Maple Grove teen learns expensive lesson about co-signed accounts

When 18-year-old Josh Amundson checked his bank account recently, he found all of his hard-earned money gone. Turns out his bank, Wells Fargo, took the over $1,100. The explanation for the missing money has to do with the teen's father.

A lot of teenagers have their own checking accounts to teach them how to manage their money, but as Amundson’s experience shows, they may want to remove their co-signer from their account when they turn 18 so their money won't be held hostage for someone else’s debts.

It happened simply enough, Aumndson opened a teen checking account at Wells Fargo with his dad as a co-signer when he was 10-years-old to teach him how to be responsible with money.

This fall, after a summer spent working at a car wash, the college bound teen was expecting to take his earnings with him to his freshman year of college, but there was a problem.

Amundson turned 18 in May, which meant Wells Fargo could take the money in the account his father co-signed to cover a debt his dad owed.  

Recently, Wells Fargo withdrew more than $1,100 of Aumndson’s money to cover an old debt of his father, leaving Josh with $12.76 to take with him to college.

"One day he has money in his account. He worked all summer for making his deposits from the car wash he was working at, the next day its gone, where did it go?" Aumndson’s mother Brenda Ferm asked. "I believed it was a misunderstanding. They have to learn what happened. Went through different channels. They would listen but there was nothing they would do. Sounds morally reprehensible to me."

Aumndson's dad was able to help him leave with some money, but his mom just wants her son’s savings returned. Either way they say they've learned an unfortunate lesson that some banks care more about their bottom line than common sense.

"Everyone we tell it’s a teachable moment and we'll learn from it and move on but it’s an expensive one." Ferm said.

A representative from Wells Fargo told me they can't talk about the specifics of this case, but someone from the bank contacted josh Tuesday evening to figure out the best way to return his money.