TD Ameritrade's Terrible Customer Service

By | October 12, 2006

I am interested in purchasing an IPO and I went to sign up for the IPO service with TD Ameritrade. There are many pages detailing the risk involved. I went through all of them and was prompted by three questions. Basically the questions asked to prove that I’m not a restricted person holding a beneficial interest.

You hereby certify that:
Yes No This account is eligible to purchase new issues because no restricted person (which includes an account that meets a general exemption and, by definition, is not a restricted person) holds a beneficial interest in the account.

Yes No You are a conduit (such as a bank, foreign bank, broker/dealer, or investment adviser) and all purchases of new issues are, and will be, in compliance with the Rule.

Yes No This account is a restricted person and is not eligible to purchase new issues.

I picked ‘yes’ for the first question and ‘no’ for the other two. It seems right to me.

Thank you for your interest in IPOs through TD AMERITRADE. Based on the information received from your IPO Registration Form, you are currently not approved for IPO trading. We apologize for the inconvenience. For further assistance, please call our Electronic Brokerage Customer Service Department at 1-800-934-4448.

But then it gave me an error message. I called the number stated in the message, waited about 15 minutes and finally someone answered me. I told the Customer Service Representative that I was trying to sign up for IPO but I received an error message. At first, he try to direct me away by telling me that I should be talking to Technical Support. Then I told him it was an error message saying I was denied of IPO service. He was terribly rude. He had a rough tone (as if someone gave him a hard time today) and he did not try to be accomodating. He just told me that if that’s what the system says, that’s what it means and there’s nothing he can do about it. I told him I want to know “why” I was denied. All he says is, “It’s a hit or miss.” I told him that I should qualify for it. Then, he tells me, “it’s all based on the web.” And if I think the web made a mistake I should talk to technical support. Why would I talk to technical support for this? The CSR was not helpful at all. I called because I wanted to know why I wasn’t approved for IPO service. He not only repeated what the web says, but tried to direct me to another department that would only direct me back to his department. I’m highly disappointed with TD Ameritrade’s Customer Service.

I don’t think I asked him an unreasonable question. Shouldn’t a customer know why he’s denied for something? Was it because I didn’t have enough money or experience? Their requirement for IPO service asks for a minimum of $50,000 in the account and I have exceeded that requirement by a huge margin. And I chose the maximum years of experience on their list. Do they not want to keep a customer happy? I could move all that money away from their account.

Additionally, I went back to the IPO service sign up page and chose different combinations for the questionaire form. I was still denied.

TD Ameritrade’s Customer Service Rating: F


4 thoughts on “TD Ameritrade's Terrible Customer Service

  1. pfstock

    If you don’t mind my asking, which IPO were you trying to get? My experience with this is that you need to select speculation and growth. If you check income then an IPO is probably considered inconsistent with your investment objectives. Hey, I’m just guessing here; I know that it worked for me.

    I think that once you pass the questionaire, it is pretty much random what happens in the allocation phase. Buying an IPO is a big hassle, but it’s essentially free money. Is it worth your trouble?

  2. Smarty


    I was trying to buy SAI. I’m also monitoring at EHTH but had no intentions to buy. I checked speculation and growth, exactly as you told me, and it worked. Thank you very much. You’re much more helpful than the TD Ameritrade customer service.

    Please explain to me what do you mean by “Buying an IPO is a big hassle, but it’s essentially free money. Is it worth your trouble?”

  3. pfstock

    Unfortunately, the brokerage formerly known as Waterhouse didn’t offer SAI or EHTH. The last IPO that I got from them was Bare Escentuals (Nasdaq: BARE); you can read about it in my blog.

    Have you read through the FAQ and looked at all the stages that you have to go through to get an IPO? It is a big hassle, and you most likely won’t even get any IPO shares in the end. I estimate that 80-90% of the time, I was not allocated any shares after completing the whole procedure.

    But if you play the IPO game right and jump through all their hoops, you can end up with an almost certain profit. It is like getting free money. So my question is if you think it is worth all the trouble?


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