Etrade is evil. Got recommendations on a non-evil online brokerage?

business and consumers

I had only a small holding of stock in the company my sister works for in my etrade account… more a symbolic thing than anything else.

I just realized that Etrade has been charging me $40/quarter for a “maintenance fee” — and so, held against my modest stock holdings, my account is about at $0. If I continue to keep the account open, apparently, I’d owe etrade money for the privilege of them doing, well, nothing at all.

Some might argue that this is like a bank checking account fee of sorts… you know, keep the monthly minimum or get charged every month.

But that’s different. That fee typically includes the ability to write checks, use your check card in local ATMs and the grocery store and such, and so on.

With etrade, if you want to buy a stock, you have to pay a separate fee. Want to sell a stock? That costs money, too.

So what, exactly, has my $40 paid for? Etrade was even MAKING some money off of me from the small amount sitting in my cash account with them, and I sure as hell wasn’t costing them $40 worth of quarterly maintenance.

Sure, they disclosed this fee in small print on the last page of statements mailed to me, but heck, given that I wasn’t actually DOING anything with the account, why would I bother looking over those statements with a fine-tooth comb?

* * *

As you might guess, I’m closing my account. Anyone know if other brokers are any less evil?

103 comments… add one
  • Graham May 2, 2005

    I use Ameritrade, and I’ve been pretty satisfied with them, for my simple needs (though their new site design has some annoyances). No maintenance fees (if you’re over some minimum limits, at least, otherwise $15/quarter) and a flat $10.99 per trade.

  • Graham May 2, 2005

    Hmm, I tried to link to http://www.ameritrade.com but your comments seem to strip that out. Anyway, cut and paste it if you like.

  • Ryan Healy May 3, 2005

    I agree with Graham. I use Ameritrade and have been very happy with their service. No maintenance fees. Only $10.99 per trade.

    Note that the $10.99 fee is not per round turn. You pay $10.99 for a buy and then another $10.99 for a sell. That’s my understanding anyway.

    Still, I like how they display my holdings and think their SnapTicket buy/sell tool is great.

  • jflanger May 8, 2005

    What about ScotTrade?

  • etrader once Sep 22, 2005

    Etrade burned all of its small investors when the stock bubble burst.  They road out the hard times on the backs of small investors So screw Etrade we will never forget.

  • Cathy Jan 9, 2006

    I have just now closed a joint account that I opened for my young daughter. $500 that has now turned into me owing them money for the $40 maintenance fee. I am furious- I would have been better off putting the money into a back savings account. I have invested with many other firms- always been sent an acount statment separately or been informed they were taking the money out of my account to pay for the fee. They basically just stole $500 from me- Just for lwetting my money sit and do nothing. The find I invested in was one of their own funds- boy did I ever make a big mistake. NEVER again and I will inform others about E-Trade. I have used Ameritrade (not actively either ) and this has not happened.

  • sam Jan 9, 2006

    Same thing just happened to my wife. She had some stock which went down and stayed there for years, we finally decided to sell it and went to her account only to find $400+ in maintenance fees.

    Etrade refused to do anything about that. What a fraud. They never mailed us anything stating that we owe them money, like any credit card company would. They just quietly kept adding up the charges. Stay away from these bastards !!!

  • Bob Jan 30, 2006

    I had two accounts with E*Trade – a CD and an IRA. It’s incredible how many “errors” (always in their favor) that they commit and how difficult it is to have them corrected. I suspect that they might not be all innocent errors. What governmental agency controls a bank such as this?

  • Adam Feb 6, 2006

    I opened up an E*TRADE account, assuming that since it was a big name company, they probably wouldn’t steal my money.  Boy was I wrong.

    I decided to put $1,000 into my account, and bought some stocks.  Three days later, my account has no money in it, I can’t buy or sell any stock, and I can’t look at my balance.  They haven’t responded to my email, and apparently calling won’t help.  I’m slightly upset now.

  • Kev Feb 17, 2006

    Adam- the same thing is happening to me with E*Trade.  Have you made any progress with them?  The site keeps saying that my ballance is zero, and when I click on things a message says “this is not available now”

    Man, I’m pissed

  • Raj Feb 21, 2006

    I just found out today that etrade has been charging $40 per quater. So far I have paid 160 in last year and I have not traded any stock. I had about 5200 in my trade account about 2 years ago and now I have only 4900.
    I am closing my account with etrade. It sucks.
    I plan to transfer my money to Ameritrade which is a decent company. So far they have not charged any fee.
    Stay away form eTrade.

  • Guissepe Feb 28, 2006

    UNBELIEVABLE.  I’m contacting Etrade for the first time, not due to any recomendation, but rather, because my company gave me me stock options.  I cannot log in.
    waited 45 minutes then I was transfered to a BUSY LINE.  Now Again, I was give instructions to pres four times # no help.  AGAIN 45 minutes and still waiting.  IF that is the way they treat their customers, then I can only imagine how they treat the monies invested.
    I’m getting out of Etrade as soon as I get some one to help me logg in.  BASTARDS

  • Kaminski Mar 23, 2006

    Never use etrade!
    I have two accounts with Etrade, both with over five figures in assets.

    I am unable to reach etrade – ever – no matter what I try.
    I emailed them through their customer service link twice in January, and both times received confirmation about the inquiry, but no follow-up, no answer to my question, no human contact, no email – nothin’.  On both occasions in January I tried to speak with a CS rep, but sat on the phone for over 20 min each time.  Today, I sat on the phone for over 25 min. While I sat there, I sold off all my assets and prepared to close the account. Through their ‘HELP’ site, I couldn’t find any answers on how to roll the IRA account away from Etrade (plenty of info on how to roll money into etrade).

    As I emailed Etrade today, they are worse than bad. Never again will I do business with them.

    My angry runneth over.

  • Kaity Apr 4, 2006

    I agree with your complaints to a certain extent, but not about the fees being hidden.  I typed “fees” in the search box on the E*Trade website and pretty much every kind of fee came up.  It can take some time to resolve issues, but if you’re an active trader they have much better features than the other online brokerages. 
    Bottome line, if you don’t trade much they’re probably not the company for you, but if you trade often, they’re quite good.

  • roger May 28, 2006

    For being such a large company, TD Ameritrade charts are no better than Yahoo financial charts.  I am truly disappointed.  The charts have minimum data points.  The charts look like those created by kindergarden students.  Even for a free service like Yahoo financials, ameritrade charts are sub-par to Yahoo financial charts.

  • Mike Gonzales Jul 20, 2006

    Everyone…I have been a top investor for years and I signed up originally with Harristrade back in the 90’s….then when I got the announcement that all my stocks were being sent to Etrade I was EXTREMELY nervous. But now, in times of what has been happening to stocks, I use Etrade’s PowerTrade service and have made millions. It is so easy to see when it’ green and when it’s red. If you even invest in Etrade’s stock (ET) you sure do better off than Ameritrade’s (AMTD). There is so much evil in the world right now which is just old geezers selling their stocks rather than just keeping their money in the top stocks. I have not been charged anything while being in Etrade. I have only seen the best in security key features and so many more benefits than any other service. ET is the only company that puts their money back into their own stock which does propel it up. To everyone investing…hope you have a great year. And remember one thing…GO WHERE THE HEAVY INVESTORS GO…..and only buy when it’s green…sell when it dips at least 6%. Take care everyone ! -Mike

  • James Turpin Aug 31, 2006

    I don’t get charged any fee because I also have an etrade money market account with a negligible balance.  I also exceed the minimum balance requirement.  So there’s two ways I qualify for not getting maintenance fees.

    I prefer etrade because I trade every week using a scientific astrology-like system (involves sunspot cycles and phase of the moon), and etrade has the lowest rates for trades.

    If I’m ever unsatisfied, I can easily close the account because I don’t keep any long-term positions anyway.

  • Zecco Oct 1, 2006

    I’ve been researching for Online-Trade host for about three weeks now. Above investors indicated pros & cons of ET and Ameri.

    I am with BofA and their fees seem slightly better than the two however, I havent seen how BoA manage their services (charts, analysis..etc)

    Have you heard of ZECCO? It is an emerging online trade company that offers ZERO commission. The company is expected to launch this week. A small time investor like myself can not afford to pay $11+ commission per trade.

    Check out ZECCO.

  • Aryanne Oct 3, 2006

    I am also angry about this $40 “account services fee”. When I signed up for an Etrade account several years ago, I did not agree to this fee. This fee was not in place until after I opened my account, and when they changed their policy, no one told me. They just took the money out of my account without my knowledge or consent.

