OptionsHouse Review w. 500+ User Reviews

by David Ning · 506 comments

OptionsHouse, OptionsThis and OptionsThat. So many options brokerage houses which means confusing choices for us all. Other than having OptionsHouse promotion codes (see below for them), how does this broker get you to remember them? How about $4.75 per stock trade to start?

For a limited time, OptionsHouse is offering new customers 150 free commission trades in the first 90 days after you fund your account with a minimum of $5,000. Even if they were all stock trades at $4.75, it’s still $475 for free. This is only available through the special link below so don’t use another other one on the page:

Click Here to Sign up for an OptionsHouse Account and type in the promotion code FREE150 to be eligible.

There are also other Optionshouse Promotions below, so check it out after you read the review.

Fees Come First

That’s not a typo. Over at OptionsHouse, stock trades are just $4.75 no matter what. When a company can make money with rates like this, it really makes you wonder how much money other premium stock brokers are making off of us. Recently, OptionsHouse updated its options commission structure to give you two options. Either $8.50 + $0.15 per contract or just $5 for 5 contracts. If you are one of those people who just want to buy yourself some protection, you are very happy with this change.

Other Fees?

Here’s some of the other fees of the options broker.
optionshouse rate and fees
Exactly what I like to see. No maintenance fees, no minimum trade requirements, and if I ever want help, broker-assisted trades are still just $4.75.

OptionsHouse Interface

optionshouse screen
Upon looking into the account, I found that the interface is very much like the professional trading platforms of the higher end brokers for professional traders. Within the main screen, you can see an account summary, quote look up, order statuses, positions, and detailed information on particular securities.

Webinars and Seminars

I’ve begun to really love the education that these brokers provide and OptionsHouse is no exception. It’s obvious that the company’s expertise is in options trading because all the webinars are concentrated in that area but I expect it to expand to stock trading and other subjects in the future.

Don’t Underestimate Them

While many of you may not have heard about this brokerage firm, they seem to have their act together. In fact, Barron’s Online Broker Survey ranked them highly in trade experience, beating out the likes of thinkorswim, optionsXpress, E*Trade and Charles Schwab.

Conclusion

optionshouse transfer feesOptionsHouse really gets my blood flowing because of its extremely low trading fees. Is it SIPC insured? Check. Is there good word out there? Another check. Changing brokers is really a hassle though, but like others, they are willing to reimburse me for up to $100, which is enough to move from pretty much any institution. Hmm… decisions decisions decisions. As for you, there’s really no right answer, but I’d say that $3.95 stock trades is reason enough for you to at least give it a test run.

Click Here to Sign Up for an OptionsHouse Account

OptionsHouse Promotion Code

Here are the current promotions for this broker. When you sign up, type in the promo codes as shown below.

Resources:

Who is OptionsHouse Anyway?

To be honest, one of the first reaction I had when someone told me about OptionsHouse was: “Who?” I then went to do a little research and here’s what I found out:

OptionsHouse is really OptionsHouse, LLC and is owned by PEAK6 Investments, L.P. The company’s headquarters is in Chicago, the home of the Chicago Board of Trade. The parent company have been in the options and derivative trading business for years, and is actually one of Chicago’s 101 best and brightest companies to work for.

Before you take the plunge though, make sure you read up on the issues other people are having before you sign up with them. A few love OptionsHouse, while other reviewers don’t. Take your whole test drive to get a realistic feel for how the broker will work for you, but take note of your peer’s experiences first.

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{ 506 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth Moon May 2, 2011 at 12:59 pm

It is actually possible to hold $400,000 in fully marginable stocks in an account with a beginning value of $100,000. For example, an investor who has $100,000 in his account on day one can buy $200,000 worth of stocks under Reg-T rules.

The next day, his account portfolio would be worth $200K:
• Cash: ($100,000.00)
• Acct. Value: $100,000
• Margin Equity: $100,000 (All marginable securities plus cash – negative in this case)
• Maintenance Req.: $50,000 (25% of the portfolio size)
• Buying Power: $100,000 (this is two times the difference between account value and maintenance requirements)

On day two, he could buy another $100K in stock due to the available buying power. The account portfolio would be worth $300K:
• Cash: ($200,000.00)
• Acct. Value: $100,000
• Margin Equity: $100,000
• Maintenance Req.: $75,000
• Buying Power: $50,000

On day three, he can buy another $50K in stock, bringing the account portfolio to $350K:
• Cash: ($250,000.00)
• Acct. Value: $100,000
• Margin Equity: $100,000
• Maintenance Req.: $87,500
• Buying Power: $25,000

The trend continues through day nine, at which point the investor owns $399,218.76 of stock and has buying power of two times $781.24.

The caveat to this is if stocks in his portfolio are not “regular” margin. 3x leveraged ETFs, for example, carry a 75% initial and maintenance requirement. If you have further questions about this, please call customer service at 1-877-653-2500 and ask for the Trade Desk.

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Vegas May 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

Hi Beth,

Thanks for your response.

I’m assuming the above margin requirements is applicable even when holding covered calls. I’m told that, in case of covered calls, the maintenance margin is calculated as follows: 25% of (strike value * # of shares). I calculated my margin requirements based on this and I should be having much more stock buying power than what optionshouse is showing now. I have been trying to explain this to your customer service agents for the last couple of weeks without making much progress. Is there anyway I can involve you in my email correspondence with OH customer service representatives ( I have also talked to them on phone) ?

Thanks .

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Tsampis Ting April 10, 2012 at 9:12 am

If you are planning on daytrading options, OPTIONSHOUSE is not the place.
The PUT and CALL bid/ask here doesn’t change as fast as TDAMERITRADE.
I have 1.19 bid on TDAmeritrade but only .89 bid on OPTIONSHOUSE.
TDA bid already moved .39 cents.
OPTIONSHOUSE bid only moved by .10 cents.

Delta greek in OPTIONSHOUSE is too low to do serious daytrading.

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james November 17, 2012 at 8:16 pm

why has no one addressed this statement?

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Greg May 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

it takes them 7 days for an ACH deposit to become available, missed an IPO today because of that. The money was withdrawn from my bank account 2 days ago and options house is holding it but not allowing me to use it. This is pathetic, considering the fact that my forex broker makes funds available within a few minutes – those bozos can’t get it done in 7 days. Yes I am mad.

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Beth Moon May 4, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Greg,

I am sorry that you are frustrated. For future reference, the quickest way to fund your account is via wire transfer, which is available the next business day after being received. The reason ACHs are held for three business days after being received is to ensure proper clearance time in the case the funds are not available at the customer’s bank for withdrawal. We will occasionally receive notice of the funds not being available 2-3 business days after the transfer has been received. Reducing the possibility of invalid funding allows OptionsHouse to pass along excellent rates to our customers and continue innovating our trading platform in order to improve the trading experience.

Beth Gaston Moon
Senior Manager, Online Content
OptionsHouse

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kishor January 24, 2013 at 5:28 am

Why Optionshouse does not let customer to buy stock after selling their stock on the same day or next day? It holds money for 3 or 4 days before making available for customer to purchase stock. Why? I have missed on so many times, frustrated.

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Dan May 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I had traded an option with Optionhouse and was very disappointed. The option was trading at 5.70 and I put a stop at 5.30. When I went to login, I saw the option was at 4.70. I immediately called up and they said they didn’t know why the stop didn’t kick in and they will take care of it. Needless to say I lost money and not impressed with Optionhouse.

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Beth Moon May 9, 2011 at 6:49 am

Hi Dan,

We cannot speak to specific trade issues in a public forum, but this is a good example that all traders can learn from in the event you or others encounter a similar situation in the future. Traders have to be aware that when placing a stop order on an option, that order obviously has to reside on a specific exchange. The market on whatever exchange the order is sent to (e.g., the ISE, the PHLX) is the only market that matters for that specific stop order. So the risk with multiple exchange listings for options is that the market can be vastly different from one exchange to the next as the market approaches this stop price. Your stop order, by design, will not “see” the markets at those other exchanges. If we can help provide further clarification, please don’t hesitate to contact Customer Support or our Trade Desk. They would be more than happy to assist you again.

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edmond June 5, 2011 at 8:32 am

Yes Beth. Another reason to use TD or ETFC or Schwab or Fidelity, as they route your order through most advantageous ECN.

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Aashiq June 5, 2011 at 10:20 am

edmond, I think you have misunderstood the comments by Beth. I have accounts with Fidelity, Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, Merrill Edge in addition to OH. This practice is Industry standard. Only market and limit orders without “stops” are “smart” routed. I could be wrong but believe OH is not doing anything different.

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Whodat December 8, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Tosh. Any broker with a decent router will seek out the best exchange at the time the order is triggered. And the bit about the order only only being exposed at one exchange is pure bollocks. Beth should learn something about the way option markets work before she opens her yap. All exchanges are required to send resting orders to another exchange if they become marketable (google OLA, option linking authority). That OH apparently doesn’t understand this is problematic. As is the fact that they refused to make a customer good when they clearly blew an execution. File a complaint with FINRA, that will get their attention.

Vegas May 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Dan,

Was that an AON (All or None) order ?

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Branu May 5, 2011 at 3:04 am

Dan,
I just transferred my account from another broker and I am watching how it goes over here.
I am wondering how they couldn’t catch it to that much gap, and it concerns me a lot. Could you please update us with the reason they might present to the case so that we will learn from the incident. That is pretty dangerous.
Thanks,

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David May 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Positive: Lowest stock trading commission out there. I switched from Ameritrade and Tradeking to OH for its low commissions. I was fortunate to be locked into the $2.95 price. The low prices, however, comes with disadvantages:

Negative:
(1) Low volume stocks that can be traded on Ameritrade, Tradeking, etc, cannot be traded on OH. I had to call to get the individual stocks (NCT.B, RAS.C, etc) added into their system. The customer rep told me it costs them money to list stock data, so they don’t list low volume stocks. It took 2 days (they told me it would take only 20 minutes, which was not true) to get these symbols added, and by then the buying opportunity had passed. I could place orders over the phone for these stocks, but I cannot see the orders or modify the orders online. The stock symbols, even if I own the underlying stock, would disappear on me, so I have to be extra vigilant about what I truly have in my portfolio.

(2) Ameritrade and Tradeking allow modification of standing orders after hours, but OH does not allow that.

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Eric May 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm

My mantra: no one likes surprises when it comes to money.

The good.
- Both live chat and phone support have been remarkably helpful, supportive, and tolerant of my novice questions. Email support is fast (usually less than 12 hours when it’s late at night).
- Works well on any platform. I’m using Firefox on Linux on my laptop, and a hacked-up copy of Android 2.2 on a Moment. No problems.
- Smooth virtual trading.
- Low margin requirements. For example, uncovered straddles are $5,000. The very next site I looked at the other day wanted $100,000.
- Likes to have about 384k in streaming bandwidth. Also on the bad list, but it means you can still watch youtube in the background.

The bad.
- A few features still lacking: ability to change option symbol from within the option ticket; ability to reset/modify a virtual account without contacting tech support; ability to open a second virtual account; ability to simulate an option exercise, either due to option being ITM or by causing a simulation.
- Java resizes the window but doesn’t allow scrollbars; only an issue on my netbook screen, but worth mentioning.
- Probably need to have about 384k of available bandwidth or it starts acting weird. Make sure your ISP is up to the task. Using wifi tether on my phone, it put the phone through its paces.

The ugly:
- Virtual trading doesn’t update several items, such as margin equity or buying power. Tech support seemed to be resigned to the issue, but said it’s only in virtual trading.

From what I can see looking at two years of reviews, they’ve come a long way, and the folks I’ve talked to seem to be focused on high-quality customer service, and it’s working for them.

