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Merrill Lynch / stupidity

1 United States Review updated:

Merrill Lynch sucks so bad it's impossible to fully describe
Years ago I had a brokerage with Merrill Lynch, and the broker was in Chicago very close to the action there. She was a Star, a broker with many large accounts. All she did for me was buy IPO's and flip them. Until one day she made a trade with my money without asking me first. She bought something I didn't want. When I asked her about that, she said, "You have to learn to trust me, I know what I'm doing". After taking a large loss on the trade, I closed my accounts with Merrill. I tried complaining to her boss and the company, and to the SEC, without any success at all. It wasn't worth hiring an attorney over. And it was discouraging when the Federal agency, the SEC, was so incompetent they couldn't help me enforce their own rules.

So years later, we opened an IRA at Bank of America. Little did we know that BofA was going to buy Merrill Lynch, but they did so. Suddenly we start getting a ton of ###, and yes I do mean ###, from Merrill Lynch saying they now were controlling our IRA. First it was called Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, and now they changed the name of it to Merrill Edge. We started getting copies of statements from BOTH company names showing the balance of our IRA.

It was somewhat disconcerting to see how confused they are. So I called today and gave both the old account number and the new account number. Guess what? They asked, as part of a security question, "how much money is in your account". My answer was the amount listed on my statement. My answer was incorrect. After much discussion and proving who I was by answering many questions, it comes out that the account has ZERO funds in it.

I asked the individual on the phone, "Where did the money go". And he says, "He can't see that". I said, "Who can see that", he didn't know. So he put me on hold for almost 30 minutes and came back and said, "Someone would have to get back to me tomorrow". I mentioned how it says on the statement to call this number for 24 hour assistance, and he said, "Well, that doesn't mean we can tell you what happened to your account balance".

If you deal with Merrill Lynch and have had good experiences, well isn't that just jolly for you, but I will say you have been a very lucky person because Merrill Edge (or whatever the hell they are called now) is utterly incompetent.

A few minutes after this experience a Merrill representative called, apologized for the confusion and was able to explain that yes, of course, our funds were in the account. She gave me her name and extension. After I hung up, I realized how upset I was. Being told your IRA has zero fund in it, well, it made me surprisingly stressed. So I called back and tried to get the young woman who was so helpful, but she was gone or something. So I asked the young man to help me, and he said he'd be glad to and then ...he hung up on me. So I very calmly called back and spoke to another person, went through the entire identification thing again, answered all the questions, and explained to him nicely what was occurring. He said he would take the complaint and he did so, although I have to wonder if he really did take any complaint at all.

After a total of 2 1/2 hours trying to deal with Merrill Edge, I just want to go pull my hair out. What a nightmare! At least they have our money and didn't lose it all. I can only imagine if they'd been a real problem, trying to deal with this incompetence would be a nightmare. We are going to open a new account at a local brokerage where I can go in and speak with a real person, and transfer everything out of Merrill Edge.

Aw
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Comments

  • Al
      21st of Nov, 2010
    +1 Votes

    My mother has been a Client Associate at Merrill Lynch for almost 20 years. I am a teenager and have gone to work with my mother many times during holidays/off-school days to help ease her load with filing, sorting, etc. I have gotten to know the brokers and other C.A.'s very well over the years. I think it is very unfair of you to group Merrill Lynch as a whole as a company that "sucks."

    My mom puts her heart and soul into her work and fixing all of the problems that have come up. Bank of America saved Merrill Lynch from bankruptcy and bought them out not too long ago, and my mom and all other employees have had a very hard time adjusting to all the new crazy and stupid policies Bank of America has thrust upon them. She works over 8 hour days Monday thru Friday, and lately has worked all day Saturday just to keep on top of her job. Her and her fellow Client Associates do this often and work very hard to keep the company going and customers happy. The brokers are sometimes a different story.

    The two brokers that my mother works under really do care about their customers, but don't put quite the effort into the business that people like my mother do. Often my mom will come home super stressed, saying she didn't even get to eat lunch until 3:00 that day because she was so busy...while the brokers were out to lunch or golfing.

    In conclusion, please give Merrill Lynch another chance. 99 out of 100 times the employees there are very hardworking and you just happened to have a bad experience, which I feel sorry for you about. But do not generalize and put the entire company down because of your bad experience with one broker.

