Vanguard Customer Service

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
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in_reality
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by in_reality » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:11 am

jhfenton wrote: I'll be calling them again in a few minutes. :annoyed
Be patient with the reps. It's likely true if they say "nobody can understand what is happening ... please wait so we can see what happens".

Anyway, I had seemingly completed transactions gone missing too.

Watch what get's reported for taxation. If the Roths show a debit and the money went back to taxable, see if it flags it as a withdrawal...

livesoft
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by livesoft » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:14 am

It must be very demoralizing for the CSR's who want to help, but really cannot because the backend IT stuff is so fritzed.

… and look what happens after I posted the above sentence:

Image

All my Vanguard accounts are GONE!
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Quark
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Quark » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:23 am

"Investors Poured Record $236 Billion Into Vanguard Last Year
"Largest annual flow of money to a mutual-fund firm is latest sign of shift away from money managers who try to handpick winners"
The prior record was set by Vanguard in 2014.
http://www.wsj.com/articles/investors-p ... 1452035259

They must be doing something right.

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:31 am

in_reality wrote:
jhfenton wrote: I'll be calling them again in a few minutes. :annoyed
Be patient with the reps. It's likely true if they say "nobody can understand what is happening ... please wait so we can see what happens".

Anyway, I had seemingly completed transactions gone missing too.

Watch what get's reported for taxation. If the Roths show a debit and the money went back to taxable, see if it flags it as a withdrawal...
Good advice. I'm always polite to the poor CSRs. I know that the underlying problem is never their fault. As long as they're nice to me and try to help, I return the consideration. :beer

I'm 21 minutes into the call now and on hold again for the second time while he talks to someone on the resolution team.

The contributions are what disappeared, so I should be fine on the tax end. And they say they can just push new $550 x 2 contributions to square the debits. But they can't figure out why it happened. :/

And to make it funnier, my VMLTX cash position (shares held less than 30 days) shows a balance of negative 64.768 shares (negative $714.39) while the margin position (those held more than 30 days) shows a larger positive position. The system hasn't netted those out in two overnight cycles.

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in_reality
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by in_reality » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:58 am

jhfenton wrote: The contributions are what disappeared, so I should be fine on the tax end.
If you say so. Do have a look though. You might be surprised ...

Let us know how it goes.

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:03 am

Well, it took 46 minutes and they still don't know why it happened, but they made new transfers for me and fixed two other system glitches (the negative shares glitch and some Vanguard Ohio Long-Term Tax Exempt shares that had been stuck in a cash position for 45+ days).

I guess I'll see next month if the transfer glitch happens again.

I really wish they wouldn't put me on silent hold for 10 and 20 minutes at a time while they discuss it without me. I would prefer to be a part of those discussions.
in_reality wrote:
jhfenton wrote: The contributions are what disappeared, so I should be fine on the tax end.
If you say so. Do have a look though. You might be surprised ...

Let us know how it goes.
I will certainly keep an eye out. :beer Everything looks right now in terms of debits, credits, and 2016 contributions. The margin glitches won't correct themselves until overnight.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by in_reality » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:08 am

jhfenton wrote:
I will certainly keep an eye out. :beer Everything looks right now in terms of debits, credits, and 2016 contributions. The margin glitches won't correct themselves until overnight.
No problems then.
Vanguard let me place the ETF buy in a Roth IRA before transferring the money to cover it. That let me place one exchange from taxable into the Roth and know exactly how much to transfer to the settlement fund and how much was left to exchange to another mutual fund.
I'll bet you 10-1 (beers) that placing the buy before transferring the money confused their system someplace. Since we can't know the outcome, let's just call me with winner and since I don't drink, you'll have to finish it. :sharebeer

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:35 am

in_reality wrote:
jhfenton wrote:
I will certainly keep an eye out. :beer Everything looks right now in terms of debits, credits, and 2016 contributions. The margin glitches won't correct themselves until overnight.
No problems then.
Vanguard let me place the ETF buy in a Roth IRA before transferring the money to cover it. That let me place one exchange from taxable into the Roth and know exactly how much to transfer to the settlement fund and how much was left to exchange to another mutual fund.
I'll bet you 10-1 (beers) that placing the buy before transferring the money confused their system someplace. Since we can't know the outcome, let's just call me with winner and since I don't drink, you'll have to finish it. :sharebeer
Thanks. But I don't drink either. :beer

And the system also glitched on my wife's exchange, which was a simple mutual fund to mutual fund exchange. They say that their resolution team is going to continue to look into the underlying issue, because it was a failure in such a basic function (and I promised to try it again 18 times in the next 9 months).

