Wells Fargo, State Farm Disappoint, Anger Me
This summer I received two letters and two e-mails from Wells Fargo notifying me of new legislation that prevented banks from charging overdraft fees. Wells Fargo made it perfectly clear that from now on, if I attempt to make a transaction with insufficient funds, that transaction will be denied. And that’s the way I want it, because I have alternate forms of payment I’d rather use than face an overdraft fee of $30. So you can imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail from Wells Fargo this morning telling me they had charged me an “overdraft protection fee” for going in the red on my checking.

First of all, how is it overdraft protection if they charge me a fee? The last time I checked, a big slap in the face is not protection. Secondly, how did this transaction even go through after all that was said to me stating that it wouldn’t go through?

The banker at Wells Fargo attempted to tell me that I must have “opted in” to their overdraft protection program, but quickly found that was not the case. I had the banker puzzled, unable to figure out how I had a negative balance. It was soon discovered that I had a “plan” set up in my account where if I didn’t have enough funds in my checking, they would then take the necessary funds out of my savings to cover my ass. Fine, that seems reasonable. Only they charge a fee for this plan, and once the money from my savings was transferred to my checking, $10 more was deducted from my checking to cover the “plan” fee, and I was now in the red and facing an additional $30 overdraft charge, something they claimed was impossible to encounter. Really? I can’t be the first person this has happened to.

The banker was still having a difficult time explaining this to me. So I tried to help him out… Every single time I have insufficient funds in checking, you take money out of my savings to cover me. There is a $10 fee for this. Taking the $10 fee out of my checking now puts me below $0.00, despite the fact that I was told this is impossible, therefore incurring an additional $30 overdraft fee. So every time the $10 fee is enacted, so is the $30 fee. It’s always going to be $40, not $10.

All overdraft protection was removed from my account. If I ever see a transaction go through that puts me below $0.00, I will switch banks.

I know what you’re thinking… “But Ryan, shouldn’t you be more careful about your spending? Why would you overdraft in the first place?” Yes, and I was. I knew an automatic payment to State Farm needed to be made on the 23rd. I called State Farm and told them to change the account from which they withdraw funds automatically, and the operator told me it was a success and changes would take effect immediately. Well, that too was a lie. Not only did the transaction go through 48 hours earlier than it has every single month since March, but it went out of the Wells Fargo account, not the new account I had just set up.

So I am extremely annoyed today. I really think I am in the right here and it’s these two giant companies that screwed me over. Maybe I am in the wrong, but I felt like I took all necessary steps to make the proper payment, both with State Farm and Wells Fargo.

Twins Win Central! Some Original Ryan Research
Onto some good news! Lauren and I had to stay up late last night to catch the end of the White Sox eighth straight loss from the West Coast so we could see the Twins celebrate their sixth division title in nine years. We’ve been pretty spoiled as Twins fans over the last ten years with division titles, but we’ve been equally as heartbroken after quick first-round exits in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2009. During those post-seasons the Twins are a combined 2-12, including 0-7 at home. I certainly hope this year’s team is different. I can’t take another Minnesota team disappointing in the playoffs. It’s been 19 years since one of the four pro teams from the Twin Cities has even advanced to a championship game, let alone won one. So I’ll stop the pessimism now and just take a few days to bask in the glory of their AL Central title. With a 12-game lead, the Twins could theoretically win the division by as many as 23 games… and we were all nervous heading into that series in Chicago last week!

Back to the Best Pictures—1985 through 1987
We’re finally back on the Best Picture project, having watched three movies from the mid-80s this week. Last Wednesday, Lauren and I watched 1985’s Out of Africa. For me it was a real snoozer. Saturday, Sarah was over and we watched 1986’s Platoon, an Oliver Stone Vietnam War film. And on Sunday, we took on 1987’s The Last Emperor, the story of China’s—you guessed it—last emperor, Puyi. None of the three ranked higher than 24th on my list so far. Up next are a few that I’m excited for, including Rain Man and Driving Miss Daisy.