Apparently my post on the million dollar account balances at Zecco Trading got picked up by The Consumerist over the weekend, but the tone was changed with the inflammatory title “Worst April Fools’ Day Joke Ever: Zecco Pretends To Give Away Millions”. People got excited, the SEC got involved, and the entire post over there has since been revised (see URL for original title) to incorporate the official reply from Zecco:
On April 1, 2009, one of our vendors provided Zecco Trading with an incorrect data feed which caused some customers to see erroneously high buying power. This error was quickly corrected, but about 1% of our customers were impacted. All positions in excess of our customers’ true buying power have since been closed. Except in a very small number of egregious and fraudulent cases, customers will not be responsible for losses (or gains) incurred for trades in excess of their buying power.
Additionally, we want to make it clear that contrary to some reports, this was not in any way intentional and was not an April Fool’s joke. We take the integrity of our customers’ accounts very seriously and we have taken measures to ensure this does not happen again. We sincerely apologize to our customers if this caused any confusion.
To be fair to Zecco, I never said it was an April Fools’ joke, I only said it happened on April Fools’ Day and because of that there was (understandable) speculation as to whether it was a joke or a system glitch. It turns out it was the latter. Either way, it’s always a bad idea to spend money that you know isn’t yours.
By Jonathan Ping | Investing | 4/6/09, 2:31pm