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mickeyd
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by mickeyd » Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:35 pm

We opened up a VG brokerage account several months ago thru our Flagship rep due to an inheritance of individual shares of stock. I was advised that we would get 25 free trades (not sure why). I also was advised that we would incur a small securities transaction fee each time we traded. I knew that I would not be buying more stock, only selling what was inherited.

Here is a sampling of the securities transaction fees for the sales of stock so far:
0.06
0.07
0.06
0.03
0.08
0.08
0.17
0.03
0.02
0.05

When our Flagship CSR advised us of a "small fee" I assumed small would be a larger number. Had no idea that it would cost me a total of less than $1.
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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Wed Jan 06, 2016 3:14 pm

mickeyd wrote:We opened up a VG brokerage account several months ago thru our Flagship rep due to an inheritance of individual shares of stock. I was advised that we would get 25 free trades (not sure why). I also was advised that we would incur a small securities transaction fee each time we traded. I knew that I would not be buying more stock, only selling what was inherited.

Here is a sampling of the securities transaction fees for the sales of stock so far:
0.06
0.07
0.06
0.03
0.08
0.08
0.17
0.03
0.02
0.05

When our Flagship CSR advised us of a "small fee" I assumed small would be a larger number. Had no idea that it would cost me a total of less than $1.
That the so-called "SEC fee," the Section 31 fee on the sale of securities. It changes, but the last number I see is $0.0000184 per $1.00 of sale proceeds.

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:15 pm

in_reality wrote:
jhfenton wrote:
I will certainly keep an eye out. :beer Everything looks right now in terms of debits, credits, and 2016 contributions. The margin glitches won't correct themselves until overnight.
No problems then.
Vanguard let me place the ETF buy in a Roth IRA before transferring the money to cover it. That let me place one exchange from taxable into the Roth and know exactly how much to transfer to the settlement fund and how much was left to exchange to another mutual fund.
I'll bet you 10-1 (beers) that placing the buy before transferring the money confused their system someplace. Since we can't know the outcome, let's just call me with winner and since I don't drink, you'll have to finish it. :sharebeer
Now this evening, the transfers that he put in have disappeared. The $1,100 is back in our taxable, our Roth IRAs each show $550 debits again, and our 2016 contributions show $0.

So the glitch is somehow in the transfer step itself. Back to the phone....

Edit: I spoke to a very helpful rep, but he's going to have to call me back in the morning. The various technical departments he would like to talk to all close at 6:30 PM, which is understandable. He has no idea why the transfers are failing. Transfers from a joint taxable to a Roth belonging to one of the owners are permissible.

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in_reality
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by in_reality » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:54 pm

jhfenton wrote: Now this evening, the transfers that he put in have disappeared. The $1,100 is back in our taxable, our Roth IRAs each show $550 debits again, and our 2016 contributions show $0.

So the glitch is somehow in the transfer step itself. Back to the phone....

Edit: I spoke to a very helpful rep, but he's going to have to call me back in the morning. The various technical departments he would like to talk to all close at 6:30 PM, which is understandable. He has no idea why the transfers are failing. Transfers from a joint taxable to a Roth belonging to one of the owners are permissible.
Are you sure you want to go through this 10X year? :wink:

Are you in the new combined setup? I had my trouble in the old way where brokerage and mutual fund accounts just shared a settlement account but were two different accounts.

I went cash on mid-six figures selling bonds at at different broker and planned to time an equities sale at the broker with a purchase at Vanguard to not be out of the market for even a day (couldn't transfer in-kind). Then well you see how their system sometimes work. I ended up giving them an international number as they were calling my bother's house so often that I got complaints (I asked them to correspond by mail), and they froze my account for being overseas despite my owning three properties in the US at the time. I think maybe I complained too much for them, but honestly if that is how they work am happy to be at Schwab.

Your experience now is all I ever experienced there ...

livesoft
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by livesoft » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:59 pm

jhfenton wrote:Now this evening, the transfers that he put in have disappeared. The $1,100 is back in our taxable, our Roth IRAs each show $550 debits again, and our 2016 contributions show $0.
Excellent! Vanguard has probably saved you 4% to 5% on the contributions already. :twisted:
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:20 pm

in_reality wrote:
jhfenton wrote: Now this evening, the transfers that he put in have disappeared. The $1,100 is back in our taxable, our Roth IRAs each show $550 debits again, and our 2016 contributions show $0.

