The end of one era, the beginning of another - Goodbye Scam Alerts and Traders Court

AsstModerator

FPA Forums and Reviews Admin
Messages
5,716
Today marks the end of an era at the FPA.

For reasons I will explain below, the Scam Alerts folder is closing down and formal Traders Court activities are ending. Try not to panic. For those willing to follow some new instructions, the FPA can still be a great place to get an issue resolved or to ruin a scammer's plans.

Why is this happening? First, there are the actions of a growing number of users.

One big piece of the problem dates back to the original scam investigations. The FPA's founder had the idea that the FPA would step between unhappy clients and companies and would get most items resolved. There were several problems. Some companies don't care. Some traders either don't understand if they've been scammed or not or decide they want to force the FPA to declare scam since "the customer is always right" - even if the customer can't understand how to calculate profit or loss on a closed trade. A small number of traders really do misuse price feeds or bonuses or IB rules to try to cheat companies and want to use the FPA as a club to beat the company until they can get a settlement.

Since the earliest scam investigations, there have been problems with certain people who thought they were so special that rules didn't apply to them. Every set of rules from the first scam investigations to the 2022 update of Traders Court has brought out certain special people. These people would rather demand that the FPA should throw rules and fairness out the window and offer ourselves up as slaves to their whims. Sometimes this comes with conspiracy claims. Sometimes it's someone who would rather write many long forums posts or emails about how we don't need to see evidence that would take the person 5 minutes to collect.

This_Is_Why_We_Can't_Have_Nice_Things.jpg

Some are so special that they want the FPA to do all the work. They post or email a vague description of the problem and expect the FPA to audit the broker to find evidence or expect the FPA file all the regulator complaints for them. I would love to have commando accountants be able to kick down the doors of bad companies, but there are problems with this idea. Doing it would be very expensive. Doing it would also result in the accountants being arrested and the FPA being shut down. These special people are fine with this, as long as it doesn't cost them a penny and they get their money back.

The ones who want to spread conspiracy theories used to be rare and amusing. Some would open their Scam Alerts thread ordering the FPA to instantly declare a broker to be a scam or else confess that the FPA was nothing but a shill for that specific broker. Some accused us of protecting brokers with an average rating of about 1.2 stars.

Over the years, these special types went from a few a year to multiple incidents per month. Some attacked senior FPA members for daring to ask helpful questions. On November 10th, one new member with no posts PMed FxMaster about a problem with a broker. FxMaster replied with a normal question about the broker's reply. Here is what that person said to FxMaster...

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If this is how he responds to a senior member trying to help him, I'm glad he didn't start a forums thread to go after even more people.

These self-entitled types are getting more common and waste large amounts of time that all of us could use to try to help people who are willing to cooperate.

And I'm going to make myself sound even more pathetically old with one more comment about a growing subset of our users...

Is it just me, or are people getting ruder and more extreme in their wording? These people buy an EA on Saturday morning from a very small company. On Saturday night, the EA hasn't arrived yet and they write a hate-filled review and Scam Alerts thread about how the owner is a liar, a thief, a criminal, a scammer, and often far worse charges. Many of these sellers are one-person companies and the EAs are manually hard-coded to the buyer's MT4 account number. Similarly, I see people going after brokers for withdrawals that don't arrive instantly, even if the broker's TOS specifies a longer time and even if it's a typically slower method like a wire transfer.

The honest companies where that EA would be sent on Monday morning and that wire transfer is on the way have a point when they complain to the FPA. It's not exactly for someone who is impatient to accuse them of being criminal scammers when they didn't do anything wrong. Yes, the FPA tries to encourage followups so problems can be marked as resolved, but no one can force a reviewer or forums member to come back and post an update. Putting "Abandoned" on a scam thread in a case like this is a good step, but the name of the company or owner or some support person is still there with a long list of inaccurate and possibly defamatory statements on display.

Then there is the whole Trader's Court system.

Traders Court invitations were a great idea, or at least I thought they were when I suggested creating them. It seems that no matter how simplified it is, even with FxMaster's guide on how to invite people, even with other people posting pictures in the thread, this still leads to situations lik...

