Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

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Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by pokebowl » Sun May 14, 2017 7:14 pm

I’ve owned Vanguard funds off and on through various 401k plans, but I’ve never opted to open a personal account with them. I finally wanted to take advantage of one fund of theirs and decided back around the second week of April this year to open a simple brokerage account through them. I filled out all the forms and fields online and attempted to submit my online application. I instantly received an error and the website indicated I would need instead to submit a paper application via snail mail. I grumbled but did as instructed and mailed in a snail mail application.

Fast forward two weeks (April 28th) and I finally received both an email and a snail mail welcome letter. On top of that the funds I elected to transfer into Vanguard were transferred from my Fidelity Brokerage. All seemed well until I attempted to log in. I tied my online account to the information contained in the welcome letter and when I attempted to login, I received yet another error “You must contact us before signing up for or restoring account access.”

I snuck out during my lunch hour the following week to contact their customer support. They indicated there is a lock on my new account until I mail in additional PII documentation copies via snail mail for further verification I suppose I am who I say I am. I would be unable to access the account until then and was informed to wait for an additional letter with instructions on how to do this. I asked if there was a more secure way of doing this outside of snail mail and indicated Vanguard is the first brokerage/finical institution that has put me through this type of scrutiny. I was simply told this is the policy. Gave it until May 11th, and with still no letter in the mail I called again and was informed a new instructional letter will be mailed out.

So in conclusion it’s taken over a month to attempt to open an account, and I’ve temporarily lost access to the funds I elected to transfer over. Those funds will be sitting in Vanguard’s money market account for the next couple weeks until this snail mail tag game works itself out. Overall given the exceptional customer service I receive through the likes of Fidelity, this has been a real eye opener so to speak. I will probably give this until the end of May before I take it as a lessons learned and request those funds be transfered back into my Fidelity account and close out the Vanguard one. :|

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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by dos palomas » Sun May 14, 2017 7:21 pm

Nothing wrong with Fidelity, so not losing much really.

Sounds like a unusually bad experience. I've had a great experience over the last 10 years with Vanguard.

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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by jhfenton » Sun May 14, 2017 7:45 pm

It's not standard practice. You must have triggered some sort of fraud alert. Perhaps you answered some of the identity matching questions from your credit report incorrectly? (Or the reverse. I've read of multiple instances where the credit bureaus pull info from the wrong accounts for identify verifications.) Perhaps your accounts names don't match exactly? Perhaps you have a credit freeze? I don't know what the particular problem is, but they're making you jump through unusual hoops because you tripped some flag somewhere.

My wife and I opened five accounts online, initiated in-kind transfers, and were rebalancing into Vanguard funds in 3 days.

I can imagine your frustration, though. In your shoes, I would be beside myself. I hope you can get it resolved quickly. :beer

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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by bottlecap » Sun May 14, 2017 7:48 pm

I had no such problems, but I suppose anything is possible.


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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by erictiger » Sun May 14, 2017 8:01 pm

I had similar issue last month when I tried to open a custodial account for my son. I got the same message when I submitted the application. However, three days later when I signed in to my account, my son's custodial account was already there, and I have never mailed the paper form.

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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by TimeRunner » Sun May 14, 2017 8:10 pm

You can always hold Vanguard ETF's at Fidelity. Ask Fido for free trades - odds are they will give you enough to buy the ETFs and rebalance for a few years or forever.
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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by Outafter20 » Sun May 14, 2017 8:24 pm

Ameritrade has a good selection of Vanguard and iShares ETFs that trade commission free. They also have good bonus transfer offers.

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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by unclescrooge » Sun May 14, 2017 8:36 pm

You don't really need an account at vanguard. Just hold their funds elsewhere.

Their lack of customer support is noteworthy.

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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by badbreath » Sun May 14, 2017 8:50 pm

I have never had a issue with their service but I am almost 100% on line with them
“While money can’t buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” Groucho Marx

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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by dbr » Mon May 15, 2017 8:36 am

I'm curious what particular fund you were interested in at Vanguard. It might be you would want a VG account for that or there might be an alternative path to that fund or one just as good.

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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by Doc » Mon May 15, 2017 8:50 am

We have an open transfer to Vanguard from last December. Calls to customer service have proved fruitless. Since the amount involved is 0.00 I'm ignoring it but you would think it wold not take much to make nothing go away and stop alerting me to "track your transfer" every time I log on.

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Re: Disappointed with the Vanguard experience so far

Post by Fox » Mon May 15, 2017 9:22 am

I've had my accounts at Vanguard for about 3 months. Each time I have needed to call them, I had minimal wait times and the representative was very helpful.

It took a few weeks to get all of my bank accounts added and I'm still waiting to move some other brokerage accounts, but those required some paperwork due to change of ownership stuff.

I've been satisfied.

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