Customer Service with Vanguard

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
GmanJeff
Posts: 496
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:12 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by GmanJeff » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:11 pm

bondsr4me wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:30 am
GmanJeff wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:07 am
No problems whatsoever here. Specialists are looped in while I'm still on the phone whenever necessary (e.g. the Transfer Dept. brought in to help move assets, Brokerage added on to the call to help with a transaction), and they follow up spontaneously a few days later to ensure I am not having any issues completing required paperwork and to inquire whether I need any additional assistance. Whenever I send a message through the messaging system, I receive either a written reply or a telephone call in response, almost always within a few hours.
the messaging system seems to take until the next day for me.
VG needs to get up with the times and have a real time chat system.
Saving on costs at the expense of good features is nonsense.
I sent a message yesterday to my PAS advisor. He called me within a couple of hours.

WorkingClassInvestor
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:22 pm

Vanguard Crappy customer service since Personal Advisor Services push?

Post by WorkingClassInvestor » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:40 pm

Has anyone noticed that the quality of service @ Vanguard has gone down since they started emphasizing the “Vanguard Personal Advisor Services”?
Things were smooth & well-run for My last 15 years as a customer; but since they started pushing their Advisor services we have been consistently having problems (incorrect advice on which form(s) to submit, no communication/notification when something had gone wrong with the process -twice!-, and an utter lack of computer records and/or knowledge by the (different) customer service reps about our previous Vanguard conversations for the ongoing problem (despite the fact that every single phone call has been “recorded”)...... It is now going on six months since my mother tried to open a new account, fund it, and authorize me to trade on it .....
All I keep thinking is that *****It shouldn’t be this difficult****.....
Could this possibly be part of a larger strategy to steer customers to higher-fee services?
Seems like more than a coincidence to me......

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 57365
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:22 pm

Welcome! I moved your post into the on-going discussion.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

roscoe88
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:13 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by roscoe88 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:17 am

I have been tickled with vanguard in the short time I've been with them and fully intend to stick with them forever. They are a superior company in my opinion.... It just seems some people need something to complain about and probably will be just as unhappy elsewhere.

kazper
Posts: 626
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:45 pm

Vanguard’s subpar customer service strikes again

Post by kazper » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:30 pm

[Thread merged into here, see below. --admin LadyGeek]

Vanguard royally messed up on what should have been a simple rcharecterization.

I submitted paperwork to have it done. A month later we receive a call saying the matter is best handled over the phone. We call and walk through the rechacterization with the agent. At this point I think everything is all set.

A week later the transaction hits and it is for more than the amount and it is a conversion instead of a recharacterization. We call again to square things up and are told 1. A recharacterization happened as it was supposed to earlier, so why we receive an email/call saying it needed to be handled over the phone is beyond me and 2. They cannot undo the conversion because of the new tax laws.

This is my first major experince with vanguard customer service and it only validates a lot of what I have read about them on this board. I’m super annoyed and don’t think I will be able to trust in their customer service with any future matters after this incident.

Seriously considering moving my accounts to somewhere that knows what they are doing.

User avatar
whodidntante
Posts: 6526
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2016 11:11 pm
Location: outside the echo chamber

Re: Vanguard’s subpar customer service strikes again

Post by whodidntante » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:18 pm

Vanguard was really cool and innovative 40 years ago (OK, they were never cool). But this is 2019. I would go to a broker that pays a cash money bonus, or that has lower expense ratio funds.

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 15639
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: Vanguard’s subpar customer service strikes again

Post by abuss368 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:42 pm

With the tax act of 2017 one can convert Traditional IRA to Roth IRA and pay any tax due. However, you can not reverse and recharacterize the converted amount back. I believe this was effective for the 2018 tax year.
John C. Bogle: "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

stan1
Posts: 7555
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Vanguard’s subpar customer service strikes again

Post by stan1 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:28 pm

Vanguard should have paper and voice records they can review if you want to pursue this as their mistake. If you can get them to admit that the conversion is their mistake based on the written and voice records they have more options to correct it. It sounds like they are currently treating it as your mistake not their mistake. If you never authorized a conversion they made an unauthorized transaction. Write a factual unemotional letter notifying them of their mistake, ask them to review the records, and correct it.

megabad
Posts: 2460
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: Vanguard’s subpar customer service strikes again

