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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saltycaper
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by saltycaper » Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:28 pm

Just called this week to get a minor lingering problem fixed due to what is apparently an issue with their account creation system. My call was answered promptly and the rep was nice, but they claimed the error was my fault--I can say with 100% certainty that it was not, but decided not to argue--and now I have to send in a form to fix it. :thumbsdown

Then after waiting just a few minutes I talked to someone else, also super friendly, because a function I ought to be available to perform online was for some reason not available. I was going to explain that I could not even perform said function, but they decided to just take care of it for me since it was a one-time thing. Great. Except later I go to check to make sure it was handled, and it was not. So now I have to call again next week. :thumbsdown

I also recently got a form in the mail that I supposedly had to fill out, and when I called with a question about one of the entries on the form, I was told I actually didn't have to fill it out, that the form went out to everyone in such-and-such group, even those that didn't need to submit it. :thumbsdown

I never had to wait on hold too long for any of the times I've called, and the reps have always been helpful (or tried) and friendly. But these IT issues, man, I can't believe a company this size can get some of this simple stuff wrong.
"I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said." --Alan Greenspan

Dick D
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by Dick D » Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:30 pm

I have called a few times this year without any problems.

jjface
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by jjface » Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:32 pm

I have lots of complaints about Vanguard but I've never had to wait on the phone for very long and have had issues resolved promptly. Now secure messages and letters - don't get me started. I especially can't stand the letters that read Dear Sir, There is a problem with one of your requests on one of your accounts so please call us.

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baw703916
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by baw703916 » Fri Apr 29, 2016 10:50 pm

I've found that sending Vanguard a secure e-mail seems to be much more productive in achieving a resolution than calling on the phone. This may be because they aren't obligated to answer in real time and can pass the question along to someone who can really answer it. I've occasionally gotten statements on the phone that were blatantly wrong (e.g. that it's not possible to convert mutual fund to ETF shares). But sending e-mail generally solicits answers that are accurate and helpful.
Last edited by baw703916 on Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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whodidntante
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by whodidntante » Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:21 pm

Vanguard could probably lower their expenses by having more effective customer service. It can't be cheap to have multiple people in different departments pinballing a single issue.

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black jack
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by black jack » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:18 am

Well, anecdotes are not data, but since anecdotes are all we have in this thread: had occasion to call VG - the main line, because it was just after the concierge office hours ended and I didn't bother looking up the Voyager number (do any of these numbers matter, or do they just give the impression of different levels of care?) - this afternoon. Got an associate after a very short wait who resolved the issue. Satisfied.
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SpringMan
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by SpringMan » Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:15 am

Vanguard just lowered expense ratios on several more of their funds. Expecting customer service to be as good as much more expensive firms may be unrealistic. IMO customer service is good enough that I won't be leaving Vanguard for better customer service at a higher cost firm. Furthermore, even high cost institutions are not immune from mistakes.
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kaneohe
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by kaneohe » Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:46 am

Vanguard retirement (paper) statements sometimes are not understandable. With every other company I have, it is very clear
when you take a distribution from your 401K account. A single line item giving the date/amount of the distribution is shown. Not w/ my
VG 401K account. (I need to look at some VG IRA statements to see what they do.........if ok , that would be an interesting internal VG
contradiction on how they do things).
With RMDs this is important so you can make sure that you take the required amount each year even if VG is doing the calculation.
A recent call to VG to ask for an explanation resulted in a rep w/ attitude who seemed to think it was crystal clear and why was I
wasting her time (inferred, not spoken). A series of questions by me which were not answered satisfactorily finally made it clear
to her that she needed to transfer me to someone else.

3 transfers later, I finally got a rep who seemed to understand things and seemed willing to help. After his initial answer got challenged
he disappeared for a few minutes and finally came back w/ a satisfactory answer. He said the delay was caused by the way the statement
was printed and it was not obvious at all even to him for some time. Relevant items in the database were not on the printed statement. He agreed that the format could be improved and said he would be suggesting those improvements to XXXXX at VG.

