I used to Love Etrade, Now I am Ready to Toss Them

I opened an Etrade brokerage account back in 1996 and loved the lower commissions and easy access to trading. Now adays Etrade seems to have higher commissions than their competitors and I think the customer service is horrible. With my latest series of Etrade problems, I have had enough.

Back in November I logged into my Etrade brokerage account and was just reviewing my account activity and was surprised to see a line item for "Mandatory Reorg fee" for $20. It appeared to be for the exchange of 1 share of Palmsource stock for cash (as a result of a buyout of the company) that I got from the Palm spinoff. The share only netted me $18.50 in cash so I was a little mad that it somehow cost me $20 to get the $18.50 for the share.

On November 19th I submitted a help request on their web site to inquire about the "Mandatory Reorg fee" and to see if they could remove it since it seemed crazy that the fee was worth more than the stock. I immediately got the standard form email response:

Thank you for contacting E*TRADE Securities. The reference number for your inquiry is XXXXXX-XXX. Your inquiry is important to us and during this period of high volumes our goal is to respond within 1 to 3 business days. We appreciate your patience.


E*TRADE Securities LLC

Customer Service


P.S. This message is your confirmation that we have received your inquiry. Please do not respond, since we cannot answer messages sent to this e-mail's return address.

A second email and over ONE MONTH later I finally got a response other than an auto reply message.

After this incident I started mulling over the possibilities of changing brokerage companies. As a result I decided to cancel the DRIP enrollment for the Anheuser Busch stock in my account since you can't transfer fractional shares when you transfer your holdings to another company. The request went through ok and I received a notice confirming I was no longer in the DRIP plan. I even went on the Etrade web site and confirmed the stock in my account was no longer enrolled in the DRIP plan. However a few days later BUD paid its dividend and oddly enough it was reinvested into BUD stock.

Needless to say I have submitted another customer request, but I don't expect a reply for about another 24 days or so.

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Comments (16)

DATE: 1:29 PM
I feel your pain. I left E-Trade too after some bad experiences with an E-Trade money market account which I blogged about here:ourmoneymatters.blogspot.com/2006/03/i-hate-etrade.htmland ourmoneymatters.blogspot.com/2006/03/i-hate-etrade-part-two.htmlGood luck getting your $20 back.

DATE: 3:31 PM
yes, etrade is not good. I used them for their 100 free trades - except, I didn't get to use all 100 free trades! I contacted customer service about the problem and got something over 2 weeks later to the tune of "sorry, we can't fix that problem." I use OptionsXpress now

DATE: 4:17 PM
I am also an ex-Etrader, and I will never go back! You are not the only one to experience these problems.

DATE: 6:27 PM
I used etrade way back around 96 ot 97...closed the account because it just wasn't all that great of a deal...I used Scottrade now...

DATE: 8:35 PM
Etrade is the worst of all the discount brokers. They kill you with dumb fees for just about anything.I really like Fidelity.-great customer service-access to Fidelity Funds and their no transaction fee funds network-reasonable commision ($10.95) if you have more than $$50,000 in combined accounts

DATE: 8:46 PM
More than likely, you elected to have unenroll in the DRIP program after the last ex-dividend date, so your modification would apply to the next round of dividends.I also had the $20 mandatory reorganization fee when a stock I owned joined the NYSE. It's not an eTrade thing, it's an SEC thing.Not trying to stick up for Etrade, as I've had a terrible experience with their customer service in the past.I use Ameritrade now, and am pretty happy. Their commisions are a bit steep at $10.99, but that's it, no other fees to worry about, etc.Good luck!-Grantwww.TheCornerOfficeBlog.com

DATE: 9:32 PM
Did you say that you can transfer your shares from one brokerage to another? I have been sticking with E*Trade for many years just because I thought that I would have to sell to move.

DATE: 9:56 PM
rs,yes it's pretty common to have your positions transferred when you switch brokerage accounts.

DATE: 11:57 PM
I fired Ameritrade and now LOVE Fidelity just like someone else said...

DATE: 3:04 AM
Aren't you going to tell us how much income you make off of the ads on your blog page?

DATE: 2:48 PM
I dumped E-Trade. The reason was the horrible customer service. If you try calling them you have to wait on the phone for one hour+ and the e-mail based customer service never works. I have accounts in both Ameritrade and Fidelity both of which are pretty good.

DATE: 10:21 PM
I left etrade also because of all the random fees they were sticking me with. Their horrible customer service and underhandedness with regard to fees deserves to be repaid with both lost existing customers and forgone prospective ones that read about the etrade horror stories here...

DATE: 1:30 AM
$2M, et. al.,I'm suprised to hear how bad etrade is -- unfortunate.I have a few options to recommend:a. you might be able to request that all your shares (physical certificates) be delivered to you when you close the account. This might address fractional share issues, but then again, they might clober you with certificate fees.b. when consider alternative brokers, you might look at first trade (www.firsttrade.com). They were recommended #1 by consumer reports. They are $5.95 a trade I think. Pretty reasonable. I've been happy with them so far.Have a wonderful Monday,makingourwaymakingourway.blogspot.com

DATE: 8:13 AM
2MilYou might want to try Interactive Brokers. Also, I've only been reading since BusinessWeek mentioned your website but when I read this I immediately thought of you. It's a new ETF that lets the "avg. Joe" hedge the price he pays for gasoline! A couple of suggestions. One; don't buy and hold if the price of gas goes down. Two; wait a few days until it settles a little bit. (It's only been out for 2 days now)http://etfinvestor.com/article/8859goodluck,Jeff B

DATE: 3:04 AM
I read somewhere that Muriel Siebert is the best online trading company, in terms of commissions, interest on your balances, and execution prices. But, as I skimmed through their website, I was shocked to see that they charge a very high interest rate for their margin loans. If you don't buy stocks on margin, then Siebert might work for you.

DATE: 10:29 PM
I got fed up with E-Trade last year and transferred my account to BrownCo, which I loved. Now E-Trade bought BrownCo and I'm back again. Dammit!

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