Like many Americans, 21-year-old Heather Lynn used her Wachovia debit card to donate $10 to the Haiti relief fund. Later, when she went to check her online billing statement she discovered a 3% “international service fee” levied on her account. Four other major credit cards companies, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover waived their international transaction fees in support of the relief effort in Haiti. However, when Lynn called Wells Fargo, Wachovia’s parent company, to check if they had also waived their fee, she was dismayed to find out that they hadn’t.
According to Michael Klosterman, a spokesman for Wells Fargo, the company did not waive the international service fee because it already donated to Haiti and that, therefore, made up for the additional fees to their customers. Klosterman stated:
"We have given $100,000 to the American Red Cross, and on January 19 we pledged an additional $250,000 to support the non-profits in Florida that are mobilizing the relief efforts," Klosterman said. "We decided that donating a sum of money would be quicker and more beneficial than waiving transaction fees because the funds would get to the people quicker. It would take the equivalent of $35 million in transactions to raise the amount of money we actually donated."
Nevertheless, the company’s seemingly heartless move prompted Lynn to create a Facebook page entitled “Wachovia=Fail” which has attracted 2,973 fans as of this morning. Wachovia may face losing some customers who find the company’s practices despicable and tantamount to profiting from a tragedy.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.