06 April 2008 ~ 2 Comments

The Tax Man Cometh

At my accountant’s office yesterday morning –

“Stock sales… looks like you sold SPDR and INTC this year?”

“Yep, I- WHAT?!  SPDR?”

“Your 1099 from TD Ameritrade.  You sold a few stocks?”

I unwittingly sold a very large chunk of an index fund that I’ve owned for several years.  The buying and selling flows at TD are virtually identical save for the words “Buy” and “Sell” being interchangeable.

TD could have easily caught this mistake with some simple logic.  “You’ve only been buying SPDR in big chunks once a year for 5 years now.  Type the words “SELL SPDR” into this field to verify your (strangely seeming to us) intention.”  And in the future, no more typing as the pattern is now established.

I’m sure there are generalizable patterns among traders.  Why doesn’t TD use some of that knowledge in its interface?

Reinforcing yet again that confirmation screens and pop-up warnings are no substitute for an interface that too easily lets  you do the wrong thing.

2 Responses to “The Tax Man Cometh”

  1. Warren 29 April 2008 at 1:06 pm Permalink

    You admit this type of error? Come on man, I expect this kind of complaint from my mom.

    In the meantime, enjoy that cash.

  2. Rob 30 April 2008 at 9:06 am Permalink

    We don’t blame the UI victims around here ;)


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