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Have you ever stopped at a Discount Tire store just to have the air pressure in your tires checked?  It’s free.  You don’t even have to have bought your tires there.  The retailer is smart enough to know that if you drive a car, you are a potential customer.  What a great way to introduce exemplary customer service to consumers.

On the other hand, Wells Fargo has had its share of problems and apparently doesn’t want anything to do with non-customers.

This is the bank that was fined $575 million for a fake-account scandal in its retail bank and improper auto-loan and mortgage charges that harmed customers.

As if that’s not enough, here’s another reason I will never bank there.

While I was on vacation recently in San Diego, I went to a Wells Fargo located inside a grocery store.  I wanted to have change made for both a $50 bill and a $100 bill as smaller bills are more readily accepted and easier to spend.

I was the only customer in line.  After getting two 20s and a 10 for the $50 bill, the teller asked me for my Wells Fargo card.  I said I wasn’t a customer, I just needed smaller bills.  He responded that he wasn’t allowed to give me any more change – that service was for customers only.

As I stood there stunned, I began thinking, “a federally-chartered bank won’t make change for a federally backed currency?”

Has common sense when it comes to customer service fallen that far?

And then as I walked away with my $100 bill still in my money clip, I thought I should have gone through the motions of telling him I was a “potential customer.”  Would he have made change then?  Or if I would have asked him for the paperwork to open an account?

I’m thinking they need change more than I did.

Scott Hanson
Scott Hanson
President Scott is president of HMA Public Relations and a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network. He’s a Phoenix native, husband, father of two and a fan of all sports and a participant in some. Check out Scott's full bio

2 Comments

  1. Mark Roden says:

    Wait…what? You went to a Wells Fargo Bank and spoke to a teller without having to wait?

    Celebrate that.

    You could go to Bank of America through the drive through, except…they closed them all.

    If you were a Wells customer, they would’ve charged you for that change of a bill – they require us to deposit money (and charge us for each deposit) and request change (and they charge us per dollar of change received).

    Like other service industries that have a psuedo monopoly, you options are limited.

    But…you were in San Diego and likely near the beach. So…it’s all good 🙂

  2. Blake Lewis says:

    Wow. Just. Wow.

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