This is getting well and truly ridiculous.
On Wednesday, online discount broker Ameritrade
Of course, Ameritrade isn't in B of A's league just yet. Whereas the latter managed to lose a million customer records -- including those of several U.S. senators -- Ameritrade lost "just" 200,000 records. But although Ameritrade lagged B of A in the size of its gaffe, it came pretty close to matching B of A in the magnitude of its procrastination. You'll notice that I said Ameritrade lost the data "in February." And what month is it now? That's right -- Ameritrade waited two months before informing its clients that their data had gone missing. That's a pretty close second to B of A's record of losing its tapes in December and admitting this in March.
Now listen. I take it as no personal offense that I am a client of both of these companies, which can't seem to keep hold of my data for more than five minutes without misplacing it. Hey, accidents happen. No hard feelings. But on behalf of the 1.2 million-plus customers whose financial safety you two banks have put at risk, I'd like to ask a couple of favors.
One: When you lose people's sensitive data, don't sit on the news of your mistake for two months, thinking, "hey, maybe it'll turn up." When your customers are at risk, tell them about it right away.
Two: Accept responsibility for your actions. Don't just fob off your mistake on the transportation company. I don't care whether you're shipping my data hither and yon by UPS, the USPS, or two guys and a truck. If you've got initial custody of the data, and you pick the contractor to move it, it's your responsibility to get it where it's going -- or to accept responsibility when it doesn't get there.
Speaking of which, the next time you decide to steal a page from somebody's playbook, consider imitating ChoicePoint
Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any company mentioned in this article. Three guesses why not.