Online stock trading platform E-Trade has had a turbulent few months, with its stock sinking and the quick exit of its CEO earlier this month. When companies experience changes at the top during troubled times, it’s standard operating procedure to scrap old advertising and marketing campaigns in favor of something new. But not E-Trade, which apparently has no plans to get rid of the creepy, day-trading, talking babies that have been the face of the company for years.
The banks of America are breaking new ground every day in the science of nickel-and-diming consumers with fees that start from the second you open an account to the moment you angrily close your account… only to move it to another bank with a different set of fees. But since there are so many ways in which financial institutions can bleed your account dry, the folks at CNN Money have come up with their list of the most annoying fees.
Get ready to say goodbye to the E-Trade baby and Frontier Airlines. According to 24/7 Wall Street, the two businesses are among their 10 picks for companies that will not survive the year. Others that may not be long for this world: Sara Lee, Gateway and Office Depot.
Does the milkaholic baby named Lindsay in the latest E*TRADE commercial remind you of a certain celebrity? Lindsay Lohan says it’s supposed to be her and is a jab at her own milkaholism, and she’s suing the company for $100 million and seeking an injunction to get it off the air. I agree that the baby playing the milkaholic doesn’t give a very good performance, but I always assumed it was supposed to be Lindsey Buckingham.
Dave says he feels he was stuck with a hidden fee by E*Trade, which threatened to sell his stock to recover a $40 inactivity fee. So much for the buy and hold strategy.
If you’re an E*TRADE customer who lives in California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, or Washington, you may be eligible for a class action settlement regarding the undisclosed recording of phone calls. The deadline to file your claim form is September 25, 2009. [Settlement site]
The E*Trade baby is back in this year’s Superbowl lineup. A series of ostensible outtakes are posted on YouTube. Highlight of the bunch: “I want to punch the economy in the face!” (baby cries).
If you’ve bought stocks through E*Trade, make sure you log into your account at least once a quarter. That way you can see if there’s any alerts on the account, like the one telling you about the “inactivity fee” for not executing at least one trade per quarter, the fee that they’ll sell some of your stocks to pay for. This happened to reader Brody, who writes:
“Maybe I should call the E*Trade Baby. He might give me better customer service.” Matt’s mother died last year and he has been trying since last year to liquidate her E*Trade CD and put it in the family trust. Every other financial institution has been able to liquidate the assets with no problem, but it seems after blowing their wad on funny Superbowl ads, E*Trade has nothing left over for customer service. Here’s Matt’s story, and our advice on how can get his problem fixed:
A month ago, we wrote about Brice’s struggles with E*Trade to recover the balance on an account they closed. After eight months of letters and phone calls, Brice got E*Trade to close the account, but it continued to accrue interest and Brice never received the balance. Finally, after launching eight Executive Email Carpet Bombs, Brice has his money.
After eight months of calling and writing, Reader Brice finally annoyed E*Trade enough to close his account. At least that’s what the letter from E*Trade said; in reality, Brice never received a check for his balance, and although he couldn’t access his $3,195, his account is still earning interest.
So, of course, one day after I post about how great E*TRADE’s 5.05% savings rate is, it drops to 4.4%. Truth be told, that was kind of unsustainable with the federal interest rate at 3.5%. It will still probably be higher than the rates offered by the other players which have like HSBC Direct (currently 4.25%), ING Direct (currently 3.6%), and Emigrant Direct (currently 4.55%). Tears, tears.
Today’s interest rate cut means online savings accounts lovers will once again experience heartbreak as their high-interest accounts become even less so. There is still one company offering rates from the what now must be seen as halcyon days; E*TRADE’s online savings accounts give you 5.05%, though it’s not without caveats…
Citadel Investment Group has agreed to provide E*Trade with $2.5 billion in cash to bail it out of trouble, reports BusinessWeek. The cash includes a purchase of $3 billion worth of E*Trade’s “toxic, asset backed securities” at 29 cents on the dollar, for a total cost of about $800 million. In exchange, E*Trade’s CEO Mitch Caplan must resign.
It’s looking like E*Trade may, in fact, go bankrupt. The stock lost more than half its value in trading today and half of E*Trade’s deposits are in accounts that are above the $100,000 FDIC insurance limit—making a run on the bank more than likely. [New York Times]