CHICAGO (CBS) — Once again, it appears asking a news station may be the push some companies need.
As CBS 2’s Lauren Victory reported, a frustrated bird lover squawked to the Morning Insiders about problems with his bank that started last summer. Now, he is flying high – since the bank quickly fixed the issue when CBS 2 started asking questions.
Mateo Pomilia is always on the move. The Buffalo Grove native recently spent about a year in Quito, Ecuador working as a conservation biologist.
He explained that he went “to support populations of endangered wildlife species, specifically endangered birds.”
The beautiful assignment turned a bit ugly one day when his American bank account with Wells Fargo didn’t allow a withdrawal from an Ecuadorian ATM.
“I really needed money,” said Pomilia. “The transaction was denied. I didn’t know if the ATM had insufficient funds, but when it got denied a second time, I thought maybe something is going on with the card.”
Pomilia said he used his Wells Fargo card for similar transactions in the country several times with no issues. That time, however, even though no money popped out, Wells Fargo docked his account more than $1,800.
Within a few days, the bank gave the cash back through a temporary credit. Two weeks later, that credit was partially reversed.
The bank had taken back $1,000 of the $1,800 in question, according to Pomilia, who had been fighting for his cash ever since when we first talked to him.
Apparently, the traveling scientist needed to be stateside to sign documents physically so as to move the case forward.
“So, of course, the plan was to figure it out when I got back into the U.S.,” he said.
Waiting was a bad decision. Pomilia shared with us a letter to him from the Complaints Management Office that explains customers have 120 days to weigh in on disputes. Pomilia said no one told him about that policy, and when he approached a Wells Fargo branch manager back in the U.S., he said he was informed him it was day 121.
“I missed it by a day,” Pomilia said, so frustrated that he reached out to CBS 2 for help recovering his missing cash.
After our inquiry, Pomilia magically got a phone call from the bank he’d been hounding for months.
“I checked that instant and the money had already been put back in my account,” Pomilia said, smiling in a follow-up interview with CBS 2.
He added that the caller from Wells Fargo also apologized.
“I told him, ‘Look, the only way they can make amends for this is by fixing their processes so that this doesn’t happen in the future,'” Pomilla said.
Talk about a man who’s always on a mission.
Pomilia said Wells Fargo didn’t really explain what caused the ATM problem.
A bank spokesperson wouldn’t discuss the specifics of the case with us but sent us this official statement:
“We are unable to discuss information regarding specific customers or our investigative process on claims that are filed, due to customer privacy and confidentiality. We take customer complaints seriously. It’s a priority for us to provide our customers a positive experience. If we fall short, we work directly with our customers to address the issue as soon as possible, and take steps to improve our service going forward.”