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Author: starvingactor One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 4956  
Subject: Re: A Disgruntled (now former) Customer Date: 7/27/2005 3:05 PM
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Hi, Turkey (wow - seems a bit wrong, starting out a message like that, doesn't it? Especially when I'm going to rebut your argument. Hm. Still, you chose the name..). :)

Here's my thoughts:

(1) not being able to buy any stock that you want- the online site does list all the stocks that one can buy through B&H. They are continually expanding the number of stocks they cover and there is a way to request for them to add a specific stock to their menu if there is enough demand for it.

Indeed. There is now a list at the online site of all the stocks one can buy, and you can access this list before you've opened an account. When I transferred my account in, however, back in 2002, there was no standard list of stocks traded. When I was evaluating whether or not to transfer in, there was just a hyperlinked alphabet, which you could click on to see all the stocks they traded beginning with the letter 'A', or 'C', or so on.

As I've already explained, since it wasn't spelled out at the time that they had a limited number of stocks, I assumed they were marketing to people who didn't normally invest in the stock market, as if to say, "Hey - did you know that Coca-Cola is a publicly-traded company? That means you can buy what's called common stock and own a piece of Coca-Cola yourself!!"

I was obviously more advanced than that, and didn't look through the list, thinking I knew the companies that were traded on the open market, so why bother?

I was obviously wrong.

Luckily, they've added wording now where it spells out that you can only buy from their list of approved stocks...and this wording appears before you open an account. I just wanted to make sure, however, that people were aware of it, because again, when I joined, it wasn't mentioned (except in Article 37, Subparagraph Q...you get the idea), and when I did a search of Fool boards, I found nothing like this to warn me away at the time.

(Additionally, on a different note I've requested some 12 stocks be added to the list in the course of my 3 years with them...and not one has become available. Not to say that they're violating any agreement they made here, but just to point out, it's not as simple as it seems).


(2) having to pay a $2.99 fee to liquidate each of your stock holdings-- I have a Fidelity brokerage account that charges me a $10.95 commission every time I buy or sell a stock. If I wanted to liquidate a 20 stock account I would have to pay $219 (20x $10.95). Paying only $2.99 each sounds like a pretty good deal to me. You don't have to sell the whole shares first and sell the fractional shares later which would be two separate transactions; there is a way to sell all the shares at one time by clicking on the box which says "sell all shares".

Your whole argument is irrelevant here. Re-read my original post. We're talking about transferring, not liquidating. If I wanted to liquidate my shares, we'd have no problem here. But I'm talking about moving the whole account elsewhere.

Incidentally:

1) Fidelity would not force you to purchase partial shares every time you make a purchase. You can buy whole shares, which was not an option at BuyandHold. This means that when you transfer your holdings out of Fidelity, you should have no problem. If you've reinvested dividends, and thus have fractional shares, they won't charge you commissions to liquidate the fractional shares (I just spoke with them on the phone about this - neither does Charles Schwab, TD Waterhouse, or Firstrade, for that matter). They would charge you a transfer fee...but everyone does that. It's to be expected.

2) I really hate arguments that make the point, "You don't have it so bad. Look at me." Please. Every person makes their own decisions, and that's what gets them to where they are. You chose Fidelity - you could've chosen BuyandHold. If it sounds good to you, move.

(But move knowing the things I've mentioned on this board, and that others have mentioned, that might not have been clear to you if no one had pointed them out...and that certainly wouldn't have been clear to you back in 2002, when few people had experiences to share).

By making this argument, you ignore the point of what I've been saying - that a company with good customer service communicates to the customer what they're getting into, rather than posting a vague description to advertise, only spelling out the specific details of what fees a person will be responsible for within the thick legal wording of their IRA agreement. That's deceptive. That's the taste BuyandHold has left me with.

I tried to do my research. I called them more than once before switching, and asked lots of questions. But in spite of all my questioning on fees and "how the system works," they still hid things deep in the legal agreements that would have made a difference, as opposed to just telling me about them up front.

We're also talking about an IRA here, where the rules of the game are different. I won't get into the fact that they charged me an annual IRA fee, despite my living up to my agreement to make an "EZ-Vest" purchase once a month throughout the years I've been a customer. (Go to their site ad look at the fee schedule - I suppose 'throughout the year' means you must be a customer for the entire year). It's just further illustration of wording the marketing one way to lure someone in, then hiding behind a legal argument worthy of William Jefferson Clinton.

The point is that, to me, their practices are shady. To others, they may have gotten in at a different time and had a different experience. They may have known about these fees up front. I didn't.

...But I would have, had someone taken the time to post a message like this one before I got into it.


I would think that if you use a discount broker you shouldn't expect it to have all the ' Bells and Whistles '. That would be like buying a KIA and wondering why it doesn't ride as well as a BMW.

The EGOs of some of the people who post on these boards! I swear, it often seems like people go around just looking for ways to elevate themselves by talking to others as if they're idiots.

Here's the scoop, Turkey - I think I've shown very well where I'm coming from. Go back and read some of the previous posts. If I'm a little defensive here, it's because you just asserted indirectly that I'm not bright enough to tell the difference between a Harley-Davidson and a tricycle.

(And that aort of assertion happens far too often on these boards, IMHO).

In this case, again your analogy is flawed. I certainly don't expect a KIA to perform like a BMW. When I go to the KIA dealership, however, I expect them to outline the features on the car before I buy it, and answer all the questions I have about it in the most forthcoming way possible...INCLUDING the additional fees I would pay with certain types of car loans. It should be spelled out, clearly, in advance...or if it's not spelled out not clearly (but rather, in long-form legal wording), the people trying to sell you the car should answer your questions and not skirt around issues like pre-payment penalties.

I would expect that of any car company, whether it was Ferrari or whether it was Geo. Morally, I don't think that's too much to ask. Legally, I don't think it is, either.

Performance-wise, you often get what you pay for. True. But if KIA was engaging in sales practices like these, you can bet there would be an uproar.

I'm not asking BuyandHold to offer me my own full-service broker to be at my beck and call. I am, however, asking for a little ethical behavior (in the area of full disclosure). I don't think that's too much to ask.

SA
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