Running the Zecco Gauntlet

05.25.2008

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Like many of the readers that will probably come across this article, I too was intrigued by the notion of the free trades that Zecco offers. Can it be true? What am I sacrificing in exchange? Is the pain worth it? I did my fair share of research by sifting through numerous blog posts and found a wide variety of opinions and experiences. I have now had over three months of the Zecco experience with two different trading accounts and am ready to add my story to the pile.

Having read about many difficulties opening Zecco accounts, I made sure I gave myself plenty of time to open my Roth IRA account at Zecco in order to fund it for the 2007 tax year by April 15. Here’s my journey of running the Zecco Gauntlet.

January 5
I filled out the online forms at Zecco.com to start (and was hoping to end) the application process. It was simple enough. Quite straightforward and nothing really to complain about. At the time, I didn’t notice a way to print off my completed form nor did I think much about it. I should’ve known better. I immediately received an email that said:

Welcome to Zecco Trading! We’re processing your application. Look for an email with your account informatino or a request for more information shortly.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR ALL IRA APPLICANTS AND APPLICANTS WITHOUT US SSN:

We need signed application documents to approve and open your account:

1. MAIL ALL OF YOUR ORIGINAL SIGNED NEW ACCOUNT DOCUMENTS AND SIGNED SIGNATURE PAGE along with a photocopy of your Government issued photo I.D. to our offices at the address below:

Zecco Trading
P.O. Box 4328
Ontario, CA 91761

At this point, I didn’t have any application documents or a “signed signature page” and frankly didn’t know what they really were. Again, I hadn’t seen anywhere to print them off at the end of the application process and there were no links to go back and print them off from the Zecco website.

At the time, I was pretty busy with school and just hoped I would receive another email with my account documents or that I wouldn’t need them. I had read other blog posts stating that in their sign-up experience they didn’t need to mail anything in; however, they were probably referring to a regular trading account and not an IRA account.

January 15
I hadn’t received any other communication from Zecco so I thought I would inquire about my account status. I sent an email to the customer service address listed on the website. Here’s my email:

Hey there,

I signed up for an IRA account more than a week ago and haven’t heard anything back. Can you give me an update please? What kind of information do you need to check on that? My name is Aaron Hardy and my username is [username]. Thanks!

Aaron Hardy

January 16
I received the following email back from customer service:

Dear Aaron,

Thank you for contacting Zecco Trading. After researching your
account information it appears we will need a signed customer agreement
application, Roth IRA simplifier, and a copy of your ID.

We hope this information has been helpful. If you have any additional
questions please contact us. We are here to help. We hope you have a
great day.

Best Regards,

Heather

I didn’t have a customer agreement application and I didn’t know what a Roth IRA Simplifier was so I immediately emailed them back requesting the customer agreement application and a Roth IRA Simplifier.

January 17
I received the following email from customer service:

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for contacting Zecco trading. We require all paperwork be
received prior to activating IRA accounts. If you did not save your
application to your hard drive, there will be no way to retrieve it. We
will have to send you a copy via mail per your request. You should have
completed an IRA Roth simplifier with you online application, I have
attached this form to this email.

I hope his has been helpful; we look forward to your business.

Sincerely,

Zecco Team Member

Meredith

January 20
I responded with the following:

Yes, please send me a copy of my application through the mail. Thank you. My address is as follows:

Aaron Hardy
[my address]

January 22
I received the following email from customer service:

Dear Aaron,

Thank you for contacting Zecco Trading. We will be more than happy to
mail you a copy of your application. However, we still need your
reference number to access your account.

Hope this has been helpful. Should you have any further questions or
concerns, please feel free to contact us again.

Thank you for your interest in Zecco Trading.

Sincerely,

An T.

From what I knew, I didn’t have a reference number. I responded with the following:

I don’t have any reference number. What now?

Aaron

January 23
I received the following from customer service:

Aaron,

Thank you for contacting Zecco Trading. Your reference number
is at the top right hand corner of your customer agreement application.

We hope this information has been helpful. If you have any additional
questions please contact us. We are here to help. We hope you have a
great day.

Best Regards,

Heather

What!? Isn’t the customer agreement application what I’m requesting in the first place? How can I get my reference number from my application so they can send me my application?

I responded with the following:

I don’t have a customer agreement application. I did everything online and didn’t print anything off. What now?

Aaron

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Comments

05.26.2008 / Tony Leach said:

Aaron –

Wow, what a great blow-by-blow of your experience getting started with Zecco! I’ll be passing this around the office a bit, if you don’t mind.

One question – in the midst of all this, did you get a chance to check out the ZeccoShare community? What did you think?

– Tony Leach (Zecco Product Manager)

05.26.2008 / Aaron Hardy said:

Hey Tony! Am I glad to hear from you! And in under 24 hours from my post I might add. That’s faster than half the customer service emails I received! Even the existence of your response warrants a tip of the hat. I would be more than honored if you would pass my experience around the office. I understand the company is in a growing stage and could use a customer’s perspective every now and then.

In response to your question, I have taken a look at ZeccoShare and also have my account sharing turned on. At times I peek at what others are holding and discussing, but I spend most of my time analyzing charts. I really like the idea of social investment networking though and believe many people will find it beneficial. If I get more time I may become more involved myself.

If you would like feedback on specific areas of improvement, I personally believe the forum moderators at times block more posts than the legal requirements dictate. It seems Zecco sometimes tries to cover its reputation rather than just leaving opinions public and learning from them. This may be improving though as I haven’t read the forums for a couple months now. Overall, I applaud Zecco’s effort at making investing more interactive and interesting for its investors.

Again, thank you for responding to my post. It’s much appreciated and blog readers do notice that you care enough to seek out and pay attention to customer feedback. I look forward to an excellent Zecco experience!

05.28.2008 / Tony Leach said:

Aaron – great to hear! Definitely hear you about the time thing…

We are re-crafting our moderation approach, so sorry if we’ve seemed a little over-zealous at some points. We’ll make sure to take your points into consideration as we do that!

– Tony


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