Some Wells Fargo customers were unpleasantly surprised on Wednesday, January 17th, to find that money had disappeared from their accounts as a result of getting double-charged on automatic online bill payments.
We don’t know exactly how many customers were affected by the technical glitch, but it was enough people to completely jam the bank’s customer service lines. Many took to Twitter to report long wait times and warned others to check the scheduled bill payments on their accounts.
Some people reported being charged twice as much as they were being billed for, resulting in some accounts over-drafting by several hundred dollars, triggering overdraft fees and email notices saying that customers no longer had money in their checking accounts.
Those willing to wait an hour or more were told that their accounts would be fixed overnight, which was confirmed on Wells Fargo’s Twitter account yesterday.
The bank’s communications manager Hilary O’Byrne said the glitch was caused by an internal processing error. “We are aware of the online Bill Pay situation [and] are currently working to correct it,” O’Byrne said. “There is no action required for impacted customers at this time. Any fees or charges that may have been incurred as a result of this error will be taken care of. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
O’Byrne did not disclose how many customers were affected.
At 8:30 this morning, January 18th, it was confirmed via Twitter that the bank had corrected the errors. This is the second major public mishap the bank has faced in the past two years; in 2016 it was discovered that Wells Fargo customers had been paying bank fees on up to 1.4 million fraudulent bank accounts that they didn’t authorize. CNN reported in August that 528,000 customers were enrolled in online bill pay without their permission.
We sincerely hope that Wells Fargo’s internal investigation results in customers getting better service.