Excellent Vanguard Service!

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FrugalInvestor
Posts: 4797
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am

Excellent Vanguard Service!

Post by FrugalInvestor » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:35 am

I've seen many posts here about problems with Vanguard Customer Service. I've had mostly good and some mediocre service in the past but recently had a very positive experience. I think it's worth bringing experiences like this to light since often only the negative ones are reported.

A day before leaving for vacation I received an IRS notice saying that I had under-reported my income for 2016 and wanted to get the situation rectified before leaving so it didn't ruin my trip. I dug out 2016 tax return and figured out the source of the discrepancy but wasn't sure why it had happened and what to do about it (and didn't want to take the time to research it right then) so I thought I'd try calling Vanguard. The representative on the phone was very helpful and obviously concerned that I get my problem resolved.

After looking into it a bit he offered to explain my problem to the retirement department and then pass me to them. After a very brief hold he came back on the line to say that while waiting and reading further he had discovered the answer. He explained it to me and then directed me where to find the necessary form to print and send to the IRS. Everything was done and the forms were in the mail to the IRS within an hour.

I would have eventually figured this out myself but the Vanguard representative reduced my time considerably and possibly made my trip much more enjoyable (had I not found the answer quickly enough). I am very appreciative of his helpfulness, demonstration of concern and willingness to help me dig up the answer quickly.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

mhalley
Posts: 5932
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:02 am

Re: Excellent Vanguard Service!

Post by mhalley » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:44 am

Nice to hear. I believe the statistic is something like bad customer service is shared 3 times as much as good, although it seems much more than that on the forum.

blevine
Posts: 1881
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Paradise

Re: Excellent Vanguard Service!

Post by blevine » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:16 am

Ditto. Had reason to speak to my Flagship rep lately.
Was assigned a new one without any notice or fanfare, but had not spoken to last one.

I actually reached him once without an appt, and on another day made appt, and he called me immediately instead of waiting on the appt date.

Very helpful and accessible, at least from my anecdotal experience. Who knows, I may eventually agree to transfer my 401k when I retire, if they are this helpful !

Note also tried voice verification.
First time I ever was authenticated by a computer on the phone, and then the rep answered knowing I was already authenticated. Didn’t have to give same info again.
Nice job Vanguard !

tibbitts
Posts: 7828
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Excellent Vanguard Service!

Post by tibbitts » Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:58 am

blevine wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 7:16 am
Ditto. Had reason to speak to my Flagship rep lately.
Was assigned a new one without any notice or fanfare, but had not spoken to last one.

I actually reached him once without an appt, and on another day made appt, and he called me immediately instead of waiting on the appt date.

Very helpful and accessible, at least from my anecdotal experience. Who knows, I may eventually agree to transfer my 401k when I retire, if they are this helpful !

Note also tried voice verification.
First time I ever was authenticated by a computer on the phone, and then the rep answered knowing I was already authenticated. Didn’t have to give same info again.
Nice job Vanguard !
I thought Flagship reps were no longer assigned per-account - at least not for mere base-level Flagship accounts. Maybe yours is Select or some higher level.

blevine
Posts: 1881
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:57 pm
Location: Paradise

Re: Excellent Vanguard Service!

Post by blevine » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:19 pm

I thought Flagship reps were no longer assigned per-account - at least not for mere base-level Flagship accounts. Maybe yours is Select or some higher level.
from the website :

Voyager Select client at Vanguard "offers you a team of experienced investment professionals"

Flagship says "a dedicated representative will coordinate personalized, expert help that's tailored to your needs."

Vanguard Select indicates "you'll have a relationship team"

drzzzzz
Posts: 204
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:56 pm

Re: Excellent Vanguard Service!

Post by drzzzzz » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:31 pm

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:35 am
I've seen many posts here about problems with Vanguard Customer Service. I've had mostly good and some mediocre service in the past but recently had a very positive experience. I think it's worth bringing experiences like this to light since often only the negative ones are reported.

A day before leaving for vacation I received an IRS notice saying that I had under-reported my income for 2016 and wanted to get the situation rectified before leaving so it didn't ruin my trip. I dug out 2016 tax return and figured out the source of the discrepancy but wasn't sure why it had happened and what to do about it (and didn't want to take the time to research it right then) so I thought I'd try calling Vanguard. The representative on the phone was very helpful and obviously concerned that I get my problem resolved.

After looking into it a bit he offered to explain my problem to the retirement department and then pass me to them. After a very brief hold he came back on the line to say that while waiting and reading further he had discovered the answer. He explained it to me and then directed me where to find the necessary form to print and send to the IRS. Everything was done and the forms were in the mail to the IRS within an hour.

I would have eventually figured this out myself but the Vanguard representative reduced my time considerably and possibly made my trip much more enjoyable (had I not found the answer quickly enough). I am very appreciative of his helpfulness, demonstration of concern and willingness to help me dig up the answer quickly.
I am kinda confused by the post since it doesnt really explain whether this was a Vanguard issue that caused the under-reporting of income or whether you interpreted information that Vanguard sent you incorrectly or neither. I don't know how Vanguard can figure out under-reported income unless it is related to their statements.

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celia
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Re: Excellent Vanguard Service!

Post by celia » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:55 pm

drzzzzz wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:31 pm
I am kinda confused by the post since it doesnt really explain whether this was a Vanguard issue that caused the under-reporting of income or whether you interpreted information that Vanguard sent you incorrectly or neither. I don't know how Vanguard can figure out under-reported income unless it is related to their statements.
It was likely related to a Vanguard account, else OP wouldn't have called them. (If it was a W-2 question or capital gains on selling a house, they wouldn't have been called.) Sometimes, a transaction needs an "explanation" in the comments field when you (or the tax preparer) use the tax software. If you don't provide it (or even if you do and the IRS computer doesn't understand it), you can be contacted for followup information. For example, when you recharacterize, you are supposed to identify (explain) the conversion or contribution that is being recharacterized since that can't be identified on the tax forms.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Excellent Vanguard Service!

Post by FrugalInvestor » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:21 pm

celia wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:55 pm
drzzzzz wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:31 pm
I am kinda confused by the post since it doesnt really explain whether this was a Vanguard issue that caused the under-reporting of income or whether you interpreted information that Vanguard sent you incorrectly or neither. I don't know how Vanguard can figure out under-reported income unless it is related to their statements.
It was likely related to a Vanguard account, else OP wouldn't have called them. (If it was a W-2 question or capital gains on selling a house, they wouldn't have been called.) Sometimes, a transaction needs an "explanation" in the comments field when you (or the tax preparer) use the tax software. If you don't provide it (or even if you do and the IRS computer doesn't understand it), you can be contacted for followup information. For example, when you recharacterize, you are supposed to identify (explain) the conversion or contribution that is being recharacterized since that can't be identified on the tax forms.
It was an apparent IRA oversight unless Vanguard didn't send them the information or I didn't explain well enough. The Vanguard tax form was correct with the correct code for a Roth IRA recharacterization. I did a conversion prior to year-end and recharacterized a portion prior to filing that year. The IRS was showing the entire conversion as income rather than the net amount. I'm sure that I gave an explanation as I've done a few of these and always do but I suppose I could have forgotten to. I'm too lazy to dig out the tax return again. At any rate I was very pleased with the responsiveness and concern shown by the Vanguard representative.
IGNORE the noise! | Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify. - Henry David Thoreau

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John151
Posts: 367
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Re: Excellent Vanguard Service!

Post by John151 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:23 pm

I’ve been investing with Vanguard for over thirty years, and I’ve never had a problem. Vanguard service, for me, has been great.

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