I sense some good folks there (along w/ others) who are handicapped by the system. I am hopeful for those improvements but am not holding
my breath.
Last edited by kaneohe on Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Index Fan
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by Index Fan » Sat Apr 30, 2016 9:02 am

When I patronize a very low cost business, I do not expect Cadillac customer service. I accept this situation because I've rarely needed to use customer service and I've saved a lot in fees over the years.
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whodidntante
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by whodidntante » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:20 am

Poor customer service is a cost to Vanguard, not a savings. Customers do not stop asking just because their issue wasn't handled in five minutes by the first person they reached.

dbr
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by dbr » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:34 am

whodidntante wrote:Poor customer service is a cost to Vanguard, not a savings. Customers do not stop asking just because their issue wasn't handled in five minutes by the first person they reached.


Right. It is hard to imagine how it saves money to handle repeated calls, escalation to additional staff, referrals to IT problem solvers, and so on.

JustJim
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by JustJim » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:47 am

Vanguard is a low cost provider. That's what it passes on to its shareholders. You will continue to see differing time periods where it is hard to get in contact with a representative. The most obvious one is during tax time. Also, the phone roles have a pretty high turn over rate so you may or may not get a more experienced representative. If you have more assets with Vanguard that story changes a bit. That's really all there is to say about that company and its customer service.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:55 am

I merged Leif's thread into here.

This thread is for Vanguard customer service (personal investment) complaints.

Vanguard login and website complaints go here: [Vanguard Online Access Problems]

JustJim, Welcome!
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btenny
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by btenny » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:17 pm

Back when I decided to hold almost 100% Vanguard funds in my portfolio. They are the best provider of low cost mutual funds and etfs available. But I also decided to NOT move that money to Vanguard directly due to limited customer support. I hold all my money at Wells Fargo and Scottrade because these companies offer good customer support and banking and good follow up to make sure things are taken care of promptly. I also like to be able to walk into local brick and mortar office and get a problem solved or paper signed promptly. With my brokers that is easy as they have offices all over the US. But I pay for that good customer support with trading fees on all transactions. I figure I spend around $50 to $80 per year extra for that service. Plus I am not sure if I make or lose money on cash in my accounts as that return is low and I do not know if that yield is better at Vanguard. I suspect there are few other offerings that Vanguard direct customers get that are not offered at my brokerage but I am not sure. Maybe others here could provide a list of things that are different.

So you need to decide what is important to you and make your own selections.

Good Luck.

btenny
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by btenny » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:37 pm

I just went and looked up the cash returns at Scottrade. I currently earn 0.01% so basically nothing on my cash held at Scottrade. The cash return at Wells is similar. I see that Vanguard is currently paying 0.43% on Vanguard Money Market so I suspect that I could earn that amount on my cash if I moved to Vanguard directly. So I figure I am spending around $320 per year plus trading fees so maybe $400 per year for the good customer service. Not free but not expensive.

But I also see that Vanguard Money Market was only paying 0.01% for most of last year and the year before so maybe the cost was not really that high.

Again are there other things offered that I am missing?

Good Luck

nolapepper
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by nolapepper » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:31 pm

Vanguard mailed me dividend checks again! When I emailed them I got a response saying they were bombarded with emails and that was it.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by neilpilot » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:38 pm

btenny wrote:Back when I decided to hold almost 100% Vanguard funds in my portfolio. They are the best provider of low cost mutual funds and etfs available. But I also decided to NOT move that money to Vanguard directly due to limited customer support. I hold all my money at Wells Fargo and Scottrade because these companies offer good customer support and banking and good follow up to make sure things are taken care of promptly. I also like to be able to walk into local brick and mortar office and get a problem solved or paper signed promptly. With my brokers that is easy as they have offices all over the US. But I pay for that good customer support with trading fees on all transactions. I figure I spend around $50 to $80 per year extra for that service. Plus I am not sure if I make or lose money on cash in my accounts as that return is low and I do not know if that yield is better at Vanguard. I suspect there are few other offerings that Vanguard direct customers get that are not offered at my brokerage but I am not sure. Maybe others here could provide a list of things that are different.

