RealTime IT News

Third Time Not a Charm for E*TRADE

Users logging on to financial Web site E*Trade ran into difficulties for the third straight day Friday when they were unable to trade or view their accounts early in the afternoon.

Users were prevented from accessing the site's trading functions from approximately 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST, smack in the middle of the trading day. Software problems had also shut the site down for hours on both Wednesday and Thursday, but the company said those problems have since been resolved.

E*Trade officials said they did not know whether today's outage was a result of the previous software malfunction.

As a result, some of the site's 675,000 users have decided to trade elsewhere. And taking it one step further, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has opened an investigation of the online trading industry, citing numerous complaints made by users.

"The public knows that there are always risks involved in investing in the stock market," Spitzer said. "But part of the risk should not include questions about whether trades will be executed promptly or whether online brokerage firms can deliver the services that they've promised."