The importance of reading your statements for your investment accounts was hammered home again to me last week. I checked out my TD Waterhouse RRSP account was horrified to see a $100 service fee on my account.
After my initial sticker shock, I did vaguely remember reading about having a minimum balance in a self-directed RRSP account, and I was not sure exactly what that was, but was going to find out. Did I send an E-mail? No, this kind of query is best done face to face, but barring that capability you must use the telephone for effect (e-mails saying NO! are far to easy for customer service to send).
After waiting on the line for about 18 minutes to get through to an agent (I assume it is a crazy time of the year with folks asking about RRSPs and such), I got a hold of a youngster who seemed to have a head on his shoulders. I first asked (in a polite tone) what was this fee for, and was given the explanation that if I didn’t have a minimum balance of $25K in my Self-Directed RRSP TD/Waterhouse would charge this fee (oh and there is a $13 HST to add injury to insult).
I remained calm and politely pointed out that I was only “a whisker” away from that exact value, and I asked if this fee could be waived (this one time)? The answer by the intelligent chap I was speaking with, was “Of course!”. The agent pointed out that charging the fee was done by the computer, but the agents are given some discretion in refunding the fee (he had to fill in a form to do it).
The fee was waived, however, I was also warned that I should top up that account and get it over the $25K threshold or I might have to pay the fee next year (something to keep in mind, I have marked my Calendar for the end of February to check that). Luckily I have my $113 from this year still, so I am a little closer already.
Another classic example that If You Don’t Ask the Answer is Always, NO!