On my usual rounds of scrolling through Reddit, I came across an interesting post that I thought maybe of some use to some of you. Trading is a volatile place to invest money. However, some brokers are obviously more volatile than others. This article is about Questrade and a dissatisfied customer.
The person that was writing the post had a 0DTE options position worth approx. $50,000 CAD. Now, 0DTE OTM options do carry a significant risk at the best of times. However, there is a twist to the story.
Being able to access your positions at any time of the day is imperative for 0DTE options. The reason for that is they do not trade overnight. The trading times are usually 9:30 A.M EST to 4:00 P.M EST. So, they are the only times that being able to see your positions are vital.
The issue began the week previous to the post. The person writing the post could not access their positions for numerous hours for three of the days. The first thing that strikes us here, is that, as I have said, you need to have access to 0DTE options at all times of the day, not just “sometimes.”
However, the real issue arose in the day spoken about in the post. $50,000 CAD expired worthless on the same day that they had outages.
Of course, they did have access to the position on the day that it expired worthless. However, the whole point is not about the expiration, it is about the inability to access.
So, the OP of the post got in touch with the compliance department to see what they could do about the situation that is obviously frustrating.
In the previous week, the OP lost $10,000 CAD through similar circumstances. They requested the commission ($200) from the day that they lost the $10k as compensation. However, the customer service rep refused.
In my opinion, it is at this point that I would have stopped trading with Questrade. However, that is not my fight, and the OP decided to continue.
What Did Questrade Offer?
At first, nothing. It was after they complained on the r/questrade that the moderator of the subreddit asked if they could get someone to contact the OP to discuss the issues.
After a brief interaction between them, they requested that the OP removed all negative comments from Reddit as there was a clear bias. Again, in my opinion, bias to or against a company is the prerogative of the individual. However, OP obliged in order to see what they would offer in compensation.
The offer was $1200 USD which worked out as the past month’s commission, plus around $350. However, alongside that offer, they sent a release agreement that stated:
The Releasor(s) further agree(s) to do the following:
a) immediately refrain from making or posting negative comments about Questrade; and
b) within two (2) days of executing the Release, remove all negative comments made on internet websites, including but not limited to blogs and to social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (collectively referred to as “Social Media”), about the Releasee, to the satisfaction of the Releasee.
Furthermore, the release stated that all contents of the release were confidential, and that;
“The releasor(s) agree(s) that the releasor(s) shall not discuss or disclose to anyone the existence of this release, the terms of this release, and the facts and circumstances giving rise to this release.”
Backlash of Questrade
The OP then received an email with the following content:
I have just been notified that you have posted information from our private discussions on Reddit. These discussions were confidential and constituted good faith attempt to resolve your complaint. Your Reddit posts are inaccurate, misleading and contain defamatory content. As we discussed, you incurred a loss as a result of trading in high risk options, which you failed to mention in your posts.
We ask that you remove these posts immediately and you cease to use social media to post defamatory and misleading statements about Questrade in an attempt to extort funds from the company. If you do not remove these posts, you are put on notice that this will become a legal matter. Our legal department are already investigating two prior posts you made where you stated that you were ready to “burn down the building” as well as making the following statement: “ if I can’t get my money back I’ll be sure they lose an equal amount in whatever way I can.”
If we do not receive your confirmation by 12pm on March 31, 2020, that you will discontinue posting defamatory content on social media, you will leave us no choice than to commence legal action.
To keep things in perspective, the world is reeling from a tragic situation. Thousands of people have lost their lives. Our staff have been working around the clock to help our clients get through this unprecedented crisis. In response to our genuine attempts to find an amicable solution, you have threatened and insulted our staff. I urge you to think about your actions.
While we could go further into this post, what was said, and what was offered, I think that we have seen enough to make up our own minds.
Of course, our first reaction was to look into the company ourselves to see if we could find any other information on them. First of all, we went to their company Reddit page to see what the community says about the company.
We were not looking for Questrades’ own opinions and thoughts. Furthermore, we were not looking for the most recent (day) views. Therefore, we sorted the posts of their subreddit by Top over the last month.
At first, I wanted only to look at the posts that had >100 upvotes, to ensure that I was looking at a general consensus. However, scrolling down, almost all I saw was negative posts, all the way to 8 Upvotes and lower, with the emphasis being on an inability to log in, lawsuits, and one with the title of: “the imminent death of Questrade.”
I didn’t want to only publish negative points about Questrade, so I continued to look for positive sides. We thought that the top 30 posts would give a good idea of the general feeling of the company.
Only one post had a “non-negative” connotation. I would have written positive, but even that wasn’t a favorable scenario. U/John-TeamQuestrade provided an update for a maintenance window.
There were only three comments that I could see (I am not a member of the subreddit, and only approved members can have access), and they all spoke positively about Questrade. However, the glaring flip side to that is the 29 other posts with negative meanings.
Away From Reddit
We decided to have a quick look away from Reddit, just to get a clear idea of the severity. A simple search with a non-biased company instantly hit us with this:
We took no notice of some of the stars on the search results, as they can be manipulated through schema, and inserted depending on the internals of the site. The reason for the avoidance of those sites is simple; Questrade has an affiliate program where you can earn $70 for every referred customer. Those affiliates are going to show the company in a great light to maximize their revenues.
With the plethora of negative reviews, I would certainly stay away from using them for trading. There are far too many downsides, such as their downtime, and inability to login to the platform. They are all at seemingly the most necessary times.
Some people may have had some good experiences with them. However, it is not a company that I would put my money into if they ever expand their reach from Canada.