So the glitch is somehow in the transfer step itself. Back to the phone....

Edit: I spoke to a very helpful rep, but he's going to have to call me back in the morning. The various technical departments he would like to talk to all close at 6:30 PM, which is understandable. He has no idea why the transfers are failing. Transfers from a joint taxable to a Roth belonging to one of the owners are permissible.
Are you sure you want to go through this 10X year? :wink:

Are you in the new combined setup? I had my trouble in the old way where brokerage and mutual fund accounts just shared a settlement account but were two different accounts.

I went cash on mid-six figures selling bonds at at different broker and planned to time an equities sale at the broker with a purchase at Vanguard to not be out of the market for even a day (couldn't transfer in-kind). Then well you see how their system sometimes work. I ended up giving them an international number as they were calling my bother's house so often that I got complaints (I asked them to correspond by mail), and they froze my account for being overseas despite my owning three properties in the US at the time. I think maybe I complained too much for them, but honestly if that is how they work am happy to be at Schwab.

Your experience now is all I ever experienced there ...
Yes to your second question. We just opened our 5 accounts in October, so they're all on the combined brokerage platform. One joint, two mine, two hers. (We have mutual full authorizations in place, so I see all 5 accounts under my log in.)

We had already made our 2015 Roth IRA contributions at TD Ameritrade before we transferred, so I was making our first Roth IRA contributions this week. To make things "easy," when I set up the accounts, I set up a Vanguard direct deposit into our taxable account from my paycheck. I figured I'd just make one direct deposit every two weeks into taxable, and then I'd make our Roth IRA contributions out of there and the balance would be taxable savings. My wife, a CPA, is currently unemployed, so I don't want to take $11,000 out of what is our second tier emergency fund while she is unemployed. So until she finds a job, I've budgeted $550/month x 2 (plus my 401(k) and HSA plus a few extra stray dollars in taxable).

I was not counting on a system glitch like this. :annoyed But I assume that it'll be resolved and next month will be smooth. 8-)

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:23 pm

livesoft wrote:
jhfenton wrote:Now this evening, the transfers that he put in have disappeared. The $1,100 is back in our taxable, our Roth IRAs each show $550 debits again, and our 2016 contributions show $0.
Excellent! Vanguard has probably saved you 4% to 5% on the contributions already. :twisted:
No! My initial orders on Monday were exchanges. The buys went through Monday EOD. The sales went through Monday EOD. Then the cash transfers disappeared, leaving us with debit balances in our Roth IRAs. And the rep tried it again today transferring cash to cash, and those have now disappeared. :confused

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:17 pm

After more time on the phone today, the conclusion is that they have no idea what was happening. The back-end folks are trying to explain it as a consequence of something I did yesterday, placing a new purchase (of VMLTX) funded with an ACH from my bank. But they don't really understand the sequence of events, and I cannot talk to them directly because they are not licensed to talk to clients. :annoyed

So, I covered the debits myself with fresh transfers from our bank account. The crew member and I are going to let everything settle until next week. And then next week I'm going to try it again with a single $50 exchange from VMLTX in taxable into an existing fund in my Roth IRA. WHEN that fails, not IF, I will call the crew member back and we will force the back-end people to acknowledge there is a problem.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by bradshaw1965 » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:22 pm

My internal email help requests have been going into the ether as well. I get the automated responses so some internal process is starting but no reply on initial email or followups, 3 then 5 days later. I'm a phone-a-phobe so I'd probably have more luck on my not high priority request via that method, but still disappointing.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by johnanglemen » Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:45 pm

missing
Last edited by johnanglemen on Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by sawhorse » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:24 pm

mickeyd wrote: When our Flagship CSR advised us of a "small fee" I assumed small would be a larger number. Had no idea that it would cost me a total of less than $1.
This fee is not determined by Vanguard but rather by the SEC. You'd get the same fee at another brokerage.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by mickeyd » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:00 pm

sawhorse wrote:
mickeyd wrote: When our Flagship CSR advised us of a "small fee" I assumed small would be a larger number. Had no idea that it would cost me a total of less than $1.
This fee is not determined by Vanguard but rather by the SEC. You'd get the same fee at another brokerage.
I'm aware.
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Rob54keep
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Rob54keep » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:36 pm

I have been with Vanguard for 30 years and indeed the quality of the service has diminished. However there are knowledgeable folks there but you need to be able to access their time by asking the right questions. My experience this week with complex questions has been very good.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by skylar » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:53 pm

In almost 10 years with Vanguard, I don't think I've ever had to contact a real person (website was enough). My wife, though, has used the concierge service for rolling a 401k into an IRA three times over the years (last one was middle of last year). My wife is smart but not the money person in the relationship, and with the concierge's help she's completed the rollover every time without help from me.