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Vegas May 27, 2011 at 12:04 am

I contacted optionshouse multiple times to give me a proper explanation why I’m not able to hold upto $400,000 in fully marginable stocks in my account with a beginning value of more than $100,000. Right now, I’m allowed only $200,000. I’m finally giving up and moving my account to Interactive Brokers. Even though their commissions are slightly higher than optionshosue, their lower margin interest rates will compensate for it. I was hoping to avoid the hassle of moving my account from one brokerage to another, but the above issue is adversely affecting my monthly returns. I even mentioned the response
from Beth above to support my request for an explanation, but still in vain. The customer service agent does agree with me on my math, but he can’t explain what’s wrong with my account.

I had moved some shares from another brokerage into optionshouse and it seems optionshouse has some issues factoring this intelligently into their calculations for stock buying power. I liquidated these positions to make it all cash, hoping to work around whatever issues they had. But, that hasn’t worked either.

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edmond June 5, 2011 at 8:29 am

I thought regulations/rules/FINRA required 4x for day trader status. I don’t know what loophole OH thinks it’s entitled to.

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nono June 4, 2011 at 4:43 am

What do they do with my money for 8 days after ACH transfer? Hope they wont loose it. Optionhouse may be making money unethically by holding my money for more than a week at expense of me not making my trades at the right time.

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Eric June 4, 2011 at 11:01 am

I’ve got to imagine it’s basic math at work. They know that after 5 business days, 98% of what’s cleared stays cleared forever. And they probably make 3% or so on the float, but even if it’s a whole million bucks, it probably just about breaks even with the bounced checks.

So yeah, they probably make a few bucks on holding it for a few days, but it’s not a scam, and they’re not getting rich off making you wait.

I’m in the same boat.

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myself July 4, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I’m interested in moving some of my accounts to OH but I have a few questions. I’ll appreciate if one of current OH customer users or OH CR can provide some answers:
1-Can I initiate short positions during pre-market or after market trading sessions?
2-I’m always on the go. Is the option trading platform mobile devices friendly? (nokia,android,windows mobile, etc…). I tried my devices with Scottrade OptionFirst (which is believed to be same as OptionHouse) and it did not work. Advise please.
Thanks for reply.

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william July 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm

OH has very limited extended hours trading and as i recall, you can’t short in extended hours.

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Hao July 9, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hello,

I’ve just opened an account at OH (I currently have one with Fidelity). I merely trading stocks, not options. I am a novice.
I have tried trading with virtual account and I observed that if I place an buy/sell order, it would always take the ask/bid prices. This ask/bid price are normally pretty far from the last trade.
With Fidelity, the order is always calculated with last trade price and the actual one with depend on the filling. My question is, does OH work the same way or they always charge at the ask/bid price. If so, this makes me concerned.

Thank you so much.

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Richard Mazur July 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Hi. I think the first thing i would suggest is that it seems you are placing market orders for your stock purchases? If so, this may be the case. I would suggest placing limit orders. You should know what price you are willing to buy the stock at and if you can’t get it at that price you should wait until you can or your opinion changes. Putting an order in without a limit technically means it can get filled at any price which is and can be dangerous.

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Robert Burton July 12, 2011 at 4:01 am

Optionshouse probably has the lowest commission rates for option trading but they have absolutely terrible customers service.

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Beth Moon July 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Robert,

I am sorry to hear you have been disappointed by our customer service. We do pride ourselves on this area (we earned 4.4 out of 5 stars for this in Barron’s) so I apologize that your personal experience did not meet your expectations. Please email me directly at bmoon [at] optionshouse [dot] com and I will escalate your specific issue to the appropriate people.

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PJG July 17, 2011 at 10:28 am

I opened an account with OptionsHouse with the intention of using their API. I’ve sent several emails to their API team asking for documentation and access to the API, but have received _no_ response. Nothing. In my view, that is the _definition_ of bad customer service.

I’ll be closing the account this week.

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Aashiq July 17, 2011 at 12:05 pm

What makes you think that you are entitled to their documentation that is proprietary? I do not know if they any API, but if they do, you should be able to access the OH trading through API if your platform is one that is approved by OH.
I do not work for OH, I am just a customer. I get surprised when people start asking for things without understanding what is involved.

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PJG July 17, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Who said anything about being ‘entitled’ to it?

What makes me think it is _available_ is the information on their website.
_http://www.optionshouse.com/faq/does-optionshouse-allow-api-application-programming-interface-access/?application-help=true

I am fully aware that they might say no. But what I would have preferred is that they said _something_.

I would have even accepted your rude and inappropriate response.

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Beth Moon July 18, 2011 at 10:37 am

PJG, I apologize that no one from the API team has responded to your inquiry. In your initial email, did you respond to the five questions posted on our site (http://optionshouse.com/faq/api/does-optionshouse-allow-api-application-programming-interface-access/)? Additionally, do you have an account balance of at least $30,000?

Regardless, our team should have answered you in a timely fashion, so I am testing the email address to ensure it is directed to the proper people. If you send your contact information to me directly at bmoon [at] optionshouse [dot] com, I will follow up. Thank you for your interest in API access.

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Joel July 29, 2011 at 4:18 am

I am reading all the blogs to figure out if I want to open an account with OH. There are both positive and negative feedbacks. However, one thing I am very much impressed is Shannon reading and responding to customers grievances. I am definitely encouraged by this action and strongly considering doing business with OH.

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HerseyK October 31, 2011 at 4:28 pm

Who is Shannon ? I don;t see any posts by Shannon.

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Rod R August 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I am looking at moving a sizable 401K to an online broker. I am leaning towards ScottTrade for this rollover; OH was a strong possibility for this rollover, but I’ve gotten the sense their model isn’t the best fit for me. That said, I must admit that reading through Beth Moon’s interaction (in this forum) has improved the OH brand from my perspective, and it has given some credibility to Barrons’ 4.4 score. Kudo’s to you Beth for engaging and jumping into a forum like this (as opposed to hiding in an office).

Rod

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John August 6, 2011 at 5:01 am

I’m new to this. I don’t understand why the OH FAQ’s only put in the blatant information that you can read on the opening pages: I keep having to Google my questions and there, the answers I receive are varied. Here are my questions:

1. How long is the standard initial hold?
I made an ACH transfer for initial deposit (thought it would take 20 seconds) it took 7 days before I could trade?!?
2. Is there a SEC time regulation for holding capital after selling a stock?
I sold a stock yesterday (Friday) and my stock BP is still the same?!? I need to move quickly, losing days is losing positions and points.
3. There is a SEC day trading rule that states 4 round trips will ruin your life.
Does this apply to cash accounts or margin only? And If you bought, sold, and bought again same day would that be one round trip or two?

What I really want is the opportunity to dump money in an account somewhere, trade at will, and be able to pull my money out as quickly as I want. I can go to the grocery store, buy something, return it, and drive home and both transactions are already updated.

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Oscar August 6, 2011 at 6:38 am

John,

I don’t work for optionshouse but do have accounts with them. I read your post and honestly am a little concerned but i thought i would help you.
1. Yes OH will hold your ACH deposits for about 7 calendar days before they will let you trade on it.
2. You are talking about “stock settlement” and yes its called T+3 in the industry (trade day plus 3) watch out for holidays. Now this applies only in cash accounts.
3. You are talking about day trading rules, this only applies to cash and not margin accounts.
The reason that I am worried about you is your comment about selling stock and buying groceries.
honestly the money you use to play with stocks should be just that “play money” you should never gamble on stocks with your grocery money. Some of us learn this the hard way.
I would suggest you google the different terms from above to get a better understand. Trading on margin is no joke and would suggest you avoid it given your questions means you are new too margin trading.
I am in the industry and have been trading stocks and options for over 10 years and I still do not use margin. Its just too much risk.
Good luck to you hope this works.

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Judy February 2, 2012 at 7:20 am

Hi John,
I just opened my OH account with 3,000 cash deposit. I cannot find the detail information about trading rules. I chatted with CS if I can trade and sell the same stock in the same day and the answer is YES.
Your answer 3. “You are talking about day trading rules, this only applies to cash and not margin accounts.” is totally different than I was told by the CS. He told me that only applies to margin account. I am really confused now.
Basically I just want to know: 1. if I can buy and sell the same stock in the same day? 2. How many times I can do it and will not be considered as patten day trading.

TIA

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John August 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Yes, I am really “green” to stock trading.

I basically look at the money that I put in my OH account as “Vegas money”. My (badly explained) grocery store analogy was not of my risk ratio: it was for time comparison. What I mean to say was: I could make an ACH transaction with a retailer, make another and within seconds both would have posted were I to check it seconds later on a smart phone. The three day thing seems to me like mailing a check to pay a utilities company rather than just using an online billing service…just way too slow.

As for the SEC rules, as to day trading, I have looked at a dozen different web sites and the only commonality is that you cannot hit a fourth round trip in in a five business day period and that you should buy, wait for market close and then trade next business day to avoid. Some say: disregard if using a cash account. None say anything about a day where you buy, sell and buy again. I am not sure if the buy and sell count as one round trip and then the sell then buy as another. I would look at the first two as one position change and the second as the start of another….but I don’t know.

The only reason I want to move fast right now is positions these two weeks are really volatile. S&P did us a favor and downgraded us. hopefully forcing congress from their debt financing scheme. If I maxed out a credit card for years on end, got others to increase my debt balance and not default: I would not have a 700+ credit score; even if I always paid on time. How do they deserve an AAA+ rating for doing the same? This just seems like a market correction to me based upon that principal and stocks do not work on value, just public opinion. I cannot think of anything else where 1-3% of the owners of something can deplete the value of it to nothing…

Morningstar – ““If you are investing while a stock is rising, you are already too late.” Stocks are not based primarily upon how a company is doing: they are based upon how the average speculator perceives them.”

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Diana August 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm

BAD fills, BAD customer service and BAD platform. If you decide to trade with them beware that you should NEVER place market orders, especially trigger stop orders – they will rip you off at least 6-10 cents on every option contract (in my case I just got ripped off 10 cents on 50 contracts – $500). ALSO MARGIN – i traded with thinkorswim and never had a problem with margin calls, because I could always go and check my previous day closing balance. I thought that was complicated, but GUESS WHAT – Options House DOESN’T HAVE previous day closing balance – or any reports of any kind. You literary have to go through placed orders to figure out your P/L and previous balance, otherwise you don’t know by how much you might overspend the next day. I just got 2 margin calls and the customer support had a hard time explaining me for how much because even they couldn’t figure out how much money I had the day before… that’s basic stuff every broker should have and optionshouse is very primitive in this regard. So now I have $15000 in margin that I have to come up with!!!? that’s 50% of my account value – not peanuts to me. Not once did they mention me exceeding my trading limit on any particular trade. I’m already not so sure if “free” trades justify all this negative experience (“free” is not so free if you take into account all the money they make on bad fills). Oh and customer service is crap – you have to wait for as long as 20 minutes sometimes.

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Beth Moon August 11, 2011 at 8:45 am

Hi Diana –

Our Trade Desk Manager has contacted you via email about your specific situation. Please know the day-trading rules that affected your account are established by FINRA and all brokerage firms must adhere to them. When you are on a day trading margin call, your account is placed in aggregation until the first call is met–this means that you can use your beginning day trade buying power one time per day to day trade. If you day trade over that amount you will generate a second margin call.

As for the orders for which you feel you were given an unfair price, we can assure you that if you did not receive the NBBO (national best bid/best offer) at the time of the trade, we would correct it for you immediately.

As I said, our Trade Desk Manager has reached out directly so I hope you use him as a resource. If you did not receive this email, please write me at bmoon [at] optionshouse [dot] com and I will investigate.

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Amigo August 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

OH is not worth the headaches!

Only 3 days after initiating my first ACH funding for my cash account I received an email from OH stating my account “will be open in one business day”! 4 days after that I called to see what the hold up was. The CSR insisted that 7 days had not passed but only 1. Nothing I had to say made any difference.