So you need to decide what is important to you and make your own selections.

Good Luck.


+1

JustJim
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by JustJim » Sat Apr 30, 2016 7:19 pm

Nolapepper Changing dividend drip options can be done online FYI. Of course if your trying to cancel the check and reinvest it then a rep would be needed(assuming they still do that).

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Leif
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by Leif » Sun May 01, 2016 1:52 pm

Index Fan wrote:When I patronize a very low cost business, I do not expect Cadillac customer service. I accept this situation because I've rarely needed to use customer service and I've saved a lot in fees over the years.

Agreed. But being disconnected then on the second call on hold for 30 minutes before I hung up is so far from "Cadillac customer service" that I find it unacceptable.

However, from others it does sound like a one-off issue. I got and returned an on-line survey. They asked if they could call me. I said yes. I'll be interested to see if they do. I'll try calling again next week and hope for a better result.
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore

btenny
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by btenny » Sun May 01, 2016 2:59 pm

I should also point out that customer service at Wells Fargo and Scottrade is different depending on the type of account. I have and IRA and so does my wife. Both are handled a lot different if I want to do withdrawals than our regular taxable accounts. The taxable investment accounts can have checking accounts associated with them and do manual on line transfers or automatic transfers or human assisted stuff and all kinds of other nice things. The taxable accounts are easy.

Not so with IRA and Roth IRAs and Inherited IRAs. Those are much more restricted. The issue seems to be the institutions wanting to make sure we are the correct receivers of the funds and that taxes are paid and so forth. In all cases taking money out of those accounts is hard. I have to talk to a supervisor and do double security stuff and wait for mail delivery of a check to our home of record and so forth. That takes time. And in some cases I actually have to go into a branch office and show ID and sign paper to make a withdrawal. And even after that in person paper, they still mail me the check to my home address of record. It takes time. But in all the cases it has been handled correctly every time. So I like the good service.

Good Luck

ParkersPaPa
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by ParkersPaPa » Sun May 01, 2016 3:23 pm

You folks are scaring me! I've never had to talk to any human regarding my 401(k). Not once since it became an option to augment my DB plan around the time the internet was born. (1st Fidelity, now JPM.)

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JamesSFO
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by JamesSFO » Sun May 01, 2016 4:14 pm

Flagship here with Vanguard, have usually had good experiences, but have also had bad Flagship reps.

Sort of recommend anyone with enough assets to have some Admiral-type shares also have a smaller account with another institution, helps keep perspective. Fidelity is my #2 site and they've been quite helpful but also can have very long hold times, etc.

Other institutions:

- Wells Fargo has completely f'ed up the handling of stocks in my grandmother's POD brokerage account to my mom and her siblings. My mom is a "Private Banking" client with Wells Fargo and that hasn't helped at all (PMA accounts).

- USAA used to be good for customer service, but has fallen quite a ways to the point that I've moved my banking to a local credit union. Never found their brokerage very good; however, their new back end platform is Fidelity so might be reasonable to try.

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Leif
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by Leif » Tue May 03, 2016 9:52 am

Leif wrote:
Index Fan wrote:When I patronize a very low cost business, I do not expect Cadillac customer service. I accept this situation because I've rarely needed to use customer service and I've saved a lot in fees over the years.

Agreed. But being disconnected then on the second call on hold for 30 minutes before I hung up is so far from "Cadillac customer service" that I find it unacceptable.

However, from others it does sound like a one-off issue. I got and returned an on-line survey. They asked if they could call me. I said yes. I'll be interested to see if they do. I'll try calling again next week and hope for a better result.