As with any customer service interaction, I think you need to be clear about your situation and what you want to do. Obviously the CSR should help you articulate that too.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by snowshoes » Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:08 pm

During the decades when I've chosen to utilize VGCS they've been consistent with stellar service. Their sub-contracted out margin providers offerings, :annoyed not so much!

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in_reality
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by in_reality » Fri Jan 08, 2016 12:06 am

jhfenton wrote:
livesoft wrote:
jhfenton wrote:Now this evening, the transfers that he put in have disappeared. The $1,100 is back in our taxable, our Roth IRAs each show $550 debits again, and our 2016 contributions show $0.
Excellent! Vanguard has probably saved you 4% to 5% on the contributions already. :twisted:
No! My initial orders on Monday were exchanges. The buys went through Monday EOD. The sales went through Monday EOD. Then the cash transfers disappeared, leaving us with debit balances in our Roth IRAs. And the rep tried it again today transferring cash to cash, and those have now disappeared. :confused
Sorry for laughing but it's funny. You won't be hurt by this and at least I don't feel like "why is it only me" anymore. Thanks for the camaraderie. It's not your intent, but that's the effect.

My money turned up in someone's estate, someone's trust, and someone got added as a beneficiary to get mine back. Then those titlings on my accounts disappeared and everything was back to normal except for incorrect IRA distributions being reported.

I suspected that you'd get the "we don't know" and "wait till we see" response!

My underlying issue was a transfer of cash to brokerage. I never could figure out why incoming cash got reported as a debit [despite the fact this is money coming in], then reported as a credit [despite the fact that the money is now going out] when swept out the swap account, and then reported as a credit in the swap account when it arrived. (two credits and one debit leaves you with the credit). It was opposite in brokerage than in the mutual fund account.

I wonder if the new system has changed that. It was really, really confusing to me and I'd never experienced anything like it an any other brokerage, and honestly I lost it on them when my trade confirmations and monthly statements were not showing the same value because that is very, very basic functionality that I believed I had every right to expect.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jdb » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:09 am

johnanglemen wrote:Chiming in to say that, yes, Vanguard customer service (and technology) is atrocious. And I am at the "Flagship Select" level.
+1. I am actually considering going to dark side and opening Fidelity account to transfer from Vanguard into some of Fidelity low cost index funds for opportunity to access good personal service.

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:30 am

in_reality wrote:
jhfenton wrote:
livesoft wrote:
jhfenton wrote:Now this evening, the transfers that he put in have disappeared. The $1,100 is back in our taxable, our Roth IRAs each show $550 debits again, and our 2016 contributions show $0.
Excellent! Vanguard has probably saved you 4% to 5% on the contributions already. :twisted:
No! My initial orders on Monday were exchanges. The buys went through Monday EOD. The sales went through Monday EOD. Then the cash transfers disappeared, leaving us with debit balances in our Roth IRAs. And the rep tried it again today transferring cash to cash, and those have now disappeared. :confused
Sorry for laughing but it's funny. You won't be hurt by this and at least I don't feel like "why is it only me" anymore. Thanks for the camaraderie. It's not your intent, but that's the effect.

My money turned up in someone's estate, someone's trust, and someone got added as a beneficiary to get mine back. Then those titlings on my accounts disappeared and everything was back to normal except for incorrect IRA distributions being reported.

I suspected that you'd get the "we don't know" and "wait till we see" response!

My underlying issue was a transfer of cash to brokerage. I never could figure out why incoming cash got reported as a debit [despite the fact this is money coming in], then reported as a credit [despite the fact that the money is now going out] when swept out the swap account, and then reported as a credit in the swap account when it arrived. (two credits and one debit leaves you with the credit). It was opposite in brokerage than in the mutual fund account.

