I’ve been a customer with Bank of America for decades, and even though I’m content with the brokers I already use, I decided to take advantage of their $600 bonus offer for their own firm, Merrill Lynch. The deal was that if you opened up a $200,000 account, and kept it there for 90 days, they’d give you $600. Free money – not bad – and I liked the convenience of being able to easily move funds to and from my checking account seamlessly. So I signed up.
Well, that was just one week ago, and I have un-signed up, transferring all my funds back. I’m willing to learn a new web site; I’m willing to deal with some imperfections; but one thing I can’t abide is products or services that are so littered with flaws as to render them almost unusable. (Long-time readers know that I have endless affection for well-polished products, such as those from Tesla or Dropcam, whereas I have little patience for their opposites).
Some of the things which irked me about Edge included:
- Non-responsive customer service – They don’t have a chat system, so I used email. I had a variety of important, direct, easy-to-answer questions, most of which went wholly ignored, and the rest of which were replied to days later.
- Insensitive sorting – The web isn’t new. Online brokerages are a very mature business, and there are a couple of decades of experience in this realm. There’s no excuse for something as lame as a positions screen where the stocks are shown randomly. Sort them by symbol, you pinheads!
- Inexplicable inabilities – I bought a stock with symbol WPZ. I didn’t see a way to put a stop-loss on it. I didn’t even see a way to sell it! Maybe it’s some queer-ass security with weird parameters, but I had to get someone on the phone to get out of the position. They had no explanation. I don’t think I’m asking too much when I desire a way to Sell a current holding. It seems, I dunno, kind of basic.
- Inexcusable bugs – There are plenty of them – for example, it seems that on the site’s little mail system, you can’t delete the last message. I am going to have, until the end of time, this one lame-ass message sitting in the box. If I try to delete it, I get the window below, which will remain on the screen Until The End Of Time.
So I’m outta there, which is a shame for Merrill Lynch, because I’m exactly the customer brokerages kill to have – – a large account balance and hundreds upon hundreds of trades every year, instead of their typical Ma ‘n’ Pa Kettle account that trades maybe once a year, tops.
This just shows that when the management of an organization doesn’t really care deeply about the product – – – and when they outsource their programming to a certain kind of programmer whose personal characteristics I won’t go into, but whose code style I can smell a mile away – – – the business suffers. My $200,000 is already back in my bank account, and I’m not going back.