Lawsuit: Wachovia’s overdraft overreaching

This is the third of these class actions filed against large retail banks.  First, I posted about Bank of America and last month it was Wells Fargo and now its Wachovia.   Basically, its concerns how the bank debits a customers account.  According to this complaint, Wachovia debits larger amounts first even if the larger amounts occurred after the smaller amounts.  The claim is that this is a way the bank manipulates its account so that it can charge over-draft fees.

I’ll interested to see how the courts respond to these lawsuits.  I’m betting they will say tough luck customers but I hope I’m wrong.

Complaint courtesy Courthousenews

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51 Responses to “Lawsuit: Wachovia’s overdraft overreaching”

  1. Marsha Peterson Says:

    Wachovia (Wells Fargo) isn’t the only bank with the same overdraft practises. Suntrust not only debits larger amounts first even if the larger amounts occurred after the smaller amounts so that it can charge over-draft fees. They also process the debits before the credits even if the credit was a direct deposit from the federal government made prior to any debits being made. I know, I’m a victim.

    Can anyone tell me if there’s a lawsuit against Suntrust?

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Sorry to hear about that. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a suit filed against Suntrust too. I’ll keep a look out for it.

      • Michelle Chapman Says:

        There is one filed in Atlanta. Just google class action suit against Suntrust and it will come up. I have contacted the law firm myselft for information regarding getting on board myself. Suntrus is robbing everyone with a checking account.

    • Marsha Peterson Says:

      I am now a Plaintiff. My attorneys would glad to speak to anyone regarding bad banking practices. Their contact info is listed below:

      1900 The Exchange, S.E.
      Suite 480
      Atlanta, GA 30339

  2. J. Rex Powell Says:

    My firm is looking into a class action against Suntrust for their deceptive and unfair overdraft policies. Please contact J. Rex Powell, Esquire at if you have been victimized by Suntrust’s policies.

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Thanks J. Rex for that information. If you decide to go ahead and need to let people know, I’d be happy to provide a post about your effort. Randy

  3. J. Rex Powell Says:

    Thanks, Randy. I appreciate the offer to help.

  4. MeLisa Says:

    Can someone tell me if Charter One is part of a law suit as well? I am just happy that somebody is making these banks atleast pay attention.

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Who can tell these days? Wachovia is now part of Wells Fargo. Somewhere on your statement it should tell you if its part of a bigger bank.

  5. Andrew Says:

    In December 2008 a lawsuit was filed in US District Court in the Western District of Virginia against Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) for the exact same thing. Resequencing credits and debits and taking customer’s money that was not entitled to them.

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Interesting. I’m sure this is happening a lot. I’m glad that this litigation is at least making the banks release people are scrutinizing their practices. Thanks Andrew for the comment.

  6. Deborah Rogers Says:

    What my problem with Wachovia is (and I don’t know if this is illegal or not, but it should be) is that for example if I had 4 checks for 1.00 that had already cleared and one for 10.00 dollars came through that would overdraft my account, they would go back and unpost the 4 for 1.00 and put the one for 10.00 through to get the overdraft fees on 3 checks instead of one. They also always put the debits through first even if they were on the same day as the deposit to try to overdraft something. I can’t tell you the exact amounts, but I could go back and find them, but it was as much as160.00 to 200.00 a pop several times.

  7. Melissa Says:

    I am having the exact same problem that Deborah is talking about. They went back through and unposted items that has already cleared so they could give me 10 overdraft fees on debit items that = around $15 when added all together. ($385 worth of overdraft fees) instead of letting that 1 check that came through at the end overdraft in the order it SHOULD have (and that would have only given me 1 fee of $35). I really don’t understand how it is legal for them to UNPOST an already posted item. When you call them and ask them that question you get “we can do whatever we want to do if you don’t like it go to another bank” and then they refuse to credit back any of the overdraft fees. The fantastic part about all of this is that i have overdraft protection set up via a savings account (and had money in there to cover any overdraft that occurs) and they did not use it like they were supposed to. Wachovia really stinks!

  8. Erik Says:

    My wife was in the hospital with our 10 week early child laying on her death bed (lost 11 pints of blood and our baby was hanging on for her life. I lost my job all in one month. I used the ATM for lunch 4 days in a row; the bank held the transactions until a larger check came thru and hit me for over $300 worth of fees as other small things were coming thru. My complaint was if there is no money in there then the ATM should deny me the withdraw but the people at the bank say that you will be allow to withdraw up to $500 this way! Insane and very very costly and painful. Wife, baby OK. New job is about to be lost any day now 😦 Sad but true for many.

