Wells Fargo & Company Complaint - Wells Fargo plays games
Please note: the mortgage refinances discussed here are not for consumers in financial distress and are not involved in the the recent housing collapse.
Camouflaged by Bernard Madoff and Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo perpetrates an extensive, institutionalized, interstate mortgage refinance bait and switch that targets minorities. Madoff and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who earned nine million, are much better known than Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, who earned twenty-one million, because Madoff cheated celebrities and Goldman Sachs games countries while Wells Fargo targets average solvent Americans, most of whom lack the resources to protect themselves and garner media scrutiny. Wells Fargo’s behavior has been chronicled in detail by the Des Moines Better Business Bureau as well as in a complaint from the Illinois Attorney General. (The Illinois Attorney General caught Wells Fargo targeting Latino names for bait and switch mortgages, and my name “Oso” means “bear” in Spanish.) My particular complaint https://iowa.app.bbb.org/complaint/view/32054361/c/8zzt3f contains five Wells Fargo responses which unwittingly substantiate my charges as well as revealing the dimensions of Wells Fargo’s swindling apparatus and the undue influence Wells Fargo has over the Better Business Bureau’s dispute resolution process.
Wells Fargo bought my mortgage five years ago. Late last year Wells Fargo solicited me to refinance. A Wells Fargo representative declared that I and my home fulfilled all the requirements for the refinance, and I accepted Wells Fargo’s offer to refinance. The Wells Fargo representative gave me a “lock,” and a few days later arriving in the mail was a contract packet that confirmed everything that the Wells Fargo representative and I had agreed upon. A week later another Wells Fargo representative began the process of attempting to breech the contract as well as Wells Fargo’s fiduciary responsibility. More than a month after the contract packet arrived, still another Wells Fargo representative told me that Wells Fargo would send me a letter breeching the contract. The unsigned, reneging letter arrived two months after the initial solicitation. Wells Fargo never intended to refinance my mortgage at the terms of the contract; rather, when Wells Fargo discovered I was not a candidate for a switch, Wells Fargo reneged.
I complained (#57160905) to the Golden Gate BBB in Oakland, California about Wells Fargo breeching our contract. My home is in the Golden Gate BBB jurisdiction, the internet solicitation came from the Golden Gate BBB jurisdiction, and the Golden Gate BBB handles complaints against Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota, the state from which the Wells Fargo perpetrators seemed to operate. A month later after complaint #57160905 was well underway with several written exchanges between Wells Fargo and myself, I was informed that my complaint had been transferred to the Des Moines BBB. The BBB explanation was that the Des Moines Better Business Bureau has jurisdiction over a Wells Fargo entity known as Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.
I didn’t protest the transfer since the facts in my complaint (now #32054361) speak for themselves so it seemed that any BBB could resolve my complaint. Although the BBB dispute resolution specialist characterized my complaint as a “stinking situation,” the BBB made no effort to curtail Wells Fargo’s transparent obfuscations and easily disproven lies. For example, every Wells Fargo response denigrates my credit rating in spite of the three major credit reporting agencies rating my credit as better than 99.9% of consumers, my only debts are the mortgage and another year of a zero percent car loan, and a perfect five year payment history with Wells Fargo. Once about to enter a reply to a Wells Fargo response on the Des Moines BBB website, I discovered that my complaint had been “closed, assumed satisfied.” (Although the BBB did reopen my complaint, how many of the other complaints that have been “closed, assumed satisfied” were as “satisfied” as I was?) Recently, the BBB changed my complaint status to “consumer rejects business' final offer.” Since Wells Fargo has made no offer whatsoever, “consumer rejects business’ final offer” is a lie which as of this writing the BBB refuses to remove.
Since the transfer, I have learned that Wells Fargo is a dominant, if not the dominant, Des Moines’ corporate presence: Des Moines main venue is the Wells Fargo Arena. Four weeks ago I learned that a Wells Fargo executive is currently on the Des Moines BBB board of directors and a former chairman. Perhaps these factors explain not only the BBB’s failure to withdraw Wells Fargo’s accreditation as BBB standards require, but also the steering of potential victims to Wells Fargo by giving Wells Fargo an “A” rating.
January 18, 2010
On December 10th, 2009 I received an email from Wells Fargo soliciting me to refinance the $300,000+ mortgage which they held. The next day I spoke to Wells Fargo personnel #1. I told #1 everything about my house and finances:
1. The mortgage is $310,000 while the Zillow website values my residence at around $650,000. The listing has not been updated to account for the addition of a second story (Golden Gate Bridge views), all new wiring/plumbing, the most extensive structural reinforcement in the area, this year’s complete exterior and interior painting, and the new custom sidewalk. Everything was done with permits.
2. For years I have supported myself mostly through risk averse investing. I don’t earn a lot but spend even less. My brokerage account is liquid and could cover the entire mortgage. Other than my mortgage and car—financed at zero percent—I have no debt, nor have I ever been late for any obligation as evidenced by my highest percentile credit scores.
#1 declared me eligible for a refinance that would reduce my payment of $1974 to $1620 with no fees. I asked if what she was saying amounted to a “lock?” She said it was a “lock.” I offered to produce the paperwork that had been required for my previous refinances. #1 didn’t think that would be necessary. I was dubious since “confused” would be a generous characterization of past interactions with Wells Fargo. (The current mortgage was not initiated with Wells Fargo; rather Wells Fargo purchased it third hand.) But a few days later, a Wells Fargo envelope arrived, and its contents confirmed everything Elyse had promised. Perhaps recent embarrasssing failures such as buying Wachovia had smartened up Wells Fargo.
That hope was dashed a week later when Wells Fargo personnel #2 called: it seemed that the Wells Fargo underwriters were having problems with the veracity of my name. While my name is eccentric, it is the exact name on all the checks which Wells Fargo has cashed for years and on every piece of mortgage related paperwork stored somewhere within the vastness of Wells Fargo. At no other time during Wells Fargo’s ownership of my mortgage has Wells Fargo ever been concerned with the eccentricity of my name. To verify the veracity of my name I complied with the Wells Fargo edict that I fax a copy of my social security benefit statement.
A few days later Wells Fargo personnel #3 contacted me. The Wells Fargo underwriters now wondered how my investing could cover the mortgage. I pointed out that anyone who was good for $1974 was also good for $1620; moreover, I had been able to generate sufficient capital with neither a taxpayer bailout nor steady access to zero percent interest. In spite of these realities Wells Fargo now demanded I send copies of my brokerage account, which has always been marked to market, as well as my complete 2007 and 2008 federal tax returns, documents I had offered #1 in the beginning.
On Thursday January 14th, 2010 a phone message from #3 informed me that Wells Fargo would rule on my application either this Thursday or for sure by Friday tomorrow. (The Wells Fargo paperwork committed Wells Fargo to accept my first refinanced payment by March 1st, 2010.) The next day having not heard from Wells Fargo by noon PST (#3 is in Minneapolis.), I called #3, who alleged that her message did not commit Wells Fargo to a decision by today. #3 also revealed that funding had closed for January and that my application would be held over to February. When I pointed out that these dates were arbitrary and that I had immediately complied with every Wells Fargo documentation demand, #3 conceded that my application had been active for over a month. When I asked to speak to a supervisor, #3 said that Wells Fargo personnel #4 would call within 48 hours.
It’s Monday January 18th, 2010. I had just finished the above when #3 called. Wells Fargo now demanded to see a utility bill to prove that I reside at my residence. I laughed but agreed to fax a bill without bothering to explain why a utility bill does not prove habitation. Nor did I ask after #4.