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Absolutely, it's bait and switch. In Connecticut, at least, a retailer could face a hefty fine for pulling the same stunt with an appliance.
I talked to an AMEX advisor this morning who assured me that I would not be charged $75 for dealing with a service representative (instead of online) to buy a mutual fund. The fee applies only to stock trades through a rep, he said.
(AME does not allow the purchase of Vanguard short term bond fund online. It has to be done through the service rep. I suspected it was just another ploy to extract money from the investor, but was assured by the rep. that buying funds via phone will remain free.)
As a buy-and-hold kind of guy, the change does not immediately affect me. But it does raise warning flags.
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