  9. Jimmy Says:

    Where can i get involved with this lawsuit? Wachovia has been doing this to me for years. They would purposely put a deposits on hold and debit the small transactions first, them tell you that the check won’t be cleared until …………. Then, they have the nerve to ask me if i would like to refinance with their low interest programs, wtf……………

    I am all for capitalism, but it’s the immoral (illegal?) business practice that i am happy about.

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Hi Jimmy, You can contact the attorneys who filed the complaint and see if they will let you join the lawsuit. Their names are on the complaint which is provided as a link. Randy

      • Michelle Says:

        Can I please have this link, Randy? Thank you…

      • Randy Wilson Says:

        Hi Michelle,

        Sorry to hear about your problems with Wachovia. Click on the link and it takes you to the complaint. Here are three suggestions. Call the attorneys listed on the complaint and see what action they suggest or call your state attorney general/consumer protection agency and ask them what recourse you have. Another approach would be to reach out to the Federal Trade Commission and see what they suggest. Good luck! Randy

      • Michelle Says:

        Thanks for the information, Randy. Please don’t think me ignorant, but I do not see a link that I can access from your post unless you’re referring to the one market “Reply” that gives me a link that way. (New to this forum, please forgive).

        Thanks for the excellent suggestions. I will work on each. Today, I’m leaving Wachovia before they eat my Direct Deposit that just went in.

        I hate changing banks but I’m thinking that maybe my safe at home is a better place for my money. If I need it on a card, I can get one for a cheaper fee than what I’ve experienced with this establishment.

      • Randy Wilson Says:

        Hi Michelle,

        Not sure why that isn’t showing up but here is a link to the complaint against Wachovia.
        Cheers! Randy

        Click to access Wachovia.pdf

  10. schrodinger Says:

    Hmmm… too late for me. Apparently, the lawsuit did nothing to change the behavior. BoA continues to manipulate transactions, going from largest to smallest just as they did before the lawsuit/settlement. My problems started in June– after the lawsuit had taken place– and still continue even now.

    Most recently, I had one “overdraft” transaction– that is, only one transaction set me into the red. But BoA manipulated the transaction order so that I incurred 6 overdraft charges, to the tune of $210. So just how badly was I really overdrawn before the charges hit? Ohhh… a whopping $32. So, I’m at -$242 and since I won’t get paid again until this Friday, I can probably count on another $35 charge for being OD for more than 5 days. When one considers that I work for a non-profit agency and make only a modest income, this has come out to be nearly all of my next paycheck.

    BoA settled out of court on this matter by throwing every plaintiff a little bone– yet they continue the very same practices.

    I suggest that we sue again, and this time we won’t settle for a “bone”. This practice has to stop. Also, contact your congresspeople– encourage them to propose legislation to stop this unethical practice.

  11. John Says:

    Hi all,
    Let’s just say I am feeling the pain of wachallovia. I myself have experienced the seemingly unlimited ability to withdraw money that I did not have. I have only had wachallovia for about a month and I am dropping them immediately. I had 48.00 in the bank and the next charge I see is 175 overdraft fee, but I had a series of 5 charges that hit that should have posted days ago but none were above 30 dollars. Admittedly I did not balance my account like I should have, but most banks cut you off when you hit zero….not Wachallovia. Then there was a charge of 105 dollars followed by one for 140 dollars both stating overdraft. Needless to say I plan to use there plan against them and withdraw the fees back because my direct deposit is going into this account (last one though) and I will get my money back and then they can kiss my a$$.

  12. david Says:

    I had FIA as Od protection at Wachovia. Then Suddenly FIA and Wachovia split leaving me with no OD protection. I re-applied for OD protection with Wachovia’s new partner, but was declined. I have been charged over $2100.00 in OD since Jan 2009. I have lots of stories to tell. I would love to have it all back. That does not include the out of pocket for interst charges i have accrued from having to live from my credit card rather than my debit card. I have 3 daughters, one of which is turning 16 in a month. Basically Wachovia now has her car money. They have several greedy policies and most of the representaives cannot even explain it themselves. I’d love to sue them, but they have my attorney budget! Right now i am at minus 820 and no relief in site. I will keep getting NSF fees from them because I can’t legally close a negative account, and i can never catch up. It is a chain that i cannot end. Very frustrated!!!

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Yes, you are definitely not alone. You might try your state’s consumer protection agency. If your state doesn’t have one check with the state attorney general’s office, they probably have a consumer enforcement division. Randy

      • David Says:

        Thanks for the tips and for providing this forum. I am a little
        reluctant to mention this to the NC SAG Office, simply
        because I suspect this is old news to them. I will file a complaint,
        online and see what happens. Thanks.

