CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- A few months ago, my husband and I decided that it was time to open a brokerage account. We both have 401K plans with our companies, but since we are rather busy, neither of us had ever done anything with the large cash balances we had in our savings accounts. We decided to start off by opening an etrade account, starting small with $20K.
It was okay, but for an internet obsessed user like me, I just thought the experience would be a lot different, and I'd later realize investing my money on my own was a dumb idea. The customer service support was less than satisfactory. I always had issues, and I didn't feel confident with the whole experience.
I'd always shunned away from financial advisors, however I met my current advisor at a charity event for autism, and our introduction was nothing but genuine. Because of our shared interest in the cause, we talked for a while and it wasn't until I asked what she did that she told me she was a financial advisor. Maybe it was the timing of the bad experience with Etrade, but I was interested and wanted to hear more so I asked if I could come in to meet with her the following week. Some of our friends have had negative experiences with advisors, and the girl was a little younger (not the typical old male I picture when I think of a financial advisor).
Everything about her was just so trusting. She made me believe that she'd understand me better than anyone else, and that she would work with my assets as if they were her own, and she has. I think she's different than most advisors because she addressed all of my concerns first. She broke down the fees, asked if I was comfortable with them. She asked what kind of relationship she wanted to have and how often she'd like me to contact her, whether I wanted to come to events with her, if I wanted her to come to my house to meet, etc.
The moral of the story, and why I've taken the time to write this is, a lot of people don't want to pay the fees for advisors. I think that's very apparent. However, the service my advisor has provided me not only has given me motivation to write this post, but I feel as if I'm not paying a fee. I am very comfortable, and everything is transparent. It's unfortunate to read reviews saying their advisors haven't provided the same service. (Not to mention, my husband and I aren't millionaires! We started off investing $100K with her, now we have about $350K).
I'm from Chicago, and I'd be glad to give her contact info to anyone out there who is interested in genuine, high quality financial service. She actually just helped out my friend refinance her mortgage:) My email is ** if you have any questions. Good luck, and I hope people have better luck!
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- So, I have some stocks and stuff and I thought, maybe I will consolidate it all to ETrade. I mean, they are cheap, good products, etc. Why not? HA! So, I opened my account. Easy. I go online to do the online transfer and get a message: you are not authorized. Okay, so I email customer service since it is not urgent enough to call. They say to mail money or use the link to transfer. Ummm... it didn't work which is why I emailed them to begin with. SO, I replied and cut and paste the message.
Now they reply that I have to mail or fax a copy of my ID, SS Card (front and BACK) and utility bill. Okay, I get it - they want to make sure I am me. Fine. So I fax all of it in. I get a message that it is received. Next day I login to a new message: DUE TO UNUSUAL ACTIVITY WE HAVE FROZEN YOUR ACCOUNT. Hmmm... What activity? There is NO money and NO stocks because you asked for my ID so I did that? What constitutes unusual activity? Perhaps no activity is unusual. Of course, NO ONE can explain why so I sit on hold and transfer and hold. I send another message to customer service via email for fun.
A couple a days later, they answer saying that they need to VERIFY information, but won't tell me what information. They send 16 account alerts to me on a single afternoon. Most refer to the "unusual" activity but one mentions they could not read my ID. Well, here is the thing. IDs now are designed NOT to copy well and fax them in and it's worse. So I offer my US Passport which copies better but that is NOT acceptable. So, needless to say, I give up. I am out nothing because I did not ever get around to transferring my securities in. Just keep that all in mind.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- I opened an Etrade account last year (2011) and set-up a regularly scheduled transfer and everything was going as planned until February (2012) when the amount of the transfer was DOUBLE the allotted amount. I immediately called Etrade Customer Service and was SPECIFICALLY TOLD "There was a GLITCH in the system and that this would not happen again and that they have looked into my account and if I was to have the extra money that was transferred refunded that it would have repercussions on me come tax time or for the early redemption clause on the mutual fund that I had been purchasing".
