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Wells Fargo ATM system breaks down for second time this year

Wells Fargo & Co.'s national network of automated teller machines crashed over the weekend, at least the second time this year that the San Francisco bank has had a mass outage of ATMs.

Most of Wells' 12,000 ATMs, which include thousands from its 2008 takeover of Wachovia Bank, stopped working late Friday afternoon. Service was restored about 4:30 a.m. Pacific time on Saturday, said Jennifer L. Langan, a spokeswoman for the giant San Francisco-based bank.

The causes of the recent outage and of another that Langan said knocked out a majority of Wells' ATMs on Feb. 7 were not disclosed.

Wells ATMs Wells Fargo customer Andrew Medway of Los Angeles, who does "99%" of his banking at ATMs or online, said he had to stand in a long line to make a deposit late Friday.

"I was assured that my account would be credited that day. It was not, and now my account is overdrawn," he said. 

Wells Fargo apparently covered several checks for him but charged him $140 in overdraft fees, Medway said.

"Funny that the system works well enough to charge me overdraft fees but not well enough to fix their mistakes," Medway said Monday.

Wells Fargo said in a statement that it would make things right.

“We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience," the bank said. "We intend to reimburse customers who may have been impacted. This includes reimbursement of any fee Wells Fargo/Wachovia or another bank may have assessed for using an out-of-network machine."

Medway, who operates an Amazon.com reseller business from his home using a Wells account, said he has had a generally good relationship with the bank since 1995 and appreciates its large network of branches and ATMs.  

But the bank's handling of the ATM incident left him feeling disappointed, he said, in part because it took an hour and a half on the phone before "the customer service person said they felt reasonably sure the issue would be resolved in my favor."

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-- E. Scott Reckard

Photo: Wells Fargo customers at ATMs in Palo Alto, Calif. Credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

 
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