Post by megabad » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:10 pm

stan1 wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:28 pm
Vanguard should have paper and voice records they can review if you want to pursue this as their mistake. If you can get them to admit that the conversion is their mistake based on the written and voice records they have more options to correct it. It sounds like they are currently treating it as your mistake not their mistake. If you never authorized a conversion they made an unauthorized transaction. Write a factual unemotional letter notifying them of their mistake, ask them to review the records, and correct it.
+1 if what you are saying is true, this is a relatively simple fix. You do not want them to recharacterize a conversion, you want them to correct their error. It is my experience that Vanguard procedure is to scan all inbound legal docs and record all customer service calls so this would require minimal investigation.

SoonerD
Posts: 241
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 8:28 pm

Re: Vanguard’s subpar customer service strikes again

Post by SoonerD » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:31 pm

kazper wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:30 pm
Vanguard royally messed up on what should have been a simple rcharecterization.

I submitted paperwork to have it done. A month later we receive a call saying the matter is best handled over the phone. We call and walk through the rechacterization with the agent. At this point I think everything is all set.

A week later the transaction hits and it is for more than the amount and it is a conversion instead of a recharacterization. We call again to square things up and are told 1. A recharacterization happened as it was supposed to earlier, so why we receive an email/call saying it needed to be handled over the phone is beyond me and 2. They cannot undo the conversion because of the new tax laws.

This is my first major experince with vanguard customer service and it only validates a lot of what I have read about them on this board. I’m super annoyed and don’t think I will be able to trust in their customer service with any future matters after this incident.

Seriously considering moving my accounts to somewhere that knows what they are doing.
Please let us know the company you find that never makes mistakes.

stocknoob4111
Posts: 806
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:52 pm

Re: Vanguard’s subpar customer service strikes again

Post by stocknoob4111 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:02 am

I've always had excellent customer service from VG, perhaps I just got lucky.

SxSW
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:25 am

Re: Vanguard’s subpar customer service strikes again

Post by SxSW » Sat Apr 06, 2019 11:01 am

There should be a recording of the original phone conversation, and if they performed a transaction you didn't request, they should be able to reverse it.
Last edited by SxSW on Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

montanagirl
Posts: 1207
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:55 pm
Location: Montana

Re: Vanguard’s subpar customer service strikes again

Post by montanagirl » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:07 pm

stocknoob4111 wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:02 am
I've always had excellent customer service from VG, perhaps I just got lucky.
Me too. It was a VG guy who got me into my first Roth by recharacterizing a tIRA when I realized I'd gotten my taxable income so low there was nothing to deduct against.

Really grateful for that. I always figured I was too low income for a Roth.

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 57365
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:18 pm

I merged kazper's thread into the on-going discussion.

Let's use a single thread for Vanguard customer service.

Website complaints can be posted here: Do others dislike Vanguard's new website as much as me?

Update: I also merged Crimsontide's thread into here (start on Page 3).
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

yousha
Posts: 323
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:36 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by yousha » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:29 pm

As with most things in life, folks have differing opinions. I, for one, have had no issues or complaints with Vanguard.

4nwestsaylng
Posts: 509
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:03 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:51 pm

I like the Vanguard funds and still primarily use them, but when it came time to simplify my accounts, I transferred my Vanguard accounts over to my Schwab accounts,precisely because over the years I just found the Schwab reps more intelligent and "with it" when I had questions. I never had a specific problem with Vanguard, but did not have confidence in their customer service. YMMV

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 16481
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by ruralavalon » Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:55 pm

4nwestsaylng wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 4:51 pm
I like the Vanguard funds and still primarily use them, but when it came time to simplify my accounts, I transferred my Vanguard accounts over to my Schwab accounts,precisely because over the years I just found the Schwab reps more intelligent and "with it" when I had questions. I never had a specific problem with Vanguard, but did not have confidence in their customer service. YMMV
You had no specific problem with Vanguard customer service.

What does "with it" mean in terms of customer service?
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

4nwestsaylng
Posts: 509
Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:03 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:16 pm

By "with it" I mean that I don't have to explain the problem several times for it to be understood. As I stated, "YMMV", I don't doubt many on this forum have had great experiences with Vanguard, but this thread topic I believe is open to all experiences, not just a Vanguard "love-in".

