Watch out for Questrade – Check those statements

(Update, February 18, 2011: David Del Grande from Questrade contacted me via e-mail regarding the issue I mentioned in this post. I will keep this post updated and see if they can resolve this issue.)

(Update, February 28, 2011: So far, Questrade has not responded to my reply.)

(Update, March 30, 2011: Much to my shock, I received a voice mail from Questrade and they have credited the amount in question, plus five commissions, to my account. I checked my account status and indeed they have made the appropriate corrections.)

Questrade recently went through an upgrade, and this has caused some disruption to their service.

I noticed that they have incorrectly processed a transaction on my account concerning a debenture trade – I sold some debentures about a week ago, and normally when you sell debt you receive a cash credit for accrued interest. On the trade history, it shows that there were three trades – two “sell” orders and a “cancel sell” which offset one of the sells. I noticed the interest was given on a sale, and taken back on the canceled sale, but the remaining sale did not have the interest income. This is wrong!

It is not a huge amount of money we are considering (about $80) but this sort of process should be correctly automated – I should not be having to waste my time and their time to contact customer support to get this corrected. Other people likely have issues with Questrade, since when I try accessing their live help (which generally has been a good way to correct issues with them), I get the following message:

You have reached Questrade’s Client Services. You are in priority sequence for the next available Client Services Specialist. Thank you for your patience, the average wait time is ’55’ minutes. Thank you for your patience.

There is no way that I am going to keep the window open for 55 minutes.

I am starting to seriously question why I have my money with this firm – they offer the cheapest trades, by far, for debentures and fixed income products. However, other hassles such as this one, offset any cost savings. Since fixed income opportunities are in very short supply these days, it is unlikely I will be needing to trade those products to the degree that I did back in 2009. The other reason why I stick around is because my other broker is Interactive Brokers, where I do the bulk of my transactions, does not do RRSP or TFSA accounts.

Finally, Questrade forced clients away from their dated “Webtrader” platform and onto their “QuestradeWEB” platform. I personally preferred the Webtrader platform as it was very simple, quick and just seemed to “work”. The QuestraderWEB platform is more heavy and takes more time to navigate. I understand their need to migrate people off of a platform that was coded 7 years ago, but why can’t they design a simple user interface to a stock trading service? A poor user interface costs them money – people will trade less.

18 thoughts on “Watch out for Questrade – Check those statements”

  1. Glad I kept my initial deposit to a minimum. I haven’t added anything since, since I’ve always found them a bit sketchy and never got into debenture investing like you. I opened a help ticket a week ago and still have no human response!

  2. what’s wrong with keeping the window open an hour? Obviously you’d like faster customer service but compared to being on hold on the phone, seems easy and painless.

    PS: Your blog is a fantastic read for the half-financially-literate. Thanks!

  3. Oh – also, if you don’t mind. You say: “However, other hassles such as this one, offset any cost savings.”
    What exactly are your cost savings? Do you know? It would seem important to be able to weigh against customer service / quality issues. I always wondered just how much a more serious trader actually saves with them.

  4. I don’t want to have to keep that window open for that long. The customer service reps on the other end must be pulling their hair out as well looking at all of these individual cases.

    Cost savings are in relation to other brokerage firms, mainly commissions for trades and time wasted on customer support issues such as the one I pointed out in this post.

    For serious traders (and I am not one), slippage and trade execution becomes a much more relevant factor. I have no idea how well Questrade fares in relation to others.

  5. I have been moderately satisfied with Questrade, but they do have a few warts.

    I do have a few other brokers i like. Credential direct seems to be ok. It still has higher fees, but they are getting better. While i hate to have minimum trades just for the privilege the minimum is lower than else where.

    10 trades in 3 months for $9.95/trade might be worth the extra to reduce the Quesache! Not sure on debenture pricing,,

    https://trading.credentialdirect.com/Login.aspx?ReturnUrl=/default.aspx

    I sure wish Canada had the broker options the US does. Now i just need to figure out five more things to buy/sell to make this ‘minimum’.

