We have had Motif as a recommended brokerage on the Retire Earlier blog for years now. Unfortunately we learned a couple weeks ago that they had changed their policies without customer knowlege and began siphoning funds from our account. This is illegal.
Sometime in 2017 Motif implemented a policy of charging a quarterly "platform fee" just for using their site if minimums were not met. Now we understand that Motif is a business and must make money, but they have to ensure people are aware of these changes. FINRA clearly states that they cannot withdraw funds or fees from a client account without client knowlege.
When we called Motif, the CSR we talked to said that "an e-mail was sent out" and that was the extent of the so-called notification. We checked all of our inbox, deleted, and spam folders for this e-mail and the only messages we got from Motif were our account statements and prospectuses throughout the year. There are ZERO messages in the "message center" when logged into our account. We got no paper mail that signified new fees were being implemented.
Motif thought they should start withdrawing from our account anyway. We check these accounts annually because we primarily trade on Robinhood now. It was then that we learned our cash balance is now $0. All the dividends we've been earning and a small amount of reserve cash already there is gone. They stole it. The CSR said it will not be returned.
I asked to speak to a supervisor, but that person was not there. So I asked who is in charge of customer service...was there no manager to oversee everyone? There was not. I asked for the missing manager's supervisor. That was a company VP and he was not there either. (everyone asleep at the wheel at this place....2008 bank crisis anyone?) So then I wanted to talk to the VP's supervisor.
"The CEO? You want to talk to the CEO?" the CSR said.
Of course I wanted to talk to the CEO...he signed off on siphoning funds without my knowledge and there was no one else in charge in the entire building I could talk to other than a CSR. I waited on the phone over an hour. I tweeted at Motif and Hardeep Walia (the founder & CEO) every 15-20 minutes, but nothing. This is a cowardly move on their part. I hung up because they wasted over an hour of my time waiting and they stole money from us, I wasn't going to sit around and wait.
We're going the official route now. I have free time on my hands and it will be spent being a headache to Motif via FINRA and the SEC.
Cheers, boys...I don't play nice and I don't settle.