Schwab Customer Service Experience

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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beebee5004
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Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by beebee5004 »

My wife and I have a joint account with Schwab. In the few times I've interacted with them in the distant past, I've always thought that their customer service has been excellent. This morning, I noticed a document in our account that had one of our old addresses on it listed for her, so I called them to correct it. After sitting on hold for a few minutes, they told me that she would have to call to fix it. So she called them and was on the phone with them for 23 minutes (not including initial hold time) getting the address corrected. During the call, they wouldn't let me even communicate any information to them when my wife was uncertain about the answer to one of their questions (they insisted that she had to be the one to talk to them). The process was cumbersome, and I wasn't impressed with their rapport. The service seemed mediocre at best in comparison to my past experiences with them. It made me reconsider whether I really feel confident in them as their customer. Is Schwab's customer service declining, or I am missing something about these sorts of processes?
livesoft
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by livesoft »

The Schwab CSR probably has just been through a divorce and their ex-spouse tried to get them to change some of the addresses on their individual accounts in order to do some unsavory and unscrupulous things with their money.
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PSM
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by PSM »

This is a typical situation, not unique to that encounter with Schwab. In households where one spouse manages all things financial (like mine), whenever any interaction is required by the other spouse, it is usually an awkward moment at best. Schwab wants to protect the account-holder, but the account-holder depends on the spouse for advice.
I think there is a Schwab form, as with other companies, in which the account-holder grants full permission for the spouse to discuss all account matters, as well as make trades and administer the account.
The bottom line: This wasn't just a Schwab circumstance. I have run in to these concerns everywhere, and I always have to turn over the phone to my spouse, at least for few minutes, for her to give permission for me to speak about whatever needs addressing.
Housedoc
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by Housedoc »

livesoft, tks for the chuckle on your analysis. My father in law used to make up wild tales about issues. Fond memories. Tks
yog
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by yog »

increment
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by increment »

Is Schwab customer service having trouble taking in all those (former) USAA customers?
aristotelian
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by aristotelian »

Any custodian is going to be very strict when it comes to anything identity-related. This is for your own protection as well as theirs. I can't speak to the hold time but my experience with Schwab has been top notch. Was this during normal business hours? Schwab is the only one that will even pick up the phone at night.
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beebee5004
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by beebee5004 »

Thank you for the responses.
I can't speak to the hold time...
Much, if not most, of the 23 minutes was not hold time. She was having to answer questions that were not directly related to the address update. The call was during normal business hours, and I could see how that would affect the hold times (which were not unreasonable) but not how that would affect the time required for the process (which, to me, seemed cumbersome).

I guess I was surprised by all the logistics, as I am accustomed to doing address updates through an online form, in which case it takes about 30 seconds. That's how it is with my credit cards, anyway. It seems like credit cards would need at least as much security as a brokerage.
02nz
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by 02nz »

Customer service reps, to point out the obvious, are human beings. Some are better than others. Some are better-trained than others. Some are more experienced than others. Some have better mornings than others ... You had a fairly normal, if below-average customer service experience. Security protocols probably had something to do with it. If that led you to lose confidence in Schwab, you're going to be switching brokerages A LOT.

If we all posted every time there was a slightly below-average customer service experience, this forum's servers would surely quickly run out of hard disk space! :happy
pcsrini
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by pcsrini »

My experience with Schwab CS has been mostly positive. Their CS agents are onshore, seem to be well trained, and in most cases seem to have the tools and the knowledge base answers to resolve questions quickly. For certain issues, as it appears to be in this case, if the agent does not have their CRM tools guide them to an answer, they need to either consult with their peers who may also be on calls, or contact a supervisor who may be busy for approvals or guidance. This takes time and results in delays. Also, service quality generally drops when there is high traffic - the Schwab website cautions that they are handling much higher volumes due to the pandemic. I am always a bit worried when I need to call a company for support - Schwab has generally been consistently good.
afan
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by afan »

You do want to be sure you are set up with POA over the account. Or as trustee if it is a trust account. Once that is in place then they will speak with you.
Until that happens, then as far as Schwab is concerned, your spouse has not given you permission to act on their behalf, so Schwab cannot do it.
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WillRetire
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by WillRetire »

Also experiencing worse than normal customer service, with long hold times and less than stellar answers/resolutions from staff who seem less trained. Many are working from home during the pandemic, and may not have the mentoring or help they normally have working in the office.