Why should I bother to invite the company? Someone has to explain that this can help resolve issues or make a stronger case for avoiding the company.
Fill in the what? I wonder why we put stickied threads describing TC and invitations in Scam Alerts when so many don't bother to look at them.
OK, I filled it in. Where are they? Three out of four times, the invitation hasn't been sent.
I invited them and they didn't show up. This proves they scammed me. Declare them to be a scam NOW or else you're a scammer. In some cases, they might be, but if these people had read the TC rules, they'd know that failure to reply does not equal an instant scam label. They would also know that attacking the FPA with conspiracy theories wasters time and is a fast way to have their thread closed.
They replied. I disagree. This proves they scammed me. Declare them to be a scam NOW or else you're a scammer. Again, the conspiracy claim is a useless waste of time and often there is not enough evidence on display to prove either side's point.

Sometimes everything goes according to plan. The person who started the thread gets the invitation sent, the company rep shows up, and the problem is fixed. Even then things don't always end as they should. A large percentage of the time, the thread starter doesn't bother to come back and confirm the resolution. Sometimes, it's even worse. A thread starter will openly say the money was received and then later try to claim it wasn't.

All of these situations result in large amounts of time and effort being spent for only a small amount of useful results.

Then there are the companies.

Every removal request, even if it's a polite one, always comes in like it's a matter of huge urgency, even of the item they want to disappear is from years ago. If I don't reply within one business day, or less, they often write back again. Then they write again with all the FPA email addresses they can find. The idea that "if I have to chat with half the people who work here about your issue before I write back, it will take longer for me to respond" does not seem to occur to many company reps.

Even in cases where it's incredibly clear that every word posted should remain on public display, that doesn't stop some of them. Like the regular members who think rules should only apply to other people, some company reps think that burying me with many long arguments per week will somehow change facts.

Sometimes these problems put the FPA itself at risk.

Fake and real lawyers send threats. "Reputation Management" specialists use an assortment of methods to try to hide info. In some cases, the need to reply in one day is more than just to avoid more emails, but is needed to keep the site up and running.

There are more and more people filing fake takedown attempts to try to remove the names of scammers from the site and to hide other factual information. Some scammers in Europe try to use GDPR privacy rules to hide what they did. Some companies even use the same rules to hide the names of support agents who displeased a client. The companies like that never used GDPR to complain about any employee being complimented by a client.

We can't help anyone if we're knocked offline. These problems are increasing.

There's one more issue with the system. It's me.

I've been doing this job for almost 15 years. I enjoy hunting down and exposing scammers as much as all of the rest of you, but there are issues of making a career out of it. I spend most of my time sitting in a chair for 8-11 hours a day, at least 5 days per week. I don't get real vacations. In those 15 years, I've never once had 2 weekdays in a row not checking the FPA. My "vacations" have me working only 4-5 hours each day and making up some of the lost time on the weekend and the rest when I get back. I ended up in the hospital for 3 days with back issues, and I took my laptop there so I could continue working. I still have back issues and also have had carpal tunnel issues.

I would like to keep doing my job, but I need the ability to take some real time off. Ending the unreasonable demands of those self-centered users will save me large amounts of time. Not having users get lost in TC rules will free up time both for many helpful senior members and for me. Pushing complaints into a more civilized format will reduce the number and urgency of complaints from companies.


What's Happening Now?

Traders Court as we know it is gone. No new threads can be created in the Scam Alerts folder. I've already migrated many of the most recent threads to a new folder. I'll be migrating more soon. When I'm done, the folder will permanently close.

Separately, I've been migrating Ponzi scheme threads and The Punisher's threads on Pig Slaughter type romance scams to another new folder, called Financial Nightmares. The two of them have broader permission on how they can describe these two types of scam.

How Will This Solve the Problem, for Members, Companies, and Me?

This is a big plan involving both forums and reviews. The Forums part is bigger and is being executed now. Here it is...

Forex Company Comparisons is now Financial Company Comparisons and Discussions, FCCD for short. Has Anyone Heard Of? has been emptied into that folder. The company discussion threads that were linked to review pages are also being moved there.

The FCCD folder is using Prefixes to help sort threads. Complaints go under the Problem prefix. Migrated Scam Alerts threads are now prefixed with Problem. New complaints also need to be prefixed with problem,

There will not be a company invitation option. OPs may send the link straight to the company or to an active company rep if they like.

The FCCD folder expects civilized discussions, including threads reporting problems.

Things like BigBroker.com is a THIEVING bunch of CRIMINALS who commit SCAMS and FRAUD is no longer an acceptable subject line. BigBroker.com is not processing my withdrawal (for weeks/months) or BigBroker.com won't process my withdrawal unless I pay more fees or something similar, based on the actual situation is acceptable. The Forums Team or I will be editing subject lines.