    Not only did I never receive information via mail or e-mail that my account might now be subject to $160 per year in fees, but when I tried to find out what this fee was, I could not locate it anywhere. The only place where you might expect to find fees listed is in a “Customer Account Agreement” they have on their website. That agreement states ?I agree promptly to pay brokerage commissions, charges and other fees as set forth in E*TRADE Securities’ then-current fee schedule?. The only fee schedule I found was for their bank accounts. And nowhere in that fee schedule is this $40 account services fee disclosed. When I e-mailed Etrade to let them know this fee is not disclosed on their website, they told me to search for “fees” and you could find it. They are correct. But this information can be found ONLY by doing a search for “fees”, and why would you search for “fees” unless you had a specific reason to?

    They also don’t send you any confirmation or ANYTHING telling you after they charge the fee. The only reason I even knew about it is because I keep on top of all my accounts and reconcile them every month using Quicken, but I can see how easy it would be to have your entire account balance eaten up. The fees are only being charged on inactive accounts. And the only way to find out you were charged a fee is to actively check your account. 

    When they changed their policy, they should have let their existing customers know, or at least updated their terms of service. And they should give you notice after the fee is charged to your account. I think their business practices are dishonest and unethical.

  • Allan Drake Oct 4, 2006

    Etrade has STOLEN 120 dollars over the last year from me. All from 40 dollar “maintenence fees” every 3 months, which they do not even explain or notify you of. I found out when I looked in my transaction history…which I advise everyone to do. If I knew they would take hundreds of dollars from me in the course of a year I would have never joined. I AM OUTRAGED AT ETRADE. FUCK THEM.

  • Allan Oct 5, 2006

    it was supposed to say *refunded* by etrade above.
    sorry for the typo.

  • someone Oct 16, 2006

    What a whine fest.  If you were involved in what you do with your money (which you should be), you would check the statements that your broker mails to you every quarter.  If you complain to a compliance officer, you are going to hear three things.  1. We sent you statements every quarter.  2. You did not do anything to obtain information on resolving the issue.  3. You signed your name to a document that has a clause that applies (that you probably did not read). 

    If you let this drag on for 3 years and then whine about some huge dollar amount, you should direct your complaints toward your own lack of observation/responsibility.  Why would you ever assume any service is free?  Its natural to blame someone else for this and immediately make a decree of corporate shenanigans, but the culprit is clear.  I have had self directed accounts for years and have never had a problem, because I understand that a discount broker/self directed account is UP TO ME.  Every broker has ways to avoid fees, usually free ways.  I have checked etrades fee page (where the account service fee is in plain english) and there are multiple free ways.  (as with every other broker I have dealt with).  Welcome to the planet.

  • Amazed Oct 16, 2006

    “Someones” comments are 1000% perfect. How/why would anyone open an account with any financial company and not do the very basics necessary to monitor your accounts. With Etrade and all other online firms I have dealt with not only send you either monthly or quarterly statements, but also have EVERY TRANSACTION FROM EVERY DAY YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN OPEN LISTED CLEARLY SOMEWHERE ON THEIR SITE. What is so difficult about this? Dear God some please explain to me what is so difficult about this!!! People fail to realize that brokerage firms are COMPANIES not CHARTIES. Companies are in business to make money not hold 100 shares of IBM for WHINEY PIKERS!!! All you have to do is make 1 trade per quarter or have more than 10k in your account to avoid the fees or one of about 15 other ways outlined on the site. After reading all of this nonsense I actually read the customer agreement that I agreed to when opening my account and it clearly states that I agree to fees if my account does not meet minimum requirements.  Please consider the following before you get your “class action lawsuit” together; do you sue doctors for charging for a check-up? How about your mechanic for fixing your muffler? Why not? Because they are providing a service. Etrade (whether you use it or not) is providing a service. If you are not happy try to take your $3,000 and open an account with Goldman Sachs and one of 2 things will happen; 1. They will laugh at you and send you on your way 2. They will open an account for you and charge you 5% on every trade. So when you buy your 100 shares of IBM you just lost $150 bucks. That is ONE TRADE. If after reading this you still have the audacity to bitch about a deal that YOU signed and fees that APPEAR CLEARLY ON YOUR ACTIVITY PAGE, and blame your broker for not HOLDING YOUR HAND LIKE A GOD DAMN FIVE YEAR OLD. Please feel free to respond as I would happily oppose any arguement. Good day

  • JohnH Oct 21, 2006

    Etrade took me for $120 before I caught on.  At this point I just want to close the account.  They said that they closed it in February, but I am still receiving statements.  Although I closed out the dollar balance of the account in Feb, it somehow now magically has 1.56 in it. Interestingly, they no longer charge the $40 per month. If they charged it again and thereby closed the account, it would be a mercy killing of the account.

    I will again begin the daunting task of trying to contact them to close the account.  Contacting Etrade customer service is equivalent to a part-time job.

  • Dan Oct 22, 2006

    Wow, Amazed, you seem really angry that others are angry. Read my class action entry above more closely. You will notice that I do not mention $40 fees, and ask ONLY for “true, verifiable stories about fees wrongfully charged by Etrade.”

    Etrade wrongfully took me and many other multiple account holders for a ride on a bait and switch promotion. This promotion is supported by deliberately vague footnotes designed to entice people to open “free trades” accounts. Etrade has no intention of refunding fees under this promotion, and I have about 15 emails from them telling me so, despite the wording in their footnotes that promises free trades on every account opened. They got me for about $75, but at $12.99 a trade, others who traded more than I did got shafted far worse. Imagine a retiree who traded 80 times (over $1000)! I have hard facts if you or others are interested. But your profane tirade only underscores your limited ability to communicate maturely and effectively and is unwelcome. Please only respond if you can do so reasonably and politely. No one here has done anything to deserve your rant.

  • Amazed Nov 11, 2006

    Dan I appreciate your concern about my comments but I in no way was directing my comments towards you. I am upset about “Allan” and the others that comment that “Etrade stole their money”. What is your take on a comment like that? You seem like a resonable person, and if Etrade did enact a bait and switch that by all means take whatever actions are necessary. And again my “rant” wasnt directed towards you, and appologize if you or anyone else took it that way. Please share your opinion on those blggers that claim to have ben robbed and I will keep my profanity to a minumum:)

  • JV Nov 27, 2006

    While I was aware of the fees imposed by Etrade (I read the disclaimers and fees pages, did you?), the wonderful promotion lured me in. Unlike some posters here, I checked every one of my e-statements and did see the $40 quarterly fee. While I fully expected it, the second time I saw it (6 months in), I decided that was enough. I dumped Etrade and joined up with Zecco, keeping my Scottrade account (expensive for trades but solid) since they impose no inactivity fees. I do not miss anything from Etrade. ‘Nuff said.

  • someone Nov 30, 2006

    JV, Etrade doesnt charge the quarterly fee for the first year of the account being open.  Read the disclaimer and fees page closer before lying and showing your idiotic side.  As far as the free trade promotion, the details are 100 free trades within the first thirty days of the account opening.  This is probably only truely advantageous for day traders, but if you signed up under the promo account properly by using the link that advertises it, you WILL get your trades rebated.  I got mine.  With the amount of trading I do, I change brokers quite often, chasing promotions.  Another detail you probably didn’t read, is that your refund arrives after the fact, within 60 days of the end of the promo period. 

    Just a tip in life, if anything takes more than 2 or 3 emails to accomplish, stop typing and get on the phone.  I might have offered you some credibility if you had a minimal level of effectiveness in conducting business, but at this point you are grouped in with the fee whiners in my book.  You are like an armless amputee complaining about not making the special olympics basketball league.  Effective communication skills and persuasion will get you almost anything in this world, but the key word is “effective”.  Good luck in the future.

  • Ffoghorn Dec 9, 2006

    Wow, does “Someone” believe he is an effective communicator?  “Someone” is a vitriolic annoyance.

    I chose to do business with DLJDirect and ended up with the widely criticized company E*Trade.  There were no fees when I agreed to do business, “Someone”.

    Further, an ethical company does not allow fees to accrue to the point that they exceed assets.

  • Amazed Dec 9, 2006

    Foghorn, I do see where you are coming from, however does the account holder have any responsibilty? If you have an account and don’t ever go as far as reading your statement then you should not be investing in the market.

  • Ffoghorn Dec 9, 2006

    I certainly believe in personal responsibility.  I also believe in ethics.  How many businesses out there do you know of that let fees accrue without collecting?  Not many.  Perhaps only the type of companies that wait in the shadows to seize a person’s assets.

    I didn’t go into much detail, but there were only a few stocks that had tanked in my account. I didn’t pay any attention to the account because I had little to lose; the company I CHOSE to deal with had no fees.  The company that bought my account CHOSE to do almost nothing to alert me to the change.  There are many, many others who feel taken advantage of by this company.

    Frankly, I don’t understand the mentality of people like you. I know that there are many types of people out there, many different opinions, and many different ways of living. But right is right and wrong is wrong.  I personally don’t believe that the trusting, the naive, the unlucky, the stupid, the irresponsible, the left-brained or anyone else deserve abuse from a predatory corporation with boatloads of bad press.