I wonder if the new system has changed that. It was really, really confusing to me and I'd never experienced anything like it an any other brokerage, and honestly I lost it on them when my trade confirmations and monthly statements were not showing the same value because that is very, very basic functionality that I believed I had every right to expect.
I don't mind at all. :beer If we can take comfort from shared frustrations, then that's great.

I was glad when I finally convinced my crew member, "T", that the back end folks' explanation was garbage. They tried to tell him that it simply took 3 days for the cash to transfer and that the previous rep messed it up when he put in new transfers on Wednesday, and then I messed those up when I placed a buy with new money ACH'd from my bank on Wednesday. (Even if that were true, that's not a system in good working order.) But if that were the case, why did the pending transfers show up and then disappear, and why the did the system send us nasty "You have a debit in your Roth IRA..." messages on Tuesday. The warning messages convinced "T".

I'm looking forward to trying it again on Monday with $50. (I'd do a larger amount, but I may have to do it 25 times to figure out what triggers the problem. :D )

As for trade confirmations, I noticed my first week that the initial trade confirmations on ETF sales were often $0.01 or $0.02 off of what showed up the next morning. For example, I sold all my shares of VBR (Small Value) late in the day. I looked at the completed order ticket and the available cash, which would show, $85,382.23 (not the exact number). I then immediately placed a mutual fund buy order for VSIAX (Small Value Admiral Shares) for $85,382.23. (I had repeatedly confirmed that, much to my surprise, I could buy mutual funds with unsettled cash from ETF sales.) The next morning, I saw that the sale of VBR actually netted $85,382.25, so that I had $0.02 orphaned in the account. I converted 7 ETF positions to Admiral Shares, and 3 of them had $0.01 or $0.02 "rounding" errors show up overnight.

I plan on riding out the system problems, but I am keeping all my PDF statements saved in the cloud, something I never did in 20 years with TD Ameritrade. :sharebeer

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in_reality
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by in_reality » Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:45 am

jhfenton wrote: I'm looking forward to trying it again on Monday with $50. (I'd do a larger amount, but I may have to do it 25 times to figure out what triggers the problem. :D )
Ok. Good luck
jhfenton wrote:I plan on riding out the system problems, but I am keeping all my PDF statements saved in the cloud, something I never did in 20 years with TD Ameritrade. :sharebeer
No sense in over-reacting anyway. Won't do you any good.

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:30 am

OK. Everything has settled from last week, when the transfer part of two exchanges failed, and I had to transfer money from my bank to cover debits in our Roth IRAs because Vanguard couldn't figure out why transfers from our taxable brokerage account to our Roth IRAs were failing. So I told my rep that I was going to try it again this week with $50 to see if we could figure out what's triggering the glitch.

So, trade #1: a simple $50 Roth IRA contribution via a direct exchange from VMLTX (Limited-Term Tax Exempt) to VTMGX (Developed Markets Index Admiral Shares). I have an already established position in VTMGX in my Roth IRA. It should sell $50 VMLTX and buy $50 VTMGX today (both of those happened last week), and then transfer $50 cash today or tomorrow to cover the exchange (that leg failed/vanished last week after showing as pending).

Image

Edited: The system currently shows a pending sale order, a pending buy order, and pending Cash Transactions (Transfer (Out) and Transfer (In)) in the two accounts. We'll see what happens. It looked good at this point last week.

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Tue Jan 12, 2016 8:53 am

And just like last week, things looked right this morning at 7:00 AM, but went agley by 8:30 AM.

The system sold 4.521 shares of VMLTX at $11.06 to raise $50.00. The system bought 4.517 shares of VTMGX at $11.07 at a cost of $50.00. At 7:00 AM this morning, the cash transfer was still pending into and out of each account. But now the cash transfer has vanished, leaving our taxable account with a credit of $50.00 and my Roth a debit of $50.00.

I will undoubtedly receive a nasty email at 4:0x PM EST this afternoon advising me of the debit in my Roth.

I have screen shots of everything yesterday, and I snapped shots of the still pending cash transfers this morning. I'll give a call to my rep later and put him on the case. :beer

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:14 am

jdb wrote:
johnanglemen wrote:Chiming in to say that, yes, Vanguard customer service (and technology) is atrocious. And I am at the "Flagship Select" level.
+1. I am actually considering going to dark side and opening Fidelity account to transfer from Vanguard into some of Fidelity low cost index funds for opportunity to access good personal service.
Don't be so sure. I started a transfer of a 403b plan from Fidelity to Vanguard for my BIL over a month ago, and because of incorrect instructions from Fidelity CSRs his funds are still with Fidelity. Though, supposedly they are at the last stop of a long and winding trip.