Additionally, one rep said it is very busy right now because clients are calling in with 2019 tax-related questions and issues.

Maybe service will improve after July 15th.

+another vote to establish permissions for one another (spouses) to act on each other's behalf.
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

Schwab is really slipping! This is not the Schwab of the the late, great John Bogle!
kaneohe
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by kaneohe »

beebee5004 wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:56 am .................................... During the call, they wouldn't let me even communicate any information to them when my wife was uncertain about the answer to one of their questions (they insisted that she had to be the one to talk to them). The process was cumbersome, and I wasn't impressed with their rapport. ..............................
This seems pretty unusual. My experience with all kinds of companies (including Schwab) is that the relevant spouse must initiate the conversation and be authenticated but if that spouse authorizes (verbally during the call)the other spouse to speak for her,it is always(in my own experience) granted. Did your spouse authorize you to speak to them or did they ask her if she would (they should have)?
HomeStretch
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by HomeStretch »

afan wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:15 am You do want to be sure you are set up with POA over the account. Or as trustee if it is a trust account. Once that is in place then they will speak with you.
Until that happens, then as far as Schwab is concerned, your spouse has not given you permission to act on their behalf, so Schwab cannot do it.
+1.

I encountered this situation at Vanguard when helping my parents set up their joint and individual accounts. The rep was insistent that my mom (who handled the finances) not help my dad answer some questions about his IRA. The rep went so far as to say that if my dad couldn’t answer the questions on his own then the rep could not complete the account set up and transfer request. The rep explained that once the agent authorizations/POAs were in place that it would not be an issue.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by ResearchMed »

kaneohe wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 3:07 pm
beebee5004 wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:56 am .................................... During the call, they wouldn't let me even communicate any information to them when my wife was uncertain about the answer to one of their questions (they insisted that she had to be the one to talk to them). The process was cumbersome, and I wasn't impressed with their rapport. ..............................
This seems pretty unusual. My experience with all kinds of companies (including Schwab) is that the relevant spouse must initiate the conversation and be authenticated but if that spouse authorizes (verbally during the call)the other spouse to speak for her,it is always(in my own experience) granted. Did your spouse authorize you to speak to them or did they ask her if she would (they should have)?
When we have a situation where I need to speak to a CS somewhere about DH's account, he really wants to minimize his time on the line.

So I make the call, with DH sitting/working right nearby, and after going through any telephone menu stuff, once I get an actual person on the line, I say something like, "I'm going to give the phone to my husband so that he can authorize you to speak to me" (and add, if appropriate, "... and to make any transactions...").
Occasionally I need to repeat that.

Then he takes the call, does whatever "identification" they want, and he hands the call to me.
IF we are going to want some actual transactions made (buy, sell, etc.), them he repeats that he is authorizing "ANY transactions"/etc., and asks the rep to confirm that.

Then, there is usually no trouble... unless that rep needs to transfer me to another rep, and the "appropriate transfer/introductions" haven't been made. In some cases, we know when this is likely, so we'll stick near each other until we get past that hopefully final gatekeeper.

We have no problem with the security measures.
The only problem is that IF I had a deeper voice, I could just "be him" and answer all of those same questions. Just because I hand the phone "to my husband", and he can verify the high security information such as SSN and home addresss [What, *I* don't know where DH lives!?], we never feel that it is truly a real "security" feature.
But it's better than allowing someone not at all familiar with someone to make similar calls.