A brief followup. Today, Tues AM, I was able to easily get in touch with Vanguard on my issue. So I'll chalk it up to Friday PM + growing pains.

One other issue, however. Keep and eagle eye open on their retirement transfers. I just did a rollover from a 401k Roth IRA to a Roth IRA. However, I noticed why did the new rollover account not have the word "Roth" in it. Sure enough, despite having submitted perfect documents, they set up my account as a regular IRA and not a Roth IRA. Can you imagine many years later having a "talk" with the IRS? Anyway, I talked with Vanguard's "Problem Resolution Services". They told me they will correct soon. I will keep a close eye on them.
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue May 03, 2016 11:22 am

^^^ That's a major reason why I never do anything over the phone if I can avoid it, especially account setup. Too much opportunity for miscommunication. When I do transfers or rollovers, I do everything that I can online. I set up the receiving account and make sure the title is all correct. I initiate the transfer/rollover.

Earl
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Leif
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Leif » Tue May 03, 2016 11:31 am

^^^ My rollover was via the mail, not over the phone. I was told I need to fill in the paperwork and send back, with my signature. They emailed me the forms as PDFs. I mailed it back and they set it up incorrectly. The correction was annoying, but not difficult, because my paper work was correct. If I was able to setup a Roth IRA online, and transfer (rollover) in-kind my funds from the 401k Roth IRA to the new Roth IRA, I was not told.
Last edited by Leif on Tue May 03, 2016 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue May 03, 2016 11:34 am

Leif wrote:I was told I need to fill in the paperwork and send back, with my signature. They emailed me the forms as PDFs. If I was able to setup a Roth IRA online, and transfer (rollover) in-kind my funds from the 401k Roth IRA to the new Roth IRA, I was not told.

I guarantee you don't need to set up accounts that way at Vanguard, as I have opened Roth IRAs there online. The rollover might well need a signed form with it.

Earl
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jjface
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by jjface » Tue May 03, 2016 11:43 am

Index Fan wrote:When I patronize a very low cost business, I do not expect Cadillac customer service. I accept this situation because I've rarely needed to use customer service and I've saved a lot in fees over the years.


Vanguard are not Walmart. I expect better from Vanguard and so should everyone else. Being low cost is not an excuse for poor service.

Plus they have no stores, they do little advertising etc. There are plenty of ways they cut costs without having to cut customer service.

btenny
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by btenny » Tue May 03, 2016 9:28 pm

James SFO and others. . There are two faces at Wells Fargo for stocks and mutual funds etc..

Wells Trade - A low cost self directed on line brokerage group. You do your own trades via the internet. No advisors. All kinds of low cost funds including Vanguard Funds and etfs are available. Same features and low costs as the other internet brokers. ETF and stock trades are $8. Mutual funds are $16ish. Both were free until last year.

Wells Fargo Advisors - A regular old fashioned high cost sales based stock broker with people who talk to you and do the trades for you. Typical charges my FIL experienced were 1% annual management fee plus 0.5% to 1.0% mutual fund fees for the funds they chose. They will also buy individual stocks for you that they recommend. Fees apply.

Wells Fargo Checking - a regular checking account. You can access these accounts and do transfers to and from checking as needed via the internet.

Portfolio Management Account (PMA) is just Wells Fargo's way of reporting information on a collection of the above accounts and you giving those reports monthly.

Hope this helps.
Good Luck

kenner
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by kenner » Tue May 03, 2016 10:34 pm

jjface wrote:
Index Fan wrote:When I patronize a very low cost business, I do not expect Cadillac customer service. I accept this situation because I've rarely needed to use customer service and I've saved a lot in fees over the years.


Vanguard are not Walmart. I expect better from Vanguard and so should everyone else. Being low cost is not an excuse for poor service.

Plus they have no stores, they do little advertising etc. There are plenty of ways they cut costs without having to cut customer service.