User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:33 pm

I called Vanguard yesterday for the first time in quite a while due to a problem with PayPal not accepting the established routing and account numbers for direct deposit for funds redemption. I had virtually no wait, and good support from the Vanguard side. I was able to conference the rep in on a call to PayPal, but unfortunately PayPal was ZERO help, and the low-level folks I spoke with didn’t seem to clearly understand their own systems and restrictions. No fault of Vanguard’s. They did everything I could reasonably expect, but we hit a wall on the other end of the line.

More generally on this topic, I wonder how much of the apparent dissatisfaction is coming from the large volume of new clients and the fact that some people just need a lot of hand-holding and frequently find things to complain about. I am sure there are many completely legitimate special-cause issues, but thankfully I have not experienced anything systemic with Vanguard customer service.

Also, Vanguard’s iOS app is rated at an average of 4.8 versus a lowly 4.7 for Fidelity. Case closed? . . .

sixtyforty
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:22 pm
Location: USA

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by sixtyforty » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:00 am

New Vanguard customer here. Just recently moved our Schwab accounts over. I have found the CS to be excellent at Vanguard. Contrary to what you read on these forums, I found Schwab CS somewhat lacking especially if you do the online chat. Granted, Vanguards' website doesn't have the eye-candy UI that Schwab or Fidelity does but I have found the tools to be excellent. Love that Portfolio testing tool and the ability to easily see and review the funds by asset class. I'm not sure one is better than the other, it really comes down to which institution meets your expectations...
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo Da Vinci

User avatar
ruralavalon
Posts: 16481
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:29 am
Location: Illinois

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by ruralavalon » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:10 am

4nwestsaylng wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:16 pm
By "with it" I mean that I don't have to explain the problem several times for it to be understood. As I stated, "YMMV", I don't doubt many on this forum have had great experiences with Vanguard, but this thread topic I believe is open to all experiences, not just a Vanguard "love-in".
Of course this thread is open to all experiences, I just asked what you meant because I didn't understand your comment.
"Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein | Wiki article link:Getting Started

SCY
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by SCY » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:19 am

I have or supervise at least 20 different Vanguard family accounts. Some receive deposits the old fashioned way, no direct deposit. This past month I have one, maybe 2 envelopes that never arrived.

Customer Service has been outrageous. Only now do I learn that the Atlanta facility has been closed. I was never given notice, never sent new deposit slips, never any word.

I used the old school / Vanguard envelope, send to address on the deposit slip.. have been doing this, or my father did this the same way for at least 35 years.

Anyone else have this problem where the checks are lost, Vanguard is useless, never received notification not to use the Vanguard Atlanta address? Anyone get any realistic help from Vanguard on this same kind of issue?

User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:35 am

Shouldn't the post office be returning those mailings? Did you include a return address?

SCY
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by SCY » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:43 am

yes. the first one, succeeded in putting a stop payment on the checks. the second one, it's very complicated and time consuming.. especially calling AST.. only after attempting to trace the first one did the guy at Vanguard mention, (after I told him where I sent the checks), did he say Atlanta office is closed. I only mailed the second envelope that's MIA on the 19th.

When you write the message center their answers are not consistent. In the future won't send anything like that to Vanguard.. direct deposit has had a problem with the set up due to Vanguard's checks and the direct deposit bank not being the same, but I could work on that. I'm just worried about this last envelope. This is how Vanguard treats their clients these days? We're talking about accounts with considerable funds. We're talking about a customer/ family who has been with Vanguard for well over 30 years. ???

User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:49 am

Best would have been if they set up a forwarding service for any legitimate mail sent to that address.

arf30
Posts: 598
Joined: Sat Dec 28, 2013 11:55 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by arf30 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:51 am

In my experience customer service is fine with handling a regular taxable brokerage account. Anything more "complicated", like tax advantaged accounts, retirement accounts, trusts etc is where they start bungling things and we've moved those types of accounts elsewhere.

sport
Posts: 8429
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by sport » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:18 am

arf30 wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:51 am
In my experience customer service is fine with handling a regular taxable brokerage account. Anything more "complicated", like tax advantaged accounts, retirement accounts, trusts etc is where they start bungling things and we've moved those types of accounts elsewhere.
In my experience Vanguard customer service is fine with handling taxable accounts, TIRA accounts, Roth IRA accounts, trust accounts, and transfers from 401K accounts.

