Tuesday, December 16, 2008

E*Trade vs. Disney Investor Services: FIGHT

I used to work for The Mouse. Yes, I used to work for the Walt Disney Company. This is probably why I am so fixated on customer (ahem, 'Guest') service. They brainwash you into eating, breathing and sleeping customer service ... assuming it is making a tidy profit along the way.

While I was working for Mickey, I was participating in the Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP). When I left, there was no way to keep the stock with Disney, so I transferred it to my E*Trade account.

This was years ago. Several things have happened since then.
  • Disney now has its own brokerage arm -- Disney Investor Services (DIS) -- to handle purchasing, selling and reinvesting Disney Stock
  • My parents bought me 100 shares of Disney stock as a gift, being held with DIS
  • E*trade decided to impose HUGE quarterly fees on those of us who don't trade much
  • My friend who works at E*trade told me that there are security holes in the 'secure' code big enough to fly an airplane through.
All of this combined together to make me decide it was time to close up my E*Trade account. But instead of selling my Disney stock, I wanted to transfer it to DIS. Seems straightforward, right?

NO. It was not straightforward. In fact, as of 5 minutes ago, I declared FAILURE, gave up, and sold my stock. (Gee, I can't wait to figure out the cost basis of stock that was bought fractions at a time, each week, for 7 years, ha-ha-ha.)

I went back and forth with each of them multiple times, and just sat in despair in the middle as they pointed to each other.
  1. Emailed Disney and asked 'How do I transfer the stock from E*trade to you?' Answer: E*Trade must initiate as they currently hold the stock. Give them all your info and they will initiate.
  2. Called E*Trade. Their response: No, Disney is wrong. The receiving end must initiate. Call them back. Here is the info you need.
  3. Called Disney. Their response: No, E*trade is wrong. Call them back.
  4. Called E*trade. Their response: Disney is totally wrong. How could they be more wrong? Call them back. Tell them how totally and utterly wrong they are and give them your account info.
  5. Called Disney. Their response: E*trade is wrong. They are absolute total idiots. Get them on the phone with us and we'll tell them how stupid they are. Then, once we are done telling them how dumb they are, we'll do the transfer with them.
  6. Called E*trade. Their response: Disney is crazy. The SEC has a LAW that says that the receiving end MUST initiate the transfer. Also, E*trade doesn't have the capability to do 3-way calling so sadly there is no way for us to listen to them tell us how dumb we are while we tell them how totally ignorant they are.
I told E*trade how FURIOUS I was, thought about calling Disney to do the same but decided it would waste too much time, then put in an order to sell all of my damned E*Trade stock.

Disney and E*trade: you both get a customer service rating of F from me this week. But I imagine you don't really care.

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