So now fast forward to May (2012) the extra money had still been being transferred into my IRA account but I was able to manage and thought "well this will only benefit me in the long run by making double the contributions I originally set off to make" but I had stopped all "automatic buys", and waited for money to show up in my IRA and then I would personally purchase right.
This is what I was told that I can do on ANOTHER call with Etarde Customer Service, but get this here I am in May and I realize my account is in the NEGATIVE, so I call them on Monday to get this straightened out and was told that one of my AUTOMATIC TRANSFERS would clear in 2 days and that I should call back then and figure out what I need to do to keep this from happening again.
I get a call 3 days later explaining to me that I need transfer money into my account immediately to cover the cash call or Etrade will be forced to sell shares in order to cover the negative amount holding me responsible for any and all tax liabilities in the future unless I do a quick transfer. My complaint is why was this dragged out until I hit a negative amount when I originally called about this 3 1/2 months ago and the fact that it was their wrong doing and misinformation that caused this so why I am the one being penalized for their mistakes. They should be ones who have to wait until the next transfer in order to cover the negative portion of the account.
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA -- E*Trade's Auction Rate Security Fraud. I am over 60 years old and in the fall of 2007 I was lured by E*trade's ad for a JP Morgan money market fund for an IRA. In Short, I called to purchase this money market fund, (the trade could not be placed online). I was transferred to their "fixed-income" department and was solicited to buy Auction Rate Securities, for which the market has been frozen since Feb 2008.
E*Trade, in my opinion, knew the risk of this soon to be illiquid market, yet pawned them off on me and thousands more of their "clients=victims". They have been totally uncooperative, intransigent, rude, threatening, and unwilling to accept responsibility for their fraud and lies perpetuated by their agents back in late 2007. They offer no solution to help assist those of us caught in this mess, and they continuously deflect, deny, and defend their lack of accountability and irresponsible stance.
They have effectively stolen my 50,000 in an IRA no less and they only put up a smoke screen with low rent mafioso like attorneys. E*Trade from my experience is pure pond scam, and has zero ethics, and morality. Who on Wall Street does? They are the worst of the worst. RUN, DON'T WALK AWAY FROM E*TRADE, they will screw you over financially given the chance and are totally untrustworthy to be a custodian of anyone's money.
USE E*TRADE AT YOUR OWN PERIL.. I worked 20 years for my IRA money, and E*Trade does not have the honor, integrity, and lacks any accountability of the smallest scintilla of nil honesty. They SOLICITED Auction Rate Securities as a safe cash equivalent investment, the same as a money market fund. E*trade was warned and aware this market was a scam. Their former CEO a Lillien, was urging his brokers to sell the junk out of their house account. And that they did.
They have committed legal theft and have been all but the last broker (other being Schwab) to make their investors whole. If you want high blood pressure, anxiety, frustration, rudeness, untrustworthiness... then E*trade is your broker. If you value your sanity STAY AWAY from E*Trade. They, in my opinion, are thieves and wolves who will eat your account alive if you give 'em a chance. I am trying to spare others the angst and intimidation that you would incur if you have a brokerage account with them!
Let me preface by saying I have had E-Trade Accounts for more than 10 Years.. E-Trade is inexpensive for trades and has some great tools BUT - they have some huge fees that can blind side you. I found out the hard way. I have 1 smaller account I used for trading, about $1000 value three years ago. I held INTL shares and just thought I'd get out of trading for a while. I just logged in to my account and realized they had been charging me $40 EVERY 3 MONTHS for account fees. So in 10 quarters, they charged me $400. That's a pretty fast way to lose my investment.
I have 7 E-Trade accounts currently - all but one are retirement accounts or education savings accounts for my kids. All told, I have in excess of $25,000 invested with E-trade, a 2nd mortgage and a credit card. I asked their customer service to waive or return some or all of the fees, because I met their requirements. They would not. Not even a little. I know - I should have paid closer attention, but I signed up for electronic notifications and I used a outdated email. My own fault there.