Yesterday, 11 days after initiating the account, my ACH status finally read “completed” on their website. Whatever “completed” means to them, it obviously doesn’t mean that I get to use my money for anything. The account balance, 12 days out, is still zero amount. There has been no delay on my part whatsoever with faxing back documents or acknowledging micro-deposits. So, at best, I can only hope that I am being subjected to another “waiting period that protects the firm” as the CSR put it.

A normal ACH transfer does not take this long to accomplish. 12+ days is absurd. At this point I only want my account funds acknowledged so I can transfer my money back out!

PS: I opened a Roth at TradeMonster on the same day and it was turn-key ready in 5 days. And honestly, after using this time to check out OH’s platform, I’m actually looking forward to moving this money over to a cash account at TM.

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Beth Moon August 22, 2011 at 9:52 am

Amigo,

OptionsHouse (OH) holds all checks and ACH (Automated Clearing House) deposits for three business days (from the day the funds are received) before funds are released for trading purposes. Instituting this holding period helps us control our risk as a firm, which in turn helps keep our commissions low. For a clear diagram of how this holding period translates into available dollars, please refer to this section (http://optionshouse.com/faq/ive-funded-my-account-via-electronic-transfer-ach-when-will-my-funds-be-available-for-trading/) of our Frequently Asked Questions.

For future reference (and for all new customers reading this), the fastest way to fund a new account is via wire transfer. In many situations, provided the wire is used for the initial funding, we will reimburse your wiring fee (some exclusions apply; for full terms and conditions please click here – http://www.optionshouse.com/disclaimers/#/promotions/=3).

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Amigo August 22, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Your reply sounds sincere and I tend to think that you believe it is true. From my firsthand experience I say that it’s not true. Perhaps you should look into how your company actually conducts its business and see for yourself just how well the chart you link to is being complied with.

As for me and my account, this is “real world” day #1 to measure how long it takes your company to transfer money back into my bank account. I’ll give you full credit on the first day my funds are returned to my bank.

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Beth Moon August 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Amigo,

Please email me privately – bmoon [at] optionshouse [dot] com – with either your email address or your account username and I’ll look into whether anything unusual might be happening in your account.

Additionally, please be aware that funds received via ACH must be held for the deposit day plus 5 business days before they can be withdrawn. For example, an ACH request made before 1 p.m. CT on Friday, July 29 would have the funds deposited via ACH on Monday, August 1. These funds could then be withdrawn on Tuesday, August 9.

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Amigo August 23, 2011 at 8:24 am

5 days??

Why is that?

Is the firm protecting itself again?

From what?

Considering the number of unfavorable comments that can found here and in other forums on the web pertaining to this kind of problem with OptionsHouse, I think it’s reasonable to say that there is nothing unusual happening with my account.

I’m obviously not the first of your clients to come forward with this kind of complaint.

Seeing as how I’ve already requested a full withdrawal of all my funds, the only assistance you could realistically offer me now is to waive the 5 day cash withdrawal penalty.

stemphos August 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I have had an account with OH for several months now, and I have to say that everything had been going great until I asked customer service about settlement on an RUT credit spread.

I knew it was cash settled and that the last trading day was Thursday August 18th. I did not know if RUT was AM or PM settled, so I called OH. They told me that the closing price on Thurs was the settlement price, so I watched my 650/655 put spread carefully. The index closed at 662, so I went to bed a happy man. The rep even put me on hold to verify that the closing price was correct. I recorded our conversation

To my surprise, I found a $3300 debit on my account due to the settlement price being 651.70 and not 662. Come to find out, RUT is AM settled and the settlement price is practically an imaginary number.

Customer service cannot be that incorrect. I have already made plans to close my account.

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Zehua Zhou August 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I have been a customer for a month, and I have a feeling that my limit order never receives a price improvement. Last weekened I placed an order for a put option for 6.7 in both optionshouse and fidelity, and fidelity get me filled on Monday for 6.6, but optionshouse get me filled for 6.7.
Also I think their execution for penny stocks suck. Look like BAC.WSB, they don’t even have the correct price quote on the website, and no charts.

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Zehua August 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Also I want to complain that their customer service guys are the most rude ones I have ever seen.
I have been considering to move away now. Their only advantage that attracts me is their platform. Very well designed. However, it looks very likely that they are playing tricks on order execution to make more bucks than just the commission. I have done quite a few limit orders, and never had one executed with price improvement, while in Fidelity, about 1/3 of the orders gets price improvement of 1-3%.

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ed wall August 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm

TRUE ENOUGH. Optionshouse sucks badly, very badly. But to compare against Fidelity? They offer a huge number of free trades but then consume them with partial fills. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had 10k – 20k share order and only 2 – 3 shares would fill. That leaves you cancelling that order (and using a trade) to enter at the next price point you’re willing to accept.

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Amigo August 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Zehua, I can recommend TradeMonster for limit orders. Mine have been smooth and executed exactly as ordered and I’m pretty sure they managed one price improvement for me so far, I’ll have to double check. They do let me modify my orders right before a fill if I want to with no penalty or delay. I can’t compare them to OptionsHouse since I never even got that far with them before things went bad.

If you give TradeMonster the instructions to let you know play-by-play of each fill and each delivery they will send it to your email or your cell phone or both. I use the Blackberry app and it’s fantastic. The platform is great too with amazingly insightful research and analysis at a single click. They have videos to get you up and running with how their platform works and you can try it out free with their “paper account” it’s just like the live cash account but with a 20 minute delay.

I opened my Roth with them and they had me set up and ready to trade in just 5 days.

If you decide to leave OptionsHouse, I hope you have a smoother experience than I am having getting my money away them.

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Beth Moon August 26, 2011 at 9:43 am

Zehua –

First, thank you for your feedback; we appreciate your kind words about the platform. We do pride ourselves on our intuitive design, but we also pride ourselves on our execution rate. For the month of July, for example, 93.9% of marketable limit orders and market orders executed at or better than the target price and 52.8% of these orders received price improvements. Not to mention the fact that we have a regulatory obligation to fill orders at National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO) or better.

We will admit that penny-stock trading is not our forte, nor do we intend it to be. The scrutiny and costs associated with trading these issues, especially given recent restrictions for non-DTC-eligible stocks, has continued to increase. We would rather focus our energy and efforts on improving our trading technology and keeping our commissions competitively low.

Finally, I apologize that you had an unpleasant experience with customer service. I can assure you that we have an extremely capable and professional team. In the last Barron’s review of online brokers (http://bit.ly/qFoxcs), we earned 4.4 out of 5 potential starts for Customer Service/Education. (The industry average in this category was 3.8, as a point of reference).

I do hope that you will stick around so that we can prove ourselves to you. I feel confident that you’ll see our execution and our customer-facing team complement our “very well designed” platform.

Beth Moon

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Zehua August 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Beth, I think your response is disappointing at the best. Let me tell you why I think so.
Customer service: You are trying to deny your customer service problems, which implies that I can see no hope of improvement in the future. How can someone fix his problems, when he denies there is a serious problem? Both fidelity and scottrade representatives are very patient and nice to me, but your optionshouse representative is very impatient, do not even let me speak, keep interrupting me, and try to hang up my phone. For example, I ask him why do I never see price improvements in my limit order? He said “why do you think you deserve a price improvement? There is no such a thing for limit orders!” Then I said, well, I placed identical orders in both here and fidelity, and fidelity gave me a better price. Then after a few seconds of silence, he said: ” I don’t know! Goodbye!” Then he tried to hang up the phone! I made a few calls, and each one of your representative is as bad as this guy. I strongly doubt if these guys’ annual review is based on the number of phone calls that they processed, instead of customer satiesfaction. If I were Barrons, I would give Fidelity and Scottrade 4.5 for customer service, and 1 for your guys. By looking at the above conversation, do you still think your team is “extremely capable and professional”?

Order execution: You said “52.8% of these orders received price improvements. ” But after trading over 20 orders, I have seen zero orders with price improvement. You said: “we have a regulatory obligation to fill orders at National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO) or better. ” Then please tell me why my HOGS put option orders get filled at 6.6 in Fidelity, but your system gave me 6.7? They were both placed a few hours before market open. I doubt either your system totally sucks, or you buy at 6.6 and sell to me at 6.7, and you book profits from this hidden price difference.

If you really care about improving your company, then I would rather see you do the following:
1. Admit that your customer service totally sucks, and promise to improve it in 6 months. Perhaps you can add a system feature to let each customer give satisfaction ratings to the representative after they finish each phone call.
2. Investigate your order execution problems, and publish your price improvement results each quarter like this:
http://individuals.interactivebrokers.com/en/p.php?f=smartRouting

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Mike September 7, 2011 at 11:34 am

Platform issues and very rude customer service. Plain and simple. I switched to OH August 2011 from E*Trade. I used ET for almost 7 years. Not once did I have to call their customer service. Yup. Not once. Never had a problem with their platform. I mainly switched because I gave in to the ultra discounted commissions offered by OH.

Well, one month into trading through OH and I’ve already called customer service 5 times. Of those 5 times 3 were in one day, today.

The first two times I called were for simple funding questions and although the overall calls went fine I did notice right away the curt rudeness by the OH customer reps. Tone of voice, lack of a greeting, and the quick hang up after I said “thank you.” But I figured, what the heck~!

Today: I logged into my account to see all my buying powers showing zero as well as my cash to withdraw. I figured it was just platform issues so I waited a couple hours…nothing happened so I called. The rep (Pete) was courteous and told me there was an error and that it’d be fixed. I waited a couple more hours nothing happened. I call again and he put me on hold to figure it out (I somehow got the same guy, Pete, so he knew the situation). In less than 3 minutes, with a few clicks, he corrected it. Why couldn’t he have done it during my first call??? Nonetheless, he fixed it and was not (like the next guy) so I didn’t mind too much.

After I get the buying power fixed, I thought the “cash to withdraw” would correct itself as well…how wrong I was. I called back right and I got a different person. I won’t name him because I don’t want him to get in trouble, this economy is bad as it is, I surely don’t want to contribute to anymore joblessness.

I told him my “cash to withdraw” should show XXX amount. The amount was very small but I just wanted to get it fixed. I wasn’t going to withdraw the amount but just wanted to get everything squared away. But the rep asks me, in a very sardonic and mockingly, “I mean, do you NEED to withdraw this amount??” I calmly told him that I just wanted to get things in order and that I obviously was not going to withdraw the funds but just wanted to make sure everything was in order (keeping calm was not easy). Eventually he couldn’t figure it out and he told me that he’s unable to correct the cash to withdraw numbers like Pete did with my buying power numbers.

I told him I’ll wait till tomorrow to see what happens and call again if it wasn’t corrected…

What kind of operation are these guys running here? I mean these customer reps are qualified, they are not your run of the mill customer reps picking up the phone in India or some other far off land. But these reps are so bitter and cold and have no sense of “customer relations” that it makes me want to punch myself for switching to OH. I obviously wasn’t gonn withdraw the small “cash to withdraw” amount but doesn’t this rep understand that this is customer’s money at stake here? The risk of computer glitches to mess up an account, or god forbid anything else is scary to customers and customer reps have to realize that. Would this customer rep serviced my call differently if I originally had $1,000,000 cash to withdraw amount showing a zero? Maybe, but whether if its $10.00 or $1000000 the service should be the same.

Yeah, Etrade cost more but you know what, Etrade never caused the stress and displeasure (not to mention time wasted calling customer service) that OH has caused me during this one month experience…Ultra low commissions? Yeah, well…u’ll definitely get what you pay for.

