Merrill Lynch / stupidity
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.
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