That new bank debit card fee is probably worse than you think, judging from a letter I finally received by regular mail, in a torn undersize envelope, from Wells Fargo Bank's "ATM Executive Office", after weeks of emailing top Wells Fargo executives, including CEO John G. Stumpf, to protest the bank's attempt to get around the will of Congress by imposing an atrocious new fee to replace some which were banned.
Wells Fargo seems to hide away that new fee in tiny type on the last page of our bank statements -- the page nobody bothers to read, as Wells Fargo is probably well aware. And, from the copies of account statements sent with the Wells Fargo letter, it is clear that their new so-called Monthly Debit Card Activity Fee is far worse than it seemed originally -- as this fee applies not only to making one-time purchases on a WF debit card, but also "for purchases or payments (including recurring payments)". It will thus be very hard to avoid.
Any payments for which one previously subscribed by using a debit card number (ex.: routine bills for utilities, monthly credit card payments, and similar common items) will automatically incur this new, unwarranted, excessive, and abusive ultra vires Monthly Debit Card Activity Fee! That is why it is called an ACTIVITY FEE rather than merely a PURCHASE FEE! And it takes a $25,000 banking relationship With Wells Fargo to avoid the fee, so while heavy hitters are likely to escape, we average customers will be saddled with this extra charge.
Further, neither the ATM Executive Office staffer who wasted the money his parents gave him to go to charm school, nor any other Wells Fargo or Wells Fargo Bank official, up to and including CEO John G. Stumpf, has answered the following repeated questions:
1) What if any notice of this new fee was given to those receiving electronic bank statements rather than the paper statements which we receive?
2) Why was no separate and clear notice sent to Wells Farge customers rather than merely noting the new fee in small print on bank statements, which most people do not study in depth?
3) What has been the disposition of some $25 billion of TARP and related bailout funds taken by Wells Fargo and Wells Fargo Bank, and why does the bank refuse to provide any information on those funds?
The relevance of this last question is that there is something essentially wrong when a giant financial institution takes so much public money but still tries to gouge its own customers with new and improper fees. A full investigation of Wells Fargo and Wells Fargo Bank's pernicious practices is more than warranted. Meanwhile, we should all take a good, hard look at our alternatives in the financial marketplace. And Wells Fargo should take a good hard look at the message which started with Occupy Wall Street and has now spread around the world; that message to Wells Fargo and their ilk is simple: STOP TAKING ADVANTAGE OF US!