Tuesday, February 07, 2006


To continue my rant about being charged "dormancy" fees by online service companies let's talk about E-Trade.
Many people got on E-Trade to not have to deal with stock brokers and manage things themselves. Many of those people were average people that don't know much about trading stocks. People like me. E-Trade made it easy to not have to know much, but being able to dabble in the market. It was great. I believe the premise I signed up under in the 90's was no fees to get started just get charged for each trade.
Move on to the market going rocky. Many of E-Trades customers are losing money on the stocks they bought so they can't afford to buy more or sell the ones they already have. Thus E-Trade is making less money. Then E-Trade introduces a few for not trading. I think it started for a few months as charging the fee that they would get from you everytime you made a trade every month if you did not trade that month. Shortly after that they changed it to charging the equivalent of two trades every quarter, so they were giving a month free.
The market is tough on everyone. Why treat customers that skyrocketed your business this way when things are down for them? Once I figure out how, this customer is going to leave because of this. On the other hand, if they had left me alone I would have perhaps bought some of the other services they were offering and even started trading again. An example of this is that I just bought a new house and still own the old one (because it is not selling). I had a relationship with E-Trade and they were one I considered getting one or both of the mortgages redone with. As I thought about the way they had treated me and the fact that I should probably just close all accounts with them there was no way I was going to be tied to them any more tightly than I already am.
BTW, before I joined E-Trade I was considering a compeditor of E-Trade who had lower fees per trade, but had other fees akin to dormancy fees. That is why I chose E-Trade, because they made it easy and did not have those other fees. I understand that it is all about making more and more money with businesses and not being satisfied at doing well, but I feel a little bit like something was shown to me as being one thing and then got shifted once I was locked in.

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