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 **.
Four weeks ago E-trade advertised a great rate for a 6 month CD. I opened an account on Jan. 3 which was quite easy, called a few days later to give them my bank details as they had instructed me to do, i.e., routing number and checking account number. After that call they told me in seven days my money would be transferred out of the my checking account and into my new CD account. It is now January 31, 2008 and they still have not transferred the money.
When you call to tell them of the problem, which I did as soon as I saw that it was over 7 days and my money is still sitting in a non earning interest checking account they told me they would have to open a work flow number and it would take 2 business days. I called on a Thursday and asked them if they could tell me why the money could not be transferred before the weekend? The pleasant, but very scripted and robotics customer service person keep repeating the policy.
I told her I needed to know that my "guaranteed" rate will still take effect and the unknown delays would not impact it, she said... “Oh no, I can't guarantee that.” Told me to wait until I received a letter in the mail after the transfer was completed and if it was not the rate I signed on for then I can call back and dispute it!! I asked to speak to a manager, however, I was transferred to "a more experience representative." Who repeated exactly what the other person already told. And, was not overly sympathetic to my problem.
I called back on the Monday (they do not give customer's call backs.. even under the circumstances. I had to call them) only to be told that I had to wait until Tuesday (mind you this is 3 weeks later from the time I called to have the money transferred), because I called late in the day back on Thursday so that did not really count! I called today, only to be told the same thing.. that my money still did not transfer over and that they did not know why so they would have to open another work flow research application and let me know in two to three business days.
I again asked to speak with a manager, only to have the customer service rep get back on and say, “Oh my supervisor is on another call.” I said, “OH I AM SURE SHE IS.” So she continued to apologize to me about how sorry she was. I told her I felt bad for her that she is working for such a poorly managed company who puts them on the frontline with no support or back up. She continued to shovel me niceties hoping I'd go away. I told her that I want the rate I was promised and that I want the manager to call me not in 3 more days but the next day. Ha-ha. I have a better chance of single handedly pulling the troops out of Iraq!
It occurred to me that E-trade reps are trained to handle unhappy customers because they are so prepared to take bullets and ranting. They all stay calm and just apologize and repeat over and over the procedures (which obviously don't work). I work for a 60 Billion dollar company and no one had to train me on how to handle an unhappy customer. They teach me how to make darn sure the customer is happy and treat them how I would want to be treated if I was that person on the other end of the phone. E-trade folks have no sense of urgency or passion. I say it must come from the top down.
As of today, I have lost money and so has E-trade. I want my rate as a matter of principle but I may have to cut my already great loses and move on and leave E-trade where they belong.. in the dust! It's sad to see a company that could have so much potential throw it away due to lack of genuine care for the most important parts of their organization. #1 their customers and #2 their employees.
Back Office personnel and Software designers of ONLINE Discount Brokers are inexperienced. Their lack of experience and knowledge in financial sector can be detrimental to your portfolio. Please be careful of discount brokers. Real time quotations may be inflated or deflated by few pennies. Your order may be forwarded to an exchange who may be paying the brokers commission on forwarding orders. Broker may have high mark up on interest on margin. There may be hidden fees, etc. It's better to protect your wealth rather than be a victim.
I had some fraudulent charges on my debit card. I emailed customer service, they emailed me back, I emailed them. I was fine with this interaction as I do most stuff online. Then they called me to explain in person how they were going to resolve my issue. Well done, E-Trade. Well done!
I asked, in writing, that my account be closed out to my favorite charity. Over 60 days after sending the request, still no movement. They acknowledge receiving the request but indicate it has their highest priority and will probably take a full 60 days from their date of logging in the request. Incredibly slow and frustrating. This absolutely is about the worst customer service I can imagine.
SUFFOLK, VIRGINIA -- I spent five days just trying to open an account with E-trade. They called me and 'for security purposes' to verify my identity, they wanted me to tell them my EX-husband's first wife's BIRTHDAY!!! How on earth would I know that??? They then asked me the address of a NON-EXISTENT member of my family and then wanted me to fax government issued identifying information. This company's procedures are completely ridiculous! I would recommend ANYONE over E-trade!!!
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- I just deposited a $5,000 into my E-trade account on the night of Nov 17. While on the website it said that it would take 4 days to deposit the money into my account where it can be invested. When two days later I went to check up on it, my account said that the $5,000 won't be ready till Nov 29 to be traded. So my advice if you deposit money in your account and want to trade with it any less than 2 weeks -- buyer beware.
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.
MERRIFIELD, VIRGINIA -- November 2007 by phone contact, I set up an account with E-Trade Financial Bank, thinking my account was set up after following the direction's of the Teller. I had to go and deposit from my external account B Of A, a $100 to start up a checking, and $1.00 to set up the savings. Upon doing all that was requested, I was informed that I would be receiving all Check books and Visa card within 7 working days and those days went for more than what was stated.
After not receiving the information needed for the account, I called E- Trade Financial again. They informed me that they needed me to fax over my personal ID in which they gave me the fax number to pass on the information. I thought I was finished and all was completed. I waited another week, and nothing again so I called and asked about the account again. This time I was told that my account was denied due to me for not sending my ID as I was requested.
I let them know after getting my information and number I was given to fax the requested information to them, I did what I was asked to do, and you all should have let me know what decision you had made before you cancel the account, at least you should have given some kind of notice to me what decision was made. This time I was told to set up the account online and I took their advise. My Goodness, this time it went OK, until I was trying to make a withdrawal from my account after making more than a hefty deposit in there.
It was worse than the first time and I was told that they didn't want my service anymore and I stated the feeling is mutual, I don't want yours. I do agree with their Security procedures, but when they create questions that you have not put down for your personal information in processing the online application, there is a big problem at that point. I will never do any business with these people again. And I am in the process even as I write this message in attempting to retrieve my funds now at this time. Hopefully no one else go through what I have!