OTOH, his holdings at Schwab transferred quickly, though I feared his advisor might lengthen the process. But, they are safe at Vanguard with nary a contact other than filling out transfer instructions online at Vanguard.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:03 am

I spoke to a different rep, B, who is going to follow up with my previous rep, T, who works in Phoenix and is not in yet. B will make sure that T follows up with me. B said that T is an advanced rep who has additional customer service capabilities like receiving direct email, so I should be able to send him my screen shots. B agrees that the whole thing is very strange.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Alan S. » Tue Jan 12, 2016 11:28 am

Declining customer service is almost a given for any entity enjoying sustained and unbridled growth. They just cannot keep up with the hiring and training required to maintain quality service levels. Even if staffing numbers catch up, experience and training lags because hiring can be done faster than training. Vanguard is no different in that respect even though their low costs model includes an assumed cap on customer service breadth and quality.

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:37 pm

T called me back this afternoon after doing some homework. He has documented the money bouncing back, and has referred it to IT this time with a high priority status, since it's interfering with an IRA contribution.

In the meantime, I transferred $50 via ACH to cover the debit in my Roth.



In my experience with Vanguard so far, the customer service issues are not with the CSRs I deal with on the phone, it's with Vanguard's IT systems. Working for a telecomm with various IT systems from every decade of the last half century, I can relate.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by A440 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:44 am

After two attempts, I received an answer from Vanguard as to the cause of the dividend posting issue. It turns out it was human error and should not happen again. Curious to know what would have happened if I hadn't checked my expected dividends that get posted to my brokerage account. Would Vanguard have caught the mistake?

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by johnanglemen » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:05 pm

A440 wrote:After two attempts, I received an answer from Vanguard as to the cause of the dividend posting issue. It turns out it was human error and should not happen again. Curious to know what would have happened if I hadn't checked my expected dividends that get posted to my brokerage account. Would Vanguard have caught the mistake?
No. I've been subject to multiple mistakes at Vanguard and in not one case did Vanguard catch the error on their own, even in instances where I myself did not notice it until weeks after the fact.

The best advice I can give to everyone on this forum is to transition their Vanguard holdings to other brokerages, and make clear to Vanguard that you are doing so because you do not have confidence in their systems.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by bondsr4me » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:23 pm

livesoft wrote:I called Vanguard this week 3 times. Each time, the CSR said (paraphrasing), "Oh, that's a brokerage issue, let me put you in contact with the brokerage folks …." I found that amusing since Vanguard wants me to update my account to "brokerage". It seems that the CSRs are not ready to work with brokerage accounts.

Furthermore, I wonder if the Vanguard CSRs are even allowed to have brokerage accounts of their own that would hold ETFs and stocks. I know that some financial institutions limit the transactions of their employees for good reason, but if the Vanguard CSRs have never even used a brokerage account before, then I question their expertise with Vanguard's products, web site, and account services.

Oh, did the CSR's help me? They sure tried hard, but not really. I am going to have to wing it and see how it turns out.
Not all CSR's are licensed to discuss brokerage account investments.
A Series 6 is required for mutual fund investments.
A Series 7 is required for stocks, bonds, options, ETF's, ETN's.
All these types of investments (that require a 7) are kept in a brokerage account.
This may be the reason for the transfer.
Don

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Nowizard » Tue Feb 09, 2016 5:07 pm

We recently transferred funds from another company to Vanguard through what I believe is called the Small Business Group or something like that. They did the work and accomplished the transfer in three business days without a hitch. Very convenient. We even received a telephone call soon thereafter while I was out-of-town asking for a call back. Concern was quickly washed away when the associate said he simply wanted to confirm our awareness that the transaction was complete and gain feedback regarding the process.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by rkt88edmo » Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:43 pm

tl;dr I still think that Vanguard is a great choice and do recommend them, and I do think service policy has declined recently.

So I have assets well over the Voyager level with Vanguard, and my household is probably bumping up against Voyager Select.

