E-Trade lost a customer today…

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Me. I bought some Enron stock a bit after the crash, thinking it might go up again in the future (wrong.), but now it seems to be completely cancelled, as it is no longer even listed in the pink sheets. However, according to an article I found, it may simply be converted to some other type of equity share. I am curious about this because if indeed it is worthless, I can use it as a short-term loss to offset some short-term gains I have accrued this year. So I tried to ask E-Trade.

1st call: Estimated wait time according to the bot: Infinity. They told me to call back later and hung up on me!
2nd call: Est. wait time: 10 minutes. I waited for 20 and gave up.
3rd call. Est. wait time: 30 minutes. %^#$%^#$(&!!!

I finally tried e-mailing them. A week has passed and… nothing. Not even a “I dunno” or other canned response. If any stock-savvy people out there can help me out that would be great. Either way, I’m transferring my old IRAs to Vanguard to join my 2004/2005 contributions. See ya E-Trade.

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  1. Jonathan,

    In case you are still on the lookout for a new broker, I use Ameritrade and have been highly satisfied with them. The three times I’ve actually called them to ask questions, I’ve waited very little time and was helped by very informed operators.


  2. Actually I do have an account with Ameritrade, it is a decent low-cost brokerage. Their mutual fund selection is a bit sub-par, though. I am currently torn between transferring my E-Trade brokerage account to Ameritrade, Freetrade, or Fidelity. Fidelity has few fees, and $8 trades for eBay Powersellers, which I might be again if I decide to go for it. However, http://www.freetrade.com has 20 free trades every month. There are restrictions, like online-only custmer service, and you need 2 years with a discount broker (which I have). They have very few customer reviews though.

  3. Alex Woolfson says

    Enjoy your site. I’ve been using Vanguard now for the last 5 years (since I opened my Roth) and I’ve found their customer service to be fantastic. (I also love their web site but that’s another story.) I tend to have terrible experiences with customer service (seems a very low priority most places nowadays), but Vanguard always picks up the phone (I don’t think I’ve ever had a hold time) and always answers my questions, no matter how speculative, even if it’s “I’ve checked with everyone in our office — no one seems to know exactly — you should probably talk with your tax accountant…”) They seemlessly connect to Quicken for free. And they are totally pro-investor. Unless John Bogle grows another head, he has my business for life. (And even if he does, if the other head is still shouting “Buy and hold”, I’ll still stick around.)

    Sorry to gush, but they’re the one financial company in my world that can’t seem to do any wrong…

  4. I agree, Alex. I opened up my Roth IRA there recently, and they answered the phone very promptly. I recently read an article somewhere about how Vanguard’s customer service was dropping due to their increasing popularity – their example was that the phone wait time had increased from 30 seconds to something like 3 minutes. 3 minutes? I’d take that any day over E*Can’tTrade.

  5. I too have experienced, and continue to experience, deplorable customer service from E*Trade. I have spent days at times trying to get through to customer service; put on hold for 20 minutes and then the elevator music stops and the call is cut off. I am convinced at this point that this is a deliberate mechanism. My 2cents is do business with another provider. I have had good service from Vanguard and Fidelity, and am looking at opening an account at T.Rowe Price.

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