Can Wells Fargo charge these fees for overdraft legally?
In 2009 I opened a checking account with Wachovia, which is now Wells Fargo. After a few months I had several disputes with Wachovia about them rearranging items that were coming into the account causing overdraft fees. I finally got fed up with them and left the bank. At the time I was owed $233.81 to Wachovia in overdraft fees only.
Fast forward three years; my husband received a call from a Michael Dean on 6-25-12 stating that we owed $711 to them. I called Mr. Dean today to find out what was going on, he basically told me that I could either pay $711 or they would settle the matter for approx $495.
Mr. Dean informed me that if I did not pay they would turn the account over to the DA's office in my area and could have me arrested for writing bad checks. Even though all checks that bounced with that account were taken care of through the check recovery system and/or the DA's office in my area. He was very rude and when I told him I could not make the demanded payment amount and would like to work out something for less he basically intimidated me into agreeing to pay $495 over two payments starting July 13th.
I called Wells Fargo who put me in touch with Wachovia's collections department. Lori with Wachovia told me that they had charged off the account to United Credit Recovery, but that the amount they were asking for was way more than owed ($233.00, is what their records show). I am trying to determine if the amount they are asking me to pay is legal? I don't mind paying reasonable fees to settle this account but I do not want to be bullied into it.
Can they legally charge me that much to recover the amount?
The contract you signed when you opened the account with Wachovia (transferred to Wells Fargo) will have contained a section that covers how defaults are treated. If you have a copy of that contract, look for details there first.
Many banks, including RBS, Bank of America and Chase, have paid hundreds of millions in fines for the abusive practice you have described below where they reorder transactions to maximize overdraft fees and penalties. They made a ton of money from doing to many Americans what they did to you.
Wells Fargo and other banks like Citi and Captial One have not settled yet. Wells Fargo lost a case for over 200 million related to this in California that they are appealing. Here is an article on the topic: Wells Fargo Shakes Down Their Own Customer
If you are motivated to do so, you may want to consider detailing your situation back then and now in a letter and complaint to your states attorney general and also to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). You can file the complaints online too. Here is the link to file a complaint with the CFPB about Wells Fargo: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/
I am not sure what recourse you will have as an abused account holder who left the bank. I am also not sure if your account is indeed part of that recognized abuse (too little background information in your post). It sure looks like it on the surface though.
You might want to file the complaints with your AG and the CFPB and let Mr. Dean know you will be happy to follow up with him once you have heard back from the regulatory agencies.