Switched employers 8 years ago, Vanguard handled all rollovers from 401k to TIRA exceptionally well 5/5 stars.
1.5 years ago my then employers was bought (no equity or windfall for me). I initiated a rollover of my 401k from the custodian to Vanguard TIRA. Vanguard CSR took all of my info, proceeded to call the old custodian with me on the line to provide permission and they exchanged all needed info for the rollover. Another great experience 5/5 stars. Unfortunately, the old 401k plan was shutting down and had to undergo an audit, so my funds could not be disbursed until it was completed, just recently, 1.5 years later.

The plan administrator never approved my old transfer request so I started over sort of from scratch. This time Vanguard would not provide the same service and could only advise me to ask the old custodian what information they needed and then call Vanguard back to relay, so the burden was all on me. I did all of that and it took multipile calls and some hold time and transfers to talk to all the right people on the Vanguard side 3/5 stars. When the funds came in I received a call from Vanguard because the Vanguard account # did not exist (it seems that after 1.5 years of never funding, the old account number was made inactive and not available) so they called me to advise they received funds. I went over the details that there were two payments one that was TIRA and one that was RIRA, and Vanguard confirmed there were two separate checks and they would route them accordingly, but oh yeah, your new RIRA will be in your new brokerage account. I do not conduct any brokerage activity at Vanguard and don't plan too and it causes me some independence/compliance headaches to even have a brokerage account, so I requested not to have one, which after being transferred around a bit they were able to not add the brokerage account.

And then I log in a few days later and see that the RIRA intended funds had gone into the TIRA. I call CSR and they say the notes from my prior call show that I asked for the funds to be placed in TIRA, which started my blood boiling because I triple checked about the fund sources and amounts and their ultimate destination and the inbound check and paperwork from the old custodian show the amounts as ROTH (which was confirmed by Vanguard CSR). So now I have been transferred from CSR to CRS (conflict resolution services) to get the amount properly recorded to RIRA instead of TIRA. Hopefully in 3-5 days this will be resolved. 2/5 stars.

I still think Vanguard provides a great product and overall am very happy with the platform, but there have been clear changes to policy and the way customers are treated in the last two years based on my trying to make the exact same transaction twice in that period. I don't expect a lot of bells and whistles but a rollover should be pretty bread and butter. It does make me wonder if there have been changes to management focus or if there are cost reduction efforts in place. With as little interaction as I have with them it isn't that big of a deal, but my most recent experience was VASTLY different than all prior experiences with them including a lot of time helping my non-financially savvy divorced parent get all of their Vanguard holdings allocated and understood, which was a much more complicated scenario, but was also at the Voyager Select level of CSR. I hope that my recent experience isn't reflective of the organization as a whole, but there have clearly been some policy changes at a minimum.

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Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by Leif » Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:32 pm

[Thread merged into here, see below (next page). --admin LadyGeek]

I've had accounts at Vanguard for a long time. I rarely have a need to call. This afternoon was really bad. The first call it asked me for my SS. I enter it three times, each time rejected. Then I was told I would be transferred to an associate. Soon after I was disconnected.

On the second call it recognized my SS, then I was told I would be transferred. After waiting several minutes I was again asked to enter my SS.

I typed this blog with one hand while waiting for am associate that will be with me "shortly".

Is it because this is Friday afternoon? BTW, I'm still on hold. This is really bad!!!

PS - On hold 30 minutes per my phone. I give up!
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by Jcraz13 » Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:40 pm

I had an issue this week and noticed this too..may be high call volumes. However, I convetred investor shares to Admiral and my money went missing. Evidently they can see it, I can't. Not a small sum. I got shuttled to three people over two days before finding help. I went from them main 800 number to resolution center back to brokerage. What scared is me the person at resolution had no clue and gave me totally incorrect information. :shock: :annoyed

I am a little disappointed... hopefully my issue will be resolved before Tuesday of next week.

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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by JohnnyO » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:04 pm

Okay, planning on putting my accounts into Vanguard next year, quite interested in this issue as I just heard the same thing from other on an early retirement board. I thought Vanguard was the best, it has been bragged about for years. :confused

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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by radiowave » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:16 pm

I called Vanguard a couple weeks ago in the afternoon after market close and after several minutes talked to someone who sounded like they just graduated from college and said I would have to talk to the broker (?) to answer my question, he said the wait would be about 2 hours (VG magically changed my cost basis from specific ID to FIFO during a trade).