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Hemanth Kundeti September 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Initially, I thought Optionshouse was a good platform for trading. I found slowly, much to my dismay, they specialize in having rules that benefit themselves than customers. I am a pattern day trader as I have over 25K-30K in my account. They placed my account in aggregation state because supposedly I made multiple day trade calls exceeding their option buying power which according to them means, I have to add $19,000 to my account or not allowed to trade for 90 days. I didnt know this rule before, nor received warnings that I will be unable to trade if this happens. This rule came right out of the left field. They should quit telling people they can do multiple day trades if they are within the margin because, it is simply not true. Also, they keep a hold on your account even to sell things when you least expect it. Dismayed by their stupid rules that only benefit their company, I decided to move my platform to optionsxpress. When I made a complete transfer request through optionsxpress because, I made a transaction early in the morning. They told them I was trading at the time.
Funds transfer is so slow that you often than not end up not getting money in time. They say they have a three day hold. It is more than six-seven days usually. For any funds transfer from a online bank, after establishing the connection, it should not take more than a day for the transfer. So, it should not take more than 4 days in all. It is baffling that it takes that much time. When you ask the customer service, they give me a link to see why it might take more than their holding limit. Rules are good. But rules that do not make sense end up hurting the company. I am sure I will never use the optionshouse again.

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Don Webster September 13, 2011 at 9:36 am

To Mike, Hemanth, and others,

First, thank you for your honest reports detailing your personal experience with OptionsHouse. As Vice President of Customer Service, I value this candid feedback and can assure you we take these comments very seriously. While the Barron’s rating Beth cited above is a good objective measure of our overall performance in this area, every customer interaction is unique and equally important. I want to personally apologize for any frustration and dissatisfaction you may have experienced with our team.

We are always striving to improve our level of customer service but this will always be a work in progress. Currently, we are augmenting our staff in order to improve both our overall efficiency and the level of personal attention we provide to our customers. If our customers aren’t satisfied, we obviously cannot grow our business successfully. Our customer service and trade desk representatives are vital to creating a lasting impression of our firm, and of course we want that impression to be positive.

Thank you again for your feedback – rest assured that we don’t take it lightly and are continuing to implement changes that will make everyone’s experience with OptionsHouse a better one.

Sincerely,
Don Webster
Vice President, Customer Service
OptionsHouse, LLC

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ron miller September 14, 2011 at 12:00 am

There must be at least 7 or 8 responses from OptionsHouse representatives just like this one in this blog over a 2 year period. How insincere. I contacted Barron’s a year or so ago and they said they’d love to hear direct negative feedback. Do you want to shut these ripoffs down? Then begin by writing to Barron’s and give them first-hand feedback. After all, Barron’s really doesn’t have the contact or experience with this company that actual users do.

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Ellen September 14, 2011 at 8:45 am

I just moved to OptionsHouse last week. I have only been trading for a few years, and don’t have much of a portfolio, so I looked around for a broker with lower commissions. My first disappointment was that they held my account for three days after the funds had been transferred. I was excited about the free trades, so I was patient. Yesterday was my first day of trading. This morning, I executed a sell because I wanted to put the money into another transaction. I was surprised when my buy order was denied because of insufficient funds. At Ameritrade, my other account, they hold back a small amount of the trade, so small that unless you make multiple trades a day, it is relatively insignificant. When I contacted customer service, Rachael told me ” Stock Trades settle Trade Date + 3 business days”! Today is Wednesday September 14, so in OptionsHouse world I am shut out of the market until Tuesday. With the way I trade, that is just unacceptable. I just followed up, and was told by another rep, that I would have better access to my money if I filled out the Margin Agreement Form. I would if I had faith that everything else would go smoothly, but me initial experience tells me to look elswhere. I am just studying options, so that trading will be in my future. Is there a general consensus that there are a few good options out there for frequent traders and options traders? Thanks!

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aashiq September 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

I have read all the comments new customers are writing. I have been with OH for quite some time now. Yes I did have some issues now and then, but nothing so serious to feel that OH was any worse than any other brokers I have worked with. I have (or had) accounts with Fidelity, Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, Zecco, Merrill Edge, Lightspeed, etc.

Yes everyone has a right to express an opinion, but I suggest that you Ellen give it a few more days and then decide whether OH is right for you.

I do not work for OH directly or indirectly. I am just a customer there just like others. If you have any questions that you would like to ask me (a real customer asopposed to the Broker) please post it and I shall be glad to answer it.

aashiq

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Amigo September 14, 2011 at 2:04 pm

The three days waiting period was actually quite a bit longer in my experience. It was 13 days AFTER I did everything on my end to accomplish the ACH transfer. I was so steamed by the time they finally let me use my own money that I immediately took the necessary steps to withdraw the entire deposit.

So, Beth comes in here saying that I will have to wait for 5 days, she doesn’t care to say why though. And that is not even consistent with OH’s website that states 5 days AFTER the day they finally acknowledge the deposit . . . therefore a minimum of 6 days. Of course 6 days will necessarily include a weekend so add 2 more days, and don’t forget it has to be initiated before 1pm so now we’re up to 9 days and that could include a second weekend.

My 5 day withdrawal took another 13 days Ellen, so be prepared to wait.

In contrast, I have opened two accounts with TradeMonster, the first, a Roth was turn-key ready to trade in 5 days using an ACH deposit. With the second, a cash account I helped fund with the money I eventually received back from OptionsHouse, I was trading on the 4th day.

If you want to use a broker who says 13 days equals 3, you sure went to the right place. The only other discount broker I’ve tried is TradeMonster so there may be a lot of others out there you should consider. But, you can put TradeMonster in the category of Principled and Ethical. No BS whining about protecting themselves from those scary ACH deposits!

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Jimmy L September 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I have been shopping around for a brokerage account and decided on Optionshouse. I have had nothing but a smooth trading experience. Reading this site sickens me and shows the lack of sophistication on the part of the writers. Ellen, the second page of opening an account gives you two choices when opening the account CASH or Margin. Any moderately educated investor with any experience at all knows that these differences exist. At every brokerage you are constrained by trade settlement when day trading in a Cash account. If you actually read why you were signing up for or knew anything about investing you would know that this is an easy choice when opening a brokerage account. To come on here and provide negative reviews about OH because of your lack of reading ability and comprehension is absurd. My advice to EVERYONE on this website is to take a look in the mirror. If you don’t know the difference between a cash and margin account find out which one suits your needs best. If you think the promotion gives you 1000 free trades read the fine print. That probably is too good to be true. Coming on here and trying to use this page as a legitimate vehicle for feedback is a complete joke as most people are here are bottom of the barrel unsophisticated investors and that begins with the posters right above me. I got my account here up and running in 60 hours by submitting the paperwork I was prompted to and sending a wire transfer (which they kindly rebate). Now I’m trading with cheap rates and solid execution.

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ron miller September 15, 2011 at 1:59 pm

I’d testify in open court about my bad experience with OH while I was a customer and would vouch for about every single comment here having similar experiences. And incidentally, there are a ton of “[un]educated” investors with self directed accounts and these platforms thrive on them and even take advantage of them. They all do, but OptionsHouse is by far the worst. As far as the “CASH or Margin” account differences, different platforms DO manage things differently and still do so within the scope of FINRA and SEC – if you were so experienced you would know that! OptionsHouse is by far the WORST when it comes to holding back your finances! As for anyone wanting to pay lower commissions, there is a platform out there that allows extended hours trading from 4-9:30 a.m. ET and 4-8 p.m ET with seamless trading to/from market open; you can negotiate a flat rate commission of $4.95 per trade OR trade at $.33 per 100 shares with $.99 minimum (ie 1-300 shares will cost you $.99). I’m not going to name the platform. Like all the platforms, that site has issues too, BUT it’s a lot better than Options House. Incidentally, the platform I’m referring to has a “rule” of ACH transfers being available for trade on the 5th day after the ACH request, but if you email them a copy of your bank statement showing that the funds were withdrawn, you’ll get to use those funds on the 2nd day after you initiate the ACH (if you make the request before 2 p.m. ET).

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HerseyK October 31, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Okay Ron, save me the time – who is the other broker?

YIA

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Avi September 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Similar experience as everyone else here. Customer service was terse and incredibly patronizing. My account was set to go into aggregation for 90 days similar to Hemanth’s comment and if I wouldn’t have intervened I would have been screwed. I called to clarify and it turns out they stuck all my funds in a money market fund without my permission overnight (that provided virtually no interest) so I was not able to trade with it during the day and was going to be put on aggregation because of it. Optionshouse floods me with promotional emails so I don’t read them all. When I get on the phone he asks me if I read the email they sent out about it and when I told him no he response very aggressively, “well you should have, I don’t know what you’re thinking.” Horrible experience, as soon as I find a better broker I will be switching.

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Ellen September 16, 2011 at 9:26 am

Thanks aashiq, it is nice to hear from a user who is candid. As, for you Jimmy L if you believe that “most people are here are bottom of the barrel unsophisticated investors” what are you doing here? Yes, it is true that I am an unsophisticated investor. At some point, everyone is. I came here seeking advice, and for the most part I am happy with the comments and suggestions. People like you confound me. I cannot imagine what motivates people like you to spew obnoxious and useless vitriol, except that you are an angry and vicious person. Here are a few tips that could change your miserable and unfulfilled life:
1. If there’s someone in your life making you angry and or miserable get rid of them.
2. If you are miserable or angry because of your job, quit. Or if that’s not possible, start looking for a new job.
3. Don’t take your miserable outlook with you or you’ll fail and be miserable there too.
4. Look around every day and find something to be thankful for. Let that feeling grow.
5. Do something today to make your life more beautiful. Pick a flower for a girlfriend/wife/child; play ball with a child; call your parents or a friend and tell them you love them.
6. I was about to hit send, and I realized that I forgot something really important. If you are going to continue reading these posts, why don’t you offer your advice in terms of wanting to help someone, you’ll feel better whether you understand that or not, and you won’t be spreading malevolence, which is highly contagious. You’re sick man, hope you get well soon.
Good luck.

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House January 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm

You received the rude response because you disingenuously presented yourself as an active-trader yet didn’t know stocks settle T+3. You furthered this disingenuous account by suggesting it was somehow the fault of OptionHouse, ” in OptionsHouse world I am shut out of the market until Tuesday. With the way I trade, that is just unacceptable.”

Without someone calling-you-out for your hyperbole other people might believe what you wrote.
Nicely lying is not better than rude truth.

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Torio September 22, 2011 at 9:07 am

Elen, you are way out of proportion.

I like optionshouse, it has lots of features, it executes orders very smoothly, i guess you don’t know until something happens, but so far so good. And really, there are no good alternative. I mean overall.

What i dont understand, and would like to point others to, is the absence of news feed, it is really insufficient amount of news. Practically nothing except the front-page CNN (not CNN-money even) and lots of updates on current stock prices. This is really annoying.

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DrewB September 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm

After reading the reviews about customer service and small technical glitches, I don’t think I’ll be opening an account here at OH.

I pay $8.95 at Wells Fargo Brokerage, kind of pricey but customer service is good so far. They are very knowledgeable when it comes to trading strategies, and any technical issues with your account are resolved fast, at least IMO so far.

Just had a call with them earlier this week, lasted 25 minutes and was a good educational experience on some advanced trading strategies.

You get what you pay for and at $2.95, I wouldn’t expect much.

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Ellen September 26, 2011 at 8:47 am

I still have a TDAmeritrade account, and transfered funds from my bank account on a Friday. That Saturday the funds showed up in my account and on Monday I had access to trade. Meanwhile, I transferred all money out of Options House and a week later they still have not been deposited. We all know the transfer is immediate. In my opinion, OH is guilty of conversion. No trade is cheap enough when a company restricts your access to your money like they do. I am sad to give up 100 free trades, but it just isn’t worth it. And Torio, I was not the one out of proportion. Your buddy was.