  13. Denise Whitaker Says:

    I keep seeing alot of different comments on different websites about filing a lawsuit, a lawsuit has been filed, or someone has won a lawsuit, but haven’t actually found any proof of any of these so-called lawsuits. If I were to find an already existing lawsuit against Wachovia, I would join, but I think I’ll start my own. All I see everywhere is alot of hype, don’t get me wrong, I’m in the same boat, but I just started looking into this yesterday it just seems like everyone is whining and complaining like little children waiting for mommy to pick up the pieces instead of doing something about it. Also since yesterday, I’ve ordered a three year audit from Wachovia, have decided on an attorney (and a back-up) to contact, and have searched the web for any existing lawsuits. Which brings me back to my point, all I’ve found is a bunch of whiners and no action. Come on people, get out of the backseat!!

    • David Says:

      Hi Denise, David Whiner from NC. I have plenty of stories to tell regarding wachovia’s policies. They have admiitedly screwed up several times with my account. I have a few open cases with thier dispute resolution department. You know how they give you a “provisional” credit when a potential fraudulent transcation has occured? Well they gave them to me only to remove them with no notice at random times, causing months of NSF fees. This is just one of many policies they exploit. I have spoken to a couple of my attorney friends who say that this is the kind of case that comes down to the fine print of thier contracts. So far haven’t found an attorney to give me sufficient hope in a lawsuit. I do not have funds available to take this kind of chance. Any ideas? I am tired of whining but not sure which way to go from here. I am not trying to get rich at all. In fact, I only want back the OD charges. It is truly a matter of principal here. Times are hard enough without lining the pockets of Wahovia.

    • Michelle Says:

      Hi Denise,

      I just started looking at my options and, like you, I am seeking more information online before I ‘branch out on my own’. I will recover my theft of funds and other issues if I have to go alone at it, but overall – I’m still just getting started.

      If you get information that you could share, I’d appreciate seeing it. Perhaps instead of whipping the whipped you’d be more willing (as a whipped Wachovia customer yourself) to help those that are in your shoes. Just my sentiments…


  14. bette Says:

    could you please update me on lawsuit against wachovia for overdraft practice, i need help gave them 10 years of business banking and they gave me 40,000 dollars in overdraft fees

    • Michelle Says:

      I’m leaving after 3 yrs and about $5000 in OD losses because of them… If you find info, will you share it please? Thank you…

  15. Robert Allen Says:

    After reading the front page article in the New York Times, I hope that some “truth in banking” will be come more than an empty marking ploy. We have fought, sometimes successfully with Wachovia about unfair fees on against our business account for years. The biggest issue, is that our business accounts which are used by our field techs for incidentals, are often funded right up to the edge of prudence. We enforce the policy that the cardholder must check the balance before using or withdrawing funds. However, Wachovia claims that when it reports a positive balance, allows a use or withdrawal, then charges an overdraft fee, it was the update cycle of their system. Yet, if you call the bank information number they have the correct balance. It seems fundamentally unfair, and perhaps incredibly dis-ingenious that the computers that generate over-draft income are slower to update. In short the game is fixed, in such a way that a Vegas casino would be charged with racketeering.

  16. Michelle Says:

    Today, I had enough of Wachovia. They have taken their last dime from me. I will neither bank with them again nor recommend them to any person whatsoever for any reason.

    The CSR I was speaking with (trying to get an answer as to what this new fee they charged me was) and the CSR simply took off her head set and I guess walked off because she didn’t speak for a long time. I hung up on the CSR and I give up on a incorrigible business.

    “Wachovia Bank & Wachovia Bank, NA – ready to take your money too – 1-NUR-POCKET2”

  17. David Says:

    I sent letter to Wachovia Registered Agent in a final attempt to recover 1140 in OD fees. I basically gave 10 days for a response. If no repsonse I have all ducks in a row for Small Claims Court. I have spoken with a couple of Attorneys who seem very confident that my case is valid. Anyone see the most recent revision to Wells Fargo (wAchovia) Overdraft policies? I think they are getting nervous. The Class Actions are mounting up in several states.

