Vanguard Customer Service

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CenTexan
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by CenTexan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:04 am

I had to do a Medallion last year with Vanguard. After a couple calls, I found a rep who said if I set up voice recognition with them ("At Vanguard, my voice is my password") that it would work as a substitute. So I did, and it did.

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Index Fan
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Index Fan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:26 am

Customer service for the masses is generally less-than-stellar across the board. This is the state of things in the world today.
"Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis." | -Seneca

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:40 am

If you're considering Schwab, they have a "new client" bonus offer:

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/ ... d_sps.html

Fidelity doesn't have anything going currently. Other custodians to consider, especially if you go the ETF route, are Merrill Edge and TD Ameritrade. They both have offers now.

For more information on bonuses, see: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
This week's fortune cookie: "The stock market may be your ticket to success." I sure hope so!

informal guide
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by informal guide » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:46 am

Another option is to simply transfer Vanguard mutual fund Admiral shares in kind to another provider - -I did that successfully to Fidelity several years ago. I have never tried to make additional purchases, but I still successfully do dividend reinvestment at no cost and my tax lot information successfully moved too. The Vanguard assets also qualify me for Fidelity's high net worth services.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:01 am

informal guide wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:46 am
Another option is to simply transfer Vanguard mutual fund Admiral shares in kind to another provider - -I did that successfully to Fidelity several years ago. I have never tried to make additional purchases, but I still successfully do dividend reinvestment at no cost and my tax lot information successfully moved too. The Vanguard assets also qualify me for Fidelity's high net worth services.
I think a fair number of custodians allow that. Merrill Edge has been reported. I like the simplicity and flexibility of an all-ETF portfolio. Then I can hold the assets anywhere I like, and get the best ERs.
This week's fortune cookie: "The stock market may be your ticket to success." I sure hope so!

frugalnotenough
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by frugalnotenough » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:15 pm

[Big sigh] I don't know why I didn't find this thread when I searched about Vangard, but I just opened a Vanguard Roth IRA account, although I already have one with TDAmeritrade. I was thinking that it won't cost me to buy Vanguard's mutual funds. Not only I encountered several problems just to open the account, earlier this evening I called the customer service to ask questions because the Vanguard's website is not very user friendly, compared to TDA's. The representative I talked to could not wait to get rid of me, didn't even check with me to see if I had other questions and just wanted to hang up on me, her tone was close to rude and very impatient. I have not transferred money into my Vanguard's account yet. Now I'm thinking if I should.....

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FIREchief
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by FIREchief » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:24 pm

informal guide wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:46 am
Another option is to simply transfer Vanguard mutual fund Admiral shares in kind to another provider - -I did that successfully to Fidelity several years ago.
Are you sure those were Admiral shares that you transferred to Fidelity?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:26 pm

frugalnotenough wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:15 pm
[Big sigh] I don't know why I didn't find this thread when I searched about Vangard, but I just opened a Vanguard Roth IRA account, although I already have one with TDAmeritrade. I was thinking that it won't cost me to buy Vanguard's mutual funds. Not only I encountered several problems just to open the account, earlier this evening I called the customer service to ask questions because the Vanguard's website is not very user friendly, compared to TDA's. The representative I talked to could not wait to get rid of me, didn't even check with me to see if I had other questions and just wanted to hang up on me, her tone was close to rude and very impatient. I have not transferred money into my Vanguard's account yet. Now I'm thinking if I should.....
If you're ok with using Vanguard ETFs instead, then TDA has a good selection of commission-free products.
This week's fortune cookie: "The stock market may be your ticket to success." I sure hope so!

stlutz
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by stlutz » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:02 pm

Just fyi. Many of Vanguards admiral shares (and investor class shares as well) can be converted to equivalent ETF shares without creating a taxable event. The ETF shares are fully portable and can be transferred in kind to Fidelity, Schwab, etc.
Of course the problem with this approach is that you have to deal with VG customer service and accounting to get the conversion done. Like most things with VG, most people have no issue with such a conversion, but some do and then it takes a while to get it straightened out.

