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There are lots of problems, but here are what I see as the two biggest.

1)Because of the fees, this is just not a smart way to donate money.
2)Gradsave holds onto the money instead of depositing it immediately into a 529 plan. I see no indication that these are all separate escrow accounts that can't be touched by Gradsave. I think that everything goes into one big account. This means that the money is not safe from the actions of Gradsave. I just envision a situation of them going through their VC money and something forces them to use money that is supposed to go to a 529 plan for a different purpose with the intent of paying it back "soon". It could very easily (even unintentionally) turn into a Ponzi scheme... unless there is something that makes it impossible for money in the account to be used by Gradsave.

Gradsave, can you please comment on this last point? Thanks!

Well, I got 50$ today. They still owe me 1400$.

The ethics issue with the change from adding the fee to the donation to deducting it from the amount is how it is disclosed.

Right after they started with fees if you tried to make a contribution you saw the amount of the contribution and right below it the fee, with the total being what your credit card would be charged. Although it may not be what was expected from earlier language, it was clear at that point.

What I fear is they will give you a space to fill in your donation amount, and then ask permissin to charge your credit card that amount. The fee may be hidden in small print somewhere. Donor will leave the site thinking they have child's education fund will receive $25 because that is what they say, and they missed that it would be reduced by the fee.

If they did increase donations four fold by changing how the fees were charged, it is almost certainly because the new presentations deceived donors.

A practical problem with deducting the fees from the contributions is that many donations are probably for the round amounts of $25 or $50. Once fees are deducted, more contributions will be below the minimum contribution that fund companies are willing to process leading to more problems.

Another issue with starting to deduct fees is that their site used to provide for continuing contributions of so much per month, and the authorization given for charging credit cards stated no fees (this was before they started charging fees). Are they going to use these authorizations to charge the amount specified, but deliver less to the 529 plans than they promised?

This would be tricky, having agreed to deliver say $1,000 for no fee, to then deliver less while charging the credit card the $1,000.

Anyone know what recourse a donor would have if he had authorized credit card charges with the fee stated to be 0, and he then found they had sent a lesser amount to the 529 companies?

An ethical issue for many is that Gradsave suggested languages for the Profiles for our children that stated all funds would go to the education of the child. Right now if you try to open a new account for child (Alison say) you find the following is prefilled.

". . . . . All gifts go to Alison 's college savings plan, to be used solely for college expenses. . . ...."

Even earlier, that sort of statement was not quite true, although it could be argued that what was a gift and what was a fee was clear. Now, if the donor fills in a gift amount it is clearly not true that it will go "solely for college expenses."

I think most parents will not want to participate in deceiving their relatives and friends, especially if it involves participating in an illegal scheme.

Even if the money goes into a 529 plan, there is no requirement for it to go toward Allison's college education.

BrodyInsurance said:   Even if the money goes into a 529 plan, there is no requirement for it to go toward Allison's college education.
Brody - you said on these boards that they were sending you a check for $50. Did your child's profile say that all funds would go to education, and then YOU looted the account for a check that you're going to go put in another pyramid scheme somewhere?

ProfessorEd said:   The ethics issue with the change from adding the fee to the donation to deducting it from the amount is how it is disclosed.

Right after they started with fees if you tried to make a contribution you saw the amount of the contribution and right below it the fee, with the total being what your credit card would be charged. Although it may not be what was expected from earlier language, it was clear at that point.

What I fear is they will give you a space to fill in your donation amount, and then ask permissin to charge your credit card that amount. The fee may be hidden in small print somewhere. Donor will leave the site thinking they have child's education fund will receive $25 because that is what they say, and they missed that it would be reduced by the fee.

If they did increase donations four fold by changing how the fees were charged, it is almost certainly because the new presentations deceived donors.


There are dozens of highly successful crowdfunding sites like Rally, GoFundMe and Kickstarter that charge fees to the (parent). In fact, Gradsave is the cheapest of all of them. All you seem to do is find all the nit-picky complaints about everything. Why dont you write a diatribe of what's wrong with rally, Groupon, gofundme and Living Social and let these guys do their thing.

Fatterwal said:   BrodyInsurance said:   Even if the money goes into a 529 plan, there is no requirement for it to go toward Allison's college education.
Brody - you said on these boards that they were sending you a check for $50. Did your child's profile say that all funds would go to education, and then YOU looted the account for a check that you're going to go put in another pyramid scheme somewhere?