  6. If you do not already have a Qtrade account, DONT open one. The new platform they just released is seriously flawed. So many flaws that is impossible to get hold of customer support. I have lost a couple thousand dollars due to the bug in the ability to sell mutual fund positions on line.

  7. I have 50k with questrade, with 1 time margin my buying power should be 100k, usually they show 2 time value as your buying power.

    today is the second day since my margin account be messed up, receiving a 14.4k margin calls, have no clue where it came from, at last day closing I have 20k buying power left. then I sold all my holdings to settle the problem with a 4500 loss, guess what? my buying power became 60k, no idea why 60k…..(I used this 60k catch up that 4500 dollars loss Via trading ELSR half hour later)

    I thought they are on an unsuccessful upgrade, may need some time to correct my account, silent firstly.

    so today…..my buying power became 37000, I mean -37000, MINUS!!!!!!!!!

    Called them, waited for more then an hour on the music, gave it up…then went to live help web messenger, after 1 hour a guy told me “our risk dep said you are on a margin call of 12400 so your buying power is -37000”. they dont even calculate, how a 50k cash investment became a -37000 buying power.

    called again and wait another hour, a rep told they are not able to reach account system ’cause a tech problem……are you playing fun with me? questrade?

  8. I have an RESP account with $40k in that account. And I’m having problems since they upgraded their system to more problems. They messed up everything. today it showed my balance is $11k.
    I know they can’t steal my money away. but questrade seems incompetent in providing a dependable system.
    Don’t trust your money in such an untrustable guys’ hands. I’ll be transferring all out to other brokers.

  9. Mark Townsend: Qtrade and Questrade are two different things. DO NOT MIXED these two companies up. Qtrade is in Vancouver and Questrade is in Toronto. QTrade has way better service than Questrade. Questrade just plain sucks. Their service is horrible! I would invest my money in Qtrade rather than Questrade.

  10. I’m now for 108 minutes in the waiting line, had somebody answering, then transfer, that was about 15 minutes ago.

    They placed a wrong transfer (even showing it wrong in the account), I spent already 6 hours this week trying to reach someone, well, just wasted another 108 min.
    Unbelievable! Do we have any rights? How save is our money with them?

  11. Just want to reaffirm what Kuldar said.

    I moved to Qtrade because of poor support at iTrade. Believe me, after reading about Questrade’s issues, I’ve never been more pleased to be at Qtrade.

    A real person answers the phone in the first few rings and they call me back like they say. 95% of my net-worth is with them, and I trust them to take care of it.

    Questrade is not anything like Qtrade.

  12. May be I’m just lucky. I never had a problem with Questrade. Their EFT deposits are slower these days, but I got everything I want so far.

    Their wait time for the online chat has gone bizarre though, from the ~5min in Dec 2010, to an hour now.

  13. No problems for me. and I was just using the online chat. they responded within 1 minute this time. last week i was on the chat and it took about 5 mins to connect with someone. not bad if u ask me.

  14. Haven’t had problems with their online chat helpline… but then I usually do it after work around 7pm.

    That being said, their platform is pretty bad. I have almost lost enough money and opportunity to begin transferring out.

    I’ve lost quite a bit of trust in their system despite being with them for 3 years.

  15. Questrade IQ platform is terrible. The shittiest platform I’ve never seen. It encounters technical difficulties, execution is well. I sent them an order cancel request but so far my order is still not been cancelled. It says pending. What the heck? we even have to wait such a long time to cancel an order?

  16. If you are a novice investor be extra careful or just stay away from Questrade!
    If you are trading some US stocks, make sure you converted your $CAN funds before the settlement day, if not they charge you interest forever or until you buy $US to close your “borrowed” balance. It does not matter if you have 10 times more of $CAN in your account. They consider you borrowed their money if you do not convert from CAN to US if you buy US stocks.
    Beware of Questrade!
    Beware of their efforts to hide fees and interest!
    Warn your fellow investors about their business practices and customer service!

  17. I am in the process of opening a Questrade account and find their ” Statement of Acceptance ” to be very extreme . Any comments will be appreciated .

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