I just feel they are clearly using the huge quarterly fee to eliminate unprofitable accounts (how it's unprofitable, I don't know) - and when they are targeting a loyal and hopefully valued customer, they should express some latitude. BTW - I sold the stock, and now to transfer the $494 I have left to my bank account will incur a $60 transfer fee! I'll bet, most of the fees not associated with trading (which they advertise all the time) are very high and serve as their main source of profit. I believe there are better alternatives and unfortunately, that's where I'll be transferring the remainder of my accounts.
For the past seven months I have been trying to close my recently deceased father's E*TRADE investment account. As a co-executor of his estate, I needed to close this account and retrieve the remaining balance of $93.76. Unfortunately, what first appeared to be a simple, mundane task ended up being one of the most frustrating and time consuming processes my family and I have ever had to undertake.
When I contacted E*TRADE the first time, I explained the situation. At that point they promptly made his account inaccessible online and told me where to download the necessary forms which were required to officially close his account. Note: What E*TRADE actually does is require you to open an account with them first. Once that has been done and all of the required documents have been processed, they will transfer the funds from the deceased's account to yours, at which point you should be able to go online and withdraw everything and close the account. How absurd is that?
Well, after two months had passed, I mailed in the forms for processing. However, I did not submit the Personal Account Application at that time because that I really did not want to establish a personal relationship with them. I only wanted my father's account closed and a check sent to me for the remaining balance of $93.76. Another month had passed without any contact from E*TRADE. So, I called them again to find out if they had received the forms I sent. After staying on hold for about 20 minutes, the service representative came back on and said they had received them and informed me of the missing Personal Account Application.
First, I told the service rep that I did not want to open a new account with E*TRADE (establishing a personal relationship with them) and that all I wanted was my father's account closed and a check sent to me for the remaining balance. I then asked her why they did not promptly contact me about this issue. She had no response to that one and put me on hold again for another 10 minutes. When she came back on she said they could not process anything further until they received the Personal Account Application. Needless to say, I was furious at this point and terminated the conversation.
Now, six months since the original call to E*TRADE, I finally decided to go ahead and submit the Personal Account Application. I just wanted to be done with all of this! A few days later I called E*TRADE customer service once again to ensure that everything was in order this time. Of course, there were still issues and I was put on hold for 20 minutes. This time they said that the Personal Account Application (the longest of all the forms) was not completed properly. Oh, great. Can you guess how mad I was now?
Well, I told the service rep that she and I were going to fill it out together this time to make sure that it was done properly. Once that was completed, I asked for their fax number so I could get this thing submitted fast. I faxed the "new and improved" Personal Account Application that same day to the number they provided to me and added the following comment to the coversheet: "PLEASE CALL THE ABOVE PHONE NUMBER IF THERE ARE ANY ISSUES WITH THIS TRANSMISSION."
Another ten days had passed without any contact from them, but I decided to call them again anyway just to be sure everything was OK. Nope, there was now a new issue. These estate forms must be sent via mail, not fax. Now they tell me! At that point, I requested to speak with a supervisor. A customer service supervisor eventually gets on the line and asks that I mail the Personal Account Application to her personally and she would ensure that it gets processed promptly and properly. But then I asked her if this was indeed the last remaining document they required to completely process everything.
She said she would need to make a few calls but promised that she would get back to me by the end of the business day. When the E*TRADE supervisor called me back later that day she had more bad news. This time I was told that some of the other documents I mailed to them several months prior needed updating. At that point I voiced my frustration with everything and asked if they could just close the account and keep the $93.76. What do you think she said? "Yes, I can process that request immediately." I then blurted out some choice words and terminated the conversation.
Let me tell you, E*TRADE Securities certainly makes things simple when you open up an account, and they're so quick to take YOUR money... but, at the same time, they make it nearly impossible for you to close an account and retrieve YOUR funds! Their motto should be, "E*TRADE. Give us your money so you'll never have to deal with it again."
