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E*Trade Securities LLC / Maintenance Fee Scam

1 Merrifield, VA, United States Review updated:
Contact information:

On December 10, 2008 I received an email from E*TRADE Securities stating they had liquidated my stocks and closed my account. I immediately called them to find out what was going on and was told they closed the account because there was no money left in it to pay the quarterly maintenance fees. I asked the customer service representative what he was talking about. My account didn’t have any fees. He said that there was a $40 per quarter maintenance fee that they had been taking out of my account for some time and, since the market all but wiped out my stock holdings, there was no money left in the account to pay the fees. I was livid!

I opened that account with 285 shares of my company stock on or about January 25, 2000. I only opened that account because it was a fee-less account (or so I was told) and I had planned on doing nothing with the stock until its value rose sufficiently to recoup some of the stocks losses. Because of this I very infrequently checked the account--maybe once or twice a year--and then only to see what the stock was worth at that point.

Somewhere along the way E*Trade stopped sending me hard-copy statements. This wasn’t an issue since I most likely agreed to receive electronic statements. What I didn’t realize, however, was that, also somewhere along the way, E*Trade had started charging a maintenance fee on the account. Unfortunately, I did not discover this tidbit of information until I made the call as to why they closed my account.

At no point did I ever agree to a fee-based account. I don’t have any fee-based accounts and I certainly wouldn’t agree to one for an account that I was just sitting on until the time was right to liquidate and close it.

It's apparent from this site and others that E*Trade has deceived others in this scheme. Some say they are trying to put together a class action lawsuit against E*Trade, but I have yet to find any link or contact information on how to join the suit.

In the mean time, I filed my complaint with the Texas Attorney General's office and the SEC Complaint Center and I highly recommend anyone else who has fallen prey to E*Trade do the same.

E*Trade’s tactics are nothing short of grand larceny as far as I'm concerned and they not only should have their license revoked, but the management who trumped-up this deceitful and illegal money-grabbing scheme should be thrown in jail.

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  • Er
      26th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    The eaxt same happened to me, I'm sure there are tons more people out there that they robbed in this manner. They sold $2, 500 worth of stock to settle a $65 "maintenance fee" debt, no warning letters at all or a letter even informing that they had taken this action, they're thieves!

  • Gv
      1st of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Also accurred to myself. At one point my account was worth 2k, next time I looked, nothing. My statement actually stated that I owed them money for the outstanding fees that couldn't be covered. Couldn't believe my ears. I serious felt like I was just carjacked or mugged. Where is the class action on this?!

  • Ch
      24th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Same happened to me. I opened my account before those fees even existed and I just left my investment there without checking on it and now I have accrued $560 in "account inactivity fees" and they wont do anything about it. They are thieves plain and simple and if there is a class action suit out there please let me know about it so I can be heard.

  • Br
      28th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    Same story here!
    I would love to be a part of a suite against them!
    I have many friends who are in positions to give this a lot of press and attention. I plan to spend my lots of time visiting with my friends over the rest of the summer and doing my best to help them publisize this dishonest practice by e-trade / e-scam! The press loves stories about the little guys getting ripped off, and that is the case here. This is flat out dishonest - may be legal in the fine print (apparently), but dishonest and unethical business. in the current climate I question if e-trade will even survive with this type of customer-lack of - service.

  • Ch
      17th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    One more of the same story..
    I have the same story about the $40 fee. I was never notified about anything and my account was liquidated without any kind of notification. The scary thing is that I had moved from the time I actually mad my purchase until the day they notified me of all this crap and they had my new address, but again, I was never, ever notified of anything. Nothing in the mail, no emails, nothing. I waited 2 and half years for my stock to finally go higher in value than the day I purchased it and thats the day I checked and found out about my zero balance. I will be filing a claim in small claims court but would love to hear about any kind of class action suite. My email is [protected] I have all my original paperwork if someone out there is starting a class action suite please let me know.

  • Sc
      22nd of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    I first opened an ETrade account right after 9/11/2001. Then there were no maintenance fees. The only fees were when I purchased or sold stock. I provided my email address as a contact and my home address. My address changed in August 2004. My email stayed the same until November 2008. I pretty much stopped monitoring my account in 2003. When I became unemployed in Nov. 2008 I went to my ETrade account to see what was there. I was shocked to find out that most all of by ARBA stock (originally 1500 shares) were sold by ETrade to pay for back maintenance fees (unknown to me) which started to be assessed way after I opened my account. ETrade sold ARBA at the lowest possible rate. Now ARBA is 4 times what I bought it at and I'm out most of the 1500 shares. I am also out of United Air Lines stock all together. I have asked ETrade to provide me an accounting of the UAL stock loss and all signed agreements that allowed them to raid my account. I have received nothing from ETrade proving that I signed such an agreement.

  • Th
      12th of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes

    My account is still there. I was told to send a notarized letter to them because of strange behavior on my account. Because I live abroad now it cost me about 100 bucks to do this. I tracked the letter to them but my account wasn't unlocked. To phone them from here costs a fortune. I don't even know if I have money in the account. Previously I had a few hundred bucks.

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