I decided a number of years ago to just hold my existing investments at VG but do all of my actual transacting elsewhere. That seemed to be the lowest risk way of handling it.

gkaplan
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by gkaplan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:27 pm

I'm always skeptical when a poster who has three posts to this board trashes Vanguard customer service.
Gordon

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:06 pm

gkaplan wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:27 pm
I'm always skeptical when a poster who has three posts to this board trashes Vanguard customer service.
I don't understand. Do you think they came here for fun? It's not like customer service is uniformly lauded other than this poster. How many posts are necessary before you can dare to question Vanguard?
This week's fortune cookie: "The stock market may be your ticket to success." I sure hope so!

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FIREchief
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by FIREchief » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:17 pm

stlutz wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:02 pm
Just fyi. Many of Vanguards admiral shares (and investor class shares as well) can be converted to equivalent ETF shares without creating a taxable event. The ETF shares are fully portable and can be transferred in kind to Fidelity, Schwab, etc.
Of course the problem with this approach is that you have to deal with VG customer service and accounting to get the conversion done. Like most things with VG, most people have no issue with such a conversion, but some do and then it takes a while to get it straightened out.
LOL. Yep, you got that right! I did the conversions in two batches (first the non-covered shares, then the covered shares). By the second batch they were pushing back suggesting that I really didn't want to do this (who's the customer here?). Of course, they "lost" all spec ID cost basis for the non-covered shares in the process, but fortunately I have historical statements and FIDO even lets the customer provide cost basis info to their system for non-covered shares.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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FIREchief
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by FIREchief » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:17 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:06 pm
I don't understand. Do you think they came here for fun? It's not like customer service is uniformly lauded other than this poster. How many posts are necessary before you can dare to question Vanguard?
1164!
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

splinke
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by splinke » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:54 am

FIREchief wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:51 am
Just fyi. Many of Vanguards admiral shares (and investor class shares as well) can be converted to equivalent ETF shares without creating a taxable event. The ETF shares are fully portable and can be transferred in kind to Fidelity, Schwab, etc.
informal guide wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:46 am
Another option is to simply transfer Vanguard mutual fund Admiral shares in kind to another provider - -I did that successfully to Fidelity several years ago. I have never tried to make additional purchases, but I still successfully do dividend reinvestment at no cost and my tax lot information successfully moved too. The Vanguard assets also qualify me for Fidelity's high net worth services.
I spoke with both Fidelity and Schwab in the last two days, and I think I have decided on Schwab. One of the main reasons is related to the share conversion requirements of Fidelity. I would need to convert all Admiral shares to Investor shares (or ETFs when available), and a few of my funds apparently would need to be sold prior to transfer to Fidelity. In contrast, Schwab will take everything, including Admiral shares, as in-kind transfers. I won't be able to buy any more Admiral shares after moving them, but I don't have to convert or sell them--and I don't want to buy anything Vanguard anymore anyway. I will immediately convert everything in my non-taxable accounts to comparable non-Vanguard funds.
Index Fan wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:26 am
Customer service for the masses is generally less-than-stellar across the board. This is the state of things in the world today.
I was hoping that Flagship status would bring my parents and me a higher level of customer service than the masses, like returning phone calls in a timely manner, not messing up an RMD, not taking 20 months to do an investigation of the messed up RMD, not taking two months to execute administrative changes to my account, taking less than a couple of weeks to set up a new bank for ACH transfers, not requiring mini-transactions to set up a new bank for ACH transfers that caused havoc at the bank and resulted in fees, sending me forms when I request them, etc. etc. Instead, Flagship gets you a named representative, who probably has hundreds and hundreds of other clients so they take three or four days to answer messages and a week or more for an appointment phone call. If this is Flagship treatment, I shudder to think what kind of customer service the masses get.
Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:40 am
If you're considering Schwab, they have a "new client" bonus offer:

http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/ ... d_sps.html

Fidelity doesn't have anything going currently. Other custodians to consider, especially if you go the ETF route, are Merrill Edge and TD Ameritrade. They both have offers now.