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Matthew October 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

I can’t even get a hold of representative. The phone number just keeps ringing! I just had a simple question. Argh.

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Derek October 20, 2011 at 9:56 am

They’re customer service is a joke. People are always moving divisions, and never do what they say there are going to do even when you back up your claims with email confirmations. I have been working with them for 6 months for them to make good on their promotional deals, and been promised a credit 2 times, i’ve never gotten anything. I’m done with them. You get cheap trades but don’t expect them to be able to handle anything else.

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Jimmy L October 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Ellen,

It is very difficult to take you seriously. If you want a good place to house your money that isn’t under your mattress but can be withdrawn for free in a day, open a bank account. TDAmeritrade is a publicly traded large brokerage house. If you look around at these reviews online you will notice these that is all large publicly traded operations that allow you 1 day in 1 day out on deposits and transfers. They are big, and economies of scale allow for them to have their own banking facilities to handle these transactions. Optionshouse as well as many of these other boutique trading firms use clearing houses and don’t process these banking transactions themselves (every broker has disclosures on this). Getting away from my original point. I can recommend a good bank that gives you a free debit card for withdrawing money whenever you want. Best part of all you don’t jar to wait for settlement of well….anything.

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Kevin2011 October 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm

OptionHouse is so bad!!! I am so angry!!!

I have an account in OptionsHouse, but from 10/25/2011 till now (10/27/2011), the data of The Daily P/L, Month To Date, and Year To Date are always WRONG! I contact them for more than 5 times, but the severe problem is still not fixed till now. Moreover, the attitude of the representatives of OptionsHouse are not good. They seem to think I should accept such WRONG numbers. Their manager whose name is Paul even said to me in the phone that If I want, I can tell him any numbers, and then they can just use these numbers to update the data in my OptionsHouse account. I contacted them so much times. But they think it is normal that their system has problems/bugs, the manager Paul even said that he cannot guarantee to provide me correct data in my account. Also, they never apologize to me about their system problem so far. I am so angry and still waiting for the results. This severely disturbed my operation in the OptionsHouse platform and lead to big loss of mine.

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Ted Winders October 28, 2011 at 7:28 am

I believe our correspondance may have crossed in cyberspace, as I sent the following email to you yesterday afternoon (excerpted below):

“Thanks for contacting us. First off, I want to express my apologies for the confusion and frustration you must be experiencing. I understand that you spoke to Paul, our trade desk manager today. Per a conversation with him and your email, I am examining this issue very closely. Once I have concluded my investigation, I will provide you with the resulting changes and guide you with the logic of what to expect next. In addition to that, I will also attempt to narrow down the original cause of this problem.

Again, I want to apologize for the confusion, and if you have any questions regarding this issue you may contact me [using the direct information I provided in said email].”

Regards,
Ted Winders
Associate Product Manager
OptionsHouse

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Dissa January 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

Have you resolved this yet? How was your experience with the Manager?

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DJ October 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I’ve been an optionshouse user since 03/2011, and I have not had any problems with them. The trades happen instantaneously and I have been able to buy stock, sort stock, and use margin all to my advantage. I have never had a problem with their platform and I use it almost every trading day. They have great prices, and they are just what I needed.

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* October 30, 2011 at 5:57 am

Folks,
I have always been reading negative comments about optionshouse. We also need to acknowledge when they are doing some improvement. They have a nice tool called Profit Loss calculator (P&L) for opton traders. This tool is very nice and invaluable. I’ll even pay for an android App for this tool if it was available. Also, they recently droped the premarket hour to 7:00AM. This is something we have been complaining about. Doing this just tell me that somehow they are listening and are trying to improve at their pace as resources permit.
Something else I’m still looking for them to implement is Premarket short sale

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House January 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Rolling out new features when the existing system has serious issues is an incredible negative not a positive.

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Milko November 29, 2011 at 9:34 am

Alright, I have a few questions, First though, I have to say that I’m a twenty year old guy in college, so I don’t a have much more than a few thousands to invest. Meaning I’m pretty much investing in low/penny stocks. At moment I’m investing with Scottrade, thing is they have an additional fee for stocks under a dollar that equals 7.00 + 1/2% principle instead of the 7.00. All in all regardless of whether I’m willing to pay the additional fee all I receive if I place the order is “Unable to enter order because market orders are not accepted for stocks trading under $1.” WHAT!!! why would they say they could place an order, and yet when a customer wants to place one it will not be accepted? I haven’t had any real problems with Scottrade until I final decided I wanted to invest in a few penny stocks. Thus, because Scottrade is unable to cooperate with a poor college kids ability to invest I’ve begun looking for a new brokerage site. So here are the questions: 1) does OH actual place orders in for stocks under a $1.00? 2) Are there different variations of the OH platforms that will cost extra monthly fees? (Ex. Scottrade has Scottrade Elite for an additional $40.00) 3) Beth you said “We will admit that penny-stock trading is not our forte, nor do we intend it to be.” For me, it is understandable for brokerage site not to make penny-stocks its “forte”, but where do penny-stocks reside within your company? In other words, for the younger investors like myself are you guys looking to help teach and aide us in our investment careers, or our we slid over to the back burner until we manage to become intermediates and high rollers? Do you guys have internships?

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aashiq November 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Great move Milko to start investing early in life. What Scottrade is doing is to protect you. It is quite unadvisable to place a market order for a “penny” stock or for that matter most stocks that are thinly traded. I do not know if OH does penny stocks. I am a customer of OH and several other brokerages including Scottrade, but do not trade penny stocks. Good luck to you.

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House January 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm

You don’t have to buy stocks in 100-lots.
I not certain what how OH handles this, but I know I have bought 20 stocks using e*trade.
My point is, you would probably be better off buying $2k worth of a blue-chip stock even if they means you buy 20 ~ 50 shares.
It will be easier to sell and less likely to loose value and you may find yourself needing that money in the near future.

Also, paying off debt really ought to be a priority over investing.
You can make an analytical case that the market yields x% but the loan is only y% …blah…blah.blah.
Debt owns you. Get free first. x% isn’t going to keep your from loosing your house if you’re employed during the next recession.
Having your house paid-for will.
No credit-cards, no auto-loans, no student loans, 3~6 months expenses in “cash”, then everything goes to investing.

If you are doing this to learn about investing, then do it using the virtual trading tools and don’t risk your own (real & limited) money.

PS Congratulations if you actually have $2k to invest at 20yo, that makes you wealthier than about 40% of America.

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Milko November 30, 2011 at 8:12 am

Alright aashiq, if you will, what are some good areas to invest in? I found out I would have to put limit orders to trade penny stocks, (what is the main concern about them)? Do you know any good books that have helped you predict the markets? Thank you for your time.

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aashiq November 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

Hi Milko. The most important reason for not placing a market order for a penny stock or any stock that is thinly traded is that you will most like get the worst price on your fills. Buying at too high a price and selling at a too low a price. Wall street operators are crooked and law allows them to be. As for areas to invest in I think energy, real estate, commodities are going to do well when we finally come out of this financial mess we are in now. As for any books on trading, try Amazon. They have some good books there. As for predicting the markets, believe me no one knows how market will turn. I say that after 30+ years of experience. I did make a lot of mistakes chasing my “gut feeling” or word of some talking head on TV. Do not do that. Just read a good book on trading and learn the concepts. Then watch how things in markets are really working in real life. Good luck.

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Steve H December 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I’ve been using OH Virtual trading for about a month now..
There are a lot of things I like about it..
One thing I do not like.. the graphs..
Example on Schwab Streetsmart Edge I can size the graphs to any size I want (overall Schwabs graphs are much more customizeable)
They are linked directly to my watch list (Just click the stock in the watch list and viola the graph changes to that)
But most of all when I buy it plots my buy price on the graph
When I set stops it plots the stops on the graph… All automatically..
I love that feature..
Any idea if OH has anything like that coming down the pike?

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Ray December 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I just moved here from Tradeking. I trade big numbers in out of the money options. So you can’t do that unless it’s here or at TK where the option rates are really cheap. 15 cents for a contract is much better than $1.25 when you’re buying 400 contracts. I left TK because twice in two months their trading platforms just stopped working on a very busy day. Locked up orders, confirmations, it was ugly. They pretend to work on a solution but you don’t get any. Try being locked out of your account on a day when the market is moving 500 points on the dow. I’m not used to this platform and it’s hard to get used to. But I have access to other platforms and trading sites that give me tons of information and I’m just using OH for the cheap trades. They sat on my wire transfer for days, I was disappointed, but so far (on month) I’m happy based on commission cost vs. service.

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Michael H December 19, 2011 at 12:06 am

I have been with optionshouse for years now. i have watched them shift from their simple platform to the newly designed platform. Honestly, through my entire experiences collectively one thing stuck out: fast and good executions at cheap prices, end of story. I do a lot of credit and debit spread trading. OH is amazing at hitting midpoints which increase ROI dramatically when your selling 100 contracts spreads on the spy. those extra few pennies translates in extra percentage gains! how can i complain when they charge only .15 cents a contract and these trades almost always fire instantly when dealing with the more liquid instruments. and i’m LOVING the new platform where i can FINALLLLLLLLLY fire off OCO orders. it took forever for them to implement, but finally its here. i used it a lot recently and they were firing off perfectly without fail, and my market stop losses were hitting the bids at market. i never once experienced what people gripe about here with regard to trading and executions…

One thing i will complain about though. lousy charting tools, makes me continue to use ameritrade for charting. 2) customer service can be confusing at times, especially the margin desk! day traders only get 2X margin here when just about every other broker offers 4x margin. these are all things i learned to tolerate because they have saved me BOATLOADS of commission cash over ameritrade/thinkorswim.

Final rating: 5/5 stars for pricing and execution, 4.5 / 5 stars for platform features due to awkward charting tools. 3.5 / 5 stars for customer service.

End of story!

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CHARLIE December 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I opened account with OH on 12/14/2011 and faxed my vanguard account statement late after noon. On December 27, 2011 I noticed i see money marked fund from vanguard. My impression on specific instruction request to transfer money fund and liquidate before it transfer to OH. But it is not, it show money market fund from vanguard on my OH account. Am I supposed to keep it, and trade the stock or option and deduct from money account or do I need to liquidate money market fund from vanguard first before I can make a trade? I call the customer service, why I have money market fund, instead of cash? I cannot even liquidate because it is not clear yet probably wait until mid January. Even if it clear and I need to liquidate the money market fund, I have to wait at least 3 days before I can even trade, since it is an RA account. Each customer representative tell me different things. They told me that my account will be clear at least mid January 2012.
That is really crappy.
I am hoping that I have a good experience with option house. I have a mixed feeling about this.

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Bill January 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm

I have been reading through all these feedbacks, and as I read i found myself conflicted. I use fidelity and wanted lower commissions, so a friend told me about optionshouse. But after reading Charlies experience, it seems optionhouse hasn’t tried to fix there customer service problem,which have been the core of the problems. I would rather pay a little more in commissions, when i know I am a valued customer. Seems like the people that run optionshouse read this site. So here’s some advice from a guy who would like to switch but wont now. First, you should print all these comments out and try to figure out a strategy where you dont hang up with someone till THEY feel satisfied with the call…Second, just be upfront with the time period it takes to put the money in someones account. 13 days is not right (Maybe you could have given her a couple more free trades)…Third, show dumbed down examples of Margin, Day trading rules..etc…Most people are not experts.. Hopefully you take that into account, I would love to trade with you (Someday)

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sirous January 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Can you buy stocks of overseas companies with optionshouse?

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TampaGuy January 9, 2012 at 8:22 am

Wow–lotsa info here; I’ve been considering OH for options, but now I’m not so sure. My current online broker won’t allow me to trade options. The explanation is that my net worth doesn’t meet their threshold, but they tell you not to include real property and/or real estate holdings (I have considerable equity in both), and only count liquid assets (i.e., cash accounts). So I decided to look elsewhere.