JBeck
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:54 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by JBeck » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:25 am

I have experienced website/IT issues and poor customer service, the user interface is also behind their competitors. I love this site and Vanguard products but unfortunately I'm in the process of moving all IRA's to TD Ameritrade

EddyB
Posts: 1027
Joined: Fri May 24, 2013 3:43 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by EddyB » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:37 am

Munir wrote:
Sun Apr 01, 2018 6:17 am
I have been with Vanguard for over 30 years and will stay with it till I die. There will always be some people who have legitimate problems with any organization and some people who are chronic complainers and never happy. It would be informative to see some hard data instead of just anecdotal complaints. Moreover, the number of complainers has to be considered as a percentage of the total number of clients and compare that to Fidelity, Schwab, etc. We don't have any such numbers. The WSJ article used social media comments as a source of information! Remember that Vanguard is the largest organization in the field for some reason- if it was a poor performer in customer relations, it would be losing customers and assets instead of showing this remarkable growth.
We’d also need to know how many customers just don’t realize that errors or other issues have occurred. In the end, I don’t think we’re going to get any such meaningful data.

I don’t think your conclusion follows from the fact that Vanguard is the largest organization, though. Customer service is just one factor.

SCY
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by SCY » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:43 am

i don't think most people know or think about that there might be mistakes on their IRA's. Reinvested dividends? But a company that doesn't notify a long standing customer/ family not to use the issued deposit slips or the address on the deposit slips, and lets envelope(s) of checks to go missing, (bringing on worries of identify theft and difficulties with stop payments) doesn't really care about any of us (anymore). They used to but they don't now.

Suggestions what to do about it.. are they going to fix these problems, or continue to displace blame, like on other departments within Vanguard. (The flagship guy wrote me the change of address and notifications weren't through his department, end of story).

User avatar
Wiggums
Posts: 1708
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:02 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Wiggums » Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:54 am

SCY wrote:
Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:19 am
I have or supervise at least 20 different Vanguard family accounts. Some receive deposits the old fashioned way, no direct deposit. This past month I have one, maybe 2 envelopes that never arrived.

Customer Service has been outrageous. Only now do I learn that the Atlanta facility has been closed. I was never given notice, never sent new deposit slips, never any word.

I used the old school / Vanguard envelope, send to address on the deposit slip.. have been doing this, or my father did this the same way for at least 35 years.

Anyone else have this problem where the checks are lost, Vanguard is useless, never received notification not to use the Vanguard Atlanta address? Anyone get any realistic help from Vanguard on this same kind of issue?
I do everything electronically. Been with Fidelity and vanguard for over 20 years. I’m happy with both, but I rarely need assistance. I’ve only called to clarify a procedure and transfer assets.

There is no harm in trying another broker. Maybe the Grass is greener on the other side or maybe it’s not. I think you will be Happy with another broker until they make a rookie mistake.

Good luck to you...

User avatar
fandango
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:44 pm
Location: Greater Atlanta area

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by fandango » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:45 pm

Wait until you try working with the new "administrative team" instead of your old Flagship representative.

Waited 15 minutes for someone to respond. Never got an answer.

This is "progress"?

SCY
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by SCY » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:12 pm

I'm wondering if they even care! Customer since the early 80's. Due to a bunch of technicalities for some securities the easiest way to deposit dividends is the old fashioned way.. a check, mail it in... so it doesn't help to get a copy/ paste how to do direct deposit. If I could do that I would.

They have every right to close their Atlanta facility for receiving checks, but not to notify clients of an address change, I call that outrageous. I'm talking about for around 20 different accounts, not even one letter, email or anything announcing an address change. As a consequence I've got around 6K of missing checks out there. Vanguard will take no responsibility, won't help at all.. not if there's identity theft, check fraud, help tracing. NOTHING.

This is a bad sign, and a complete turnover from how they used to be when we trusted them to work with us.

