My 90-minute encounter with Wells Fargo banking

The Mission: Try again to change the preferences on my years-old loan account with Wells Fargo Bank to stipulate online activity only, thereby eliminating paper-by-mail delivery of invoices and other messages.

The Winners-To-Be: The environment (less use of paper, postal delivery transportation emissions, etc.); Wells Fargo (less use of paper, envelopes, postal costs); and me (an end to the effort needed to move the unopened invoices to the trash and then to the local transfer station).
The Upshot: It can’t be done, at least not on this day.

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Log on time was 9:40 a.m., log off time was 11:10. My own initial search ended with me in a sort of computer screen box canyon; there were no additional links or a “Continue” or “Next” buttons to click on after a certain point. The only way out was to log off and log in again and click on the phone number for Customer Service.

There followed a conversation with a very courteous representative, who seemed eager to help. When she apparently reached the same “box canyon” that confronted me, she asked if I could hold on while she tried to reach other Wells Fargoians, who, it turned out after three more holds, apparently had other things to do than answer their phones.

She apologized, saying she had done what she could at her level. She then asked if I could hold on one more time so she could reach out to experts in the tech sector of the bank’s online operation. I acquiesced.

Marvelous to say, in just a few minutes, a gentleman came on the line and asked the question that is oil on the fire for anyone making such a call who had already given the earlier representative all the details of the matter at hand: How can I help you?

After he was filled in, he managed to get me to the same page that had stumped me and Representative No. 1, but this time the system allowed for one more “Continue” click, which prompted a box to appear with the message: “No accounts are currently eligible for changes to delivery preferences.”

This flummoxed Representative No. 2, who mentioned that this probably was a matter better dealt with by Wells Fargoians who worked in more rarefied positions than he did and could I hold one more time. This time I demurred, saying, while there surely must be individuals at the bank who can fix this matter with a single click, some mountains aren’t worth the climb to the next level.

TOM MULVOY