For more information on bonuses, see: The Final, Definitive Thread on Brokerage Transfer Bonuses
THANK YOU SO MUCH! That will partially compensate my parents for the $1,300 Vanguard cost them!
gkaplan wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:27 pm
I'm always skeptical when a poster who has three posts to this board trashes Vanguard customer service.
I assure you, I am a real human with real problems with Vanguard after almost 20 years of patronage. I still believe in the Vanguard investment philosophy and will continue it at Schwab. However, I am no longer a believer that Vanguard's customer service and the agony it creates is worthy of my business. This is post #4, but it could have been split up into three or four separate ones. :D

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burt
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by burt » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:28 am

Over the past few months I've finally convinced my relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard. It was a tough sell.
Now I'm reading this thread about poor customer service at Vanguard.
If the phone call to Vanguard doesn't go smooth, I'm afraid my relative will stop the transfer process.
I offered to sit in on the call to ease his concerns. After reading this thread, I now have concerns. :(

burt

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jhfenton
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by jhfenton » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:25 am

stlutz wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:02 pm
Just fyi. Many of Vanguards admiral shares (and investor class shares as well) can be converted to equivalent ETF shares without creating a taxable event. The ETF shares are fully portable and can be transferred in kind to Fidelity, Schwab, etc.
Of course the problem with this approach is that you have to deal with VG customer service and accounting to get the conversion done. Like most things with VG, most people have no issue with such a conversion, but some do and then it takes a while to get it straightened out.

I decided a number of years ago to just hold my existing investments at VG but do all of my actual transacting elsewhere. That seemed to be the lowest risk way of handling it.
I do mutual fund to ETF share conversions on a regular basis, probably quarterly on average. And when I do them, it's 2 positions across 2 accounts belonging to myself and my wife. (We each have full agent authority.) Other than listening to their scripted 30-second explanation every time, it is completely painless. (At this point, I could interrupt them and give the spiel, but I resist.)

I've been a Vanguard brokerage customer two years, and I always get excellent and prompt customer service on the phone. (We started as Voyager. We are now Voyager Select.)

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ruralavalon
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by ruralavalon » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:09 pm

burt wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:28 am
Over the past few months I've finally convinced my relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard. It was a tough sell.
Now I'm reading this thread about poor customer service at Vanguard.
If the phone call to Vanguard doesn't go smooth, I'm afraid my relative will stop the transfer process.
I offered to sit in on the call to ease his concerns. After reading this thread, I now have concerns. :(

burt
I don't believe that this thread represents the typical experience at Vanguard. All of our funds are Vanguard funds, and all of our accounts are at Vanguard. I have never experienced any of the issues discussed here or had any bad experience with Vanguard customer service. The service has always been prompt, helpful, and professional.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

informal guide
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by informal guide » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:30 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:24 pm
informal guide wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:46 am
Another option is to simply transfer Vanguard mutual fund Admiral shares in kind to another provider - -I did that successfully to Fidelity several years ago.
Are you sure those were Admiral shares that you transferred to Fidelity?
Yes, in funds such as Primecap Admiral. At the time I was told one cannot buy admiral class shares but can transfer them in. I still hold them today and they have done very nicely, thank you (except for the capital gains distributions)!

I cannot vouch for today's policy.

sport
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by sport » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:42 pm

ruralavalon wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:09 pm
burt wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:28 am
Over the past few months I've finally convinced my relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard. It was a tough sell.
Now I'm reading this thread about poor customer service at Vanguard.
If the phone call to Vanguard doesn't go smooth, I'm afraid my relative will stop the transfer process.
I offered to sit in on the call to ease his concerns. After reading this thread, I now have concerns. :(

burt
I don't believe that this thread represents the typical experience at Vanguard. All of our funds are Vanguard funds, and all of our accounts are at Vanguard. I have never experienced any of the issues discussed here or had any bad experience with Vanguard customer service. The service has always been prompt, helpful, and professional.
This has been my experience as well. I have invested at Vanguard since 1980. Thirty seven years of good service for me. When asked, I recommend Vanguard to others.

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Doc
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by Doc » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:58 pm

sport wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:42 pm
This has been my experience as well. I have invested at Vanguard since 1980. Thirty seven years of good service for me. When asked, I recommend Vanguard to others.
Vanguard mutual funds are top notch. Vanguard Brokerage Service is a another whole matter.