557880yvi
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:11 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by 557880yvi » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:21 pm

Found out today, from 2 different Vanguard Reps on separate calls (both with miserable, frustrating and unacceptably poor service) that despite what Vanguard is telling Flagship customers (over the phone and in emails that state that a dedicated Flagship Team will still be there for us even if we don't have a specific rep) that in reality, there is no "Flagship Team". That in fact, all calls no matter what number you dial, go the the rep "pool" regardless of $1.00 or $5M in assets. Reps have been "taught how to handle Flagship customers" (but aren't we owners and not just customers?). Listen carefully to the wording they are using if you ask to be transferred to the Flagship group (they say you are receiving "Flagship" service from them but it does not exist any more).

So now you call and in the past month regardless of when I call or what number I call, no one ever answers. You only get a recorded message about a callback that always comes at an inconvenient time and so far, any rep who has returned the call had no clue how to help and so you get passed around multiple times, starting over with each new person who also can't help. And 10-15 minute "silent holds" which frequently end abruptly (IMHO I think the reps just put you on hold because they can't help and don't want to bother or don't know where to get your question answered- then hang up or assume you will give up).

The line I got today when I asked to speak to a manager in the Flagship group (after rep admitted they were not on the Flagship Team and that there was no such team/group any longer) - about why a $400,000 transaction for incoming funds to Vanguard, placed by Vanguard, has disappeared (at least my 10th attempt to call about this in the 2 weeks) I was told in a nutshell to chill, wait a few days and see if it showed up. Website said it was complete and deposited. But not in my account, not in transaction history, nowhere). They said that there were no managers to talk to, Flagship customers don't get any preferential treatment for calls and that they will now handle all customer calls the same (and said this like it was a great thing!)

Vanguard is making Verizon's or Comcast's Customer Service look they are a candidate for a JD Power award!

Devna
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:10 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Devna » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:59 am

Wow! All these negative comments about Vanguard customer service give me pause. I was just about to transfer an IRA to Vanguard from Morgan Stanley, but I'm having second thoughts about it now - not about moving the funds out of MS (which I can't wait to do!), but moving them into Vanguard. Some funds will be transferred in cash but not all. I'm worried about possible mishaps occurring during the transfer and having to spend lots of time trying to sort it out with Vanguard reps. Maybe, I'm worrying needlessly. I don't know if Schwab or Fidelity will have better customer service if I need it. Perhaps, if there were a Schwab or Fidelity discussion forum, we'd hear the same complaints. What to do? Get the money out of MS? Yes!!! But, where should I move it to? I truly like the ownership structure of Vanguard, but I need a firm that will work for me and provide me with good customer service if I need it. So, what say you? Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity?

P.S. If I already had a well-established account at Vanguard, I wouldn't be so concerned. I'm somewhat worried about the transfer process going smoothly, and possibly needing customer service help.

User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:41 am

Devna wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:59 am
Wow! All these negative comments about Vanguard customer service give me pause. I was just about to transfer an IRA to Vanguard from Morgan Stanley, but I'm having second thoughts about it now - not about moving the funds out of MS (which I can't wait to do!), but moving them into Vanguard. Some funds will be transferred in cash but not all. I'm worried about possible mishaps occurring during the transfer and having to spend lots of time trying to sort it out with Vanguard reps. Maybe, I'm worrying needlessly. I don't know if Schwab or Fidelity will have better customer service if I need it. Perhaps, if there were a Schwab or Fidelity discussion forum, we'd hear the same complaints. What to do? Get the money out of MS? Yes!!! But, where should I move it to? I truly like the ownership structure of Vanguard, but I need a firm that will work for me and provide me with good customer service if I need it. So, what say you? Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity?

P.S. If I already had a well-established account at Vanguard, I wouldn't be so concerned. I'm somewhat worried about the transfer process going smoothly, and possibly needing customer service help.
I wouldn't worry. This is a forum with a lot of Vanguard investors. You are not getting a representative sampling. People who unfortunately encounter problems are much more motivated to post about it than those that have a good experience or don't have issues. You see this everywhere. For example, my small local power company has 11 Google reviews, and ALL of them are 1-star, mostly from people who didn't pay their bills and got cut off. I've never had an issue with this power company, but I haven't posted an offsetting 5-star review. Should I judge the company based on it's 1-star average rating? I'm not suggesting that these folks haven't had legitimate problems with Vanguard, but there are MILLIONS of clients. It's not fair to judge the entire company based on singular negative interactions which may be more about the individual representative you reach and their knowledge base than anything else. With a lot of new staff to accommodate the growing client base, some of this is not unexpected. I'm only suggesting that focusing on a topic related mostly to negative experiences on a Vanguard-centric forum is apt to give you a skewed perception of what you are likely to encounter. Nowhere is perfect. Just be patient. It will be fine. My experiences with Vanguard have been good, for whatever that's worth. 5 stars!