W/ my current broker, I had similar issues w/ ACH deposits that many have discussed here, and they did have issues w/ reconciliation (which they’ve since pared down from 7-8 days to 3), so it seems like these are issues w/ any online broker. But the negative response I’m reading here is cause for concern, and makes me think maybe OH is not the place for me.

Thanks for the info…

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guest January 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Fees are the lowest you can get. Customer service needs improvement very badly. I prefer online chat, but when representative could not figure out the answer to a question about my account, I was asked to call their hotline despite not having a trading question. Platform does not show everything I need to know like the commission I am paying. It said zero (availed of their promo), but apparently it’s not free (pink sheets) and I ended up losing $$$. Activity information when exported to excel shows zero fees too. I could have easily found out that the promo has that disclosure had the platform showed correctly the amount of commission fees I am paying per trade/per kind of stock. I am not looking for superb service, but at least decent enough for my money’s worth. Disappointed. This is to help others make informed decisions when choosing a brokerage firm.

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Torio January 9, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Wow!
TampaGuy, definitely go with OH. if you are not planning to call them every day. Emails and chats are extremely responsive. Its the cheapest, very fast and stable system. I’m surprised to see so much negative (it’s like shorts on a message board of a rising stock start to cry so loud and disproportional that you can feel their pain ) but compare it to other traders. The OH has charts for options of you want to see the dynamics.

2gues: Look, you’re right, not all the fees are on the balance sheet, but that’s because its not OH fees, its regulators fees, they are exponentially smaller and posted to your account later, where are no one out there without those fees.

2All, I hope you will make your decision knowing that OH is the cheapest and quite advanced system with no reported bugs, with delay in payments and sometimes inadequate customer service (I was lucky). The post aboove are not representative in my opinion.

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peekamoose January 13, 2012 at 9:56 am

Just wondering why the streaming charts in OH are always delayed. The price on top of the chart is correct but the damn chart is rarely ticking. I am an OH customer but think Options xpress has a better platform and better streaming charts. Also Interactive Brokers has incredible tools and there charts seem to be right on. Only played with those other two, but thinking of switching.

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putty January 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Interesting reviews. I guess I’m on the fence now on whether I should go for OH. For such low commission fees, you get what you pay for.

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marketmaker January 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I’m surprised that nobody speaks of TOS (now owned by TDAmeritrade) for execution and probably the industry’s most responsive (try 3minutes) customer service, or for the price leader when it comes to smaller lots, and believe me, you will be looking at small lots when you do trades in GOOG, or AAPLY and the like, can you beat eOption.com?

What most traders forget to ask potential brokers is, do you charge for a cancel and replacement order (IB charges for every order you cancel and replace and gives you a small fee back if you finally make the trade) and also assignment and exercise trades. This varies all over the lot.

Good luck!

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Torio January 19, 2012 at 5:28 am

2marketmaker what is IB? And… seriously? There are charges for every order you cancel and replace?

How about eoption? They have streaming charts at $15/mo, trading platform at $200/mo. Nothing can beat that.

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marketmaker January 21, 2012 at 9:52 am

Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (IB) is an online discount brokerage firm in the United States. The company traces its origin to 1977 when Thomas Peterffy bought a seat on the American Stock Exchange as an individual market maker, and formed T.P. & Co. the following year. Today, the company consists of many subsidiaries around the world, operating on most major stock, futures, bonds, forex, and options exchanges worldwide. The company commenced a public offering on 4 May 2007 under the ticker symbol NASDAQ: IBKR on the Nasdaq exchange.[1]

Barron’s Magazine stated in 2009 that Interactive Brokers maintains a position as the least expensive trading venue for investors,[2] and holds the ranking as the #1 Lowest Cost Broker for the fifth straight year.

They are huge with capital close to 5 Billion (that’s with a B) and do some 1 million transactions a day. A great company for very active traders, but I found their cancel and replace option a serious impediment for me. Yes seriously.

I like eoption, but they too charge you for a new order when you cancel and replace with a different price. That could get expensive.

Btw, did you see the discounts Tasty Trade is offering on their website? Options House is one of there participants. I found a membership to TT on ebay which cost $30.00. A $90.00 value and got $350.00 discount in commissions. Yes, even if you are already a client of the brokerage firms listed there.

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Dissa January 25, 2012 at 7:28 am

Disappointing customer service from staff to manager. Unapologetic on the inconsistencies of their platform leading to losses incurred. Quality and level of service are at par with the commission fee in the market – cheapest.

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Anand January 31, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Last two week there were two instances when my buying power was not reflected right and I missed on opportunities. The customer service did not sound apologetic about it. After hour trading might not be available all the time and would require calling(No notices)
5/10 for customer service.

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Mike January 31, 2012 at 11:49 pm

I guess I’ll give my .02 cents. I have been using OptionsHouse for almost a year now. I have traded stocks online before using Datek/Ameritrade and Etrade. But wanting to try options, I shopped around with an emphasis on price. Optionshouse was the best price/minimum-nickel-and-diming broker I could find. Yes, some had cheaper trades but had higher “small print” fees. Anyways, Optionshouse won out.

I did have to deal with phone customer service early on for minor issues, i.e. getting free trades activated, wire fee refund, option level upgrade. I have a current trade filling issue going on, hopefully it gets resolved without too much pain. Although, the customer service reps have not been what I would call rude, I do understand the “tone” other reviewers have mentioned. The reps can come across as the young, brash, pretty frat boy broker type seen in the movies.

I’m very satisfied with Optionshouse so far. You can’t beat the rates (I wish I would have gotten in on the $2.95 rates).

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Jarrod Johnson February 1, 2012 at 7:17 am

Optionshouse is a great brokerage. Some of the cheapest trading on any platform, easy to use and understand interface and they have great customer service. They have helped me numerous times, released funds early to allow me to take advantage of opportunities, etc, etc. Couldn’t recommend more highly.

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Anand February 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Very poor customer service. Just got done with a chat session with a customer rep.
OptionHouse has been sending emails that the 1099s will be ready by 15th Feb. On 14th Feb they sent mail again stating the same. Today (15th Feb) they sent another mail saying it won’t be available until 15th March. They are thinking it a joke or something.
So, I asked the customer rep on chat about it again and I was told that he does not have more information. I requested to talk to a supervisor or person with authority and I was told that no one is available. Then I requested a phone call form a supervisor and I was told that it is not possible and I was told to call the next morning. At that point I threatened them that I will post the transcript online as the customer service is not optimum. Upon which the rep said someone will contact you.

BETH MOON and TED WINDERS. I am expecting a response.

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Ryan February 16, 2012 at 5:48 am

Now you can’t get 1099′s out till 3/15/12? I can’t file my taxes until you get off your lazy *** and get the forms out? Really, you people should think about what’s important to the investor not your backseat disorganized business model. You can’t even list the Dow numbers in full on your trading platform, and you’re late on option pricing on a lot of stocks. Even at free trading, you’re not free if we’re losing our shirts on customer service and trading information……………………

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Jake Swartz February 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

Ryan, we apologize and completely understand your frustration. Unfortunately, Penson (our clearing firm) is late releasing this information, and quite a few firms were affected. We are working with Penson on a daily basis, and appreciate your patience. At this point, Penson has committed to mailing consolidated 1099s no later than march 15, 2012 (they will also be mad e available online by then, too).

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Justice February 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I would like to know “Why is there an extra fee for buying penny stocks? It seems to me that many of the golden stocks today were at one time extremely low priced. Seems a standard fee of $3.95 or 4.95 should be the limit on any and all stocks. The purchase of Penny Stocks or Golden Stocks should be the buyers right without getting nailed.

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Jake Swartz February 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Justice, given the risks and regulations associated with low-priced penny stocks, we may charge fees for trading and monitoring these instruments. Our pricing is designed for trading options and other equities. In fact, we do not charge a 0.005 cent fee for low priced stocks which are optionable. If you have any questions about any fees associated with your trading, please feel free to contact one of our trade desk representatives.

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Mike February 24, 2012 at 8:10 am

The interface for Optionshouse sucks. Major indices are not even listed (DOW, NASDAQ, S&P). Settings are not saved and have to be set everytime. Listing orders cannot be arranged by the end users. They allow an enormous amount of manipulations to the interface that you could make but none that you really care about. They should concentrate on the basic things that the user really need.

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Anon February 24, 2012 at 8:35 am

I have been using OptionsHouse for about 1 year now and think it’s a great site. I still have my Ameritrade account, but it’s a no brainer that the OptionsHouse site for trading options is far, far better. The lower fees is a huge plus.

I do not understand all the negative reviews here, other than assuming it’s coming from people who are complete novices to trading (and by no mean am I a daytrader). The one complaint I do agree with is the time it takes OH to let you use your funds, but I think people should just get over that. Plan for it, and it’s not a problem at all.

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peekamoose February 25, 2012 at 7:18 am

You must fire Pension… YOU ARE MESSING UP MY LIFE…. I will now have to pay for two sessions with my accountant. I have an appointment in early March, but won’t have all my forms ready. OUTRAGEOUS. Will you pay for the second appointment with my tax accountant? I’ll send you the bill and you can pass it on to Pension… Oh yes, and I’ll send you a bill for my extra time involved in having to shlep back to my accountant and the time spent with her….
Thanks for making my busy life more busy and more complicated than necessary…

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Jake Swartz February 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Peekamoose – We understand your frustration and sincerely apologize.

As you’ve stated, release of consolidated 1099s were delayed due to an issue with our clearing firm Penson Financial. While this is an unfortunate situation, delayed tax forms are typical in the financial services industry and, in particular, have been wide spread this year with multiple financial clearing firms pushing out send dates.
We have been assured that Penson is working around the clock to fix the issue and and stay connected with them on a daily basis.
We sincerely apologize for your personal inconvenience and promise to notify customers as quickly as possible when consolidated 1099s are available (we have been told no later than March 15, 2012).

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peekamoose February 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Sorry, but apologies don’t pay for my second appointment with the accountant nor for my time. I understand what is going on, but someone needs to do more than apologize….

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Jake Swartz February 29, 2012 at 7:15 am

Peekamoose -

If you send your contact information to me directly at jswartz [at] optionshouse [dot] com, I would appreciate the opportunity to follow up with you and discuss this matter further.

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Anand February 28, 2012 at 9:19 am

JAKE SWARTZ- This is my chat transcript with one of your rep. I was on chat for 30 min and I responded within 5 sec each time. So, the delay was on optionshouse side. I would like to know your thought on this.
Buying power was off by 20K and I contacted customer service(Chat)

You are now chatting with Tony
Welcome to OptionsHouse, how may I help you today?

Tony: Hi, how can I help you today?

Anand: It seems like my buying power is not getting updated

Tony: Can you please verify the answer to your security question. What is your mother’s maiden name?

Anand : ******

Tony: Thank you. Checking your account with the Margin Department

Tony: Still being reviewed. One moment…

Tony: That has been updated. Go ahead and refresh your account.

Anand : Can you tell me what was the problem?

Tony: I do not know what the problem was as the Margin Department reviewed the account. I can confirm that it has been updated.

Anand : I see it has been fixed…but knowing the issue will help

Anand : Is this a bug in your system? I missed opportunity because of this bug.

Anand : The system was off by 20K

Tony: Let me see what information I can get you from the Margin Department…
Tony: Margins was able to tell me that there was an issue regarding the buying power and that they did address the issue. What I can provide you is 3 free trades as a client concession.

Anand : This was the third time that it happened to me…… 3 free trade for being off by 20K and loosing opputunity…Thanks I will pass
Tony: OK. Is there anything else at this time?

Anand : Options house was not help full at all….