I cannot speak for all legal jurisdictions, but in some parts of the USA you have the legal right to invest via any and all companies that you think are better than Vanguard.

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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by jjface » Tue May 03, 2016 10:42 pm

kenner wrote:
jjface wrote:
Index Fan wrote:When I patronize a very low cost business, I do not expect Cadillac customer service. I accept this situation because I've rarely needed to use customer service and I've saved a lot in fees over the years.


Vanguard are not Walmart. I expect better from Vanguard and so should everyone else. Being low cost is not an excuse for poor service.

Plus they have no stores, they do little advertising etc. There are plenty of ways they cut costs without having to cut customer service.


I cannot speak for all legal jurisdictions, but in some parts of the USA you have the legal right to invest via any and all companies that you think are better than Vanguard.


I do :twisted:

Sorry I like the world to be a better place and think Vanguard can do better on the customer service and systems side. Whilst still keeping costs low. Maybe I am an idealist.

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William4u
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by William4u » Tue May 03, 2016 10:50 pm

baw703916 wrote:I've found that sending Vanguard a secure e-mail seems to be much more productive in achieving a resolution than calling on the phone. This may be because they aren't obligated to answer in real time and can pass the question along to someone who can really answer it. I've occasionally gotten statements on the phone that were blatantly wrong (i.e. that it's not possible to convert mutual fund to ETF shares). But sending e-mail generally solicits answers that are accurate and helpful.


I've had similar experiences.

kenner
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by kenner » Tue May 03, 2016 10:52 pm

jjface wrote:I do.

Sorry I like the world to be a better place and think Vanguard can do better on the customer service and systems side. Whilst still keeping costs low. Maybe I am an idealist.


Okay, that's fine, just pick only the perfect investment companies - and avoid the fastest-growing, customer-oriented ones.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by radiowave » Tue May 03, 2016 11:48 pm

Maybe the answer is to have other brokers like Fidelity or Schwab offer Vanguard admiral shares with no commission. Best of both worlds, best in class low cost mutual funds and best customer service. (I need to go to bed :)
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careful investor
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by careful investor » Sun May 08, 2016 9:12 am

Several months ago I launched a plan to transfer all my mutual fund IRA holdings to Vanguard, believing that working with only one company to draw RMDs, watch my investments, etc., would be simpler than working with several. Then, several weeks ago (admittedly, right before tax day) I tried several times to reach someone at Vanguard who could answer a simple question about my statement. The bottom line is that after several tries I gave up. I was put on hold, finally elected a call back, was again put on hold, etc. I never did get an answer to my question.

This all reminded me of a much worse experience I'd had with Vanguard several years earlier (which I decided to overlook when switching my accounts). It's a long story, but, basically, it involved my effort to close a partnership account I had at Vanguard with my sister. Three or four different CSRs (and their supervisors) told me, over a wretched five or six-day period, that I had to have my signature guaranteed in a way that was not available at the credit union where I banked. Because they insisted on this point I raced around town trying unsuccessfully to open accounts at other institutions where the guarantee might be available. Finally I made a last call to Vanguard and reached a new CSR, who looked at the account and said, "you don't need a signature guarantee - the partnership papers we have on file authorize dissolution of the account without it." ###!! Any of the CSRs I had dealt with over the prior days could have told me this - and helped me close the account as I had requested - had they been interested enough to look at the file.

Despite this negative experience I decided to switch all my IRA accounts to Vanguard, pretty much because of my respect for John Bogle. But now, in view of my latest encounter, noted above, I'm beginning to wonder if I made a mistake. Is there a better company - e.g., Fidelity - where I can consolidate my accounts?

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Leif
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Re: Is Vanguard phone support always this bad?

Post by Leif » Sun May 08, 2016 9:40 am

jjface wrote:Sorry I like the world to be a better place and think Vanguard can do better on the customer service and systems side. Whilst still keeping costs low. Maybe I am an idealist.