bondsr4me
Posts: 1221
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:08 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by bondsr4me » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:00 am

Devna wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:59 am
Wow! All these negative comments about Vanguard customer service give me pause. I was just about to transfer an IRA to Vanguard from Morgan Stanley, but I'm having second thoughts about it now - not about moving the funds out of MS (which I can't wait to do!), but moving them into Vanguard. Some funds will be transferred in cash but not all. I'm worried about possible mishaps occurring during the transfer and having to spend lots of time trying to sort it out with Vanguard reps. Maybe, I'm worrying needlessly. I don't know if Schwab or Fidelity will have better customer service if I need it. Perhaps, if there were a Schwab or Fidelity discussion forum, we'd hear the same complaints. What to do? Get the money out of MS? Yes!!! But, where should I move it to? I truly like the ownership structure of Vanguard, but I need a firm that will work for me and provide me with good customer service if I need it. So, what say you? Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity?

P.S. If I already had a well-established account at Vanguard, I wouldn't be so concerned. I'm somewhat worried about the transfer process going smoothly, and possibly needing customer service help.
I'm not going to throw a lot of dirt at Vanguard because I think they are a victim of their own success....grew way too fast with inadequate preparation for it. That, to me, is a management (or lack thereof) issue.
The often mentioned idea that we are "owners" of Vanguard is hooey to me; I have never once seen a financial statement from Vanguard; never once had a vote or say on corporate affairs. At least with Schwab being a publicly held company, you get audited financials and other information.
That being said, you can't go wrong if you choose Fidelity or Schwab. They are both top notch for service and website.
Good Luck with whomever you choose.

User avatar
fandango
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:44 pm
Location: Greater Atlanta area

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by fandango » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:14 am

Completed some RMD transactions this morning. That went smoothly no problem.

THEN, I was transferred to a "Flagship Representative" to complete my transition to the new brokerage platform. This was for the second time since no one answered the phone the first time I called.

After 15 minutes talking the representative and mid way through the process, my call was disconnected. Never received a call back. I called back to try to reach the same person and was given a new representative who said she would get the original representative for me to complete the process. I never heard back from her.

I called again and got another representative who actually walked me through the process. Victory!

What should have taken 10 minutes turned into 95 minutes! What bothered me most was that Vanguard initiated this change in platform, but I had to spend my time working with inept, discourteous reps to really make it happen. Couldn't they have automated this process? :confused Not the Vanguard I started investing in 40 years ago.

The most frustrating thing to me is that Vanguard is like a giant marshmallow. There is no one in charge to complain to about problems. The reps say that they will pass complaints on to upper management, but I seriously doubt if this ever happens. :confused

Time for me to look for another investment home.

User avatar
Munir
Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:39 pm
Location: Oregon

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Munir » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:21 am

Cheez-It Guy wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:41 am
Devna wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:59 am
Wow! All these negative comments about Vanguard customer service give me pause. I was just about to transfer an IRA to Vanguard from Morgan Stanley, but I'm having second thoughts about it now - not about moving the funds out of MS (which I can't wait to do!), but moving them into Vanguard. Some funds will be transferred in cash but not all. I'm worried about possible mishaps occurring during the transfer and having to spend lots of time trying to sort it out with Vanguard reps. Maybe, I'm worrying needlessly. I don't know if Schwab or Fidelity will have better customer service if I need it. Perhaps, if there were a Schwab or Fidelity discussion forum, we'd hear the same complaints. What to do? Get the money out of MS? Yes!!! But, where should I move it to? I truly like the ownership structure of Vanguard, but I need a firm that will work for me and provide me with good customer service if I need it. So, what say you? Vanguard, Schwab, Fidelity?