Also, almost all of our money is in 403b accounts, and because he hasn't retired, the worst that someone could really do, thus far, is to move money around and change investments. And because only mutual funds can be purchased, there's not even the potential for someone to hack in and use "his" money to pump up some penny stock or such. That's the main mischief I can envision when NO withdrawals are allowed (not even by DH).

But again, we appreciate the security measures, and if it involved actual withdrawals, we'd prefer more rather than less "care".

As for not allowing the actual customer to be allowed to be "prompted" if this is WITHOUT an existing PoA/agent authorization, that could make sense if the concern is someone who is not quite competent is being somewhat coerced or fooled into answering and then giving authorization. I'm sure that I cannot even begin to imagine some of the shenanigans that financial institutions have experienced...

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afan
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by afan »

One can take money out of a 403b before retirement. Depending on age, there may be penalties on top of taxes due, but presumably a thief would not care about those.

The solution is to get proper POA over the account. Then you can do what is needed with no problem.
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typical.investor
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by typical.investor »

beebee5004 wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:56 am During the call, they wouldn't let me even communicate any information to them when my wife was uncertain about the answer to one of their questions (they insisted that she had to be the one to talk to them).
We've faced that at other institutions and resolved it by my wife asking me anything she didn't know and relaying my answer back to the service rep.
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Eagle33
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by Eagle33 »

Why are 2 POA's needed on a single JOINT account?
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ResearchMed
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by ResearchMed »

afan wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:51 pm One can take money out of a 403b before retirement. Depending on age, there may be penalties on top of taxes due, but presumably a thief would not care about those.

The solution is to get proper POA over the account. Then you can do what is needed with no problem.
This may depend upon employer.
Our employer does not allow any type of "taking money out" of the 403b plan prior to separation from the employer-contributed money and any returns, regardless of age. No withdrawals, no loans, no rolling to some IRA or such.

Once one is less than half-time (including full retirement, obviously), then one can access the money if desired, but one can also leave the money in the plan indefinitely.

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CardioMD
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by CardioMD »

Might have been easier to do that online. Unless maybe you needed that document reissued immediately.

I changed our address online a few months ago. Took a minute or so and was effective across all our accounts with Schwab. Did the same with Fidelity.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by ResearchMed »

CardioMD wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:37 am Might have been easier to do that online. Unless maybe you needed that document reissued immediately.

I changed our address online a few months ago. Took a minute or so and was effective across all our accounts with Schwab. Did the same with Fidelity.
You could also try their online "Chat" service.
We've found that to be very good.

Perhaps because you'd already be logged in, they'd assume it was a valid request?

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alwayshedge
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by alwayshedge »

So you had a single subpar experience with a CSR and you’re considering moving your business elsewhere because of it? What if you have a subpar experience with a CSR at the new place? Will you move again? My point being that these are humans, some are great, some are good and some just stink at their jobs. Companies eventually weed the stinkers out. Don’t make big decisions based on a single interaction.
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beebee5004
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by beebee5004 »

Might have been easier to do that online.
You could also try their online "Chat" service.
The CSR with whom I spoke initially said that my wife had to call them to change the address. If there is a way to change the address online, and I'd been able to use that, I would have done that and avoided the 23-minute (which includes neither her initial hold time, nor the time for my initial call with them to inform me that she would have to call) effort with the phone call, which was my primary issue with the experience. Although most of the discussion here seems to be focused on our interaction with the CSR, that was more of a secondary concern. My primary concern about the experience was how long the process took to do the address correction, which takes usually less than a minute to do online with other accounts I have.
simas
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by simas »