I'm hoping someone at Vanguard gets the message. They can get new customers with low costs. But, to retain customers they are going to need to provide better customer service. BTW, regarding the earlier post I made on the survey I took, I did not receive a call. That is not a good sign.
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore

lostdog
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by lostdog » Wed May 25, 2016 10:07 am

I moved all my accounts from Fidelity to Vanguard a few months ago. After reading this thread I wonder if I made a mistake?
Financial Independence is the best revenge. | "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." -Thoreau

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Taylor Larimore
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Keep it simple and stay the course

Post by Taylor Larimore » Wed May 25, 2016 10:17 am

lostdog wrote:I moved all my accounts from Fidelity to Vanguard a few months ago. After reading this thread I wonder if I made a mistake?

lostdog:

Moving to Vanguard from Merrill Lynch in 1986 was the best investment decision we ever made.

If you have a simple portfolio and stay-the-course, most of the complaints in this thread are immaterial.

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

lostdog
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Re: Keep it simple and stay the course

Post by lostdog » Wed May 25, 2016 10:28 am

Taylor Larimore wrote:
lostdog wrote:I moved all my accounts from Fidelity to Vanguard a few months ago. After reading this thread I wonder if I made a mistake?

lostdog:

Moving to Vanguard from Merrill Lynch in 1986 was the best investment decision we ever made.

If you have a simple portfolio and stay-the-course, most of the complaints in this thread are immaterial.

Best wishes.
Taylor


Thank you Taylor. You have a very good point. I do have a simple portfolio and I will continue to stay the course.
Financial Independence is the best revenge. | "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify." -Thoreau

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Leif
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Leif » Wed May 25, 2016 10:39 am

It is like insurance. You don't know how good it is until you need it. Hopefully the problems we have encountered are growth pains and will be resolved. The jury is still out.
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore

sbaywriter
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by sbaywriter » Wed May 25, 2016 10:55 am

Adding my recent experience just as a kind of "buyer beware" - I would not trust any information given by Vanguard phone reps at the present time.

I'm planning on consolidating at Vanguard by rolling over/direct transfer my 401k to IRA. I use only mutual funds so even though I knew the customer service was bad, I figured once the rollover was done my simple account would be ok. But, first have to make it there.

I called customer service for info because I wanted to reduce the amount out of the market during the transfer process by exchanging out of bonds into stocks in Vanguard and reverse in 401k, then exchanging back after the rollover. I remembered from past that there were frequent trading limitations and called to find out if that applied to rollovers. I talked to 2 reps. Both sounded like college students working part time at some job they had no interest in - that was in the voice tones. The first one transferred me to the retirement account specialist. That one gave me 2 pieces of incorrect information that would have caused problems for me: there was no frequent trading restriction on the funds in my account except for one of them and if there was a trading restriction on an account, it didn't make any difference if you were rolling over into it, the restriction still applied.

I found out this was incorrect because I didn't trust what I was told because of the way they sounded. I searched and finally found the page on frequent trading limitations, which contradicted what I was told. I sent a secure message and got a response that confirmed the web page was correct and what I had been told was wrong.

I've made probably 8 customer service calls lately because just got laid off, sold my house, etc - I've talked to Ally bank, utility company, social security office (twice), medicare (twice), etc. In contrast to Vanguard, all of these phone support reps except for one sounded interested in helping me, took their time in giving me accurate information and seemed knowledgeable. The Vanguard phone reps should have been able to answer this simple question or at least should have been interested enough to find out the right information.

I'm going to continue with my plan but it does make me uneasy that they have such bad phone reps and give out incorrect info. I will try conducting all correspondence by email.

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Doc
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Doc » Wed May 25, 2016 10:57 am

Leif wrote:It is like insurance. You don't know how good it is until you need it. Hopefully the problems we have encountered are growth pains and will be resolved. The jury is still out.