Think about it. BigBroker is a SCAAAAAMMMMM and THIEF is no more informative than BigBroker made me angry. A subject line that says what really happened, like BigBroker canceled profitable trades from 3 months ago or BigBroker's servers disconnect 3 times per day is much more effective at conveying why you are unhappy.

If traders stick to the facts of what led to the Problem thread, that makes it easy to see what's really going on. The idea is to share what happened to either get the issue fixed or to warn others, not to win a junior high school insult contest.

Posting full names and contact info of specific company employees is now strongly discouraged. These cause a very high percentage of emergency messages from companies as well as giving them another angle for takedown attempts. Please stick to First Name, Last Initial if you feel the need to name someone. Publicly email addresses and phone numbers from the company's website are fine.

Anyone deciding to make up conspiracy theories about the FPA or members who are trying to help instead of focusing on their issue will get one warning at most. Life is too short to waste on arguing with people who demand help while fighting against us.

In order to maintain fairness, this same rule against fighting against the FPA and making up conspiracy theories also applies to company representatives. Reps are welcome to post in Problem threads, but the topic of the thread is the issue claimed by the thread starter, not the existence and function of the FPA.

There is more help on the way and some of it is already here. Pharaoh has already published a significant part of a new book about how to fight back against scammers. For some regulators, law enforcement agencies, and consumer sites, he even has step-by-step screenshots to help guide you through the process of filing complaints. More will be added over time. You can find the Table of Contents for his book here...


So, if you have a Problem thread, first try to resolve the issue with the company. If that work, please do not forget to post about it. If you can't resolve it, go to Pharaoh's new book and see how many places there are to complain. If you get stuck at any point, post in your thread about it.


I know these changes will be shocking for many of you. It is my hope that once everyone is using the new system more resolvable issues will be fixed and facts about real scams can be delivered to as many relevant agencies as possible. This will mean more regulatory fines and more criminal prosecutions.

I also look forward to taking two entire weekdays off in a row sometime soon.
 

AsstModerator

FPA Forums and Reviews Admin
Messages
5,716
One thing I should let you know.

I've already moved a lot of threads from Scam Alerts to FCCD. It's a big project, so I'll need more time to move all the rest. It isn't possible to open a new thread in Scam Alerts now, but it is possible to reply to most existing threads that are still in this folder.
 

Chaosbegone

Private, 1st Class
Messages
34
Hi, about two years back i wrote a review about a broker - FBS attempting to fleece me out of over 1 million dollars. I did try to resolve the matter via yourselves only to discover they were not interested in resolving the matter- only keeping my money. The exact same thing i discovered they did to clients under a different name.

They tried their best to quash, then delay trial but the end result is i am now currently awaiting judgement from the supreme court in the area it is operating out of. If you could watch the excuses they came up with, it will chill you to the bone exactly how unscrupulous FBS got when a large sum of money (not theirs is involved). I want the info obtained during trial to be available to everyone attempting to trade with FBS. What should i do?
 

AsstModerator

FPA Forums and Reviews Admin
Messages
5,716
I'll guess you have a lawyer if things have gone that far. If your lawyer has no objection, you can add documents to your existing thread about the issue either as attachments or as links to the documents hosted elsewhere.
 

Dan St.

Recruit
Messages
2
"A small number of traders really do misuse price feeds" Are you talking about arbitrage here? Cause if so, how is that "misuse"?
 

AsstModerator

FPA Forums and Reviews Admin
Messages
5,716
"A small number of traders really do misuse price feeds" Are you talking about arbitrage here? Cause if so, how is that "misuse"?

The terms of service are a contract between the company and the client. If you sign off on TOS that forbids arbitrage using faster price feeds, that's misuse. Many brokers have TOS that are very specific about this. If the broker has nothing in the TOS about it, then they shouldn't complain if you are able to use a faster price feed.

TOS contracts go both ways. A company should not violate them. A client should not violate them.
 

Dan St.

Recruit
Messages
2
The terms of service are a contract between the company and the client. If you sign off on TOS that forbids arbitrage using faster price feeds, that's misuse. Many brokers have TOS that are very specific about this. If the broker has nothing in the TOS about it, then they shouldn't complain if you are able to use a faster price feed.

TOS contracts go both ways. A company should not violate them. A client should not violate them.
yup, fully agree. Its one thing I always review before unleashing.
 

HeavenLeighRob

Master Sergeant
Messages
347
Surprised to see changes but I see how this makes a lot of sense.
I also like how subject lines will be changed to be more representative of the actual problem - it's better than the insults that don't even touch on the real problem.
Change can be a good thing! Also, rest and vacations. Hope you get to have one soon :cool:
 
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