Word of Advice: Stay away from TradeKing

Dear Internet,notradeking

I recently had the displeasure of dealing with TradeKing’s customer support, and decided I no longer want to do business with a company with their policies. Sadly, I had to learn the hard way and I am hoping I can save a reader or two from this ordeal.

At the end of last month, I deposited some money to buy some stocks. Since it is an ACH transaction, it takes a couples of days. So, I forgot and didn’t log back in until this month. To my surprise, there is an outrageous $50 charge in my account for an “inactivity fee”. This is a fee they added late last year and they claim they emailed me about it during that time. I can not find an email to this effect and even then, why not notify me before charging me this time around? Would it hurt them to drop a line with all the technology available nowadays? A text, IM, tweet, or something like hey we are about to charge you this fee if you do not make a transaction soon. Instead, the first month there is enough money in the account for them to charge me a fee, they just charge away.

In the following chat, I tried to talk them out of charging me this fee but they will mostly just argue the validity of their fee that is hidden in a 100 question long FAQ that I only found after googling for it. I honestly recognize it was my mistake not to research the company further. But, since I though I was somehow grandfathered in from Zecco, Inc. which they merged with, I did not do my due diligence. I admit I snoozed. However, I don’t want to and advise you not to do business with a company where if you snooze, you lose.

Welcome to TradeKing’s Live Help service. Your chat is currently being routed to one of our representatives, you will be connected shortly.
Thank you for contacting us, I am ‘Donnie’ how may I assist you today?
Donnie: Good afternoon. Thank you for contacting TradeKing.
Christian Rios: Hi Donnie, I was about to place a trade and I realized my account have a $50 charge!
Christian Rios: After reasearching it, I am very upset. I did not have to worry about this with Zecco
Donnie: Let me check your account
Donnie: Please provide your full name and the last 4 digits of your SS number for account verification.
Christian Rios: Christian Rios, 1337
Donnie: Yes I do see your account was charged with an inactivity fee, and we apologize if this caught you off guard.
Donnie: All Zecco clients were notified via email regarding the introduction of the Inactivity Charge to their accounts, so they could take the course of action they felt best fit their needs to avoid the charge. Unfortunately it does cost TradeKing to maintain dormant and inactive accounts. In efforts to continue to offer our deeply discounted commission structure to all our clients, and to avoid having to change our commission structure to offset the increasing maintenance costs associated with these inactive accounts, the Inactivity Charge was introduced.
Christian Rios: I would appreciate it if you guys remove that charge.
Donnie: Unfortunately, this charge is a valid part of our fee structure. However, if you would like I can extend an offer to have this charge reimbursed if you can make a deposit to raise your account balance to the minimum of $2500 in order to avoid this fee.
Donnie: I see your account value is roughly $800 short of the minimum balance required in order to be exempt from the fee.
Christian Rios: I thought all you needed to do was to make a trade once a year?
Donnie: That is correct as well.
Donnie: You will have until August of 2014 to place one trade in order to be exempt from the fee for next year
Christian Rios: Well, can you remove it and I can place a trade before the end of the month?
Donnie: Unfortunately not, this fee was validly charged to the account.
Christian Rios: Look, I am trying to be reasonable here. But, if you are not going to play ball, I promise you, I will take my business elsewhere.
Donnie: We do regret to hear that, and we would not want to lose your business. However, this charge is a part of our structure here at TradeKing, and we do apologize if this is not in line with your intended trading volume in the account.
Christian Rios: Yet, you agreed to remove the fee if I deposit 800 dollars to comply, but not if I place a trade. Fine, I am done doing business with you. Btw, I have a blog and would to share how you treat your customers.
Donnie: We do apologize for your lack of satisfaction here, but if placing one trade per year is not something that can easily be met then it may be best to find a broker that does not have minimum trading requirements.
Christian Rios: Yes, one without ridiculous and outrageous fees and one willing to work things out with their customers.
Donnie: If you should decide to leave then we do wish you the best of luck with future investments.
Christian Rios: well, I already decided to leave, can we get started with that process?
Donnie: Sure, if you intend to transfer your account to another broker then this process will be initiated on the receiving brokers end, as they will have special transfer instructions for you.
Donnie: Once this process is initiated on their end, no further action will be needed from you on our end here.
Donnie: Do you have any other questions that I can assist with at this time?
Christian Rios: No, I am just amazed a what a terrible company you are
Donnie: We do regret to hear you feel that way, and if there are no further questions then I wish that you have a great rest of your day.
Donnie: I am happy to be of service, have a great day.
Thank you for contacting TradeKing today. I hope I was able to answer your questions or address your concerns. If you believe that this issue is still unresolved or you have additional feedback, please email a copy of this conversation to service@tradeking.com.

2 thoughts on “Word of Advice: Stay away from TradeKing”

  1. No offense, but you are just as much at fault as they are. You only had 1700 in your account, and hadn’t made a trade in a year. Essentially, you were sitting on a 1700 account that had no activity. How do you expect them to make money? They are a business, and if you are going to keep a low balance, and not trade, then they are forced to apply fees. If all their clients had accounts of 1700, and no trades, they would be out of business. A 2500 minimum is very reasonable to avoid this type of fee. I always tell people that if you are going to keep a low balance in any brokerage/retirement account, you need to be absolutely sure about the fee structure. If you see a minimum balance mentioned anywhere, make sure you know what will happen if that is not met.

    Also, if you are that mad about the fee, just close the account. Don’t give them the whole “take my business elsewhere” threat, like I said they weren’t making any money off of you, and could care less if you leave. From my experience it is always the people with small accounts that bitch the most. These companies are happy to have you go elsewhere, that’s why they charge these fees…either put a decent amount of money with us, trade somewhat frequently, or get lost. They aren’t here to babysit your savings.

    The real moral of the story isn’t that tradeking wronged you, it’s that if you are going to open an account, make sure you start with enough money that you will avoid this type of situation. If you had 1k, and wanted to open an IRA with tradeking, wait 6 months, save an additional 1500, then open the account with 2500, instead of doing it at the beginning with only 1k. If you don’t cover all your bases, you’re asking for a surprise. In reality, if you have less than 5k, and are looking to open an account somewhere, you will be hard pressed to not have to jump through hoops with whoever you go with in order to avoid fees.

    1. No offense, but you have obviously not read my post. Let me summarize it for you. This inactivity fee was not there when I signed up. There was no notification to plenty of clients. I am not the only one affected by this. Clearly, like you said, they were not making money off of me and Tradeking decided to remove that clientele. The problem is the way they did it. You cannot expect customers to weekly or monthly check for new fees.
      I was testing the water at first and after this I do not recommend tradeking to anyone. Since then, this post is old, I have switched to ScottTrade and have not have any of these issues. Now, I have more money invested in that account and probably not encounter anything similar, and that is business TradeKing lost.
      Look, don’t take my word for it, go to any site that ranks these sites and you will see TradeKing behind the competition.

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