Trading Software

May 10, 2007 jeansdream

I have been using E-Trade for a while.  It was usually very reliable, and the trade commission was economical.

When you make a change on an existing order (you can modify the price / date, but not the quantity for a stock), you click “Modify” on the order from the order status screen, make the changes by overtyping on the original value(s), then it will require your confirmation number (like your additional password), and then it will give you a confirmation screen (like a summary of your changes), then a new order number and will show the original order number from the order status screen again.  If you create an order, and modify it 3 times, it will generate 4 order numbers, but the subsequent orders will trace to the original one. 

Recently I noticed sometimes when I changed an exisiting order, after I typed the confirmation number to proceed, it would give me a “This Order is Stale…” and when I went back to the order status screen, I saw the changes. To me, this is a bug.

Yesterday I had a bad experience.  I had two orders made on a stock, let’s call it XYZ.  One order on XYZ for Y units at $y.  Another one was for Z units at $z, and $z is of a lower price than $y.  Then yesterday I saw a piece of bad news on this stock.  So I made a cancel order on the order for $y (the higher price order).  Then when I refreshed the order status screen, I saw a filling of a stock.  I thought, oh good, something’s hitting my target.  And when I looked at it closer, I was shocked to see that the order for stock XYZ had started to fill, and to even shock me more, the price was changed to much higher, higher than the current market price by couple cents!!  I actually thought the cancel didn’t happen, so I tried to cancel that partially filled order, but it already gave me the error that the order was filled or something – bottom line was I couldn’t cancel it anymore.  This was all happened in less than a minute.  Then I noticed that the order for $y was cancelled, and it was the other order for $z that the price was changed to much higher and that’s the one that was filled. But I did not change the order for $z!!

So then I started talking to the support at E-Trade. I got the first rep to send me all the confirmed changes (the changes that required my confirmation password) I made for the day, and I got the trace stacks.

Then I noticed the time stamp of my cancel order was at 3:36:02, and the mysterious price change order was at 3:36:36 (something in that line; both orders at 3:36 pm, just couple seconds apart). Well, I didn’t remember making that price change order – from my previous description, you know it’s more than just a key stroke change to change a price order – it couldn’t be an accident. I only made a cancel order. So “perhaps” I was going crazy that I couldn’t remember what I did a minute ago (that certainly was what was hoped on the E-Trade end), so I went back to my computer session – (I use one session doing all my trading changes, and another session for doing price monitoring – I don’t mix the activities – that’s my practice) – and I used IE’s Back button to go through my screens of the trading session. I saw my previous refreshes, even my cancel screens and even further back to my other changes, but there’s no screen for the modification of XYZ for $z to a higher price at all.

So I called again, talked to the second rep, basically went through mostly the same thing but pointed out the times, and then he referred me to a trade specialist or something, then this third rep read me the E-Trade process.

Well, listen up. He said the trade couldn’t be reverted, even if that’s a mistake of E-Trade. I could proceed with the dispute, or drop the complain – meaning, admitted that it was not an E-Trade problem (meaning, I lost my mind). And if I proceed to the dispute, then this rep will push this case forward to “IT” to see if this was a mistake of E-Trade. But the bottomline is: I am responsible for trading this stock and the gain or loss has nothing to do with E-Trade!! Oh, if after the internal investigation that this is an E-Trade mistake, then it would give me the difference of the cost and the market close price, plus the trade commissions. 😦

Well now I am stuck with this stock that I knew the price would plunge!! It sure is falling and I don’t think in recent future I can get rid of this stock without a loss. Very disappointed! My money is now also engaged in a stock I didn’t want, and I also lost opportunities to buy other stocks as well. Double disappointment!! If you have previous experiences and know what to do, I would like to hear from you please.

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