I had no idea what my profile said. I just looked at it. It sure isn't something that I wrote. It says, "Birthday: August 01, 2013

We are planning for our child's future! Please help Baby's dreams come true - the sky is the limit! All gifts go to Baby's college savings plan, to be used solely for college expenses. There are few gifts more important than education, so on behalf of our entire family, thank you!"

If anybody would have donated to the account, I would have linked it to a 529 plan and used the money for college education expenses. Nobody was going to donate to the account.

When this started, there was no requirement for the money to go into a 529 plan. Gradsave changed the rules after the fact. I was actually quite clear with them from the beginning that I was simply taking advantage of this deal and putting money into my savings account. Because they stopped allowing this after multiple times confirming with me that they would allow contributions into a savings account, they promised to send me a check for $50. I have not yet received the check.

Fatterwal said:   ProfessorEd said:   The ethics issue with the change from adding the fee to the donation to deducting it from the amount is how it is disclosed.

Right after they started with fees if you tried to make a contribution you saw the amount of the contribution and right below it the fee, with the total being what your credit card would be charged. Although it may not be what was expected from earlier language, it was clear at that point.

What I fear is they will give you a space to fill in your donation amount, and then ask permissin to charge your credit card that amount. The fee may be hidden in small print somewhere. Donor will leave the site thinking they have child's education fund will receive $25 because that is what they say, and they missed that it would be reduced by the fee.

If they did increase donations four fold by changing how the fees were charged, it is almost certainly because the new presentations deceived donors.


There are dozens of highly successful crowdfunding sites like Rally, GoFundMe and Kickstarter that charge fees to the (parent). In fact, Gradsave is the cheapest of all of them. All you seem to do is find all the nit-picky complaints about everything. Why dont you write a diatribe of what's wrong with rally, Groupon, gofundme and Living Social and let these guys do their thing.


I don't know anything about those other sites. However, if they keep changing their rules on what seems to be almost a daily basis, they deserve complaints also. The complaints aren't about the fees. The fees just make it a less than ideal funding source.

Brody - tell us more about your insurance business so we can pick it apart for you. Has anyone ever filed a claim that was denied?

Fatterwal said:   Brody - tell us more about your insurance business so we can pick it apart for you. Has anyone ever filed a claim that was denied?

No death claims have ever been denied for my clients. One disability claim would have probably been denied, but the person withdrew their claim. No LTCi claims have been denied.

I did have a situation where a conversion (term to whole life) was denied. I can't get into details, but the insurance company underwriters said that we couldn't do the conversion. All of the information from the insurance company (marketing brochures for the public, literature for the agents, etc.)said that we couldn't do the conversion. The policy itself, however, didn't exclude this type of conversion. I was able to fight the insurance company and get the denial overturned.

If you have ways that can improve my business please send me a PM. It would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully gradsave is learning from reading about our issues.

Still no money in my 529.. GradSave Chargeback Day is getting mighty close (Feb 4th)

Fatterwal said:   Brody - tell us more about your insurance business so we can pick it apart for you. Has anyone ever filed a claim that was denied?

Are you related in any way to Gradsave? If not, your post is completely unjustified.

Bizatch said:   Still no money in my 529.. GradSave Chargeback Day is getting mighty close (Feb 4th)

Why that deadline? It is critical not to let a credit card charge back opportunity be missed (if it appears your money will not emerge from a "black hole"), but I don't think you are there yet.

If your goal was to fund an account via a credit card, charging it back eliminates that opportunity.

Hence, I would be inclined to wait until at least the next round of checks is sent to 529 plans. If money has still not emerged from them, you do need to start worrying seriously about protecting your rights (especially if you had tried to fund thousands in 529 contributions via credit cards, an opportunity which they very generously offered.)

I'm not particularly gifted in the ways of spotting shill posters, but "Fatterwal" is an obvious Gradsave employee. As are a couple other usernames that are so emotionally defensive of this company and happen to have just registered in Jan 2013, and happen to only post in this thread.

Get with it Gradsave. You're seriously diluting your brand at FW with these childish tactics.

Thank you, Gradsave. I received my $50 check in the mail today.

With the giant amounts of dollars that go into college savings plans, it is possible that they could make some serious coin if they don't shoot themselves in the foot.

Just want to report my Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 shows the $50 pending transaction on 1/31.

ProfessorEd said:   bigdaddycincinnati said:   ragedogg69 said:   Just another data point, my collegesavings 529 plan in AZ just emailed me asking what they should do with this deposit. Apparently, they do not accept deposits lower than $250. Whoops.
Perfect. Have them mail you a check.