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Mike February 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Follow up on my 1-31-12 11:49 pm post. My issue got resolved. Optionshouse offered me with free trades that more than made up for my issue. Contacting customer service via is always relatively prompt. The service reps do have an air of condescension, that does not quite crossover to rudeness, but I can see how it could rub people the wrong way.

I have looked high and low for a better site for option trading. There are a couple cheaper on the surface but when I would go deeper into the small print Optionshouse remains on top.

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Mike March 1, 2012 at 9:46 am

“via phone”

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peekamoose March 2, 2012 at 9:17 am

I will send info concerning the missing 1099s (Being late is not a good enough excuse.) There is no excuse for being late with 1099s. If Pension couldn’t get them out on time they abrogated their contract with you. You needed to correct this quickly rather than give us more and more excuses!!! OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!

Also – Your streaming charts tool stinks. Usually there is a small delay, which is unacceptable in today’s markets. Today I had a delay of ten to 20 minutes in the charts and then when I shut my computer down it said I had another streaming java session, which I had closed a number of times. When the charts come up there is a message that states something like this “Unable to launch streaming quotes…”

Your site is getting worse and worse and worse. YOU NEED TO SPEND MONEY ON TOOLS>>>

I will be switching to IB or Options Express if you do not make an announcement that you will be fixing all this and getting better tools to follow the markets….

Totally frustrated

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peekamoose March 2, 2012 at 9:19 am

That should read … “when I shut my computer down and restarted…”

I tried on three different browsers today and no luck with streaming quotes… What gives?????

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peekamoose March 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm

MY APOLOGIES…

I see that the 1099s are ready for downloading (never received a copy in the mail) and they were dated 2/15/2012….

So I am wrong about the 1099s not coming to me. I just had to download them. Pension should still get its act together with snail mail… but HONESTLY… if you are trading on OH platform, you are using the internet and can easily download a 1099. I didn’t realize I could do this (or had forgotten) so again my sincerest apologies to OH for my outrage….

I am eating Humble Pie….

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chris March 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

Really? Well my 1099′s aren’t available for download yet.. What is this.. the luck of the draw?

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peekamoose March 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm

MY BAD

I take that APOLOGY BACK…

I downloaded the 2010 1099s and just thought they were the 2011 version.

My accountant told me all W2s and 1099s and other reporting forms have to be delivered by January 31, by law. However I don’t know if there are any 1099 police!!!!!

GET THOSE 1099s OUT ALREADY.

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Craig March 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I’m currently using TD and already have my 1099. I was heavily leaning towards using Optionshouse, but some of the reviews on this site worry me. Especially if they can’t get their 1099′s out on time. Ouch! Please keep me up to date on if/when you receive them and what the excuse is.

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OH SUCKS March 9, 2012 at 9:23 am

OH could not process my ACH with B of A. They had the route number and acct. number. So, I closed my account before I ever started trading. When I called to cancel my account no one asked me why. When I tried to work with OH on why the bank was not receiving the micro deposits they told me to make another form of transfer if this one did not work. That does not work for me if they can’t process a simple transfer in the fashion I want. I believe by the service I received I missed a bullet by leaving before my money was put into the account. One of their service rep’s told me that maybe my bank didn’t record/show micro deposits for them being so small. Yet, every deposit to my bank no matter how small is recorded/shown. That sums their service and professionalism up in my mind. Something smells like reeking trouble to me.

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Sean March 10, 2012 at 6:26 am

I signed up for OH several months ago but never finished the paperwork I just kept using etrade until this past week. Well this week I decided i wanted to make the switch. So I filled out the papers and sent them in. The next day I contacted via live chat to see if they had received the paperwork and they said yes and the account would be open within two to three days. I asked if they could expedite the process because I was trying to start trading by Monday and sure enough 10 minutes later I had an email saying I had one other thing to send in and then I sent that an contacted them again the next day and once again they got it taken care of quickly.

I have to say I was most impressed by compliance getting my option trading level increased in about 10 minutes also. I emailed a request and contacted them via live chat once again and before the conversation was over I had an email from compliance saying my account had been approved for the increase.

I wired money in Friday afternoon right before cut off so I am hoping it will be in the account Monday morning. But all in all I must say I have been quite happy so far with any issues being taken care of quickly.

I look forward to starting trading on Monday hopefully to see how it goes.

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Des March 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Three complains.

1. The transfer takes too damn long and their explanation is unsatisfactory about it.

2. The monthly statements won’t be available until the second week of next month. Annoying.

3. 1099 for 2011 are not available yet. Don’t know of any other brokerage being affected by penson. TD, schwab etc are available on time. Makes no sense.

Had OH for 2 yrs but think now it’s time to move on.

Disappointed.

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Ryan March 11, 2012 at 6:32 am

Never had a problem with transferring money, and the staff seems overworked at times when you’re trying to get an issue resolved, but I have had or have accounts in different trading companies and Option House has the best rates for trading small option contracts of anyone. I came over here when TradeKing got locked out of a busy day on the markets and I lost thousands of dollars not being able to get in or out of the market. Their excuse was it wasn’t their fault. Twice the market was dropping hundreds of points by the minute and you couldn’t trade because their system was broken. They still can’t provide tax forms and they just raised their rates to a point you’re better off anywhere else. The trading platform for OH is way under what I’m used too, so I use anther company and just trade options through OH. Works for me………………..

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Jake Swartz March 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Your 2011 Consolidated Form 1099 is now available online. To locate your Consolidated Form 1099 online, you must be logged on to the New OptionsHouse platform. For more information about how to access your Form 1099 online, please view our FAQs.

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PissedOffTrader March 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm

If there is one firm to avoid over all other its is OH. They have a SEC obligation to fulfill all orders based on NBBO. I have read earlier comments about this being an issue but as it was .10 I held my breath it wouldn’t be an issue. Sadly I was majorly wrong. They executed a trade for me that ended up being more than $2.00 out side of the NBBO then when I called trying to deal with the issue they told me not to do anything with the contracts to only have them call back 5 hours later saying sorry you are stuck with them and we aren’t able to help. It cost me over $40,000. The rep for them Beth may say that they have an obligation to fulfill based on NBBO but they sure as hell don’t even come close! Avoid at all cost unless you want to just give your money away.

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Jake Swartz March 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm

If you send your contact information to me directly at jswartz [at] optionshouse [dot] com, I would appreciate the opportunity to follow up with you and discuss this matter further.

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PissedOffTrader March 24, 2012 at 11:11 am

Jake,

I’ve followed up with several of your people there to finally just give up. I’m in the process of making arrangements else where for my account and my business. You can forget about me wasting any more of my time trying to get this fixed. Your system is crap! The only thing you could do would be give me the 40k back in my account but your company has refused to do that so I’m screwed and now having to figure out how I’m going to make that back. Unfortunately in this market place thats not easy to do and I will most likely be struggling for some time.

Good Riddance!

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Jackie March 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I was trying to open an account with Optionshouse, they just kept asking me for SSC and DL. They have a system so old cannot even recognize my Identity! I never had this problem with other brokerage firm. Don’t choose their service!

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Eugene March 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I am baffled by the negative comments. I have traded with Merrill/Fidelity/TD Ameritrade for 10+ years. In the last year I have almost exclusively traded options. I was spending THOUSANDS at TD Ameritrade each week on commissions – even after I negotiated a lower rate.

Recently opened an Options House account. No issues at all. ACH takes several days, just like everywhere else, get used to it. Web interface is well-designed for my use, same with phone app. Several trades executed flawlessly. I am still on the 100 Free trades, but JFC, even paying the OptionsHouse rates I will save a boatload of cash compared with the other brokerages.

Again, so far just baffled by the negative comments here. Did I mention $0.15/option contract? This makes trading options almost as cheap as trading stocks.

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PissedOffTrader March 28, 2012 at 6:07 am

Eugene,

I hope that what you save on those $.15/option contracts is more than what they cost you. I traded over 100k contracts last month and can assure you I do look at pricing. More importantly if I’m losing $2.00 per contract because they can’t execute a trade the small price I saved (maybe $.50 at most over competitors) doesn’t compare to the $200 I just lost. Good luck with them. Maybe you’ll have a better experience than the 100s of us who have been screwed by them.

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Eugene March 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm

So far every option execution has been flawless. I trade weekly SPYs, so there is a lots of open interest. I cannot speak to thinly traded options. Are you using limit orders correctly?

Again, zero problems so far. This platform kicks a$$ for the options trading I do.

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Vegas April 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Has anyone here compared Optionshouse with eOption ?

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RyanA April 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I haven’t had any problems with the OptionsHouse brokerage. The website for trading is really good. The customer service has always been adequate, although terse at times. The commission/fee schedule is the most inexpensive I’ve seen (other than perhaps IB.) I also have had no problems with executions or fill prices.

ALL of my problems are with their clearing firm, Penson Financial. Yes, they take FOREVER to clear ACH transfers. It is usually 7 calendar days before my funds are available at OptionsHouse — even though the funds are withdrawn from my checking account the next day from the initiation of the transfer.

This year, they were EXTREMELY LATE on delivering my 1099. Yeah, OptionsHouse kept me up to date with notifications about when it would be available… but I didn’t have it until more than half way through March. But to make matters even worse — WAY WORSE — was, today (April 10th — not even a week before the tax deadline), I received an UPDATED 1099 from Penson with different/updated data than the original 1099 I had already used when I originally did my taxes. This is completely unacceptable.

I’ve also read a few articles about Penson that sounded really bad — about how they lost a lot of money investing in some kind of race track that one if their board members or executives had an interest in — which totally went bust. Plus, if you check the performance of their stock (PNSN) they are a penny stock, and their EPS is currently about -8. It doesn’t really instill confidence to know that my clearing firm is on such shaky ground… (MF Global, anyone?)

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Jim April 13, 2012 at 8:41 am

Optionshouse is terrible. There is always leakage in trades. I’ve lost numerous trades due to leakage and failed executions. Their interface is a pain. It requires a few clicks to process transactions. Which is horrible for day trading and market orders. You’re also unable to type in a symbol and press enter in the orders section (very sad). They also do not have short sell access to all stocks. A lot of stocks are restricted from short selling. You’ll have to call them if you want to short sell and they have a high interest rate commission on these stocks. I won’t be using them anymore. I rather pay $7 at Scottrade for a smoother interface, less leakage and wider variety of stocks. This is the worst experience I’ve ever had. The $4 commission is not worth it for frequent traders.

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peekamoose April 13, 2012 at 8:53 am

Get a load of this email I have sent. Not only can’t OH get the 1099s out by January 31 legal cut off, they can’t even get them out correctly.

That’s it! I am closing my account. They are responsible for their clearing house they use. Here is the outrageous email I received from OH:

Important Information about your 2011 Consolidated Form 1099
We have been notified by our clearing firm, Penson Financial Services, Inc. (“Penson”), which is responsible for the preparation and distribution of IRS Form 1099s, that some previously sent forms may contain incomplete or incorrect information related to wash sales, short sales, short sale gross proceeds or cost basis information, primarily in the covered/uncovered classification. Penson is working to distribute updated forms as soon as possible.

You may wish to consult a qualified tax professional before making any final decisions with regard to your personal circumstances.1 However, you can leverage your existing OptionsHouse account to get any necessary data you may require to accurately prepare a Schedule D and Form 8949.

With OptionsHouse resources such as your activity tab and online statements you get a detailed account of your activity, trades, dividends, and interest details. To further assist you in your tax preparation you can also access an informational Schedule D via the Maxit Tax Calculator.2

If you have already filed your 2011 tax return, there are no immediate steps you need to take. If you receive a corrected Form 1099, please carefully compare your 2011 tax filing with your corrected Form 1099 and monitor whether the changes would necessitate filing an amendment with the IRS.