P.S. If I already had a well-established account at Vanguard, I wouldn't be so concerned. I'm somewhat worried about the transfer process going smoothly, and possibly needing customer service help.
I wouldn't worry. This is a forum with a lot of Vanguard investors. You are not getting a representative sampling. People who unfortunately encounter problems are much more motivated to post about it than those that have a good experience or don't have issues. You see this everywhere. For example, my small local power company has 11 Google reviews, and ALL of them are 1-star, mostly from people who didn't pay their bills and got cut off. I've never had an issue with this power company, but I haven't posted an offsetting 5-star review. Should I judge the company based on it's 1-star average rating? I'm not suggesting that these folks haven't had legitimate problems with Vanguard, but there are MILLIONS of clients. It's not fair to judge the entire company based on singular negative interactions which may be more about the individual representative you reach and their knowledge base than anything else. With a lot of new staff to accommodate the growing client base, some of this is not unexpected. I'm only suggesting that focusing on a topic related mostly to negative experiences on a Vanguard-centric forum is apt to give you a skewed perception of what you are likely to encounter. Nowhere is perfect. Just be patient. It will be fine. My experiences with Vanguard have been good, for whatever that's worth. 5 stars!
Totally agree with above comments by Cheez-It Guy.

User avatar
HueyLD
Posts: 7158
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:30 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by HueyLD » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:22 am

Gosh, it is so dreadful to read such bad customer service experiences.

It appears that Vanguard operates on the "don't call me nor will I call you back" principle. I rarely call them, but if I call and receive such bad services, I will definitely send a letter to the CEO.

Where is Jack Bogle's Vanguard?

MichCPA
Posts: 803
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:06 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by MichCPA » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:31 am

HueyLD wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:22 am
Gosh, it is so dreadful to read such bad customer service experiences.

It appears that Vanguard operates on the "don't call me nor will I call you back" principle. I rarely call them, but if I call and receive such bad services, I will definitely send a letter to the CEO.

Where is Jack Bogle's Vanguard?
In the age of no fee ETF trades, there is little reason to hold funds at VG (except Money markets, funds that don't have ETF versions).

A good product isn't enough to overcome bad service anymore.

bondsr4me
Posts: 1221
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:08 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by bondsr4me » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:54 am

MichCPA wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:31 am
HueyLD wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:22 am
Gosh, it is so dreadful to read such bad customer service experiences.

It appears that Vanguard operates on the "don't call me nor will I call you back" principle. I rarely call them, but if I call and receive such bad services, I will definitely send a letter to the CEO.

Where is Jack Bogle's Vanguard?
In the age of no fee ETF trades, there is little reason to hold funds at VG (except Money markets, funds that don't have ETF versions).

A good product isn't enough to overcome bad service anymore.
+1

User avatar
Munir
Posts: 2549
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 4:39 pm
Location: Oregon

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Munir » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:12 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:22 am
Gosh, it is so dreadful to read such bad customer service experiences.

It appears that Vanguard operates on the "don't call me nor will I call you back" principle. I rarely call them, but if I call and receive such bad services, I will definitely send a letter to the CEO.

Where is Jack Bogle's Vanguard?
Isn't "the bad customer service experiences" a small minority view?

sport
Posts: 8429
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by sport » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:40 pm

I am not accusing anyone of anything. However, whenever I read really bad reviews of a company, I wonder if any of them have been placed by the competitors of that company. There is no verification nor accountability for any of these reviews. :twisted:

User avatar
Wiggums
Posts: 1708
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:02 am

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Wiggums » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:58 pm

sport wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:40 pm
I am not accusing anyone of anything. However, whenever I read really bad reviews of a company, I wonder if any of them have been placed by the competitors of that company. There is no verification nor accountability for any of these reviews. :twisted:
It won’t be the first time that a company has asked people to post negative comments. See “Cosmetics Firm Sunday Riley, CEO Settle FTC Charges That Employees Posted Fake Online Reviews at CEO’s Direction“. we are turning into a society that would prefer to post online instead of communicating with the company directly to resolve issues.

I had a boss who was happiest when he complained. One year, we had a company goal to improve customer satisfaction that was tied to our bonuses. How quickly did his negativity turn into complements and suggestions for improvement. Unfortunately, the following year, He went right back to his negative attitude.

557880yvi
Posts: 85
Joined: Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:11 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by 557880yvi » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:45 pm

fandango wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:14 am
Completed some RMD transactions this morning. That went smoothly no problem.

THEN, I was transferred to a "Flagship Representative" to complete my transition to the new brokerage platform. This was for the second time since no one answered the phone the first time I called.

