An occasional outlet for my thoughts on life, technology, motorcycles, backpacking, kayaking, skydiving...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Don’t just grumble. Do something about it.

I had an experience with E*TRADE where their site was experiencing a problem at the moment when I received my ESPP shares. I wanted to immediately sell them, but the ESPP site was unavailable. I am in the web application development business and understand very well that these things happen (almost always at the worst times) and take time to fix. The problem was that I was trying to sell at a high point in the day, and by the time I got the sell to go through, I had lost $0.38 per share.

I was disappointed, but realized that I could not expect to be compensated for the difference in sell price. This is just one of those things that happen. However, when the sell was executed I was also charged the standard commission fee for ESPP transactions of $24.95. I felt that the commission was unearned and email customer care to let them know of my disappointment, my expected resolution, and thanked them in advance for resolving this issue to my satisfaction.

Today I received this response:
Dear Mr. Bronosky,

Thank you for your email in regards to the commission and fees applied to your order number 1 for the sale of YHOO shares on 11/1/05. I sincerely apologize for the delay in our response and any frustration experienced in regards to this matter. I have submitted a credit to your account in the amount of $30 to accommodate the commission and fees that were assessed for this trade. Please allow 3-5 business days for the credit to post to your account. You can watch for the transaction by logging into your account and clicking on the Transaction History under the Trading & Portfolios tab. Thank you for your patience in regards to this matter. Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

I hope this information has been helpful. Please let us know if we've addressed your questions and concerns satisfactorily by clicking the link below and taking a 30-second survey.


As always, thank you for choosing E*TRADE FINANCIAL. If you have additional questions or need assistance, visit our Help Center at, or give us a call at 1-800-ETRADE-1 (1-800-387-2331) between 7 a.m. and midnight ET, seven days a week. From outside the U.S., please call +1-916-636-2510. We look forward to serving your investing, banking, and lending needs for many years to come.


M-F 9:30am-6:00pm P.T.
Financial Services Representative
E*TRADE Securities LLC

The point here is that you must let these large companies know what the customer expectations are. Capitalism is great, but it only works when the market is effective at influencing the marketeers. If you want the goods and services that you consume to continually improve, you must be a positive force in this change. This often comes in the form of negative feedback. When delivered with tact and void of emotion, this can lead to an outcome that benefits yourself and others. So don't just grumble. Do something about it.