    If E*Trade chose to but HarrisDirect, that’s American.  If they then chose to assess me fees without getting my consent, either oral or written, that’s criminal.  If I had been informed by E*Trade of those fees, I most certainly would have transferred my account to one of the brokerage firms that have no minumum balance fees.  It was not in E*Trade’s interest, of course, so I’m out 100’s of dollars to a company that I never asked to deal with and which has done absolutely nothing for me.

  • Ffoghorn Dec 9, 2006

    I have one last analogy I’d like to make.

    Imagine if you had a home mortgage with Bank One at a rate of 5%.  Then one day Chase buys Bank One and decides that your mortgage rate is going to be 8%.  They don’t tell you about this change, but continue to auto-draft your payment every month for 15 years.  At the end of 15 years you dance for joy because you finally own your home free and clear.  But another payment is auto-drafted by Chase the next month.  When you call to set them straight, Chase informs you that you have a remaining interest balance of $40,000, which will be paid off in another 4.5 years.  Alternatively, you can refuse to pay and they will gladly foreclose on your home.

    Of course, that’s exagerated, illegal and would never happen. But if it happened, you can bet someone out there would be praising Chase for aggressive and profitable business practices, while criticizing the victim for not being proactive enough to sift through Chase’s garbage dumpsters for shredded documents.

  • Amazed Dec 9, 2006

    The mentality of “people like me” is the mentality to PAY ATTENTION when changes happen… I completely understnd that you chose to do business with another company and you were victim of a merger like millions of others…but to say that you were never notified of any changes; that is ludacris. I recently wired money into my Citibank account, and I was surprised to see that i was charged a $10 fee…now, as a resonsible adult I checked my activty and saw the debit…i was unhappy about a company charging to wire funds INTO an account…but i certanly was not caught by surprise. Companies pay lawyers millions to work over every detaial of every fee; so if there is any ligitimacy to your claims that you were “never notified” than you have a case…but you and I both know that they did what they were minimally obligated to do, granted it was not obvious, but it was there…I will ask one question, did you expect Etrade to hold your account for FREE? Please simply answer that question and you will never have to worry again…you will see that you were wrong…please go ahead…

  • Ffoghorn Dec 10, 2006

    That’s the whole point, “Amazed”.  I expected them to hold my account for free!  Just like DLJDirect did.  Just like Scottrade does now.  No Quarterly or annual maintenance fees.

    Let me ask you a couple of questions.  Do you think America attained its greatness by doing what was “minimally obligated”?  Have you ever heard of lying by omission?

    I repeat, if I had been notified, then I would have switched to another company!  They do not have my signature, they do not have a recorded conversation, and no estoppel of any sort.

    I’m very proud of you for being such an attentive, good little soldier.  I’m sure that you have a gigantic magnifying glass to help you read the fine print.  No one will ever pull the wool over your eyes.

    What a world.

  • Amazed Dec 11, 2006

    No I do not think that our country reached its level of greatness using tactics that we are speaking about, nor do I fully agree with them. What i do believe in is acing in a prudnt manner; did Etrade ever send you a monthlly or quarterly statement? Because if they did, and assuming you read it, you would have noticed the fees sans magnifying glass. You are 100% correct in seeking a company that does not charge a fee to maintain accounts, but you get what you pay for.I have had an account with all of the major online firms, both pre and post mergers, and if you are happy with poor executions and antiquated technology…and a limited variety of investment vehicles than keep your free account. But when you compare apples to apples it is reasonable to; one, pay the fees that are charged or two, comply with one of the dozen ot so ways to avoid the fee. One of which is one trade per quarter…one thats it! Even a buy and hold investor can resonably place 4 trade a year, and probably should. You can write covered calls on your holdings to lower your basis if you do not want to sell…or add to your positions at the end of each quarter. My point is this…Etrade, from my experience has and is constantly upgrading the products and services that they provide. When was the last time someone from Scottrade let you know about a 5.05% APY savings acccount that they can set up for your uninvested cash? It never happened to me!!! That is only one example of how well rounded Etrade has become, and i am very happy to be doing business with them.

  • someone Dec 19, 2006

    Ffoghorn sure is a humanitarian and advocate of a fair and peaceful world.  I imagine Ffoghorn as a recent graduate at a no name school in Dallas, full of hope for the world as he plays hippy footbag in the grass.  The real world works much differently than you think.  There are winners and losers, mostly losers.  Expecting biblical ethics in large corporate environment is just absolutely rediculous.  It’s almost as if you expect these businesses to treat you as a friend.  The truth is, corporation wins and you lose.  Everything is documented and backed up with agreements you wont ever read and factual evidence that doesnt fit in to your hippy moral scheme.  Example: a magical tool called a “Negative Consent Letter”  when accounts are moved between brokers, such in an acquisition scenario, the investor always has a negative consent option.  You didnt sign it, which means you chose to do business with E*Trade.  Now, not to nitpick, or poke holes in your plea for a sympathetic reader, DLJDirect was a line of business that was originally CSFBDirect.  Credit Suisse sold this project to DLJ.  Their fee schedule was grandfathered.  DLJDirect was then sold by DLJ to Harris Bank Chicago.  (which is directly under Bank of Montreal.)  Thus the creation of the HarrisDirect line of business.  Etrade did not buy DLJDirect.  Etrade bought HarrisDirect.  ETrade grandfathered in HarrisDirects fee structure for two years guarenteed.  Seems like a nice ETHICAL thing to do, huh?  If you want a hug and a tissue whenever a fee is assesed, you need to convince your grandma to open a brokerage, she might care. Back to my original point, winners and losers.  Victims are losers, and you are painting yourself as a victim.  Not because you were victimized, but because of your ignorance and belief in an ethical and fair world customized to fit your life.  You may just consider me some a**hole with a vendetta, and that is your choice.  Anyone with a realistic sense of the world and average or higher IQ can see that what I am saying is true.  Put down the footbag and step into the world that everyone else is in.  Concentrate your efforts on not being a victim or a loser in the game.  You might just die happier at the end of it all.  And dont ever use the term “vitriolic annoyance” around educated people, idiot.  In fact, dont even bother responding.  Go play some hippy footbag and hope for world peace and christmas miracles.

  • Ffoghorn Dec 19, 2006

    Let’s all take note that “Someone” is clearly educated – and has a small penis.

    Victims are not losers, they’re victims.

    Do you think that anyone who disagrees with you is weak and uneducated?  That’s just “rediculous”.

    Get a spell checker, a therapist, a brain and a heart.  What do you do for a living?  A one-man version of the Wizard of Oz?

  • david Dec 24, 2006

    Etrade had charged $40/quarter for several quarters before I found it out. I had 5 accounts with them. I moved my three acounts to Ameritrade aleady, and will have other two accounts to Ameritrade next month.

    It is a good idea to let your account balance to zero. Otherwise, Etrade may continue charging your money.

    Etrade is evil!

  • Eric Dec 26, 2006

    E-trades 100 commission free trades is misleading.  An investor begins trading at a $12.99 per trade commission. $12.99 for a buy order and $12.99 for a sell orders of stock during the first 30 days the account is open.  The trades are not “Free”… they are rebated commissions.

    To fully utilize the “Free” or “Whatever” offer an investor will end up spending $1,299.00 in commission fees.  Does $1299.00 sound free to anyone???  Imagine a restaurant offering buy one get one free offers and charging $1299.00 for the second item but giving their customers credits for future purchases.

    Like I said it costs $1299.00 to exercise all the “Free” trades on the front end.  What a joke.  With luck, the right phone calls and getting through to the right customer service representative the investor may receive the promised refund “credit” to their account.  Not the cash they gave etrade, mind you.

    The slime factor of 100 “free” but not so free trades calls etrades integrity into enough question that I don’t want to conduct business with them.  I suspect they will eventually get sued for false and misleading advertising and I suspect they will lose the suit and consequently end up owing plaintiff’s millions.

    Will they pay?  It will depend on if they have anything to pay with, I guess.  Where would they come up with the capital to pay?  Probably the poor saps that trust them enough to keep accounts with them.

    “Someone” will probably be wearing a sad and angry face at that time.

    To me, Etrades practice of deliberately attempting deception has convinced me that I do not want my portfolio tied up with them.

  • etradeIsBadHereAustralian Jan 14, 2007

    etrade is bad here in Australia as well.

    I am amazed that I am not the only one that is not happy with these etrade’s back-door policies.

    In my case, I sent my application for an account with Etrade in 2006 under their ?550 Free brokerage? promotion in Australia. The account did not open after 3 weeks, then I email them, the account finally has been opened in 2007. but the free brokerage did not give to me. so i emailed them again, they said something like this: To ensure a process for promotions, it is necessary for eligible clients to register via a specific web address,our record indicated that your application was not submitted via the promotional link for the E*TRADE free brokerage campaign.

    but please have a look etrade’s ad: “open an new account before 31/3/2007, receive $550 free brokerage”.

