole escapade: Kyla got home and called WF again. She got a different rep. They agreed to void the first check and overnight a replacement immediately without a fight. So assuming there is no further chicanery, we should be getting our money very soon. How could I be surprised at this point if WF screwed us over again, though?
And thus ends my treatise on why Wells Fargo is a terrible bank. We will be moving our accounts elsewhere (both personal and business) just as soon as we get our money. To Wells Fargo: your customers are not your personal piggy banks. You should not screw around with their money. You have repeatedly chosen greed over ethical business practices that show respect to your customers. I hope you lose many, many more customers than just me as a result of my story.
UPDATE: We finally got our check (the overnighted one). The original one is still nowhere to be found. It took WF 32 days to refund our escrow account. IMO this is technically and logistically ridiculous. I guarantee you that their reps spent more time on the phone with us than it takes to process and send the payment.