    P.S.: My mom also hates that they keep changing the name of the Wealth Management program. It's the people at the top to blame, not the individual offices. She is a C.A. at the Merrill Lynch office in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

  • Aw
      5th of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes

    I wanted to add to my above statement that since then I've learned the SEC was probably the wrong entity to try and complain to. FINRA is perhaps a better entity to complain to at finra.org. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA’s mission is to protect America’s investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly. All told, FINRA oversees nearly 4, 580 brokerage firms, about 162, 850 branch offices and approximately 630, 695 registered securities representatives. To file a complaint go here: http://www.finra.org/Investors/ProtectYourself/p118628

  • Aw
      5th of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes

    Oh and in response to the person above, I wanted to say that you wrote a nice note defending your mom and her work. But at the same time you admit that there is chaos at Merrill Edge. You talk about how over-worked your mom is, how stressed she is, and how others at the company do not care about their work nearly as much. You mentioned BofA's "crazy and stupid" (using your words) policies that BofA "thrusts" upon her.

    I've had a huge amount of trouble with Merrill, and I've helped many older Americans who were having trouble with Merrill. The stories could go on for pages. I will continue to complain to people until Merrill actually starts treating it's customers with common sense and decency. A Google search for complaints against Merrill finds a lot. Me and the people I've helped are not alone in our experiences. Merrill Edge today is a chaotic company, as you said, trying to deal with the "crazy and stupid" policies thrust on them by BofA!

  • Aw
      5th of Jan, 2011
    0 Votes

    Interestingly, I just got a response from Merrill Edge on this subject! Here it is cut and paste below. It was addressed to my wife, who's the owner of this account. And yet it says below, "As you are not specifically authorized on this account, we cannot provide specific details, but we can assure you that management will review the account and coach the associates involved."

    Pretty amazing. They seem confused that even though my wife was logged into her account and we sent the complaint in her name from her account, they are still confused and think we are not "authorized on this account". These are some very seriously confused people.

    Thank you for contacting Merrill Edge.
    This message is to acknowledge and respond to your email received
    12/4/10. In your message you expressed concern about the service you
    have received when contacting us by phone.

    We appreciate you taking the time to provide us with valuable feedback
    concerning our customer service. We have reviewed the account and I have
    brought this information to the attention of my management for further
    consideration.

    Merrill Edge sets high standards for customer service and we strive to
    achieve those standards in every situation. I regret that this was not
    your experience.

    As you are not specifically authorized on this account, we cannot
    provide specific details, but we can assure you that management will
    review the account and coach the associates involved.

    Please let us know if we can be of further assistance. As always, we
    appreciate the opportunity to help you with your investment needs.

    Sincerely,
    Jeffrey Dansereau
    Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith, Inc.

  • Ka
      16th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    Meril Edge sucks, i am really pissed of with the services, They sell my stocks without giving any notice or call and for all the loss they said sorry.
    I recommend never invest with Meril Edge they are loosers.


    BOA customer

  • Sc
      24th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    Merril Lynch has handled every transaction with no less than 3 errors per transaction. It has cost me personnally over $46000 in dealing with this incompetent organization. from errors in a roll-over, to not executing purchases per request, and incorrectly executing dispersments (3 attempts) which now show that they distributed 3X more than I recieved

  • Ug
      9th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    Merril Lynch is horrible. I called them in May to stop reinvesting my dividends in a specific stock. The never executed my wishes and when I contacted them they said that they would be happy to sell those shares for me. Unfortunately it was at a loss so I told them that this was there mistake. They said they would file a trade correction but I have heard nothing for a couple of days and the issue is... well...still an issue. I'll be transferring everything to my Charles Schwab account. What a bunch of ###s.

  • Fe
      21st of Sep, 2011
    0 Votes

    With all due respect, you all are looking in the wrong place. Brokers are not on your side. check www.napfa.org is you want to find a true fiduciary without conflicts of interest.