    What a shame. what I can say is the company apparently misleads customers. I am not brave enough to put thousands of hardworking money to an account with etrade(Australia) and let this kind of company to handle my shares.

    close the account with etrade and do trade with honest company.

  • allen Jan 17, 2007

    hey adam

    just wanted to let you know that i’ve been a happy etrade user for about 10 years and, in that time, have never been charged this $40 maintenance fee. given that, i think you should call them back and ask for a refund!

    good luck.

    a

  • tim Jan 18, 2007
  • not-reliable Jan 19, 2007

    etrade has problems again today(20/01/2007), it is just not reliable.

    Important Notice:

    We are experiencing intermittent problems that may affect accessing our website. We are working to resolve these difficulties and anticipate that our service will be restored shortly.

  • Gregory Jan 21, 2007

    E-Trade has just lost $6000 from my account. I used Quick Transfer to move the funds from E*Trade to my local bank checking account. I received a confirmation but two days later I received an email Alert that the transaction failed(no reason). I wrote 3 checks which will bounce. The debited my available cash and now deny any loss. I saw the cash reduced online but never saw the credit come back. I’ve been e-mailing(to provide a record) and a rep called me to assure me that no loss was incurred. He wants to email an XL spreadsheet with the balances. One problem is the $6000 transferred amount is missing? I’m going to file some kind of formal charge. I used DLJ Direct, Harris Direct with no problem but these guys are impossible to deal with.

  • shraz Jan 26, 2007

    I’ve been using Etrade for 3 years on the banking side. No problem at all. Any thing you signup for make sure you read the disclosure carefully. They usually list the fees and important days and such.

    I use Scottrade for my stocks and they are wonderful. No problem at all. The only con is that you can’t withdraw electronicly ACH. If you don’t buy or sell alot, it will work for you. No maintenance fees are crap like that.

  • rich Feb 2, 2007

    I signed up for Roth IRA account many years ago getting duped by Etrade’s fraudulent advertising whereby there were no account fees or minimums. Then of course they added account fees. Luckily I only put $300 in, but it was for 3 diff accounts (mine, wife, mother-in-law). Current balance of each is about $50 due to the accrued account fees, which appear to have magically stopped, for reasons that I can only assume are because Etrade has yet another alterior motive before squeezing the life out of our 3 accounts.

    I couldn’t move the money out because, based on my research at the time, I would have had to setup accounts at diff. brokerages where there’s higher minimums and account fees—too high for me.  When I called Etrade way back, they said they couldn’t do anything, no refund on account fees (big surprise).

    So basically Etrade stole $900+ from three working class individuals who don’t really have any savings to begin with.

    If I had the money, I would sue them on the basis of deceptive/fraudulent advertising.

    I’m really surprised there is no lawyer out there who will take this on.  Just google a little and you will find what appears to be an endless list of people who feel they were scammed by Etrade.

    This could be a big PR bonus for a law firm that wants to take this on. Those account fees thousands of people are upset about can also add up to a lot.

    Oh yeah, I’m also a victim of the $40 fees on brokerage accounts that people have commented on.

    And to “someone” and “Amazed”, someday some event is going to happen to you and you’ll realize life is a lot better lived amongst those who lead HONEST lives.  If you ever take a moment to look around, you’ll see that life has a way of waking people up in the most unpredictable, profound ways. The more of a wakeup call you need, the more profound it turns out.

    “someone” seems particularly angry at us Etrade victims, for no apparent reason. Take it easy, dude. Doesn’t seem like anyone here has harmed you in any way.

    To deceive and cause injury, or to lead your life as if everyone is out to deceive you and cause injury, boy you’re missing out.  Go out, get married, and have children, you’ll see what I mean.  Best way to learn about this little thing called TRUST.

    To the fellow victims of Etrade: do what you can, but rest assured that karma is right around the corner.

  • Larry Weissman Mar 5, 2007

    Etrade ripped me off as well.  $40 every quarter anf then sold my stocks to pay more inactivity fees.  Isn’t the purpose of stocks to let them sit and grow???  I emailed the person who wants to do the class action.  I will also email the VP of etrade.  I can only go back to 2004 so who knows how much I am out.  Larry

  • rich Mar 5, 2007

    I really hope someone can spur a class action on Etrade.

    It is simple: bait-and-switch and fraudulent advertising.

    Etrade has a factual history of advertising low or no fees, then increasing the fees (dramatically).

    It is not an easy process to simply switch brokerages, either.

    Basically, Etrade had this all figured out. I’m sure we can find many former employees who will testify to their dishonest practices.

  • amazed Mar 6, 2007

    Larry:Etrade ripped me off as well.  $40 every quarter anf then sold my stocks to pay more inactivity fees.  Isn?t the purpose of stocks to let them sit and grow???  I emailed the person who wants to do the class action.  I will also email the VP of etrade.  I can only go back to 2004 so who knows how much I am out.  Larry

    First of all, didnt you get monthly or quarterly statements from Etrade detailing the fees that they “ripped you off with”? What everyone here fails to realize is that Etrade and all other online firms are NOT non profit organizations, and as i stated earlier there are SO MANY ways to avoid the fee it is not even funny.Having stocks sit and grow is a ligitimate investment style however part of being an adult is paying attention to your finances. If I had one charge from Etrade or any other company I would call and ask why, how to avoid it in the future and ask to be credited for the fe since i was unaware. Im sure if thi had been done in many of your cases thee would be no need for a “class action suit” which cannot even happen anyway. My suggestion is this if you do not have the five minutes a month it takes to glance over a statement i would open a bank account and be happy with the 5% return im getting. Maybe in the future you can use the time set for bitching a little more productively and you will not be a “victim” anymone. And Larry this certainly is not addres soley to you, it is more of a general statement. I apologize if i singled you out. Thank you

  • rich Mar 6, 2007

    Hey amazed, what part of “bait and switch” do you not understand?

  • amazed Mar 6, 2007

    Believe me every fee that every company charges is outlined somewhere. Now im not saying it is right and i honestly do not read all of the fine print, but to say use the word fradulent or “bait and switch” i disagree. And i have tranferred my brokerage accounts several times and the entire process take 5-7 business days and is completely painless. And based on your comments you are not actively trading, so there should be no interference or interuption during that time. Like i said if you are unhappy about a fee do something about it…bitching will not make things better.

  • rich Mar 7, 2007

    Of course you disagree, because you don’t know what it feels like.

    The process is NOT painless. How do you transfer brokerage accounts? Well, don’t you realize you have to open another one first? And how do you open that other one? With another $2,000 or whatever their minimum is.

    Do I have an extra $2,000 lying around? Probably unlike you, I don’t.

    So no, this is far from being like a bank account.

    Anyways, this is aside from my IRA account, which I think I described above in another post. What’s your bright idea on fixing that problem?

    And don’t think I’m just sitting here and bitching. That’s the problem with people like you. You make assumption after assumption.

    Of course I am doing something about it. Because I have no reason to spend $2,000 to open up another brokerage account merely to transfer my assets under Etrade over, I’m going to sell all my stocks and cash out. I have no choice.

    Basically Etrade has got my assets tied up with those $40/quarter fees and margin interest to boot. Tell me how this is free enterprise. Etrade has figured it out. Good for them, until someone has the wherewithal to demand honest business practices via court of law.

    And the reason why I post here and argue pointlessly with people like you is because I want it to be known that if someone is filing a class action on Etrade, I’d like to be the first in line.

    Bait and switch is bait and switch. Doesn’t matter what the fine print says. If a TV ad says your account fees are X, they better be X.

    Now I’m AMAZED at why you spend your time here adding no value to the majority of the posters here, who want something done to Etrade for their dishonest business practices.

    Really, I’m gonna be AMAZED if you post something else again.

    This is a dead horse beaten upon. We are merely waiting for someone with the means to take the lead on a class action.

    What the hell are you doing here? Trying to make VICTIMIZED and pissed off people even more pissed off with your righteousness?

    Thanks for your “help”. Now go away.