After 15 minutes talking the representative and mid way through the process, my call was disconnected. Never received a call back. I called back to try to reach the same person and was given a new representative who said she would get the original representative for me to complete the process. I never heard back from her.

I called again and got another representative who actually walked me through the process. Victory!

What should have taken 10 minutes turned into 95 minutes! What bothered me most was that Vanguard initiated this change in platform, but I had to spend my time working with inept, discourteous reps to really make it happen. Couldn't they have automated this process? :confused Not the Vanguard I started investing in 40 years ago.

The most frustrating thing to me is that Vanguard is like a giant marshmallow. There is no one in charge to complain to about problems. The reps say that they will pass complaints on to upper management, but I seriously doubt if this ever happens. :confused

Time for me to look for another investment home.
Same miserable experience this month. Problems with a very large transaction (that was initiated by Vanguard and should be one of the most straightforward and most common they process). Hours on end of trying to get through to a Flagship person (no one answers, call-backs come when you can't answer) When you can finally answer the call-back the person on the other end has no experience, training in the area of your request but insists on "helping you". Clear that they don't even understand your question (but puts you through the "3rd degree", wasting more time. Won't transfer you or only does after putting you on hold many times to "talk to a colleague" and frequently the call drops (or they hang up).

Found out yesterday after nearly 4 hours of trying to get someone at Vanguard who find out why my transaction, initiated 2 weeks ago had disappeared even though their website said it was completed and in my account (not in the account, no activity, transaction - MIA) the following:

1. There is no Flagship group any longer, calls from Flagship customers go to the same reps that service all customers - the call center pool. They have been taught how to "handle Flagship requests". The actually said that all customer calls are being answered the same way whether you have $1 or $1M. This was confirmed by 2 different reps. DESPITE an email yesterday telling me the "my Flagship Team" was still there to help me! So I responded, how do I reach them then? No answer.

2. You can't rely on their website to show correct information (WHAT?) so not to rely on it to determine if my money had been transferred. They said there are a lot of problems with the website (OMG). That I should just wait a few days to see if it shows up (really, almost a half a million dollars in outer space somewhere, floating around, not invested and no one can tell me where it is and I should just wait a few days?)

3. No managers available (ever) to talk to customers - they don't do that anymore. You can ask for a manager call back but it probably won't be a manager, maybe a senior rep.

I also had enormous problems in the past 2 years getting assets transferred into my accounts correctly and if I did not have a great deal of familiarity from my career about these things were supposed to work, may not have picked up on a number of mistake made (including issues of incorrectly reinvesting accrued dividends on transferred equities - they had to send me a sizable check to cover those errors).

To the comments made by others that these are fake commentary -that is absurd. I am not a fake reviewer or a competitor - I am a more than 25-year Vanguard customer and don't think the others who have taken the time to respond are fake either. And our comments are not from a Yelp type review where one generally finds mostly negative comments. Feedback about Vanguard CS was provided to help others here with their questions about our experiences. This is my current, real and honest experience, much from just this week.

neilpilot
Posts: 2798
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by neilpilot » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:05 pm

Posts like the couple just made confirm my decision, when I retired, to move assets from Vanguard to a discount broker with a local office.
Last edited by neilpilot on Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Housedoc
Posts: 452
Joined: Thu May 24, 2018 4:25 pm
Location: Alabama

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Housedoc » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:04 pm

When and if I encounter bad service I will evaluate switching. I have had nothing but good service on at least two dozen interactions in the last few years.

User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 245
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by Cheez-It Guy » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:56 pm

neilpilot wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:05 pm
Posts like the couple just made confirm my decision, when I retired, to move assets from Vanguard to a discount broker with a local office.
Ever heard of confirmation bias? If you seek it, you will find it.

User avatar
RickBoglehead
Posts: 4476
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:10 am
Location: In a house

Re: Customer Service with Vanguard

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:04 pm

Cheez-It Guy wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:56 pm
neilpilot wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:05 pm
Posts like the couple just made confirm my decision, when I retired, to move assets from Vanguard to a discount broker with a local office.
Ever heard of confirmation bias? If you seek it, you will find it.
Vanguard has over 30 million investors. 25 negative experiences doesn't mean squat.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

Post Reply