  18. Ken Vollmer Says:

    I am the plaintiff in this suit, and like so many of the people on here, I felt victimized by Wachovia. I do not have an issue with being charged an NSF when I have failed to maintain a positive balance. But that is not what was going on, it became clear that things were being manipulated to increase the number of fees I was charged and in many instances the bank could not even explain their actions. When I called they would issue a partial refund as if to appease me. They even went so far as to tell me that because I had another refund a month or so before, they could not issue as much of a refund on this occurrence. (Not sure how one issue had any bearing on another) I remember at least one occasion were I was not even overdrawn and they charged me an overdraft fee. When I called, they gave me the whole amount back, but could not explain why it was charged in the first place. After doing some research online I realized that this was happening to people all over the country, many of the stories I read where exactly what I had happening to me. Many, were far worse than I had experienced, people on fixed incomes, single parents, one I remember was a retired lady on social security. We all had one thing in common, when the bank has control of your money, you are at their mercy when it comes to getting it back. Its not a good feeling, and often you give in even when you know your right, and take a partial refund. Banks are making Billions of dollars on these fees and are not going to give that up easily. I am glad to see that apparently we are causing them to rethink the way they do business. We are seeing changes in their practices, that in itself tells me they also see problems with the way they have been conducting business. I hope this suit sparks a change through out the banking industry, but nothing will change if people do not speak up. I work hard for my money as do most people, it just wasn’t fair that someone could reach into my pocket, and take my money, and then make me beg to get it back. These are the things that motivated me to pursue this action. I hope all of you benefit from this as well.

    Best Wishes,

  19. andrea Says:

    Wachovia put a 5 day hold on a $2000 cash deposit (I had to start cashing checks and then depositing the cash after wachovia “misplaced” a check) and charged me $1400 in overdraft fees. They admitted that they screwed up, but would only refund 30% of the fees because it was “a new account”. I went to the bank and it took 2 hours and three different bank employees to “straighten out” how my account was overdrawn when I had deposited $3000 more than I spent that month (yet I was overdrawn). They are crooks

  20. Brian Price Says:

    Over the past 1.5 years I think I have been taken for around $2000 or more. Like everyone else here, Wachovia has “stolen” money from me several times because of how they post items to checking accounts. I had $525 in fees just three weeks ago because debit card transactions were made and even appeared as activity. then four days later they posted these items, changing the dates causing the fees. And the CSR’s are even dumber than we are, or so they act. How much more money do these banks want. The governmet has already given them billions, and they still have to “ROB” us!

  21. Vicki Carter Says:

    I would like to join a class action lawsuit against Wachovia for overdraft fees. It happened again this week and I knew exactly what should be in my account. I’ve never had overdraft charges until about 2 years ago. I think something changed in their practices. I called Saturday about my overdraft charges and was told to call Monday, called Monday and was told to go into the bank. The bank manager look at my account and told me that in the last 2years I’ve had 79 overdraft charges and she could not help with a record like that. I called again and this time after refusing to accept $100.00 I am getting $350.00 back but I would still be owed $105.00. I knew I was being charge outrages fees for overdrafts but had no idea it was about $2765.00. I never realized how much money they took from me. Wachovia could never explain how they happened. I live in Florida but opened my account in Georgia in the 80’s. For over 27 years I rarely if ever had an overdraft. Do I have to be in a class action suit in Florida or can it be in another state? I’m in the process of getting all my statments together. This week Wachovia treated me like I was a criminal and scum.

    • Randy Wilson Says:

      Hi Vicki,

      Your situation sounds very frustrating and expensive! Check with the law firm listed on the complaint (linked). They can help you pick the right class action to join.

  22. Cindy McGill Says:

    I would like to be part of a suit against them. The put a hold on my account for $20 that was to come out then overdrafted something and overdrafted the $20 they had already removed from my account. How can they take the money out to pay something then overdraft it later?

  23. Alisa Benson Says:

    I just spent an hour on the phone with the manager of the local Wachovia Bank here in Alabama. For the third time in less than a year they have managed to absolutely steal money from my account and get away with it. My situation sounds very similar to those above…. I had about $73.99 in my account on Thursday, Nov. 12th. On that day I made a debit card purchase at Publix for $25.43. That night they posted a check for $35.00, a debit card transaction from Nov. 10th for 14.97 and another debit card transaction for $13.30 that was actually made on Nov. 8th. You would think that if you do simple math then I would have only had TWO overdraft charges. Start with $73.99 and subtract the $35.00 (because they withdraw the biggest amounts first) which gives you 38.99, now subtract 25.43 and you have a balance of 13.56. That leaves the 14.79 and the 13.30 to bounce and cause two charges for NSF. RIGHT? Nope, this is what I was told, after I was told that “I signed up for this when I agreed to have an account with Wachovia,” they did deduct the check for 35.00, then the 25.43 was “held” and of course that dropped the balance to 13.56 causing the two other debit card purchases to produce NSF charges, HOWEVER they have not yet POSTED (the manager loves this word) the 25.43 which they won’t do until tonight and they will again charge me 35.00 NSF!! How on earth is this possible? They held the charge and the money was there because they deducted it off of my balance, causing the other two charges to NSF, but now you are going to charge me an NSF fee on money that was already deducted and in the account?? This is the biggest scam and I am sick of Wachovia. The manager was rude and even his logic was ridiculous which I informed him of. He knew good and well that what he was saying was non-sensical but I am almost positive that most customers get so frustrated with them talking in circles that they just give up. Well, I would like to join any class action suit against Wachovia and I will not be contributing to their revenues ever again!!!!!! If someone knows how I can join a class action suit in Alabama, please let me know! Thanks!