  • Amazed Mar 7, 2007

    Hmm where do I begin…First of all it is my opinion that when you are discussing a topic it is healthy to have more than one view on that subject, maybe im crazy. Next, obviously you have never even attempted to transfer a brokerage account or you would have never made your uninformed comments. To transfer an account you SIMPLY contact the firm that you want to transfer to (Fidelity, Schwab,TD Ameritrade, Scottrade etc) and you let them know that you have an account that you would like to transfer to them. They will have you fill out a form, and submit it with either your most recent statement, or a list of your positions. THEY then do all of the work for you. They contact Etrade or whatever firm you are transferring from and initiate the transfer for you. Your rant about needing to have another $2000 is 100% incorrect, but understandable as it is logical thinking. To go the next step i will also let you know that there is an industry standard transfer fee that you will be charged (between $25-$60 usually). If you ask the company that the account is being tranferred to they will usually cover it for you, or give you a few free trades. A few other points…as i mentioned in an earlier post, I have experience,both good and bad, with many brokergae firms. If you, or anyone else would like to ask about another firm, i would be happy to help. This, after all is the reason i stumbled upon this blod in the first place. Lastly, i have ahd issues with firms, mostly trade related; and when the word “lawsuit” came up i was directed to the customer agreement…which is signed in one way or another when the account is opened. In the agreement, you accept the fact that any dispute will be handled in arbitration, not a court of law. Now i am by no means a law expert, and there very well may be a way around this but it would at very least be another obsticale in your way. As i have at least intelligently argued and attempted to help with any comments sent in my direction, i will politely decline your request for me to “go away” and I anxiously await your reply. Good Day

  • wow Mar 13, 2007

    Rich,

    It’s a shame that you feel victimized by Etrade.  Unfortunately, there are many non-truths to your story.  IRAs are not charged a quarterly maintenance fee.  Nor can you even have a margin account in an IRA, much less accrue margin interest.  While I understand that you may feel miffed by Etrade because you chose to ignore your accounts for several months, there really is no need to embellish the facts in order to plea your case.

  • amazed Mar 16, 2007

    It seems like Rich is quited know that he is actually informed…just remember knowledge is power…bitching isnt.

  • amazed Mar 20, 2007

    I will say something constructive, if you didnt already notice that I am trying to keep you and other from the headache of suing for something you wll never win. You keep saying that it is bait and switch advertising. How can you prove it? Do you have documentation stating that they would never charge fees? Do you have a piece of advertsing to back up your claims? You keep asking for legal help but even the best lawyer in the world cannot make a case without evidence and that is what you havent displayed. In your next post simply link to the advertising you speak of and I will completly understand, and possibly agree with your view. But until then, you are FAR from having what you need for a lawsuit.

  • Larry Mar 20, 2007

    Here’s the thing.  When you open up an investment account it is for the future…not for now.  And if you are led to feel secure when you are told there is no minimum balance to keep and then you buy some shares to let them sit…you should expect them to still be there years later.
    With the advent of creating an online stock portfolio within yahoo, msn, aol etc there is no need to view the monthly paper statements, when you can track activity online daily.  For this company to change their policy and not let the customer know verbally or in writing that (isn’t included (hidden) in a pamphlet in your statement) is wrong.  Especially after the fees keep accruing and the customer does nothing, their cust. svc. dept. should realize something’s up.  For Etrade to take all of the money that was in the cash balance and then sell all of my holdings to pay more inactivity fees is wrong.  If they didn’t want my biz anymore, or if they didn’t want to “hold” my holdings anymore, then they should have just cut me a check for my account value and closed it out.  Larry

  • collin Apr 17, 2007

    i signed up in 2004 with etrade under the first fifty trades promotion, and never recieved a credit. 

    i called and they didn’t know why.

    three years later and phone call after phone call, i finally get a customer service representative who somewhat cares, and he sent me a message through the etrade system that there is a one year window to contact etrade if you don’t recieve a credit to your account, therefore i’m not eligible.

    what about when i called during that one year period?

    i am emailing the class action lawsuit guy, i sent a letter to the vp, both snail mail and email, i contacted consumer affairs, and i am now leaving this. 

    when i get my money back from etrade finally, i will be switching services…

    oh god, i wonder how much hastle i’ll have to go through for that, and how much time i’ll waste dealing with etrade probably trying to rip me off again.

    oh, and i was recently charged that $40 fee as well, but called and the customer rep. was able to remove the fee from my account… glad i happened upon this guy, but still wish he could have taken care of me a little more….

  • wellwell Apr 20, 2007

    This is to Amazed.

    Thanks for the laughs and for all the truthful comments.  I hope to God E-trade is not as bad as all the complainers say it is, as I have just deposited a lot of money with them.  I guess I’ll find out. 

    As far as all the comments here, I can certainly sympathize with anyone who lost their money, whether they were duped out of it or not.  However, the few who say they’ve had good experiences with E-trade seem to be the kind who WOULD check their statements, read the fine print and so on, and all the others seem to be the kind of people who expect that they can avoid doing things like that and still have no problems. 

    Doesn’t work that way in the real world.  Sorry.

  • floored May 11, 2007

    Thanks for the complaint info on the site!
    I’ve been doing occasional buys/sells with Etrade, just to become comfortable with them.

    Recently, I just had a sell go horribly wrong and I have been working on it for 3 weeks.  I’ve talked to 6 different ETRADE staff people and just when we think it is straightened out, in a day or two there are additional transactions in my account done by ETRADE staff;  things that I have not authorized or have any knowledge of.  It is the craziest thing!
    I am looking into the formal complaint process….

  • Gregory May 11, 2007

    I finally gave up. E-Trade cannot show an opening and closing balance for any given date. Their records(system) apparently doesn’t take a “picture” of an account balance. I am almost certian I didn’t lose the $6000 in question but the can’t prove it and neither can I. With market fluctuations and multiple trades going on, the only way to handle it is to print out you balance daily balance before and after a trade, also the day before and a couple days after. The ACH transfer apparently failed and I wasn’t notified until 3 day later. I had to “eat” the charges for the three NSF checks I wrote. Their guarantee and advertising is mostly BS. (IMHO).

    guzda

  • wellwell May 30, 2007

    I’d like to add to my previous post.  I’ve been trading with E-Trade for about a month and a half now, and I don’t know what all the complainers here are talking about.  Hopefully, I’ll never find out.
    I’ve done a lot of business with at least five other brokerage houses in the past (two were among the largest in the business and three later went out of business).  I’ve executed hundreds of trades and talked to dozens of brokers.  Up until now, my experience with E-Trade has by far been the best. 
    Their website is incredibly easy to navigate, though I would agree that to find the small print and to get all the information you need, you do have to search around a little bit.  More importantly for a trader, though, their executions are superb. 
    Every time I have had to talk to someone on the phone, in less than two or three minutes (at the most) I reached a real, live person, and each time that person was friendly, helpful and understanding.  You DO have to push Zero, which they do not tell you.  But no information has been concealed from me, and no promotional offers have been withdrawn.  I was even told the date that my free trades will post to my account.
    As far as getting through, I think it helps to remember not to call in the last five minutes of the day or when the market is up or down by 100 points or more.
    I was originally drawn to this blog because I was doing research on E-Trade when I opened my account.  As I said before, I deposited a lot of money with them, and I hope that I never have any of the negative experiences that some of the others who have posted to this site seemed to have had.  So far, there has no been no reason to suspect that I will. 
    Is it possible that if you start out with a negative bias (as, for example, might all the people who were transferred over involuntarily from Harris) that you’re going to see that bias born out in your perception?  Is it possible that what you believe is going to happen to you is generally what does?  I don’t know.  It might be something to consider.
    Incidentally, thanks to ADAM for making this blog possible.  Very well designed.  Great stuff!

  • Gina Jun 21, 2007

    Same thing happened to us.  Sent a letter requesting Etrade close our account on May 31st and here it is the end of June, and no word.  I just logged in to my account so clearly it’s not closed but interestingly enough, the .11 balance that was there before I sent the letter is now gone.  Etrade totally sucks.

  • james Aug 1, 2007

    I recently closed all etrade accounts with great difficulty… please note that if you send them any postal mail (they require a written notice) – you must send return receipt since they loose mail and charge late fees… finally they would accept a signed fax statement (Etrade financial HELOC)… seriously avoid etrade – you will get burned – all of you who are in it – sooner or later – because its just good business sense to them…

  • someone Aug 8, 2007

    etrade heloc is very seperated from the core of etrades business, it might even be outsourced.  its comparable to having a credit card under a bank, but really its just a visa card.  if visa has a certain policy, you tend to blame your bank because their name is on the card.  brokerage accounts do not require any written correspondence for closure, and bank accounts only do if addresses have changed recently or the account is brand new, and faxes are acceptable

  • FORMER_E_TRADER Aug 11, 2007

    Etrade took $160.00 from my account of $1,000. I too did not read the small print about the inactivity fees of $40.00 per quarter. Never an email or notice from them to give me a heads up. They would have happily emptied my account if I would not have noticed. They we’re soooooooo nice to give me back $40.00 of my own money when I threatened to close my account. When I asked why they couldn’t refund the entire $160.00 they said it was because their “system” would not let them. I agree with the earlier blogger who said eTrade is “riding” on the back of small investors.
    Or is it “peeing” down their back? I think so!

