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 firstname.lastname@example.org.