No it's a hung jury. :annoyed
A scientist looks for THE answer to a problem, an engineer looks for AN answer and lawyers ONLY have opinions. Investing is not a science.

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Re: Keep it simple and stay the course

Post by catdude » Wed May 25, 2016 12:30 pm

Taylor Larimore wrote:
lostdog wrote:I moved all my accounts from Fidelity to Vanguard a few months ago. After reading this thread I wonder if I made a mistake?

lostdog:

Moving to Vanguard from Merrill Lynch in 1986 was the best investment decision we ever made.

If you have a simple portfolio and stay-the-course, most of the complaints in this thread are immaterial.

Best wishes.
Taylor


Taylor, I need to thank you as well for your reassuring words. I'm in the same boat as lostdog. I recently moved all my Fidelity money to Vanguard for the sake of simplicity. So I've been wondering too if I made a mistake. But my portfolio is very simple, and in the 15 - 16 years I've been with Vanguard I've never had to call them. And it could be another 10 years before I have to call them, since I'm 60, and 10 years away from RMD's. I'm cautiously optimistic that I won't have to worry about Vanguard's customer service.
catdude | | You know you're getting old when you start looking for a smaller house with a bigger medicine cabinet.

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"reassuring words"

Post by Taylor Larimore » Wed May 25, 2016 1:35 pm

Taylor, I need to thank you as well for your reassuring words.

Johnny:

I appreciate your reply.

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Re: Keep it simple and stay the course

Post by friar1610 » Wed May 25, 2016 3:44 pm

johnny wrote:[... But my portfolio is very simple, and in the 15 - 16 years I've been with Vanguard I've never had to call them. And it could be another 10 years before I have to call them, since I'm 60, and 10 years away from RMD's. I'm cautiously optimistic that I won't have to worry about Vanguard's customer service.


If your experience is anything like mine, you won't even have to call them to set up your RMDs. You can do everything on-line (including telling them how much to take out for taxes, when you want the payments {annually, quarterly, monthly, etc.}, and where you want the money to go {to a taxable VG fund, to your bank account, etc.}) Everything worked flawlessly for me and I have absolutely no complaints.
Friar1610

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by JasonF » Wed May 25, 2016 5:48 pm

I'm authorized agent on trust accounts worth well over $5 million, qualifying for "Flagship Select" status. Although the reps assigned to these accounts have been uniformly pleasant, I find it frustrating that in over 20 calls to the reps not once did they answer "live". Instead, I have to leave a voicemail and it's the norm that I don't hear back until the next day (or later). A couple times my call was never returned and I had to call again. Of course I can be transferred to the next available rep, but this person is likely not familiar with the accounts and I have to provide background info. Frankly, a drain of my time.

I guess this is the price to pay for ultra-low fees. However, I serve on the board of a charitable endowment and have recommended against using Vanguard to custody the assets since the level of service available isn't at a level that is currently needed.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Thu May 26, 2016 1:11 pm

I have seldom needed to call Vanguard for much of anything, but I did notice my Flagship rep didn't always answer the call, though the call was answered by another Flagship rep. Usually they asked if it was something I was working on with my rep already, or something they could help me with. So, help was offered immediately, if I desired.

To always get to my assigned Flagship rep, I send an email identifying the problem or question I have. Depending on the complexity of the problem or question, it might be a day or two before response. When I was first introduced to my assigned rep, I told him I preferred accuracy over speed 99% of the time, and that I would identify the 1% that was "hot."

He has always met my expectations in full. When one uses an email, I think you cut out a lot of opportunities for the message you are attempting to convey to be misunderstood. Emails work for me, your mileage may vary.