  • Even Steven? Aug 13, 2007

    Go ahead and call me a dick already – you are what you eat, after all !

    Seriously, I have been similarly taken for the $40.00 fees.  Go ahead and blame me – I don’t care what you misanthropes think.  Heck, I am ONE of you!  Just slipped up in the case of E*Trade.  It can happen to anyone, esp. those like me who have a life (family, good job, friends…)

    As E*Trade has refused to refund these fees, here’s what I’m going to do:

    – I am informing E*Trade that I am not in the business of paying for nothing, and the money has to come from somewhere.

    – I am deducting the full amount that I gave E*TRADE from my charitable contributions for 2007.

    Nuts?

  • slashbot Aug 15, 2007

    Holy crap—did a search for E*Trade and evil and this webpage came up.  This *BURNS ME UP* to see so many people victimized by the same ripoff.  My sister had an E*Trade account with probably a few thousand, which was *emptied* over several years by E*Trade and their fraud.  They *did not* send any notice regarding the change in minimum balances or inactivity fee.

    I have been with E*Trade since about 1998, when they did not have these fees.  I personally never was charged myself (have 6 figures in assets with them and am well above the minimums to avoid fees).  My sister just had a few funds that she would let grow, but now it is empty due to E*Trade.  The weird thing is the address for the mailings is *unchanged* and they never sent any change in terms notification.

    When my sister called, they used inflammatory statements like saying “We’re not a charity, ma’am” instead of doing anything professional.  Sheesh, probably would have stayed on if they gave half the amount back in trading credits.  Nope, EMPTIED the account.

    I am in the process of closing my large account, and, needless to say, she closed hers.

  • Phani Aug 20, 2007

    Some body hacked in to my etrade account and i was supposed recieve a call on friday and no one from Etrade called to tell me what the status is. When i call them, they say that either the case manager is not at his desk or some one will call me in an hour. I have not heard from them in three days. Its only me calling. Did this happen to a lot of people or is it just me.

  • Phani Aug 20, 2007

    My Etrade account was hacked on Thursday. When i called them they said some one will contact me in 24 hours. Its been three days and no one called me so far. When i call them they say that either the case manager is not at his/her desk or they will call me in an hour. I trusted Etrade and if i do not hear anything from them today, i will be contacting national and local news agencies. Did this just happen to me only or it happened to lot of people that they can not resolve the issue?

  • NORMAN T Sep 18, 2007

    ETRADE COMPUTER DOWN ON 09/18/2007 I NEED TO TRADE ON THAT DAY INTEREST RATE CUT 1/2 A POINT I COULD RUSH IN MAKE 10 OR MORE PERCENT THAT HOURS AND I CALL THEIR CUTOMER SERVICE ALLWAY HAS A PERSON WITH BAD ASCENT FROM INDIA
    LOOK LIKE THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE HEAD QUARTER IN INDIA. I DON’T TRUST ETRADE WITH MY f&^%^&% MONEY

  • Doug Dee Sep 19, 2007

    Incredible!

    Etrade has now cost me over 40 grand.  I googled “class action lawsuit Etrade” to see if others have been screwed over by them ….

    Apparently I am not alone…

  • David Mastrantonio Oct 3, 2007

    I’ve worked for several brokerage firms for the past 20 year and in my experiende the complaint about ‘hidden’ fees is by far the most common,  And there is one simple reason:  Failure to read what one is agreeing to before committing.  It’s just like clicking ‘I Agree’ when you load a piece of software onto your computer.  You’d be surprised what you are agreeing to and what rights you are waiving by checking that box. I hate the fine print, but I read it.  ALL OF IT.  Sites like this wouldn’t exist if everyone did the same.

  • steve Oct 22, 2007

    they stole my money too.  etrade is a bunch of thieves.  i will never ever ever ever do business with etrade again.

  • John Nov 2, 2007

    Same thing happened to me. On page one they say you have $750 in your account and on page 5 is where they list the monthly inactivity fee which is totally misleading. I called E-trade to close up my account after my CPA noticed margin interest ion my yearly statement. I called E-trade to close up the account and they instructed me if I wanted to do so that I would owe them over $300 in fees since the fees are more than what is in the account. I went to FINRA arbitration and lost. Do anyone have any law firm that is handling a class action against this practice??

  • susan Nov 13, 2007

    When I logged on to etrade today (I had one stock) I noticed FOR THE FIRST TIME an amount due of $540 in red as maintenance fees and discovered that my cash reserve account had been liquidated for prior maintenace fees by etrade. I called etrade and was on hold for 55 minutes before speaking to an equally ill-humored rep who told me those fees were clearly indicated on each statement.  I disputed the ‘clearly indicated’ part and asked her to sell my stock and to close the account.  I opted to sell myself after she told me it would cost $45 for her to sell it.  PS – I have to wait 3 days and call back on Friday for the final account closing which will surely entail another hour waiting on hold.
    Thanks for posting this blog on etrade. I am wondering if some class action suit can be filed, even if it is not won by traders it will cost etrade some of the $650 plus dollars they charged just to my account for doing nothing.
    Any ideas?

  • John Nov 13, 2007

    There is probably enough duped investors in this blog to start a class action law suit.  Any Attorneys willing to take on this case??

  • rob Jan 13, 2008

    Two weeks ago, I opened 3 accounts with e-trade, one the cd with a 5.something rate, and funded it with $90K. they had no trouble taking my money, but it has been 2 weeks and I can’t see my accounts online. Calling multiple times has been fruitless. As of now, I have no proof they have my money, except that I can see where they took it from my other bank account. When I get customer service, they have a pissload of excuses, all of which are stupid. Everytime I try to link the account it says invalid social security number. Well assholes thats the only social I have. I have no receipt, no online page I can see, literally nothing. gmacbank doesn’t have these problems, Countrywide bank doesn’t have these problems… Fuck E-trade.

  • Russell Feb 2, 2008

    Etrade sucks. I want to transfer my Roth away from them.

  • Jef Feb 5, 2008

    I just transferred my account out of ETrade.  They really do go after their investors’ funds by nickel-and-diming their accounts.

    Out of the blue they started charging the $40 maintenance fee with no real notification (just slipped it into the fine print).  Then when I transferred my account to Fidelity because of their ETrade’s filching, they also charged me a $60 ‘account closing’ fee.  WHAT A CROCK!  In the past month alone that’s $100 they’ve taken out of my account!

    btw – Fidelity and plenty of others won’t charge maintenance or inactivity fees.  ETrade robs people!  Get the word out!

  • seemtohaveuallbeat Mar 5, 2008

    I gave Etrade $2000 in cash in 2000.  Spent the year trying to have it sent back to me or have it display in Accounts.  Got FBI Special Agent to guide me thru 3 months of phone calls 2/week, after I broke my back on ice.  CS always walked from phone so it auto-hung-up after 30 min – hour.  Finally got it back.  Still have several certified mailing stubs to show I forced them to legally acknowledge my existence (they denied me for months). 

    Had a small IRA from my former employer in town & wanted to put in into Scottrade on my way out of town to convalesce.  Ad said sign up for electronic document delivery and enjoy -0- account maintenance fees – so I signed up and saved a screenshot of the Thank You page.  Figured I would xfer to Scottrade when I could handle more stress – just didnt want to leave my $ in the town where I was injured & leaving.
    A year or so passes and I do my taxes while talking with CS they tell me on phone I should use electronic document delivery to avoid account maintenance fees.  I said I would check my records, but, sure, go ahead.  Rep took my info down and said “good to go!” and shit canned the rest.  I checked & found the screenshot & it didnt have numerical distinctions to it other than Creation/Modification Dates.  Couple more years go by and Im doing taxes and find theyre still hosing me!  All healed up and doing physical labor jobs to keep fed, I re-apply for document delivery and take screenshots of every step in the process.  No where does eTrade offer a receipt for this—as you all now KNOW—very valuable, cost-saving service they have been offering.  In fact, the entire deal is offered exactly as any sham must be—completely ignominiously and illegitimately!
    I still have the screen shots with the URLs displayed.  I feel confident eTrade conveniently destroyed that evidence.  What is it when there are legal claims against ANY corporate entity – LLC, Public penny stock, SP500, or whatever—and records pertinent to a claim are summarily destroyed?  Iowa Attorney General, Securities Office, is under the impression that the ROUTINE nature of these destructions outweighs the ROUTINE nature of the complaints pertaining to the immediate matter-at-hand, such that this is a case of Bona Fide green-blooded Business As Usual. 
    Americans—YOU ARE NOT SAFE!  YOU CAN NOT PROTECT YOURSELVES.  THERE IS NO WHERE TO HIDE.
    For Christ’s sake, stop working!  MAKE this POS collapse under its own imperial lard.

  • Jorge Gasteazoro Mar 11, 2008

    The people who said there is too much whining are probably working for E trade.. LOL.