In order to be the very lowest mutual fund provider you have to reduce costs somewhere. The easiest place to go is customer service. The next time anyone has to talk to a CSR be sure to get their name accurately and then go to https://brokercheck.finra.org/ and find out what experience they have.
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.

GmanJeff
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by GmanJeff » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:54 pm

sport wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:42 pm
ruralavalon wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:09 pm
burt wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:28 am
Over the past few months I've finally convinced my relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard. It was a tough sell.
Now I'm reading this thread about poor customer service at Vanguard.
If the phone call to Vanguard doesn't go smooth, I'm afraid my relative will stop the transfer process.
I offered to sit in on the call to ease his concerns. After reading this thread, I now have concerns. :(

burt
I don't believe that this thread represents the typical experience at Vanguard. All of our funds are Vanguard funds, and all of our accounts are at Vanguard. I have never experienced any of the issues discussed here or had any bad experience with Vanguard customer service. The service has always been prompt, helpful, and professional.
This has been my experience as well. I have invested at Vanguard since 1980. Thirty seven years of good service for me. When asked, I recommend Vanguard to others.
Ditto for me. As with most forums, people often comment about products or services when they are dissatisfied, and not so much when things go well. If all postings are derogatory, that's one thing, but there are plenty of customers on here whose experiences have been fine. I imagine it would be quite possible to find unhappy customers on other forums which focus on other companies, too. Remember, too, that on a forum such as this we hear only side side of situations which involve two parties, and that there may be more behind each anecdote.

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burt
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by burt » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:44 pm

GmanJeff wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:54 pm
sport wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:42 pm
ruralavalon wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:09 pm
burt wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:28 am
Over the past few months I've finally convinced my relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard. It was a tough sell.
Now I'm reading this thread about poor customer service at Vanguard.
If the phone call to Vanguard doesn't go smooth, I'm afraid my relative will stop the transfer process.
I offered to sit in on the call to ease his concerns. After reading this thread, I now have concerns. :(

burt
I don't believe that this thread represents the typical experience at Vanguard. All of our funds are Vanguard funds, and all of our accounts are at Vanguard. I have never experienced any of the issues discussed here or had any bad experience with Vanguard customer service. The service has always been prompt, helpful, and professional.
This has been my experience as well. I have invested at Vanguard since 1980. Thirty seven years of good service for me. When asked, I recommend Vanguard to others.
Ditto for me. As with most forums, people often comment about products or services when they are dissatisfied, and not so much when things go well. If all postings are derogatory, that's one thing, but there are plenty of customers on here whose experiences have been fine. I imagine it would be quite possible to find unhappy customers on other forums which focus on other companies, too. Remember, too, that on a forum such as this we hear only side side of situations which involve two parties, and that there may be more behind each anecdote.
Thank-you for replying with your positive experiences.
I also have had positive experiences with Vanguard Service Reps over the past 20 years.
It is rare that I need to talk to a Vanguard Service Rep.
Maybe once every 3 years. Once every 3 years is what I expect... and how it should be.
I will sit in on the call to Vanguard with my relative (and keep my fingers crossed).

burt

gkaplan
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by gkaplan » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:50 pm

sport wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:42 pm
ruralavalon wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:09 pm
burt wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:28 am
Over the past few months I've finally convinced my relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard. It was a tough sell.
Now I'm reading this thread about poor customer service at Vanguard.
If the phone call to Vanguard doesn't go smooth, I'm afraid my relative will stop the transfer process.
I offered to sit in on the call to ease his concerns. After reading this thread, I now have concerns. :(