I never get this with my Fidelity accounts in fact I had an issue in February that I contacted them on Saturday, good help, needed to wait until Monday to fix, the lady I talked to on Saturday called me Monday afternoon on my cell phone to say everything had been taken care of . . . FYI Fidelity Spartan funds are competitive with Vanguard Admiral funds and the Fidelity web site is much better than VG.
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by dpc » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:17 pm

Just called them this morning to do a wire transfer - no problems and minimal delays. Gave the system my SSN - no issues, then the voice verification - no problem. Not sure if being a Flagship customer makes any real difference or not. We have our "personal" Flagship representative that we can call, but he has never once actually answered the phone when I call, so that is generally a waste of time.

I have had some fairly long wait times in the past, but I find Vanguard to do a generally good job of customer service. A little lean in staffing perhaps, to keep those expense ratios low. Not sure I would say that they are the "best".

My financial life is really simple however. People who do a lot of trading seem to complain about Vanguard the most.
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by ruralavalon » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:19 pm

JohnnyO wrote:Okay, planning on putting my accounts into Vanguard next year, quite interested in this issue as I just heard the same thing from other on an early retirement board. I thought Vanguard was the best, it has been bragged about for years. :confused
My guess is that this is an a temporary anomaly. I don't often need to call Vanguard, but the few times I have called they have always been prompt and helpful.
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by radiowave » Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:20 pm

Okay, planning on putting my accounts into Vanguard next year, quite interested in this issue as I just heard the same thing from other on an early retirement board. I thought Vanguard was the best, it has been bragged about for years
You can buy Vanguard ETFs and sometimes investor share mutual funds at other brokers. You'll have to pay the commission unless you get an incentive number of free trades, e.g. Merrill Edge or Fidelity, for bringing in a certain amount of investment dollars.
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by stlutz » Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:05 pm

The root of the problem with VG seems to be IT. That creates a lot of problems which overwhelms their support departments.

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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by nisiprius » Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:15 pm

No, it's not always that bad.

This will be a sort of wishy-washy post because it does describe an annoying Vanguard deficiency... but the customer service experience was fine.

I'm signed up for the automatic RMD service, to make a single annual distribution each November. I needed to make a withdrawal ahead of schedule, so I did, and waited for it to settle. I then logged on to see if I needed to take care of reducing the November distribution. Interestingly enough, the RMD page noted that I'd made a distribution, noted that I could accordingly reduce the November distribution, and calculated the new, lower amount. It didn't change it automatically. I went into to change it myself, couldn't find out how to do it, and called.

I was put through quickly. I talked to someone who understood the issue perfectly. He told me that there was no way to change an established distribution, all that could be done was to completely cancel the existing RMD autopayment and then set up a new one from scratch :!: :( He also told me that there was no way for me to cancel the autopayment myself :!: :!: :?: :annoyed .

He then said he'd be glad to do it for me. I would guess it took at most 3 minutes for him to tell me he'd set it up--most of that involving reading back account numbers and confirming that I wanted to do what I wanted to do.

So I would say the capabilities of the end-user web access to the RMD service is pretty deficient, but this particular phone support call was handled quickly and correctly.
Last edited by nisiprius on Fri Apr 29, 2016 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by BigJohn » Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:58 pm

JohnnyO wrote:Okay, planning on putting my accounts into Vanguard next year, quite interested in this issue as I just heard the same thing from other on an early retirement board. I thought Vanguard was the best, it has been bragged about for years. :confused
Depends on how you define "best". My two cents based on personal experience and other posts on this forum is that their customer service is struggling due to a combination of high growth in AUM and antiquated IT systems. They are slowly trying to upgrade their IT systems to a new brokerage platform but that is bringing it's own issues that need to be resolved through customer service. I've been at VG for years and still think they have the best low cost offerings. The issues I've experienced to date have not been enough to motivate me to move however, I would say that they are clearly not currently the best in terms of IT systems and customer support.

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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by WIAV8TOR » Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:13 pm

Yes, I do call them at times, but try to do more and more online. I have things set up pretty well to transfer once logged in, usually from the local bank acct into various funds.

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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by bengal22 » Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:35 pm

I am in the middle of an absolute horrible experience trying to get a rollover into Vanguard. They have been absolutely no help and they really do not give any indication that they really care. While most of the issue is the sender of the rollover, Vanguard could have handled this issue with just a little bit of concern about the customer. I laugh when I hear about their ownership structure because it sure does not translate into even treating us like a valued customer. yes I have been a Vanguard customer since the mid-80's, and yes they have strong funds with low expense ratio, but they have absolutely zero customer service. If that is important to you I would not go with Vanguard.
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