E-trade Complaint - AN EXAMPLE OF HOW NOT TO INVEST YOUR MONEY
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 on-line 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 on-line 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 due to the fact 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 web site (which details the complete story) I created recently…