burt
I don't believe that this thread represents the typical experience at Vanguard. All of our funds are Vanguard funds, and all of our accounts are at Vanguard. I have never experienced any of the issues discussed here or had any bad experience with Vanguard customer service. The service has always been prompt, helpful, and professional.
This has been my experience as well. I have invested at Vanguard since 1980. Thirty seven years of good service for me. When asked, I recommend Vanguard to others.
Last night I tried to change my distribution elections online for both dividends and capital gains. At first I tried to do both in the same transaction, but I couldn't do this, so I just changed the distribution elections for dividends. Having done this successfully, I got a confirmation, which I printed out. I then tried to changed the distribution elections for capital gains. For some reason, I couldn't do this, although I tried several times. After several attempts, I sent a secure message asking for their help. They told me I would get an email response within one or two hours. As this was late at night, I spent about thirty minutes watching a video and then went to bed. (On reflection, I probably should have logged out of Vanguard and then logged back in, which probably would have enabled me to change the distribution elections for capital gains, but that's water over the dam. At any rate, when I turned my computer on the next morning about 1130 PST, I had an email from Vanguard telling me that I had a secure message. I logged on to Vanguard, and the secure message said that a representative (I don't remember his name.) had changed the distribution elections for capital gains. The secure message gave a phone number to call. Just to make sure, I called the number and talked to a representative (not the name of the person in the secure message). I explained to him the problem I had last night and the secure message I received in response to mine. I then asked him if he could verify that the distribution elections for both dividends and capital gains had changed. After repeating to him what I had wanted done, he patiently verified that the changes had been made for dividend and capital gains.

This might seem to some this confirmed Vanguard has a customer service problem, but to me it showed that its customer service is great, because it initially and a second time confirmed that changes had been made for dividend and capital gains.
Gordon

dbr
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by dbr » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:55 am

gkaplan wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:50 pm
sport wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:42 pm
ruralavalon wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:09 pm
burt wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:28 am
Over the past few months I've finally convinced my relative to move from Edward Jones to Vanguard. It was a tough sell.
Now I'm reading this thread about poor customer service at Vanguard.
If the phone call to Vanguard doesn't go smooth, I'm afraid my relative will stop the transfer process.
I offered to sit in on the call to ease his concerns. After reading this thread, I now have concerns. :(

burt
I don't believe that this thread represents the typical experience at Vanguard. All of our funds are Vanguard funds, and all of our accounts are at Vanguard. I have never experienced any of the issues discussed here or had any bad experience with Vanguard customer service. The service has always been prompt, helpful, and professional.
This has been my experience as well. I have invested at Vanguard since 1980. Thirty seven years of good service for me. When asked, I recommend Vanguard to others.
Last night I tried to change my distribution elections online for both dividends and capital gains. At first I tried to do both in the same transaction, but I couldn't do this, so I just changed the distribution elections for dividends. Having done this successfully, I got a confirmation, which I printed out. I then tried to changed the distribution elections for capital gains. For some reason, I couldn't do this, although I tried several times. After several attempts, I sent a secure message asking for their help. They told me I would get an email response within one or two hours. As this was late at night, I spent about thirty minutes watching a video and then went to bed. (On reflection, I probably should have logged out of Vanguard and then logged back in, which probably would have enabled me to change the distribution elections for capital gains, but that's water over the dam. At any rate, when I turned my computer on the next morning about 1130 PST, I had an email from Vanguard telling me that I had a secure message. I logged on to Vanguard, and the secure message said that a representative (I don't remember his name.) had changed the distribution elections for capital gains. The secure message gave a phone number to call. Just to make sure, I called the number and talked to a representative (not the name of the person in the secure message). I explained to him the problem I had last night and the secure message I received in response to mine. I then asked him if he could verify that the distribution elections for both dividends and capital gains had changed. After repeating to him what I had wanted done, he patiently verified that the changes had been made for dividend and capital gains.

This might seem to some this confirmed Vanguard has a customer service problem, but to me it showed that its customer service is great, because it initially and a second time confirmed that changes had been made for dividend and capital gains.
The customer service was good, but it also wasn't good because you had to go to a human interface to fix a problem that never, ever should have occurred in the first place. If you wander around on the web you read lots of instances where the real customer problem at all kinds of companies is inexplicably non-functional IT and you just have to shake your head.

an_asker
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Re: Vanguard Customer Service

Post by an_asker » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:26 am

splinke wrote:
Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:54 am
[...]This is post #4, but it could have been split up into three or four separate ones. :D
If you intend to catch up with the Livesofts around, you're not doing good! ;-)

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