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stupid broker tricks
Old 11-13-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
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stupid broker tricks

Though about 90% of my financial transactions go smoothly, some of the remainder make my jaw drop. For example, some time ago a Big Name Full Service broker managed to put the wrong tax ID on my account. When I called to make some transactions, I reported the error and he promised it would be corrected. It wasn't. I called a few more times, but he was never available and never returned my call. I wrote multiple times, but my letters were ignored too. I contacted the home office, who claimed they could do nothing, that only the branch could fix it (!).

With some effort I managed to transfer the account elsewhere and they promptly fixed the error. Don't you know the next day Mr. Big Name Full Service broker calls.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:18 PM   #2
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I HOPE you are now doing it yourself at Schwab or Fidelity or Vanguard. Unless you like socializing with those vampires, of course.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:08 PM   #3
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Yup, no reason to give incompetence like that more business, other than the competent people tend to get kicked upstairs. I'd guess I'm not the only one who has experienced ineptness from this industry.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:24 AM   #4
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Big time broker for Megacorp's stock program did something really fun a few years ago. They submitted two 1099's to the IRS, and one to the employees. A bunch of people then got audit letters from the IRS since stock sales didn't match. The second one to the IRS was a mistaken duplicate, just bogus, but the IRS didn't know.

What a mess.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:22 AM   #5
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Earlier this year I tried to close an unneeded, old checking account at a bank I've frequented for decades. You may be as surprised as I was to learn "Banks cannot close checking accounts." So I withdrew what was left in the account. I'm interested to see how long they keep sending $0 balance statements. No wonder the banking industry is troubled: it's all these empty accounts they cannot close!
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
Earlier this year I tried to close an unneeded, old checking account at a bank I've frequented for decades. You may be as surprised as I was to learn "Banks cannot close checking accounts."


Someone is either misinformed, incompetent, lazy or maybe all three...
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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I managed to overdraw an old checking account, picked up by the overdraft protection line of credit. Payed that off, with an extra $1 to cover any added interest for the short time the overdraft was active. Now I have a $0.89 credit in my loan account. Because of that, they now send me monthly statements showing my credit, whereas they used to just send an annual statement. Just because they don't want to send me an $0.89 check I guess. I'll let them figure that one out.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:45 AM   #8
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Almost 10 years ago when I was with Fidelity, they took it upon themselves to convert our two non-deductible TIRAs to Roth IRAs without asking us. No communication of any kind, they were just listed as Roths all of a sudden on our monthly statements. We were not even partially eligible for such a conversion at the time.

I'm sure they meant well. Fortunately there were able to unwind their mistake when we rolled everything to Vanguard a few years later.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
Earlier this year I tried to close an unneeded, old checking account at a bank I've frequented for decades. You may be as surprised as I was to learn "Banks cannot close checking accounts." So I withdrew what was left in the account. I'm interested to see how long they keep sending $0 balance statements. No wonder the banking industry is troubled: it's all these empty accounts they cannot close!
My primary "bank" is Navy Federal Credit Union. But I keep a few thousand in a local bank in case I need to cash a check, do a quick ATM withdrawal or something like that. Mainly, the money just sits there.

I had arranged to have a job done on my house and the contractor gave me a pay by check price and a pay cash price, the latter being lower. In anticipation of needing a bigger chunk of cash than I normally keep in the local savings account, I wrote a check on NFCU and took it to the bank to deposit with the intent of withdrawing it in cash in a week or two. The teller told me my account was "dormant" and needed to be reawakened or something. I asked why, since I get a statement every month in the mail they couldn't have put something to that effect in with the statement with instructions on how to avoid dormancy. She didn't know, of course. It only took 5 minutes or so to go through the process of removing the dormant status, but I thought the whole thing was kinda dumb.
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
Earlier this year I tried to close an unneeded, old checking account at a bank I've frequented for decades. You may be as surprised as I was to learn "Banks cannot close checking accounts." So I withdrew what was left in the account. I'm interested to see how long they keep sending $0 balance statements. No wonder the banking industry is troubled: it's all these empty accounts they cannot close!
I don't understand that at all.

Early this year I decided to close a checking account at HSBC (on-line only as they only have branches in New York State). I sent them a secure message from their site and was told that I first needed to empty the account which I did. Next day the account is negative because I had fallen below the threshold for free checking and had been charged a monthly fee.