    Here is my story. I had a small IRA that I stupidly enough had transfered to E trade because they promised 50 commision free trades. Well, the fine print is that you get the fees refunded to you after two months. Anyhow, I had a medical emergency (needed an operation to remove a cancer) and I called them and asked them to give me an early distribuition. So for this they charged me $25 and another $25 to send it Fedex to Mexico. Apparently filling the Fedex form and putting “documents” on it was too difficult for their mailing department.

    To make a long story short, no check, they do not know where it is, even with a tracking number, their CS people are unable and unwilling to help, would not transfer me to a supervisor and I suspect the supervisors in CS do not want to be bothered with customers.

    So, if you are looking for a broker who provides CS, is not engaged in nickeling and diming you with fees at every turn and when you are in need of them doing something efficiently for you, then you better stay away from E trade, these people are absolutely the pond scum of brokers.

  • Guzda Mar 11, 2008

    I moved my account from E-Trade to Ameritrade. E-Trade charged me $60.00 to close the account and transfer to Ameritrade. Ameritrade- so far, so good.
    E-Trade made a mistake on my 1099 which I found after my income tax was filed. They missed a trade for some reason. No wonder they’re headed down the drain. It’s more than the mortgage crisis. They are probably making cuts as they have lost a lot of business as well as many bad mortgage loans. Seemed to me like it can only get worse. I don’t want to sail on the Titanic.

  • seemtohaveuallbeat Mar 19, 2008

    Gasteazoro,

    That’s EXACTLY the Titanic-full-of-BS they gave me on my $2000 ET Bank Account funds-return!
    AND – I repeatedly CERTIFIED mailed them my return address of choice,
    WHICH WAS – a paid, US Postal Mail Center box!
    They refused many, many, godawful many times on the grounds that neither that nor my apartment address could be verified (“by them”) as belonging to myself.
    SO – if ANY one out there lives in an apartment complex: eTrade refuses to be held responsible for refusing to send you any of your assets!

    (Thanks, FBI—it only took me 6 more f-n weeks after you got involved)
    BTW, my story is a mirror image of what it takes to get out of hock after an ID theft wracks your finances.  ET is the ID thief.  It’s a BANK goddamit – the whole country is going belly up for lack of imagination of how a national economy might produce a LOWER cost of living and still SURVIVE.  How lame is that?

  • Larry Mar 29, 2008

    Found this site googling class action lawsuit. I finally closed three accounts that I had for 10 years. Etrade goes down as the poorest institution I have dealt with. You have to watch this company like a hawk to avoid unnecessary and costly fees. My monthly statements showed many reversals to get the account correct very uninspiring. Their parting shot was to drag their feet on transferring the accounts and keeping any interest less than $10 dollars. It is ok to do this by law according to them. This is what that did on two of my Roth IRA accounts.  The accounts were in a cash basis so there was no need to wait for any settling. Seven weeks after receiving instructions to move the accounts they did so without the paid monthly interest. I assume if the amount is over 10 dollars they include it the final distribution to avoid cutting two checks. But if it is less than 10 dollars they keep it and say they legally don?t have to cut checks for less than 10 dollars.  So they keep $25 for a yearly fee even if it is for one day, then they charge $60 to close the account. Then have a policy in effect that guarantees up to another $9.99 per closed account.  What happened to due diligence? They are advertising 1000 new accounts a day.  I wonder how many people close their accounts each day? Granted they only screwed me out of a few dollars, but it is the principal. Is this policy grounds for another class action lawsuit?

  • Leah Apr 8, 2008

    I also found this site through a google search of E-Trade class action suits. There are currently two suits against E-Trade that I found on the internet: one filed by people who bought stock in the E-Trade company itself and one filed by E-Trade clients regarding web access (or lack thereof) issues. Some of the issues above can be addressed by this latter suit.

    I’m interested in starting another class action suit, and based on what I’ve read on this page, I think we have a case.

    I placed over $2000 in E-Trade and bought Cisco stocks with half of that money. I chose to do paper statements because I wanted this account to be one of my retirement accounts and therefore did not want to panic every time it hit a low. Over the course of a few years, E-Trade did the following: sold my stocks without permission while it was super low, charged me a monthly fee until my account was zeroed out, and closed my account completely. I only found out because I decided to look into buying a condo last year and when assessing my liquid assets found out that E-Trade took over $2000 of my money without me signing off on any action even once. When I asked why I was never sent a letter, they explained that it was because I turned off paper statements. Um…account summaries and notice of sale or closure are not exactly the same thing. WTF?

    I understand that I am partly culpable for not watching my account like a hawk, but they seem to have gone too far by selling my stocks without permission then charing me over $1000 in fees until my account was closed, also without my permission. I blamed myself at first, but as I started telling my friends what happened, every single one of them said that it sounds like something truly unethical, if not illegal, was done by E-Trade. I agree with them after seeing all your posts.

    I’m planning on hiring a lawyer to find out if I can start a class action lawsuit. If any of you are interested, please post here to let me know and I will post again later to update you kids on my progress. I called E-Trade this morning and they are investigating what went wrong with my account and will send me documentation with results. I will then look into meeting with lawyers with that documentation and let them know that I am not alone.

    E-Trade is an extremely unethical and poorly run company. They need to be hit hard so that what happened to us does not happen to anyone else.

  • granat Apr 8, 2008

    wow! I guess I’m not the only one who’s been robbed by E-TRADE. All of us small guys have absolutley no recourse. From what I’ve found out by talking to class action lawyers is that E-trade has the right to do this. I feel strongly that E-trade is not an ethical company! How can it cost them to just have your money in their account! In fact , they earn interest off it! If enough people got together, we could force a class action lawsuit against that evil entity! At the least, it would cost them millions in lawyers fees. I’m game…anyone else?

  • elaine Apr 27, 2008

    found this site after discovering monthly charges and that etrade would do nothing about it.  i never even signed up with etrade.  i signed up with harris direct, which got absorbed by etrade.  never got a notice about changes in policy or that i would be charged.  is this legal?  who is in charge of this lawsuit?

  • Keith May 16, 2008

    I have used Etrade for over 10 years.  Never had a problem their customer service couldn’t solve quickly and efficiently. 

    I have been charged a few fees that I didn’t immediately expect but caught them on the monthly statements and/or by logging on to my accounts regularly.  In every case the fees were charged because of something I did or didn’t do according to the agreement at the time I setup the account and I believe that when you enter an agreement/contract, you agree to every term regardless of whether you have read the agreement or understand its terms.

    In many of those cases, even though I didn’t have a legal leg to stand on, I spoke to their customer service rep and plead my ignorance (because that is exactly what it was) and they removed the fee as part of their normal customer service.

    I agree with many of the seemingly unpopular views posted here.  Much if not all of these problems could have been avoided or at the very least minimized if the victims/customers took a much more responsible and proactive approach to monitoring their money.

    Whether you like it or not the world works on buyer beware and as such you may think it is you who are being taken advantage of, but the truth is that it is YOUR responsibility to determine if you want to do business with companies by agreeing to their terms.  Not the other way around.

    Every promo is designed to entice and every promo has fine print and terms and conditions.  It is the consumer who is responsible for finding out what they are obligating themselves by participating in the promotion.

    Let?s not continue becoming a society who promotes blaming everyone else for their own problems.  Just like this whole mortgage problem.  Nobody held a gun to anybody’s head forcing them to sign the mortgage.  Read a contract before you sign it.  If you don’t understand the contract, hire an attorney to explain it to you.

    Just a piece of advice…if you proactively monitor your money, it is more likely that you will have an ever increasing amount of it to monitor.

  • Oliver Jun 18, 2008

    Hear hear!  We do need to take responsibility for our actions and our money and stop whining about not being protected from ourselves.

    Etrade’s service fee however is tantamount to theft.  Here’s why.  you can avoid the fee by simply using their bill pay system (which is free) twice in a quarter.  That bill pay transaction costs them money.  Or you could make one trade per quarter for $12.99, which also costs them money and they won’t charge you the $40.

    They started with $15 per quarter, a reasonable amount, closer to the cost of the one trade, and then got greedy and upped it to $25, saw no one was paying attention and raised it to $40.  Now you’re paying $160 per year to get 4 email statements.

    They are counting on the small investor (under $20k) who bought stock during the boom and is no longer paying attention to their portfolio.  They are making more profit from small uninvolved investors than active traders.

    I know you need to be on top of your money, but seriously?  you bought $1,000 of msft with your bonus money and you’re going to pay attention to that portfolio?  No you’re not

  • unknown Jun 23, 2008

    I am so glad to know I am not the only one having this problem. I invested all my college savings in my Etrade account. A couple of days ago my account was frozen and when I call customer service no one can tell me anything about my account. I had $60,000 in my account and I have no idea where my money is. Its driving my crazy not knowing where my money is. I have bills to pay, I go back to college in a few months. Etrade stole my money, this is illegal. I don’t know what I will do if I dont get my money back. Etrade is ruining my life and causing me a lot of emotional stress.