  • Mt
      17th of Feb, 2012
    0 Votes

    Merril Edge is in my opinion dishonest as they come. They just screwed me out of $3, 300. Said that I bought more shares than I had money in my account for. Funny thing is my account is a self directed IRA and the trading software will not let you spend more than you have. Also I do not have any open trade accounts with them. They admitted to me that they were not authorized to extend credit to me for stock purchases but that the system must have allowed me to spend more than was in the account. They wanted me to send them a check for the $3300 or sell enough stock back to them to cover the $3300. I know exactly how much was in the account when I bought the stock and that is the amount I spent. While I was on the phone for about a hour with them they went into my account and took / sold my stock with out my permission. I tell you know they are no better than a thief. I am moving all my funds out of there first thing Monday morning..

  • Ls
      9th of Apr, 2012
    -1 Votes

    I am a former Bank of America customer whose mother had money in Merrill Lynch. It took us nearly 6 months to settle her estate. ML is in utter chaos. But basically, the "stalls" are nothing but a scam to hold on to the money. Faxes never received, we sent you the wrong forms, can you fill them out again, we did not get this or that, all BS! Somebody needs to go after these people in a big way. They need to start firing people from the top down. There are laws to prohibit how long a financial institution can hold on to someone's money after they have requested cash out, whether it is 401K, estate money, whatever. Will NEVER EVER do business with BOA or ML ever again, have told all our friends and relatives also.

  • Fo
      15th of May, 2012
    0 Votes

    I am a former Merrill Edge Investment Specialist and although I did hit the "disagree" radio button, I do agree with some of the points posted here. Merrill Edge can be chaotic and I speak from experience that on many occasions our investors are given different answers for the same questions, reasons are many but mostly its because of the many levels of accounts. BoA IRA's, Merrill Lynch Wealth Mgmt, Merrill Edge Advisory and finally Merrill Edge Self Directed, but in their defense, the problem is not the customer service specialists, its the back office and or inner workings. If you are having a problem getting money from a 401K, the good news is, this department has not changed. If you have a full service branch account, speak to your financial adviser. If you have a self direct account, READ THE DISCLOSURES on the website, those disclosures will tell you about all fees you might incur, including info on margin accounts and why "sell outs" occur, which by the way is because clients don't check email for notifications or respond to messages about funds due on the account. If you owe money, you will be sold out. They make every attempt to call you. The self direct platform is flawed and checking purchasing power can be confusing, but recent changes have corrected many of the complaints posted here. Merrill Lynch/Edge are not crooks. Nobody is trying to keep your money. Do you really think that a trillion dollar company like Merrill Lynch really cares about trying to steal money from the self direct client? By the way, all self directed accounts are free, not to mention 30 free trades a month if you qualify. Trust me, they make enough without have to be dishonest. Give the customer service reps a break, Merrill Edge clients are 100 times worse than the rich branch clients ever thought of being. Poor people are more difficult than rich ones. I think the rich are on to something and perhaps this is why they are happier.

  • Fo
      15th of May, 2012
    0 Votes

    BTW mtnandy; Did you actually read what you wrote? And I quote "They just screwed me out of $3, 300. Said that I bought more shares than I had money in my account for. " How did ML screw you when you bought something you couldn't pay for? Did you check your calculations when you placed the trade. Obviously you missed something. I know for a fact that if that were the case, it would have been researched and resolved because brokers take the SEC and FINRA very very seriously and these types of mistakes do not happen. Run the numbers again.

  • Ja
      7th of Oct, 2013
    0 Votes

    I received a form letter from Merrill Edge Pennington, NJ signed by **. At the end of the letter was the useless 800 number to Jacksonville, FL. So I did a bit of investigating and came up with (609) 303-6200. Dial that number, press 4 for the company directory. Then spell the person's last and first name. So, when you get an unhelpful response form letter signed by someone, Enter that person's name in the directory, get their phone number and 'reach out' to them!

  • Lo
      13th of May, 2015
    0 Votes

    Merrill Lynch is the worst company to do business with.
    their brokers only look to sell their clients the investments vehicles
    that generate the highest commissions for them.
    They never look out for their customers.
    Merrill Lynch has been involved in almost every scandal on Wall Street
    They paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines
    without admitting any wrong doings.
    The SEC should have put Meririll Lynch out of business
    years ago. This has to be the worst brokerage frim in the world.

