Victim of crime having a hard time getting help from bank because of disability

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PHOENIX -- A deaf woman claims her disability is causing a lot of problems with her bank so her family contacted 3 On Your Side for some help.

Having a disability can makes things a little more challenging for folks.

A good example is Patty Coupland. She was born deaf but has still managed to overcome many obstacles in life. But her latest obstacle, she says, seems to be with her bank.

Coupland has been deaf all her life and has relied not only on sign language to communicate, but she's also relied on her daughter, Toni Nelson, a professional interpreter for the deaf.

"She doesn't like people to take advantage of her," Nelson said. "She's a little disappointed in the system and she is depressed, especially since they've done nothing but play games with her."

In December, someone stole her mother's ATM card while in California and used it for several withdrawals totaling $262.

"The pin number was on the card, which was a terrible mistake on her part," Nelson said.

The thief was caught and with help from her daughter, Coupland filled out bank documents to get her money replaced.

However, after the paperwork was completed, Nelson says she got a phone call from Wells Fargo and the representative asked to speak with her mom.

"I explained to them that my mother is deaf and I am acting as the interpreter for the case and he said, 'Well, that's unacceptable and I have to speak to your mother,'" Nelson said. "And I explained, 'Well, that's impossible. My mother can't hear.'"

Nelson and Coupland even visited a West Valley Wells Fargo for help, but even in person they claim bank employees didn't want to recognize Nelson as an interpreter for her mom.

"Now it's just becoming a game and it's just becoming cruel," Nelson said.

And although Nelson and Coupland say Wells Fargo initially agreed to return the $262 that was stolen since Coupland is a crime victim, Wells Fargo has since changed its mind.

Nelson says her mom is frustrated, saying she needs that $262 for necessities.

"Medicine, food, living expenses -- she lives on a small amount of money every month," Nelson said.

Due to confidentiality, Wells Fargo says it would not comment specifically about this issue. However, after 3 On Your Side got involved, things are moving along.

Nelson said that Wells Fargo has now agreed to reopen the case, which is good, but it would not commit to a refund yet.

We'll let you know what happens in a follow-up report.