Emergency! I can not sell or liquidate stock

i can not sell or liquidate my stocks. it tells me this: Failed to liquidate position in TECL forbidden.

It lets me place sell orders on some of my stocks, but it won’t work if i try to place a sell order on 100% of the shares own. I think its because I bought them on margin and now it thinks I’m shorting it. i have no open orders and am not dumb, i’ve tried everything.

Honestly huge red flag, this brokerage should be responsible for my losses.

dev ops tried doing something to my account this morning because of a buying power bug. i think they did something.

see error in action

An update on this issue. This wasn’t a ‘bug’. This wasn’t a situation where Alpaca would be responsible for any ‘losses’. This was a simple matter of trying to place an order which 1) would have created a ‘day trade’ and 2) then exceeded the Day Trading Buying Power (DTBP).

It is very important that traders understand there are two ‘Buying Powers’. One is associated with how much one can buy for equities held overnight (Reg T buying power). One for how much one can buy for equities which are only held intra-day and ‘day traded’ (Day Trading Buying Power DTBP). The DTBP is calculated at the beginning of each day based upon the previous end of day equity and maintenance margin (ie market close and not extended hours). Check out the docs here. The DTBP can range from a maximum 4x equity (if there are no overnight holdings and therefore $0 maintenance margin) to zero (if one held equities overnight with high maintenance margin). Alpaca put’s in place protections which restrict an account from placing a trade which would exceed one’s DTBP. This is to protect the user from a ‘day trade margin call’. If one exceeds their DTBP, the SEC and FINRA require that funds to meet the margin call be deposited into the account within 5 days. One cannot satisfy a day trading margin call by liquidating positions (as a Reg T margin call can). One must deposit cash. If the margin call is not satisfied, the SEC requires “the account will be further restricted to trading only on a cash available basis for 90 days, or until the call is met”. In this specific case, the trade(s) exceeded DTBP by over $40,000. One would have been required to deposit over $40,000 in cash or the account would be restricted to ‘cash only’ (ie no margin at all and required to wait for all proceeds to clear before trading). Most traders wouldn’t be able to satisfy such a call and wouldn’t want to be restricted to ‘cash only’ trading for 90 days. Therefore, Alpaca has protections in place to try and prevent exceeding ones DTBP.

There is a user configurable setting to manage when the Day Trading Buying Power is checked. Go to the Account -> Configuration tab.

If this is set to ‘Block on Entry’ (the default) the DTBP is checked before one opens a position. It assumes all ones trades are day trades and therefore restricts opening a position if closing it later in the day (ie a day trade) would exceed one’s DTBP. If ‘Block on Exit’ is set then the DTBP is checked when trying to close a position. It restricts trades that would create a day trade that would exceed ones DTBP. This setting should generally not be used if one is day trading. This can create a situation where one isn’t allowed to exit a position. That is what happened here. The ‘Block on Exit’ setting was selected and trades were blocked because closing them would have created a day trade that exceeded the DTBP. If one plans on day trading, then probably set this to ‘Block on Entry’. That will keep one from ever opening a position that couldn’t be closed later in the day.

Do note that these protections only apply to accounts designated Pattern Day Trader (PDT) and are not 100%. Under certain circumstances one could still exceed the DTBP. It’s ultimately up to the trader to ensure they stay within their buying power.