A quick update.
Further to discussion with my broker. Firstly, I should say that my broker is much more prompt in responding to me, than I am in writing this article, so, kudos to my brokerage firm! (unfortunately, I'm writing this whilst doing other things in and out, but not in CSL style :-) )
1. I am advised that the contracts shown on 2 Jan is due to incorrect factors uploaded into the system. The mistake is deeply regretted. They understand I could not really sleep last night. :-) They will fix it to reflect the new fees that I mentioned in my previous article. The differences will be credited into my account by end of month.
2. As for the normal fees for below and above $100k, the online rates remain the same (0.42% and 0.21%), and is negotiatiable, i.e. a confidential individual arrangement between broker and client. Whilst my own preference (a "wish list" for this industry, i.e. addressed to all brokers) is to have it transparent across brokers nationwide (since the process of negotiating with every single broker across the country is very time consuming - definitely something I don't have at the moment), the only thing I will do is to just comment it here, so that hopefully, we can have a discussion whether such a thing should be standardized and made transparent, or have it done in varying standards behind closed doors. Apparently, my cbox is viewed by industry professionals, so, don't be afraid to leave your comments here, as it may / may not influence the industry. Certainly, if we don't express our views and keep it inside, it will never be heard.
Notwitstanding 1. and 2. personally, my own experience now is that I am overall pleased with my broker's service and rates quoted. I am also too busy at the moment with finding better rates. Hopefully, your experience with your own brokers is equally pleasant under such potentially confusing circumstances. However, should the unfortunate happen and you find that your broker provided you with a lousy service and high rates, then, just change brokers. Remember, ultimately, it's your money and not theirs yet.