  • jun Jul 9, 2008

    the stock market is not a real market.  i almost opened an account with tdameritrade today, but i stopped short of clicking i agree because on the agreement (which you don’t get to see until the last page of the application) they basically say that they have the right to deny any trade for any asinine reason and that they always retain the right to sell your stocks and keep the profit for yourselves.  Undoubtedly all brokerage firms make you agree to crap like this, and as a result, the stock market is nothing more than a pyramid scheme for criminals like David Mastrantonio above who worked for a brokerage firm for 20 years to get rich by raping people of their money.  Yeah, David, you should read what you are agreeing to, BUT at the same time it sure does suck that you can’t get into the stock market at all without agreeing to let a piece of filth like you steal your money at his own discretion.  We need a class action lawsuit against all brokerage firms, and we need to turn the stock market into a real market, where you literally buy and sell stocks not brokerage accounts and there needs to be no margin trading.  Do you even realize what margin trading is?  Margin trading means that the broker steals someone else’s stock and lets you sell it so you and they make money, and both of you stole someone elses’ money!  This is just plain criminal.  I’m glad I read tdameritrade’s agreement because now I know what these crooks are doing.  It’s just too bad I had to get to the last page of the application before I realized this, because now those human sponges have my social security number.

  • Small Print Aug 6, 2008

    To “unknown”  who’s ‘lost’ 60k of their college fund (or anyone in a similar situation):

    Call center staff are limited in what they can do. They have a large palate of possible responses and actions, but if your situation is unusual then they won’t be able to help. ‘Supervisors’ merely co-ordinate call center operations – so don’t bother asking to speak to a ‘supervisor.’ Also, no managers are located anywhere near the ‘front-end,’ so don’t waste your time with that old chestnut (“I want to speak to a manager”).

    Now,  you haven’t given us the whole story, have you..? If Etrade staff have asked to do something in order to regain access to your assets,  then you’d better do it, even if it is a drag.

    If you need to mail anything to Etrade,  use a full-tracking service. Large, powerful corporations, like Etrade, do tend to ‘lose’ things, and you may need to prove in court that you sent an item to Etrade on a particular date, AND that they received it. If Etrade asks you to mail something, then send the requested item with a ‘..as requested’ note, briefly referencing your account/situation. No embellishments.  Do not ‘get into it’ in a letter – it might be tempting, but don’t do it (see further down).

    If your assets are truly missing, and Etrade has no further advice to offer, then you should consider contacting the FBI.  Note, if the FBI investigates, that investigation will include you and everything you’ve told them.
    If the FBI has no advice, then you will need to hire an attorney.

    If the assets are not missing, but withheld in a manner you think unreasonable and willful, then you will need an attorney. 

    Don’t do anything now that would make your future attorney’s job harder:  don’t do anything dumb, like accuse Etrade of dishonesty, negligence or anything even slightly negative.  As far as they are concerned, you think Etrade is a shinning example of competence and transparency. Dig? Even when you speak to FBI, or SEC, don’t say anything that might seem like an accusation against Etrade.  If accusations are to be made then they should be made by an attorney. Whenever YOU speak, keep it simple – ie, my assets were last ‘seen’ in Etrade’s possession; I would like my assets returned. Keep it simple.

    Etrade may employ various delaying tactics, beyond your attorney’s control. So make sure that you and he/she always act promptly.

    In the event that Etrade goes into Chapter 11, federal asset protection will apply (with limits, research your own situation). But if your account is ‘missing’/disputed at the time of bankruptcy, the matter may become more complicated.

    Good luck!

  • etradeHATER Oct 13, 2008

    First I just want to say STAY AWAY FROM ETRADE or should I say EHOLD!!

    I’ve never been so pissed at a company in my life!

    Listen to this!

    I opened an etrade account online over a month ago.  I decided to open the account because I wanted to purchase stock that day! I went ahead and did a quick transfer and wired money into my etrade account. I tried to make a transaction but it was pending (understandable). I called a representative and they told me that since it was first quick transfer transaction that was going to take longer (17 Days!). In the meantime I already had 5 transactions completed with sharebuilder, of which they provided the funds for upfront. But after the funds were apparently available with etrade I decided make a trade.  Apparently, you can’t make trades online for under $10/share you have to call the miserable 800-number.  After an hour hold time I believe I gave up and hung up (loosing money on a potential stock purchase that i wanted now 18 days ago!). I decided I was FINISHED with etrade, apparently that was just the start of my problems!!! I went to transfer my funds back to my bank account (that etrade already had the routing number and my account number to) and Etrade said that my account had not been setup for outgoing transfers; so, they had to send me two small amounts to my bank account that I had to verify (which took days!).  After I verified the numbers, I went to transfer the money and it said the account had not been verified…please click the link to verify….so I tried to verify again and it said it was already verified (sending me in a circle). I checked my account recently and there is no money in it. So, I called etrade to figure it out, AFTER I gave ALL my information confirming I am who I am (name, phone, email, home address, birthday, and ssn) they told me there was security issues or “unusual online activity” and that had to send a NOTARIZED letter to them including this information:
    1- Name
    2- Account number
    3- Contact numbers
    4- Instruction to resolve security issue in the account

    I feel like I need to file a complaint with the BBB, SEC, and FINRA. Or even go to court over this!

  • Darla Oct 13, 2008

    OMG etradeHATER….thank you for your post.  I went on today to open an account, as I want to purchase stock TOMORROW.  But I couldn’t find ANYTHING about the delay in transferring money into my account.  I’m so grateful to have seen your post.  I was about to transfer a large amount of money into my e-trade account, thinking that I could buy stock tomorrow morning…..I didn’t realize it would take 17 days before I could do anything.  Thanks for stopping me from making a huge mistake!

  • Marc Oct 16, 2008

    My letter to ETRADE:
    With the condition of the stock market, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to purchase some stock. I was looking for a expedient solution, and ETRADE looked like a viable option. I was ready to do some trades.
    I transferred $2000.00 into an ETRADE account this weekend. I did this via your online website. After making the transfer from my bank account to ETRADE (transaction complete) I found that there was a four day hold period on my funds. I wasn?t too happy about that, but it was too late.
    I contacted ETRADE today (10/08) and found out that there is an additional 7 day hold on my funds, though it was verified that you are indeed in possession of my funds as of today. In essence that gives you the use of my funds for another 7 days, and there are (to my disappointment) still no trades for me. It seems very unreasonable considering that we are in an age of electronic transfers that you would hold my funds for such a length of time.
    This is ridicules and bad business. I had hopes of doing some trades, but you guys are so hard to work with. I also spent a lot of time on the phone to your representatives trying to sort this thing out. I was put on hold for a long time.  You should release my funds immediately. I wish to close this account immediately. I expect to be refunded my money immediately.
    THIS HAS BEEN A HASSLE AND A BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. I will not recommend ETRADE to any of my friends, (all who invest heavily). Close my account and refund my funds. I will file an FTC complaint. This is a bad policy that needs to be corrected.

  • Mark Oct 19, 2008

    Same experience with Etrade.  I became a buy/hold investor collecting dividends as the market shaved 5k off my account.  How insulting that etrade decides to steal $40/quarter now and steal another $60 for me to transfer my account.  That wipes out 2 years of dividends.  If you don’t think Wall Street is stacked against you, the Brokerages will steal it.

  • AribaEmployee Jun 12, 2010

    Joined E-Trade in 2000.

    Last activity was 2001.

    Found out about a new $40.00 “inactivity” fee.

    Zero notification about it. Now either no money in the account or actually negative money.

  • Larry Jun 14, 2010

    Well today I got a check from the Greenberg vs E*Trade class action suit, and I got alot of my money back, $628.00
    I don’t know what the status is of this lawsuit for new people but the Settlement Administrators number is 888-236-1260
    Good luck

  • ThatAdamGuy Jun 14, 2010

    Larry, thank you for the update, and congrats on getting much of your money back 🙂

  • rich Jun 15, 2010

    Same here. My wife got one too. Far as I’m concerned, we’re even, but I still will never do business with Etrade again. A big middle finger to “Amazed” too. Buh-bye. I won. How’s that for “quited”? Beeyatch.

  • Etradeisevil Dec 13, 2011

    question is, which planet do you live on?  Most people on planet earth with modest, and I mean modest, amounts of money to invest don’t spend their free time reading fine print on page 5 of a quarterly financial statement.

  • Etradeisevil Dec 13, 2011

    please go be “amazed” somewhere else; any responsible service provider would remind a client of the conditional minimums instead of silently bilking them for every last penny.  The only “service” eTrade provides is self-serving.  

What do you think?