  24. Michael Zimmerman Says:

    See text and supporting graphics from actual letter sent at

    Friday, November 20, 2009
    Mr. Richard M. Kovacevich
    Wells Fargo Bank
    301 S. College St., Ste. 4000
    Charlotte, NC 28288-0013
    Mr. John G. Stumpf
    President and CEO
    Wells Fargo Bank
    420 Montgomery Street
    San Francisco, CA 94163
    Mr. Richard E. Fairey
    Chief Executive Officer
    Wachovia Bank
    One Wachovia Center
    Charlotte, NC 28288
    I am writing to you as a last resort before I notify my congressman and the appropriate consumer protection organizations about this issue. Over the last 45 days, Wachovia has charged my checking account an astounding $1,142.00 in overdraft fees.

    I have spent countless hours seeking resolution from your customer service call center, all in vain.

    Your abusive revenue generating tactics are clear and convincing, as demonstrated by the following pages.

    $350 in fees charged for debits of less than $1.00:


    Note that all of these transactions totaled only $9.06, yielding a return to Wachovia of over 5000%.

    $687.00 in fees charged for debits of less than $20.00:

    30% of all these fees were based on debits of 99 cents or less:

    The order that transactions are processed is
    intentionally manipulated (decreasing amounts)
    which in turn creates a “snowball effect”
    If this matter is not resolved quickly, I intend to seek whatever means necessary to secure an appropriate conclusion, to seek the imposition of any and all civil and criminal penalties available, and to ensure that Wells Fargo/Wachovia and its management are actively prohibited from engaging in such practices in the future.
    I may be contacted by email (


  25. Tineka Collier Says:

    They’ve been doing the same thing to me to and a few relatives of mine, We all seem to have the same complaint and have compared our online statements and have come up with the same result that this banking system is a fraud! They are a bunch of theives! I really hope that you win this law suite agaist them maybe they’ll learn their lesson and get their greedy hands out of the rest of our accounts!

  26. Maddy Says:

    I thought I was the only one getting ripped off. Right now my account is negative 1,000 something because of something similar to the stories I’ve read here. a Check for $650 was presented when there was not enough funds in my account and I spoke to someone in the bank who told me the check had been returned. That was on thursday, other items were paid that day and other deposits made. So i thought of taking out the money and paying the person cash but I didn’t have time. Well there was a check card hold for $335 also, and other debits on friday. On saturday morning i check my account and see the $650 check had been debited and the $350 also appeared and there were not enough funds so the 5 other items presemted on friday all hit with $35 NSF then another NSF for other item with mondays date. So far have not been able to catch up. Contacted wachovia they refunded $70 and on monday 4 other items from friday presented on monday and again hit with fees as well as a monthly life insurance debit, another fee. The $650 check has a “uncollect hold” stamp on it. I don’t think this is legal.

  27. Jose Salgado Says:

    Hello everyone, I’am a Wachovia Customer for more then 6 Years and for the Past 2 1/2 years they have been charging me excess amount of overdraft fees many Illegal that I have to fight with then my question is who is the Plaintiff Attorney so I can talk to him regarding this lawsuit, my name is Jose Salgado and I leave in Naples, FL

  28. Marsha Peterson Says:

    I am now a plaintiff in a lawsuite against SunTrust. My attorneys would be happy to speak with anyone regarding bad banking practices they have incured. They are listed below. GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE.

    1900 The Exchange, S.E.
    Suite 480
    Atlanta, GA 30339

  29. Ron Says:

    I am a disabled person, and have a complaint filed against a Wachovia branch in Pooler branch in GA because I got injured by their front door, which turned out not to be handicap accessible at all. I wound up in the hospital operating table due to an injury to my back.

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