PSM wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:18 am This is a typical situation, not unique to that encounter with Schwab. In households where one spouse manages all things financial (like mine), whenever any interaction is required by the other spouse, it is usually an awkward moment at best. Schwab wants to protect the account-holder, but the account-holder depends on the spouse for advice.
Typically , the financial company asks - Mr (or Mrs So and So), do I have your permission on a recorded line for Mrs (or Mr) So and So to discuss the following... . if 'yes' is granted, the spouse (parent, family member) then can continue on to their own business and you can make the changes needed on the phone. standard practice.
simas
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by simas »

alwayshedge wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 8:02 am So you had a single subpar experience with a CSR and you’re considering moving your business elsewhere because of it? What if you have a subpar experience with a CSR at the new place? Will you move again? My point being that these are humans, some are great, some are good and some just stink at their jobs. Companies eventually weed the stinkers out. Don’t make big decisions based on a single interaction.
Why not if it is important to him/her? People move hundreds of thousands of dollars for a petty sums of 'bonuses' all the time (and proudly discuss it here). Customer service is very important for me ,especially when it comes to experience for my DW who is not currently managing the financial side (she is fully aware, consulted ,etc just rely on me to run it). I want for her to be very comfortable with whoever supports the accounts , especially if I am gone or incapacitated.


for the record, I had good experiences with Vanguard, and excellent with both Fidelity and Schwab and have the accounts in all three. Fidelity is especially never fails to confirm their excellence in customer service, following up and following through. I wish more companies would have the same experience as them..
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by MikeG62 »

beebee5004 wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:56 am ...During the call, they wouldn't let me even communicate any information to them when my wife was uncertain about the answer to one of their questions (they insisted that she had to be the one to talk to them). The process was cumbersome, and I wasn't impressed with their rapport. Is Schwab's customer service declining, or I am missing something about these sorts of processes?
Had a similar experience with Ally bank and a joint checking account I had with my daughter when she was in college. They actually hung up the phone on us after my daughter could not recall the answer to one of her security questions (did not care that I was also on the phone (and was a joint account holder) and could answer all of my security questions as well as her's). Was very annoyed. Considered pulling all of my money out of Ally (which was in NP CD's at the time), but after I cooled off I realized I'd be biting off my nose to spite my face. Chalked it up to a learning experience. Banks can be very conservative.
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Broken Man 1999
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Nothing new here for investment accounts, as I would be unhappy if they DIDN'T check out callers thoroughly.

I could never remember the name of our wedding Maid of Honor, it is either listed as Cynthia, or Cindy. DW wife's accounts used her name as a security question. Half the time I guessed wrong.

I finlly got tired of getting caught, and had DW make me her limited agent.

Smooth sailing since. Signing into my account and have all those who have given me limited agent to their accounts available for me to manage is really nice.

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Lastrun
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by Lastrun »

My DW is not great with understanding our finances. We had an issue with her solo 401K earlier this year that required several calls.

What I did was stand in front of her with a legal pad and a Sharpie to coach her through the initial screening questions and then she would authorize me to speak with them.

MY DW, who is an attorney, would literally freeze on questions like what type of account and where were you married.

Obviously, I need to plan on what happens after my demise.
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beernutz
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Re: Schwab Customer Service Experience

Post by beernutz »

beebee5004 wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:56 am My wife and I have a joint account with Schwab. In the few times I've interacted with them in the distant past, I've always thought that their customer service has been excellent. This morning, I noticed a document in our account that had one of our old addresses on it listed for her, so I called them to correct it. After sitting on hold for a few minutes, they told me that she would have to call to fix it. So she called them and was on the phone with them for 23 minutes (not including initial hold time) getting the address corrected. During the call, they wouldn't let me even communicate any information to them when my wife was uncertain about the answer to one of their questions (they insisted that she had to be the one to talk to them). The process was cumbersome, and I wasn't impressed with their rapport. The service seemed mediocre at best in comparison to my past experiences with them. It made me reconsider whether I really feel confident in them as their customer. Is Schwab's customer service declining, or I am missing something about these sorts of processes?
Close your account. That'll teach 'em.

Your scenario seems unusual as I've had two joint Schwab investment accounts with my wife for 30+ years and we added a checking account about 10 years ago but I don't think I've ever seen a Schwab document specifically addressed to only one or the other of us.
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