Complain about Ikon-Royal and they want damages
Hiding in a remote location to avoid getting sued for writing this
Hiding in a remote location to avoid getting sued for writing this
Isn't it great to have a place like the FPA where you can complain about problems with forex brokers and other forex products? Isn't it nice to know that there really isn't anything those companies can do to stop you as long as you are honest in your statements about what happened?
Ikon Royal doesn't seem to think so.
FPA member Nickd27 opened a hedged trade before the new NFA anti-hedging rules went into effect. Then Ikon-Royal closed the trade. Under those rules, such trades are allowed to run indefinitely. He reports that he spoke to a manager at Ikon called Ted. Nick says that Ted told him that the hedged position was closed “because he can and he did me a favor by stopping the swap from adding up.” and that Ted's uninvited “favor” cost him about $14k.
Nick filed a scam ticket with the FPA and Gerard took the case. When Gerard contacted Ikon, a rep named Tim demanded that all mentions of the matter be removed from the FPA's forums. He also hid behind NFA rules, saying he would only discuss it with the NFA while refusing to discuss the case with the FPA despite Nick having given his full permission for the FPA to join in the conversation.
Stranger still, Tim wanted to have a private conversation with Gerard on the phone saying “I like your style, and would like to do business with you in some capacity”. In order to prevent any chances of miscommunications (or other things things I leave to your imagination), the FPA handles Scam Investigations only in writing. Gerard explained the FPA policy, but offered email communications on this subject as long as Tim understood that until the case was resolved, he would be representing Nick's interests where they related to the dispute at hand. Tim decided not to commit whatever thoughts he may have had on this to writing.
Gerard continued to try to help Nick negotiate directly with Ikon-Royal. After Nick told Gerard that he couldn't get any further replies from Tim, Gerard sent “I would like it noted that I did recommend to both sides that this be negotiated before taking things to the NFA. By not responding to Nick at all, you've removed any option for a negotiated settlement. Even if you somehow feel you have an ironclad case and cannot lose, I am deeply disappointed that this is how a representative of Ikon would treat an unhappy client. ” to Tim and got no reply.
So, it would appear that Tim's actions and refusal to even negotiate directly with Nick lead to the filing of a formal complaint against Ikon Royal with the NFA. I guess Tim prefers to have lawyers do his negotiating instead of talking about things directly.
Some time later, Tim broke his silence asking Gerard again to pull any negative postings by Nick. Gerard explained that such postings are only pulled at the request of the person who made them, not because a company feels unhappy about them. He suggested that an Ikon-Royal rep could leave a rebuttal in the reviews. Back when Ikon-Royal was RTFX, one of their reps did leave a review to dispute something that another reviewer said. Nick told Tim that he was also leaving information about this problem on many other websites (we need a way to vote for FPA member of the month. I nominate Nick!). Tim once again failed to reply.
A few days ago, Nick updated Gerard on his NFA Arbitration Claim. His claim is that they had no legal or moral right to close the trades, and that doing so without advanced notification is not a favor, but a way to improperly take money from him. Here's the shocking part. Nick says that Ikon-Royal has filed a counter claim with the NFA seeking $25,000 in damages because of what Nick wrote in the FPA's forums and reviews.
So, that's 2 direct requests for information that traders might want to know about Ikon Royal to be removed, followed by a demand for damages for sharing that information. I'm not a lawyer, but there is something I'd like to remind Tim and the rest of the people at Ikon-Royal about. It's called the United States Constitution. After the boring parts about how Congress is supposed to work and how to divide up the House of Representatives, there are a few little additions that were made. I'd like to quote the first one of these:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Nick is a member of the public trying to exercise his right to free speech here at the FPA. He feels he got ripped off for a lot of money and has expressed that feeling very well. Additionally, in this context, the FPA's reviews and forums could be considered the modern equivalent of sending a letter to be printed in a newspaper.
Have you ever heard the term SLAPP Suit? SLAPP stands for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation”. The usual idea of a SLAPP is for a company to sue someone or threaten to sue them in order to prevent that person from publicly speaking out against a company or its policies. One of the most infamous of these cases was when the largest burger chain in the world decided to sue some people who wanted to let consumers know that fast food isn't very healthy to eat. The concept it not to win the lawsuit, but to make the individual or small group cave in under the threat of large legal expense.
SLAPPs are an incredibly unethical way to do business. A company should be ready to defend its reputation vigorously, using lawyers if and when absolutely necessary, but should never resort to lawsuits to suppress potentially valid complaints under any circumstances. Ikon-Royal is very well rated by the FPA, and this sort of conduct should be beneath them. Offshore bucketshop or upstanding member of the NFA – brokers need to be ready to deal with customer complaints in an upright manner, not to try to silence negative views with lawsuits.
I hope someone in charge at Ikon-Royal is bright enough to re-examine the decisions made in this case and to see that this sort of action is never repeated. In my eyes, Ikon-Royal has just thrown away a huge amount of their company's credibility.
At this point, the FPA Scam Investigations Committee is holding off a final ruling until they see what the NFA has to say about all of this. Personally, if it were up to me, I'd have voted SCAM the moment Tim chose to not deal with either the FPA or to even continue to talk to their own customer.
I'd like to express thanks to Gerard for providing information I needed to write this. My deepest thanks and respect to Nick for standing firm in the face of a legal threat and for granting permission for this article in spite of the legal issues around it.
Hey Tim and the rest of you at Ikon Royal! I think what you did to Nick's account was wrong. It looks a lot like improperly taking money from a trader to me. I think trying to get the FPA to pull Nick's statements instead of addressing the issues is foolish, to say the least. I think forcing an issue to go before the NFA instead of trying to deal with an unhappy customer is an incredibly obnoxious tactic designed to allow you to get away with something, since most people won't really file a claim with the NFA. I have a suspicion that attempt to talk to Gerard on the phone and off the record was probably a prelude to a bribe or some other pressure to get him to back off. I think your attempt to claim damages from Nick is both unethical and legally laughable. I wish the FPA's Scam Investigations Committee had nailed you with a Confirmed Scam Finding for all of this (maybe they will after the NFA is done with you). Would you like to drag me before the NFA or into a court of law and see if you can get them to make me pay you damages for saying these things here?
Nickd27's original complaint about Ikon-Royal closing a hedged trade
My article about the NFA's anti-hedging rule
SLAPP Suit article at Wikipedia
Have a nice day, unless you're a scammer.