What's more, it really amazes me at how E*TRADE (or any company) will spend enormous amounts of money on marketing and promotion then go and piss it all away by unnecessarily creating bad publicity for itself. Here's a link to the anti-E*TRADE website (which details the complete story) I created recently **.
Summary: Incoherent, buggy web-interface, lots of service charges, Very poor customer service (be prepared to wait for 2 hours or more). Here's what I went through: I opened an account a month back. I haven't been able to access the account since. I was charged $10 a few weeks back in a statement. So I decided to check again. My account still had the message "your account is temporarily unavailable." So I placed a call... and started playing with the interface. This is one of the most confusing web pages. Most clicks take me to an 'open another account' page. I had to activate my service by filling a different URL.
The balances seemed to show. I could not transfer money from my bank account (thank god). I could not log in to make trades. The log in page redirected me somewhere else. By this time I was frustrated, I tried to close the account but I could do it on the web. And the call... it took 2 hours to talk to a customer service rep. He charged me another $10 to close the account. I told him this was ridiculous. He told me that I had to read the fine print. He also claimed that he cannot credit the account, but he can close it and that I should take this option when I have the chance.
I asked for the manager, and he put me on hold for another 20 minutes. The same guy picks up the phone and tells me the manager is busy. He claimed now that he credited the account (must have learned something new in those 20 min). The funny thing is that I still don't see the credit on my web page. He then gives me a FAX number where I have to send a signed statement that I want to close my account. I did not have to do any of this when I opened an account. eTrade is the most incompetent company I have had to deal with. Take my advice: Don't open an eTrade bank account. They are not trustworthy people.
I decided to pursue online trading and opened an etrade account to see what was required to start trading. The sign-up offer included 60 days of trading with reimbursement of fees up to $600. Once into the website, I spent a considerable amount of time researching the various TA tools and trying learn the basics. Before I realized it, I was 30 days into my "free" 60 day trial and had not spent a dime of my initial deposit in my account. I called etrade and asked if I could extend my 60 day promotional period since I had not taken advantage of any part of the deal so far. They denied my request. They said I could deposit another lump sum into my account in an amount that would entitle me to another promotional deal, but they could not reset my 60-day start clock. When I said it seemed foolish to deposit more money into my account since I still had the initial unused $10K still available to me, esp when all I had to do was go to another online brokerage and get the same new customer deal from them, they had no response. After three different people reviewed my request, the answer was always the same; "sorry, we cannot do that." I have since closed my account with etrade and am waiting for my funds to redeposit into my bank account. I'll then sign on with a brokerage that knows the value of customer service.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- Heavy on lawyers, light on customer service. Good luck getting any money OUT of an eTrade account and to your heirs should you pass away. I was in a Domestic Partnership and it was easier to stop life support when he was terminal than it has been to get the stock options from eTrade. So far, I have had to get a notary signature, gold Medallion signature, fill out multiple forms, sit on hold only to talk to someone in a foreign country who I can barely understand, pay for and consult two attorneys and because they claim they never got his faxes to put his eTrade account in our trust, I now have to go to Probate.
I am the Beneficiary on his Will, I am the Beneficiary on his Trust, I was his Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions and we signed an Affidavit with his company that we were in a Domestic Partnership (28 years). Good luck for those of you in Domestic Partnerships, you will be discriminated against and NOT treated equal to a married couple. When Corporations create an account for an employee for stock options, it should be automatic that a Beneficiary form goes out to that employee, like with Life Insurance Accounts and 401 Accounts. Not the case with eTrade. Cancer killed my soulmate and eTrade is another cancer in my life.
For no apparent reasons my account at E-trade was locked. I called the company and despite the fact I provided the E-trade representatives with my SS number, date of birth and current address they did not unlock my account. Not to mention I spent couple of hours on the phone answering ridicules questions. I will be withdrawing my money from Etrade ASAP. After reading reviews on the Internet I realized a lot of people are having the same problem. This may be an indication Etrade is having a financial difficulties so it has to froze accounts to stay afloat. I think Etrade soon will be going out of business. My advise - stay away from Etrade.