It only took one more e-mail to have the charge reversed and the account closed, but the process was irritating none the less.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:30 PM   #11
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I love stories like this. Here's mine.

Some years ago I bought something from J.C. Whitney (the automotive accessories catalog). It was a bad fit, so I returned it. Instead of a simple notice that they had received the item back, they sent me an invoice for $0.00.

I laughed, but next month I got another $0.00 bill, this one marked "Past Due."

Next month it got a little more intense, so I called them and pointed out the error. They said they were on a new computer system, and it would sort itself out soon.

Next month I got a letter from their legal department informing me that they were about to turn the matter over to a collection agency unless I paid the entire balance immediately.

I mailed them a check for $0.00 which they never cashed (I would really love to have had that cancelled check), but it finally stopped the chain of events.

This isn't a joke; it really happened to me.
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Old 11-17-2012, 05:56 PM   #12
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Here's another one. In my early investing days I had a broker who too often tried to sell me his hot stock of the moment. When I began to ignore him, to try to get attention he would make tiny transactions on my account, for example, send me a check for $1.12 drawn from my money market. After I learned what these silly $1 checks were for, I promptly got rid of him.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
Big time broker for Megacorp's stock program did something really fun a few years ago. They submitted two 1099's to the IRS, and one to the employees. A bunch of people then got audit letters from the IRS since stock sales didn't match. The second one to the IRS was a mistaken duplicate, just bogus, but the IRS didn't know.
What a mess.
My FIL used to work for the Washington bureau of CBS, where overtime was a constant event for the whole group of 20 or so video & audio equipment operators.

One week the boss handed out the monthly overtime checks to the group. My FIL's name was last on the list, and somehow the computer had determined his overtime payment by adding up the overtime payments of the first 19 operators. It came to several hundred thousand dollars.

My FIL kept his cool, clamped his mouth shut, took the check home, had it framed, and showed it to his co-workers. Eventually the boss realized the mistake and asked for the check back, but my FIL said that CBS could just deduct it from his future paychecks until they were square. It was embarrassing enough for the boss that they eventually dropped the subject and just canceled the check.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
Earlier this year I tried to close an unneeded, old checking account at a bank I've frequented for decades. You may be as surprised as I was to learn "Banks cannot close checking accounts." So I withdrew what was left in the account. I'm interested to see how long they keep sending $0 balance statements. No wonder the banking industry is troubled: it's all these empty accounts they cannot close!
PenFed does that with their CDs. In 2006 and 2008 I started an series of applications for a CD ladder and picked the wrong terms for four of them. When I realized my mistake I canceled the transaction, but the system credited me with a total of four CDs of $0.00. Three of them matured in 2010 (with accumulated interest of $0.00) but they're still on the books.

The fourth one matures in 2015 (it still has a $0.00 balance with $0.00 in interest) and I figure they'll clean up the books then.

At least I get one consolidated 1099 for them, instead of 1099s reading $0.00.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:50 AM   #14
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M The teller told me my account was "dormant" and needed to be reawakened or something. I asked why, since I get a statement every month in the mail they couldn't have put something to that effect in with the statement with instructions on how to avoid dormancy. She didn't know, of course. It only took 5 minutes or so to go through the process of removing the dormant status, but I thought the whole thing was kinda dumb.
I understand that it's annoying, but the bank normally does that to protect you. If an account sits there, untouched, and suddenly a check/charge comes in, their 'dormant' status alert would likely require someone to manually verify the check/charge before releasing the funds as a way to protect you in case you lost a check card, or someone got their hands on your checkbook. Otherwise, the bank would have processed the charge automatically, and you'd be out the money if fraud was involved (more likely if an account sits there for quite a while without activity).
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:03 PM   #15
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I understand that it's annoying, but the bank normally does that to protect you. If an account sits there, untouched, and suddenly a check/charge comes in, their 'dormant' status alert would likely require someone to manually verify the check/charge before releasing the funds as a way to protect you in case you lost a check card, or someone got their hands on your checkbook. Otherwise, the bank would have processed the charge automatically, and you'd be out the money if fraud was involved (more likely if an account sits there for quite a while without activity).
Yes; I understand that. But wouldn't it make sense, when the dormancy period is about to begin, to at least notify the holder of the account (via the monthly mailed statement) that he needs to do a transaction of some sort to avoid going dormant? I dunno; maybe not. As I said, it wasn't a big deal and it took 5 minutes or so but it struck me as strange.
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