My preference in getting info from Vanguard is first scouring the website to find my answer/info, then via email to my rep, and finally actually talking to my rep when I am unable to clearly state my issue, like when he needs to "see" something on my account.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by segfault » Thu May 26, 2016 9:36 pm

If we’re having a gripe session, I’ll join in. Prelude: I have intentionally avoided posting this because I’m aware that some companies monitor message boards and social media and expedite the resolution of issues their customers have publicly complained about. I don’t know whether Vanguard does this, but regardless, I don’t believe you should have to publicly shame a company in order to obtain good service, so I have waited some time in order to post this.

I got a prompt to convert my TSM holding to Admiral shares at about the beginning of April. When I tried to complete the process, I got a page titled "System Unavailable" which unhelpfully says "This area is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later or contact us." I sent Vanguard a secure message on April 8 and got no reply.

On April 13, I called and got a rep (I don't think it was a Voyager rep). Explained the situation with converting the shares. He then said he would do it for me and asked me to confirm I wanted to SELL my shares of TSM and BUY admiral shares. I said no, I want to convert them, not sell and repurchase. After fussing with his computer for several minutes, he got the same error I did. Their resolution team was closed but he will contact them tomorrow and let me know the results.

On April 14, I received a phone call from a Vanguard rep in response to my secure email. I explained I had called last night and was expecting a response from the resolution team. He could find no record of my call. This rep did know the difference between an exchange transaction and a conversion. He got the same error and also promised to elevate the issue to the resolution team.

April 15, 17, 18, 19, 27, May 22, 23 – no change, can’t convert to Admiral.

May 23, 2016 – sent another secure email to Vanguard asking what the hold-up is and whether the resolution team had resolved the issue.

May 24, 2016 – received letter dated 5/18/16 advising automatic conversion will occur within a few weeks.

May 25, 2016 – missed phone call from Reading, Pennsylvania, which I assume to be from Vanguard. No voicemail left.

I seldom have to call Vanguard or deal with a live person there—the last time was when I was transferring a 401k plan, which involved the Small Business Services division, and that went very well. The latest experience (unresolved error converting shares, slow response to secure message, first phone rep not understanding difference between an exchange and conversion to Admiral shares, second phone rep seeing no record of previous call) has been disappointing.

Has anyone else had issues converting to Admiral shares? I don’t see this as being worth leaving Vanguard over, but it is really irritating.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by JamesSFO » Fri May 27, 2016 9:41 am

segfault wrote:<snipped>Has anyone else had issues converting to Admiral shares? I don’t see this as being worth leaving Vanguard over, but it is really irritating.


That's UNBELIEVABLY frustrating. Sorry to even read it. I've not had a problem like that. Keep escalating.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Doc » Fri May 27, 2016 9:50 am

JamesSFO wrote:
segfault wrote:<snipped>Has anyone else had issues converting to Admiral shares? I don’t see this as being worth leaving Vanguard over, but it is really irritating.


That's UNBELIEVABLY frustrating. Sorry to even read it. I've not had a problem like that. Keep escalating.

I had the opposite situation last year. I wanted to move part of an admiral class holding in DW's account to our joint account without incurring a tax effect. The amount transferred was lower than the amount required for admiral class so the share class would change. I could not do it online so I called. I was offered the transfer with no tax effect but I would have to take the admiral shares instead of investor shares despite being below the minimum for admiral.

Some things can be done and some not so much. It may depend on who answers the phone.
A scientist looks for THE answer to a problem, an engineer looks for AN answer and lawyers ONLY have opinions. Investing is not a science.

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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by chabil » Fri May 27, 2016 11:23 am

I agree with others who have posted about customer service at Vanguard, that for the most part I am very happy. I had a great rep, who even remembered some of our holdings and our son'r holding and made transactions for us. She was replaced with a new person this who has proven to be better than her. I did have some very poor customer service at one time and escalated it to the the director level. Never had a problem since then. I also leave messages for me rep and ask all questions and problems in my post and he gets back to me promptly.
However their Brokerage service is very troublesome. They have too many weird restrictions and it is slow, very slow.But I don't blame my rep for that because he has no control. It is this i think that cause all the computer and account glitches.

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