Bad April Fool's Joke: Give Away Millions In Fake Money; Users Start Trading With It

from the how-to-define-a-bad-idea dept

See Update Below. Well here's an idea that must have sounded good at one point. Upstart online brokerage Zecco (already known for pulling attention-grabbing stunts) had the bright idea for April Fool's Day to load up users' balances with much more money than they actually had -- sometimes millions more. Except... it looks like they never bothered to make sure people couldn't use that money. So plenty of users started making trades with the fake money... and when Zecco realized it, the company apparently started to force sell, even at a loss, charging the losses to the customers along with a "$19.99 broker-assisted trading fee." Oops. Update: Consumerist has updated their post with a message from Zecco claiming that it was not an April Fool's joke, but noting "Some clients may experience incorrect display of Buying Power and Account Balances." It's not entirely clear how those "incorrect displays" were apparently off by millions in some cases. Update 2: Zecco is again insisting this was not an April Fool's joke and that it was "a bad feed" from a vendor. It's not entirely clear why it took the firm 5 days to explain that, however...

Filed Under: april fool's, fake money, trading
Companies: zecco

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  1. identicon
    Guillaume Cloutier, 6 Apr 2009 @ 6:53pm

    It happens to me last October

    I'm currently building a case against my online broker in Canada (Courtage Direct Banque Nationale) because I had a similar problem with them last October. I had been trading with money I thought was in my account, not validating the individual amount of each positions I owned against the margin, only to find later that I actually had not enough money to cover even the slightest loss, the buying power was all fictitious. I had no marginable position. In the end, they force-sold all my positions and I ended with an account in negative of a few thousands, instead of a real positive balance of a couple of thousands prior to the glitch. But If they had waited just couple of days to start selling, I would have owed them nothing. Instead, I would have make a lot of money. Now I have to build a case against them, because they say I was responsible for all the actions in my account. I'm responsible for what I buy, but I'm also responsible for the losses resulting from the actions they took, without my consent, without my knowledge. The only time I knew something was wrong was when they sold everything, starting with the position that incurred the losses, then everything I owned. Now I have nothing left and I need to take legal actions against a bank. They took everything like if it was theirs. I'm like David against Goliath!!! I have fun!!!

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