  • Te
      15th of May, 2015
    0 Votes

    Edge refused an international wire request to a relative then blocked my online account access said they were going to terminate business dealings with me so i had my bank/broker initiate transfer paperwork only to hav edge blovck saying account was on a hold!
    it isn't their money! what right do they have for this?

    i filed complaint against one manager for un professional/unethical actions guess this is their way of throwing a hissy fit
    ill bury money in back yard before ever doing business with thesepricks again!

  • Mi
      22nd of Apr, 2016
    0 Votes

    Kind of sad when Bank of America rescued them But the bank has survived. One time before the rescue, the local ML branch managed to loose this little old lady's live savings. They looked out the window and saw a sheriff's deputy approaching the building with the usual hand full of papers. Turned out he was papering some other business in the building but the Murlies, darkened the office and locked the doors. They have one chow-hound who excels at taking vacations. The office keeps him under close supervision for whatever good that does.

  • Tr
      19th of Jun, 2016
    -1 Votes

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, and that the EXACT similar scenario. Merrill Edge accidentally locked us out of our brokerage account, charged us immense fees, refused to provide any statements or transfer our liquid cash out. They threatened to sell our securities at market value, with their erroneous locking of our brokerage, and we are currently suing them for Breech of Fiduciary Duty, Securities fraud, deception, incompetence, Churning, bait and switch, breech of consumer protection act, all under federal and state laws federal securities laws. Also whatever the hell hole their name is Merrill Edge or Merrill Lynch - they are going down for causing us immense psychological suffering and no access to our money of which we desperately needed to survive on and for medical care. MERRILL EDGE IS THE WORST BROKER. DECEPTIVE, BREECH OF FIDUCIARY DUTIES, FRAUDULENT, INCOMPETENT, NEGLECTFUL, IMPROPER, DISHONEST, PREDATORY, ETC...

  • My
      7th of Sep, 2017
    0 Votes

    @trial consultant I wish I read this ten years ago.

  • Ma
      11th of Oct, 2016
    0 Votes

    Beware – Merrrill Edge Charges Exit Fee

    After having my account at Merrill Edge for eleven years, I moved it to another brokerage. They charged me an exit fee of $49.95. This is unusual at a brokerage. Be aware of the fee before you open an account. They will charge you to close it.

  • Sa
      24th of Mar, 2017
    0 Votes

    Please, please get that FOOL, Merrill of the air. How can you create great host like Rush and Hannity, then place a FOOL like Merrill on the air. It is an insult to the people of Arizona. Please do something, can't listen to KFYI from 4pm on.

  • My
      7th of Sep, 2017
    0 Votes

    ML caught my eye back in the early 80's. I am so glad that my IRA is with AmericanCentury. My company allowed ML to handle employee 401k accounts and it was nothing short of a financial nightmare for account holders.
    After retiring, I decided to move the 401k account out of ML. Everything you have read up to this point is still happening to account holders. I do not recommend trusting ML with anything more than giving you an ink pen to sign on the line to close your accounts.
    They gave me the run-around for over 37 days. My funds were literally being held hostage, in my humble opinion. After threatening to sue, my funds mysteriously populated my transfer account. The sad part is that I wanted to leave the money with ML/BoA and keep it within a different retirement account, but after living the LIE I wanted nothing more than to get the hell away from ML.Now, BoA is a premier institution for my daily banking needs. Why would they allow ML the opportunity to scar customers?

    Another thing...Please stop telling people what to do with thier money and using scare tactics disguised as sound advice to divert a person in walking away with CASH in HAND. A 401k is not the greatest retirement account by any means. It is a cheesy profit sharing tool used by companies.

    Get to the part of the answer where you advise people to plant seeds financially and to not put all their eggs in one basket.

    I have over 640k in my IRA with American Century. Early on, I played the money market and landed some great deals. I escaped loss two quarters in a row and decided to stop risking my 10k every 90 days. People...if you have $1.00 and the potential holder of your money does not treat you like you have millions...wonder why and walk away.

    Retirement investing is a risky thing. Until you gather the right amount of eggs, you will do good to call your 401k a savings account with perks.

    Never leave your retirement cash with the company you retired from (or left for whatever reason).

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