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Nguyen April 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

OptionsHouse really sucks! It is a joke with tax and record keeping. First a 30-day delay on sending the 1099, then a corrected 1099, and now another one coming (as the previous poster wrote). Penson which is their back-end also provide service for other discount firms likely suffer the same issue. I will consolidate back to Fidelity as a reliable brokerage with reasonable fees, not cheap but reasonable and reliable. That’s what counts!

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Jeff April 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm

OptionsHouse sucks so bad. I signed up for a account. The application process literally takes me 1 hour to complete. It asked every single non-related questions, like my income, my savings, my employee information, federal tax bracket(LOL), net worth, average trading per year, years of experience, investment objects, trading strategies(LOL). After that they ask me to tax over my social security card copy and my driver’s license copy. LOL, who ask for social security card!? Even my mortgage application doesn’t ask for that. This is a broker account, not a loan account. I am not trying to borrow money from them, I don’t understand why are they so not trusting me. After that, the interesting part comes, an agent emailed me and ask for my employment information. Originally, I prefer to stay anonymous, but they said they need that information to continue the application, so I sent them the information. The next day, the agent replied back said they did an online search on my profile and my resume, and said the employment information I sent them wasn’t correct, LOL. How on earth would a company search online on people’s history and tell me they trust the version online!? OMFG. I am not even sure how they get my resume, that could be illegally. I told them the information I sent was correct, and the profile they search online could be a different person or updated. They replied and said they did not approved my application. Their business model is really so bad that they search you online. I felt they are like FBI/CIA or something that they want every single non-related detail, and investigate your background so much. I currently have many other brokers account like scottrade, etrade, and they never ask these details.

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Dave May 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Hi Jeff,
That’s really true. They are acting like FBI or CIA. I don’t know what they are trying to prove by asking those stupid question and for verification. Hope they don’t do illegal stuff having all the information with them. I am afraid

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peekamoose May 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

OH = a joke

This time I will talk about the tools
Streaming quotes….. They are a joke at OH — Today they are ten minutes behind real time. Shat gives. This is a joke. At least have tools that work. If they don’t work, then OH owes it to their clients to find a new provider of these tools!!!!!! Get your act together OH… Hurry up before you lose all your accounts to other brokers!!!!

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peekamoose May 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

Hey OH Administrators…

How about a comment on your delayed streaming quotes. i’d love to hear how you are going to fix them. They have never worked properly on any system!!!!!!

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Dave May 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I am a novice in trading and did my homework before opening an account. I saw OH has 4 star and low commission fees which attracted me. So, i filled up the application form and they asked me to send the documents with my signature through fax along with SSN and driver license or utility bill. Before that I already wire transfer my initial fund.
I faxed my all documents, and I received an email from OH, that my driver license wasn’t readable , so I scanned both driver license and SSN copy. Now they are asking for the utility bill to verify my address since my driver license have old address. So i scanned driver license again and had one form of proof from DMV with their stamp on it about my change of address and send it to OH. I called up the customer representative and asked having SSN, Bank information and driver license why do you need again the utility bill for the verification of my address where I am residing. They said this is US law, they need it. I said if the address is fraud the best bet for US govt is having SSN and Bank info but they keep insisting me to provide the utility bill and I got frustrated and gave up my hope to trade with OH. They don’t have any office around and they all do online support .
I really got bad impression and after reading these reviews I feel lucky not to have an account with OH.
Probably I will go with TD Ameritrade or E-trade. Hope this experience will help someone who is planning to open an account with OH. Please think before opening account. I would rather prefer to pay a bit more fees rather than going through these hassles.

Good bye OH

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peekamoose May 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Makes you wonder how in the world OH received their four stars…. Makes me pissed off that I was fooled by those who rate the brokers…

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Jake May 7, 2012 at 7:33 am

Dave,

We apologize that your particular experience opening an account required extra steps. Please know that we make every effort to streamline the account opening process and only request additional documentation when absolutely necessary. In accordance with the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Treasury, we must ensure that required documentation is received for all customer accounts.

We believe our policies and practices are consistent with industry standards. We hope that you will consider these actions a necessary part of ensuring we are compliant with industry regulations and will consider trading with OptionsHouse in the future.

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LC May 7, 2012 at 10:00 am

I lost a couple thousand due to not being able to trade after hours. Also options house charges extra fees on top of commission for PINK and OTC. The fees can add up to be outrageous for instance fees with commission can cost 26.7% of the stocks value in some cases. OH is very much against any penny trades. For individuals look at purchasing shares under $2.00 the fee per share is .005.

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unhappy May 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm

DO NOT TRUST OPTIONS HOUSE DEMO ACCOUNT!!!
It is full of bugs which they refuse to fix.

Bug #1)
The worst bug of all is the account balance goes up regardless of if your trade lost money :-(
If you let a weekly option expire. The next monday your account will show a credit by the amount of the premium but wont deduct the settlement losses of the trade. So it tricks you into thinking you have a winning strategy. Come on guys, can’t you do anything right?

Bug #2)
The purchasing power is not replenished after a trade expires. So you have to keep calling them to adjust the purchasing power to the proper value. I only noticed this problem in my demo account, not my live account. But from the comments posted above by Anand it appears the live accounts have bugs related to marginable buying power as well.

Bug #3)
If you trade an iron condor, the margin required ignores the fact that long and short credit spreads can never
both expire or be exercised simultaneously against you. This bug effectively doubles the amount of buying power needed.

Bug #4) Session times out and ignores user settings forcing you to log on several times a day. This is an intermitant bug
and occurs in both the live and demo accounts.

I have called them and written their staff repeatedly for months about bugs #2, #3 and #4). They always tell me that it isn’t a priority to fix. Well now that I found out that you can’t trust their account balances being reported, (bug #1) all my time with them was effectively a big waste of effort.

Who knows how many other bugs are lurking in their software which they refuse to fix.

DON’T USE OPTIONS HOUSE DEMO ACCOUNT TO PAPER TRADE UNLESS YOU LIKE BEING JERKED AROUND.

In all fairness the live account seems to have fewer bugs than the demo account.
But hey, what company begs negative feedback more than those who refuse to fix their product?

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marketmaker June 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Cheap is cheap. Why use them if you can get superb service at TOS which now comes with a two yr deal to TastyTrade, an online live show hosted by the former founder of TOS, Tom Sosnoff.

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DB June 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I agree that OptionsHouse is the WORST out there… Last year I lost over $55,000–I THINK, but I can’t find any gain/loss link on their confusing site–and this year another $53,000 SO FAR.

And now I know why. They kept bugging me to reduce my risk on naked puts I had written–selling too many at a low level, inferring that if the STOCK WENT TO ZERO (as if??) I couldn’t cover losses.

SO I DID–bought back the puts at a loss and sold higher strike prices in greatly lower amounts, and well within margin. Then they did it to me again, and I LOST thousands and thousands being forced to buy back my puts ON THE SAME day when the Intrinsic Volatility (IV) was so high I couldn’t catch a decent price.

Then yesterday, on a day when my best stock had surprisingly terrible (BUT MOST TEMPORARY) news that the company’s new CEO was let go in under one week or simply resigned, the price plunged ten percent. I knew it was temporary and I was still well within margin requirements, but good OH RISK department contacted me again and FORCED me to buy back half of my puts when the spread swings were three dollars–and DEMANDING that I do so before closing bell. The stock went down 10% but I lost over 40% due to ridiculous spread swings. And I LOST over $20,000 in one day. Now I have huge margin calls on Monday, which will force me to liquidate most of my remaining paltry investment. Puts I sold for, say, $7–I had to buy back at $8 or $9–because of the artificial and ridiculous bid/ask spreads. I don’t think other sites value the options at the middle line between bid/ask but use the LAST sold price. In any event, if this were a margin call, I still would have had three days to do so, and the spreads would have more than likely normalized. I am fine with that and understand the necessity of margin calls. But with the Nazi actions of the RISK department at OH, it is like living in a dictator state: DO IT NOW–or will be…at MARKET–which would have meant I would lose another $1.50 of $2.00 on each put I was EXTORTED into buying back.

I cried all night last night and then I got good and mad. I am not a stupid woman–I am a Ph.D., not some stupid person who views online trading as that big casino in cyberspace.

So I am seeking legal recourse. DO NOT EVER USE OptionsHOUSE–do not be fooled by the low commissions. What good are they if you can be robbed of over $100,000 in under one year?

I had TDAmeritrade for years and loved them—and switching to OptionsHOUSE was one of the top three worst choices I’ve ever made. Since going to OptionsHouse, I have been nervous, upset, fearful, and dreading every new day. It wasn’t until yesterday when the emails started coming, threatening me to buy back my puts IMMEDIATELY, that I put it all together. They are like terrorists, and I have been victimized. I was so sick yesterday with a strep throat that I couldn’t call them to discuss this since I had NO VOICE and had to go the hospital. I begged them to just give me until Monday, knowing the stock would bounce right back up or the volatility would decrease enough that the put spreads would normalize; but I was summarily told (in email after email) just to “LIQUIDATE before close of business or we will do it for you at market.”

I got home from the hospital at 3:30 Eastern time–and as promised started liquidating a good third of my puts. But they started doing it too; and before I knew it I had lost 2/3 of two of my three positions. Then I got another email at 3:45 and was told to liquidate half of the third position, even though I had OVER-liquidated the other two (not on purpose but because they did it for me at the same time). They didn’t care–and I had five minutes to buy them back to gargantuan losses. THIS IS NOT RIGHT.

PLEASE, if I can help anyone else through my story it may not remove my pain but it will ease it.

Laura

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Jake Swartz June 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

DB,

We wanted to reach out and offer an explanation of why we took action in your account. In cases involving margin calls, OptionsHouse follows the rules set forth by the Federal Reserve Bank (Reg T) and FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) – one of the industry regulators whose mission is to protect investors by making sure the industry operates fairly and honestly.

In your case or similar cases, OptionsHouse may be required to take market action to protect customers against even more egregious losses in high-risk situations. We believe these actions align with industry standards and, while we hope to never have to mitigate a customer’s risk exposure, we intercede with only the best interest of our customers in mind.

That said, our head of Customer Service and Trade Desk would like to speak with you about this particular position. When your time permits, please send an email to jswartz [at] optionshouse [dot] com and he will follow up with you immediately.

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JohnB June 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm

DB,

What a terrible experience. I would fight it…

John

There have to be statutes that make DEMAND selling in one hour illegal.

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marketmaker June 10, 2012 at 5:21 pm

That is just too cruel a way for a brokerage house to treat a customer. I got to think the merger of Penson and Peak 6 (the parent of Options House) will be yet another chapter in this story book, for it smacks as a huge conflict. Does anyone concur?

MM

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peekamoose June 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

Hey OH —-

I still can’t put a short on Facebook without calling you guys? What’s the story and what gives? Come on. There are so many shares out there with millions and millions of shares being traded each day. Seems like a very liquid stock to me. Fess up OH!

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Jake Swartz June 14, 2012 at 8:52 am

Peekamoose,

Please keep calling and we will do our best to locate Facebook stock. As soon as we
receive a request, we reach out to our clearing firm for shares. They are
tasked with locating the stock in the amount specified and letting us know
whether the stock in question is available. We can say that the amount of
shares available changes on a daily-basis, but unfortunately, as is the case
with most IPOs, Facebook is a hard-to-borrow issue and it’s liquidity can often
times make it even harder to locate.

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peekamoose June 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

That’s a fair answer…. Thanks.

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TimH June 15, 2012 at 12:56 pm

All I do is credit spreads–and a lot of them–and OH has been very good overall. They have their minor nuisance issues like that other four I’ve dealt with in the past, but their commissions continue to be FAR lower, making this a much better experience and much lower costs to the bottom line. Their interface is better than some I’ve used, and it does the job nicely. I am well pleased.

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