The question is whether they will send you a check when the original check came from somewhere else. If they must return the check to GradSave, GradSave may be saved from some losses, since they may be able to avoid paying the $50 for some people (those that do not ask). I assume however, if asked, they will have to send you $50,although they may delay a bit.

At worse, although I doubt it will come to this (at least not soon), you may have a legal claim as a general creditor in the bankruptcy proceeding. Should they be short of funds, or staff, it may take a while to get these cases resolved. HKowever, I suspect they will have adequate staff after the Living Social issues have been resolved (and before any layoffs to save money if little is coming in).

However, this news may improve their short term cash position for those who are still waiting for payments into their 529 plans.

You did not say which company handled your plan, although I suspect it is Fidelity. This is relevant because one company often handles several plans, and rules may be similar across them.

I checked the Fidelity New Hampshire plan, and their opening deposit is only $50. This may be the minimum they will accept since the Fidelity branded credit card only makes deposits of $50 (and for less they show a smaller amount redeemed, followed by an adjustment that returns the funds).

I could imagine a lot of $50 payments to plans not working.

If rules like this are common, it could present a problem for the Gradsave business plan, since many donations may be small. Even with processing every couple of weeks (permitting small contributions to be aggregated), GradSave will frequently fail to meet the ordinary minimums.

You would hope GradSave had negotiated special arrangements to deal with this problem.

Please keep us informed.


Sorry I was too brief in my data point and have not visited this thread since. My Arizona 529 plan is with College Savings Bank. They require $250 minimum to fund a CD. (all they really offer is CDs.) In my case, I could either deposit $200 more to purchase another CD with a target date, or keep the $50 in a 529 savings account until the $250 minimum is met.


Long story short, I should have went with Fidelity.

ragedogg69 said:   ProfessorEd said:   bigdaddycincinnati said:   ragedogg69 said:   Just another data point, my collegesavings 529 plan in AZ just emailed me asking what they should do with this deposit. Apparently, they do not accept deposits lower than $250. Whoops.
Perfect. Have them mail you a check.


The question is whether they will send you a check when the original check came from somewhere else. If they must return the check to GradSave, GradSave may be saved from some losses, since they may be able to avoid paying the $50 for some people (those that do not ask). I assume however, if asked, they will have to send you $50,although they may delay a bit.

At worse, although I doubt it will come to this (at least not soon), you may have a legal claim as a general creditor in the bankruptcy proceeding. Should they be short of funds, or staff, it may take a while to get these cases resolved. HKowever, I suspect they will have adequate staff after the Living Social issues have been resolved (and before any layoffs to save money if little is coming in).

However, this news may improve their short term cash position for those who are still waiting for payments into their 529 plans.

You did not say which company handled your plan, although I suspect it is Fidelity. This is relevant because one company often handles several plans, and rules may be similar across them.

I checked the Fidelity New Hampshire plan, and their opening deposit is only $50. This may be the minimum they will accept since the Fidelity branded credit card only makes deposits of $50 (and for less they show a smaller amount redeemed, followed by an adjustment that returns the funds).

I could imagine a lot of $50 payments to plans not working.

If rules like this are common, it could present a problem for the Gradsave business plan, since many donations may be small. Even with processing every couple of weeks (permitting small contributions to be aggregated), GradSave will frequently fail to meet the ordinary minimums.

You would hope GradSave had negotiated special arrangements to deal with this problem.

Please keep us informed.


Sorry I was too brief in my data point and have not visited this thread since. My Arizona 529 plan is with College Savings Bank. They require $250 minimum to fund a CD. (all they really offer is CDs.) In my case, I could either deposit $200 more to purchase another CD with a target date, or keep the $50 in a 529 savings account until the $250 minimum is met.


Long story short, I should have went with Fidelity.


Thanks for the data point.

I don't know enough to advise you, but it sounds like you do have a 529 plans established with $50, thanks to Grad Save.

Legally you could probably withdraw it, and pay taxes, or transfer it to another plan (possibly opened for the purpose)that had a possibility of higher returns than what savings accounts pay. Since I believe you can do roll over only once per year, rolling it over would leave you with an account you could not roll over again to next year. Hence you need to think before taking that route.

Rollover are enough trouble (not much, but some) and doing one does restrict you from another for that year. thus, if you can get get $50 out as cash, that may be sensible (the tax would be trivial if done now, since you probably have made no money yet), to be followed by opening a 529 plan if you want one.

There is a Fidelity Arizona 529 plan whose minimum opening contribution is $50, which would let you invest in equity index funds (my choice) and it could be rolled over to there, to be followed possibly by other contributions to fully utilize the Arizona tax deduction of $750 per year (!500 for a couple).

