I had a similar situation with Sharebuilder:
I opened my account and did 2 transactions @ $25 (what I had to spend). In both cases, I deducted the $9.95 fee from the $25, divided it by the current price per share (which was over the weekend, and the market is not open after 4:00 pm Friday), and bought the resulting amount of shares.
The first transaction was perfect. The second one was done exactly the same way, except this time, I received an email stating there was a negative balance in my account. Since I had used a calculator and since my buy had resulted in a confirmation, I thought the email was a fluke and I ignored it.
This is what happened: they SOLD my shares to cover this negative balance, and gave themselves a $9.95 commission to do so.
Naturally this made me upset. However, right about that time they credited me with $25.00, which was part of a promo I was offered when I started the account. So this time I bought shares using the same method I outlined above, on a Saturday night, which means there should be no doubt of the price: I bought it at the price it was at the closing bell.
The trade was approved; they sent me a confimation. On Monday I received an email stating there was a negative balance of -1.44 (yes, one dollar and forty-four cents). Refusing to get duped again, I went online and transferred $5 from my checking account to ShareBuilder. I also sent them an email asking how the heck I could have a negative balance. This is what they sent back:
Dear Lynda, Thank you for contacting us regarding your trade. When you are placing market orders, the cost of the trade is estimated based off of the most recent quoted price for your stock. All quotes on our website are 20 minutes delayed. If you have sufficient funds to cover the estimated cost, the site will allow you to place your order. Your order is then executed at the Real Time Bid/Ask price and if this is higher than the estimated (delayed quote) price, your order can potentially cost more than the available cash in your account. I do see you have made a deposit to cover the difference, and this is all you need to do in the future if the same thing occurs. Keep in mind you always have the option to place limit orders which will ensure that your trade cannot be executed at any price above your designated limit price (or below in the case of a sale). You can designate this order type in the "Order Type" field of the Real Time Trade Order Entry screen. For answers to most commonly asked questions, please click here for immediate access to the search page. This feature is available to assist you with most of your account questions. Thank you for your continued business with ShareBuilder. Sincerely,
Customer ServiceShareBuilder from ING DIRECT
So evidently what we have to do is place "limit" orders! I know that I know that I know the market is NOT open on the weekends, and there could not possibly have been a change from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Evidently they sit on the trades.
Just be careful!
Satellite Beach, Florida