[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (http://firefinance.blogspot.com).]
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This year there was a goof up when we were making our investments in our Roth IRA accounts at Firstrade. We had filled up and sent in forms for linking our checking account with our brokerage and roth ira accounts. Consequently the brokerage account was linked to our bank account. Unfortunately Firstrade's users interface does not tell us explicitly which account is linked with which particular bank account! Since the linking between the brokerage and our bank account worked, we assumed that the same was true for the IRA accounts too. However we learnt the hard way that it was not!
We scheduled a withdrawal of $4000 from our checking account into our Roth IRA account. And within a day we were charged a $35 fee by Firstrade since the Roth IRA account was not linked to our bank account! Immediately we called Firstrade's customer service to inquire about the details behind this fee. They informed us that they had never received the form with details of linking the ira and bank accounts from us. Since we had no formal proof of having mailed the form we could not vouch for our claim. It was our word against theirs.
They curtly informed us that they would not be able to refund the fees since it was our fault. However we persisted and kept sending emails to their customer service citing the fact that we had indeed mailed the form. We also mentioned that we had referred hundreds of customers to them. This worked! Finally we received a courteous reply from their customer service informing us that they had refunded the $35 fee to us. They also thanked us for our referrals.
From this experience we learnt that we should always call and confirm which bank account is linked to a particular Firstrade account before making any transaction. That would have saved us a lot of effort. But we are thankful to Firstrade that they refunded us the $35 fee! We hope that our experience will help our audience to be careful in their transactions at Firstrade.