I personally would consider trying to take advantage of the $50 bonus by Merril for putting $5,000 into an account and holding it. I would fund it with $4950 initially, and then roll the $50 over into it. A quick web search states Arizona is one of the states where you get a small income tax break for contributions, and they provide this for even out of state plans. I presume they provide for a carry forward of the amounts you could not deduct in the first year (since $5,000 is several year's deductions), but I have not researched this.

Still no deposit to my 529. I'll check once more on Monday morning. If it's not there, I call the credit card company to do a chargeback.

Bizatch said:   Still no deposit to my 529. I'll check once more on Monday morning. If it's not there, I call the credit card company to do a chargeback.

quit complaining. we now know that the deposits have been going through, so just be patient. i don't think it helps anyone if you do a chargeback

Starting the February Transfers now. If any of the last batch did not arrive please email eddie@gradsave.com as they should be there.

Did anybody else catch Gradsave's last post before Eddie deleted and changed it? I believe that he thought that he was writing as Fatterwal because his post started with something along the lines of, "I am not now nor have I have been associated with Gradsave...". It quickly got changed.

Eddie, where is the integrity? You need to make up shill posters? How about just using honesty? You can't create an alternate id and post as a shill. Is that how an honest company operates? I would love to give your company the benefit of the doubt. How about starting about by admitting to being Fatterwal?

Eddie, we're not out to beat up on companies here, but if you are going to pull this crap, you need to expect serious hits your reputation.

thetobster said:   Bizatch said:   Still no deposit to my 529. I'll check once more on Monday morning. If it's not there, I call the credit card company to do a chargeback.

Can you please email me eddie@gradsave.com. Obviously there is a problem, perhaps the account number was transposed when you entered it or something. If you want a refund we will issue it or if you want a transfer that's fine too. Was your credit card charged, maybe that failed some how. I just need to know who you are so I can help you.

The following is copied from a Slickdeals post regarding a $10 discount on GradSave discounts. There I commented.

The new customer restriction makes this of limited use for those who have already opened Gradsave accounts.

However, I suppose if you were soliciting donations from friends and relatives, this might be useful. It appears it could cover their fees on small donations. My chief fear is that they might change rules, and decline to accept such donations into accounts that had already received one or more of these.

This might be especially useful for anyone who was planning a party in response to their offer of a $100 bonus if you raised $1,000 from at least 10 people (if that is still out there). You could honestly tell them there was a fee, but that this might cover it.

Update: It looks like GradSave is now monitoring this thread, because an offer which was there a short time ago (and apparently around for a while) is no longer there (and presumably unavailable). I have not closed the window since I looked at it and right above the baby is: "You have $10 off this purchase.
NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY
Lifetime limit 1 per child / 529 plan / beneficiary"


Hopefully, they will read the many comments I and others have made, and fix the many problems that we have discovered, eventually making their service more usable.


"Quote from ProfessorEd View Post :
Some of us might find getting a gift card at a discount was nice (if fine print does not make it impossible to use).

Perhaps you would be willing to share, even if by PM, where that deal was.
Sure! http://www.gradsave.com/giftcard/TENOFF11 $10 off a $25 gift card.

When I initially used this link a couple weeks ago, there was no restriction on number of uses (except one buried in their FAQ section), no "NEW CUSTOMER" requirement, no lifetime limit of 1. I probably purchased 20 of the $25 GCs when I got an email from gradsave saying they were cancelling all but 1 GC order (which they did). So YMMV as to how many of these you can do beyond 1.

It does sound like you could do 1x per child. The "new account" requirement means you might not be able to get one for existing accounts. I haven't tried to get GCs for my 2nd or 3rd child, but it did work for the first child (and $$ is in my 529 account now), however this was before the NEW CUSTOMER requirement. "

BrodyInsurance said:   Did anybody else catch Gradsave's last post before Eddie deleted and changed it? I believe that he thought that he was writing as Fatterwal because his post started with something along the lines of, "I am not now nor have I have been associated with Gradsave...". It quickly got changed.

Eddie, where is the integrity? You need to make up shill posters? How about just using honesty? You can't create an alternate id and post as a shill. Is that how an honest company operates? I would love to give your company the benefit of the doubt. How about starting about by admitting to being Fatterwal?

Eddie, we're not out to beat up on companies here, but if you are going to pull this crap, you need to expect serious hits your reputation.


