E*Trade is driving me nuts

E*Trade is starting to work my last nerve. Yesterday I got an email from them:

Fri Apr 20 06:30:35 2007 – Funds Transfer Failure

Dear Valued Customer

Your payment request (Reference Number:########) of $### to E*TRADE Bank XXXXX from your XXXXX could not be completed.

Their website was equally unhelpful.

I sent in a customer service inquiry:

Can you tell me why this transfer failed? There is certainly enough money in the account.

A few hours later, they responded:


Thank you for your recent message in regards to a transfer from your XXXXX account to your XXXXX account. I would like to inform you that there was an error during the transit of the funds on 04/18 which caused the transfer to be cancelled. I apologize for any difficulties or frustrations this transaction may have caused. Please resubmit this transfer for further crediting to your XXXXX account. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns. Thank you for your valued and continued business.

I hope this information has been helpful. Please let us know if we’ve addressed your questions and concerns satisfactorily by taking a 30-second survey at the following web address:

At which point they helpfully provided a survey.

They didn’t score high.

After fuming for a few minutes over the non-answer response, I replied back:


“There was an error” is understood by the error message I received. I would like to know why I received it, and why the $### to be credited to my ##### appears to have been deducted.

Did the transaction fail or not?

I show a $### deduction on 4/19 (“Etrade Bank Debit”).

My XXXXX shows a “Last Payment Received” on 4/18 of $###.

I’m extremely concered about the system’s behavior, and I’m extremely concered that my accounts are being incorrectly managed.

This is not the first time I’ve received error messages for problems that seemingly didn’t happen. I need an exact explanation of what happened, and why.

And it’s true: it’s not the first time E*Trade has told me a transaction didn’t complete, that I didn’t have enough money in my account, or some other error that turned out to be utterly false. The last time it happened, it was an overdraft notice (when I had significantly more in the account to cover outstanding debits), and I was told

Please note that this is not an isolated incident. We have been upgrading our systems in order to provide the best services for our customers. The technical team is working assiduously to correct these issues. We appreciate your patience. We value your business very much.

If you really valued my business, you wouldn’t be rolling out new systems that cause known problems.

If it weren’t for the fact that my company uses E*Trade to manage its Employee Stock Purchase Plan, I doubt I’d remain with E*Trade much longer. Do you know of a good online bank? It needs the following features:

  • Free, unlimited and automatic ATM refunds. The other big reason I’m with E*Trade still. I can use any ATM in the world, and be refunded the access fee (even the $4.50 I was charged in Vegas!). Other places have a similar plan, but some limit the number of refunds in a month, while others require you fill out a form of some type.
  • Great online banking. I don’t do physical banks anymore, except to deposit the occasional paper check, so an easy-to-use and comprehensive functionality is important. That means easy transfers between internal and external accounts; recurring payments; a smart calendar that tells me when a payment will be delivered; and various reports.

Any suggestions for a great online bank would be much appreciated.