Lousy customer service from Computershare. You be the judge!

In one of my earlier posts titled ‘It’s been a long time’ I mentioned that I had signed up for a new plan in February for Oneok Inc through Computershare. I highlighted Computershare in my very first post as one of few DSP administrators/transfer agents. I have had accounts with Computershare in the past, including Exxon Mobil, Aqua America, Pfizer, IStar Financial, and Equity Office Properties. My accounts with them go back to the year 2000 when I opened them with Equiserve. Equiserve was subsequently purchased by Computershare a few years back and all of my accounts were seamlessly transitioned to Computershare. I have had no complaints with Computershare since the transition until what has transpired the last few months. Let me highlight the key events that have occurred in the process of signing up for the Oneok Inc. DSP account.

Early February: Using existing online account, completed application for Oneok Inc. DSP plan. Initial Investment of $250 directly debited from checking account.

Mid February: Received W-9 form from Computershare to certify U.S. Tax Payer ID. Completed form and returned to Computershare

End of February: Monthly purchase cash debited from checking account directly to Computershare.

End of February: Completed W-9 form was returned to me, indicating that account could not be located. Mind you, this is a Computershare generated/initiated W-9 that was mailed to me.

Through out February I made several attempts to use Computershare’s online account access tool but to no avail.

Month of March: I have made 3 calls to customer service, once every week and during the first 2 calls I was told the same thing. My account ID has an invalid format and needs to be corrected. The customer service rep could not correct the ID format and needed to check with their supervisor. Each of the first 2 calls ended with a promise that a supervisor would call me back with a resolution. That did not happen after either of the first two calls.

End of March: Monthly purchase cash debited from checking account directly to Computershare.

End of March: When I called for the third time, the representative was about to get into the same routine of looking into the problem when I cut her off and asked to be connected to a supervisor.

I talked to her supervisor, who did remember reviewing my account from one of my previous calls. She promised to call me back with an update. She did call me back the same day to let me know that Help Desk is currently on the problem and is expected to fix the problem by the end of the day. She mentioned that several accounts have been affected by the problem.

April: It has been 3 weeks since that conversation with the supervisor. I have yet to receive an update on the status of my account. I called the supervisor on April 3 to find out the status my account but was only able to leave a voicemail. I have not heard back from the supervisor yet.

Out of curiosity I have been routinely accessing the online tool to update accounts and they still cannot locate my Oneok Inc. account.

I am to believe now that poor customer service is pervasive throughout the company. At least they are consistent in their methodology. Every customer service individual I have talked to has failed to communicate effectively to me. They have all failed to keep one of the most important tenets of customer service, fulfilling a promise to a customer. They all promised to call back with an update, but have never called back.

I am not expecting them to have perfect tools in managing their accounts. I work in IT and I know too well the occassionally glitches in account management tools. I do not doubt that Computershare is working towards a fix for the faulty account numbers so I am not questioning their attempts to fix the problem, just their ability to provide customer service.

Eyeing a few good DSP plans

I have been on the look out for a few good stocks with a DSP plan. The one stock that I have had in my tracking portfolio since last year is:

Omnova Solutions (OMN) (Google Yahoo Earnings Chart)

I began tracking Omnova, a small cap stock, starting April of last year when it was priced at $5.30. I had completed a New Account Application for Omnova under the then Bank of New Your Direct Stock Purchase Plan. I had signed up for monthly purchase of stock via direct debit from my checking account but had failed to enclose a check for the initial investment of $510.00. I assumed that the initial investment would also be directly debited from my checking account. However, the new account application came back with a letter stating that the check for the initial investment was not enclosed. I got sidetracked for a good part of 2007 from April through October due to family obligations so I never returned the application with the check. The company caught my eye again earlier this month when it released 1st Qtr 2008 results and the stock fell by almost 10%. It has since bottomed further to $2.98 (EOD April 11, 2008). That's a good 47% drop since I first looked at it last April.

After reviewing the 1st Qtr results here is my conclusion:


  1. Net sales rose 16% for the first quarter to $190.6 million from $164.8 million last year
  2. Net loss narrowed to $3 Million compared to a loss of $ 5.1 Million last year
  3. Operating profit of $2.5 million, down only $0.3 million despite $5.9 million higher raw material cost


  1. Raw material cost higher compared to last year
  2. As a consequence of increased raw materials cost the cost of goods sold increased 19%

All in all, it was not a bad quarter. There was not a lot of guidance provided for the remainder of the year but my guess is that costs will continue to be high, possibly increasing even more. I am keen on initiating a purchase in OMN using the DSP plan offered through BNY Mellon Shareowner Services. My timeframe for accumulating and holding the stock would be 2 years at the minimum. Here is the link to the InvestDirect Search page at BNY Mellon.


You can view the Omnova Solutions plan under the letter O. The plan highlights are:

Minimum Initial Investment: $500
Initial Check/Electronic Purchase Service Fee: $10
Initial Purchase Trading Fee: Company Paid

Minimum Periodic Electronic Purchase: $50
Periodic Check/Electronic Purchase Service Fee: Company Paid
Periodic Purchase Trading Fee: Company Paid
Dividend Reinvestment Service Fee: Company Paid
Dividend Reinvestment Trading Fee: Company Paid

Sales Transaction Service Fee: $10
Sales Transaction Trading Fee: $0.10/share:

It is a fairly inexpensive DSP plan. The only cost to participate in the plan is the initial purchase fee and the sales service/trading fee. There is no cost to periodic monthly purchase or reinvestment of dividends.