Fast. Eddie.

yall clowns still actin a fool up in here. dam get ahold of yourself people for petes sake, lifes too short for all your longwinded bitchin about 26 bucks, its strictly for the birds the way you people representin fat wallet.
no one is allowed to post any further evidence of obsesive compulsive tom foolery of the adhd variety

double

OliverQuackenbush said:   yall clowns still actin a fool up in here. dam get ahold of yourself people for petes sake, lifes too short for all your longwinded bitchin about 26 bucks, its strictly for the birds the way you people representin fat wallet.
no one is allowed to post any further evidence of obsesive compulsive tom foolery of the adhd variety


Did Fast Eddy hack your account?

hobo said:   OliverQuackenbush said:   yall clowns still actin a fool up in here. dam get ahold of yourself people for petes sake, lifes too short for all your longwinded bitchin about 26 bucks, its strictly for the birds the way you people representin fat wallet.
no one is allowed to post any further evidence of obsesive compulsive tom foolery of the adhd variety


Did Fast Eddy hack your account?


no just tired of all the monkey business and horsefeathers i have to read in this circus of a thread while i munch on my animal crackers listening to my opera cds.
you people should stick to posting deals from big stores, and stop horsing around in this thread.

gradsave said:   Starting the February Transfers now. If any of the last batch did not arrive please email eddie@gradsave.com as they should be there.

It would be great if they told us the exact schedule. Which transfers are "February" ones (Redeem hit before what date). Which were in the last batch? Ideally, this would be on their website.

This would probably save them lot of the "Where is my money?" phone calls.

If they also said how it is going, it would help even more. My guess is they are using Federal Express with checks, since several have reported the money came in as a "check".

Ideally, they could even post some information on the internal processing times of the various major funds. They may know this from experience, and probably have an internal list to help with "Where is my money? calls.

Merril Lynch (Maine) shows on their web site under transactions, when they get a check, when it is allocated to an account (529 plan), and when an actual purchase of a fund occurs (which can only happen after the net asset value is known, usually about 6PM on the day the stock exchanges close). However, the value of the account appears to be updated later, and only then do you see on the main screen that the value of your account has changed (or a new account has been funded).

The Md. College Saving plan appears to show receipt of funds only after the money has been invested (and there could be some delay in the information getting from T. Rowe Price to the Maryland state site where I access it.

Most online stores (which is what Gradsave really is) make it possible to track individual orders so you can see whether they have received the order, what the order is for, when it ships, and usually how it was shipped.

Gradsav just shows total contributions for a particular child (and who made the contribution, but not the date, or the source such as credit card (last few numbers for safety, ACH transfer, a gift certificate from a third party, etc.). This could be especially useful for families with multiple parents, multiple children, and multiple accounts per child, and often multiple account numbers for each child's plan (Maryland's College Saving Plan has an account number for each fund within the plan).

I expect eventually they will provide this.

I requested 3 transfers on the 11th of January and it is the 25th day now with no signs of the money. I e-mailed them 24 hour ago with no response. Anyone else in the same boat?

They still owe me 1400$

Their website was redone.

Thrilla said:   I requested 3 transfers on the 11th of January and it is the 25th day now with no signs of the money. I e-mailed them 24 hour ago with no response. Anyone else in the same boat?

No money in my account. Edit: No money in my 529 account.
No response from 2 emails to GradSave.

Called credit card company yesterday to do chargeback.

alamo11 said:   Their website was redone.

What changes have been made? Are there any improvements, such as a way to see which contributions have been sent to 529 plans? or any improvements to the various issues I discovered such as inability to use large file size pictures, inability to tell which account went with which child's name when there were several Profiles per child, inability to handle 10 digit ZIP codes etc.? How are they presenting fees etc.? Is there any way to cancel instructions for periodic monthly payments, etc.? They clearly needed to redo their website.

I cannot access my account with them for some reason or I would know the answers from looking.

I was told the $100 bonus redemption pushed back my initial $1400 redemption into the Feb batch. Seems sloppy, shouldn't those have been seperate deposits regardless? Like what happens if you set up recurring deposits of $50 from your bi-monthly paycheck? Does it endlessly reset the transfer process?

mattun said:   I was told the $100 bonus redemption pushed back my initial $1400 redemption into the Feb batch. Seems sloppy, shouldn't those have been seperate deposits regardless? Like what happens if you set up recurring deposits of $50 from your bi-monthly paycheck? Does it endlessly reset the transfer process?

Yes, it is sloppy and not well designed (and tested).

I suspect that they wanted to look at the $100 bonus payments more closely, and (lacking time to closely exam these)refrained from doing any transfers to certain accounts, which tied up ones they had already charged the credit cards for. However, I am just guessing.



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