Consumer Complaints and Reviews
Mom had a revocable trust (sometimes called living trust). When she died, we called Vanguard, who immediately cut off access to the funds. We submitted all the correct forms within a few days. Nothing happened for a month. When we called, we were told that a specific individual was assigned to this account but he was NEVER available. Would not return calls. Nada. Finally, after 2 months of calling and writing to increasingly important people up to the CFO, the a new account was created with the successor trustee. The cost basis was not updated, as required by federal law. If the Vanguard results stood, we would have been responsible for over $74,000 in taxes which was wrong. Another 4 weeks of agony.
During that time, I spoke to the 'responsible' person at Vanguard who refused to change anything. Finally, a person from the brokerage unit called. I explained the 8 weeks of agony. He fixed the problem in one day! We transferred half a million dollars to Fidelity. Vanguard funds perform well. The rest of the company has gone to ** in a handbag.
In Nov. I went to the bank and had their financial officer help me roll my 401k over and all was set but the check never showed. Vanguard insists that it has to be mailed and it takes 7 to 10 days. I waited and nothing. I called and they said they never processed it and could not explain why they didn't... I had to go through it all again and again the check never showed up. I called again and they canceled that check and supposedly sent another and it has not shown up as well. Here it is Jan 7 and NO CHECK plus my 401k is not earning anything. I am losing money. When I talked with Vanguard they are very unapologetic not taking responsibility and when it was suggested to overnight it they couldn't because I had no way of paying unless I had a FedEx account. You would think after all this they would PAY FedEx to overnight that check. I am angry and am getting a lawyer and I am suing! This is no way to do business with people!
I spent two hours trying to make a simple 401k withdrawal this a.m. Neither the website nor three other representatives whom I spoke with were able to assist me. Finally, I was told I needed a "termination transaction." It's important to never identify yourself as a dissatisfied customer or you will spend another hour waiting on hold like I did.
I opened an account in 2016 and have tried to change the account from sole name to a joint account. I have suffered long wait on telephone (over 30mins) then I got cut off. Missed faxes. Customer service reps gave conflicting advice. Wrong forms were sent, filled in and then and new ones were resent. Once the right ones were faxed and the representative said it would take 15 business days to deal with this request as they were so overloaded (that was nearly 4 weeks over the holiday period). The reps are all very nice but the system is broken - highly manual, forms difficult to find online, use of snail mail and general 21st century systems, applications and digital signatures.
I been investing in Vanguard for many years. It seems each year the company is getting worse in Customer service. They don't answer your questions correctly, they end of b s you, when requesting to talk to a Supervisor they tell you they are not available. What you can't understand they have your money and they really don't care. I would not recommend Vanguard at all and will transfer all money to another company. You expect more from a company that has your money.
How do I know I can trust these reviews about Vanguard?
- 667,311 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
- We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
- We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
- Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.
For more information about reviews on ConsumerAffairs.com please visit our FAQ.
I created an account online with rep. Jon **, a nice, professional-sounding guy. The system said it had a problem with my identity. I was shocked but since I had changed my name (legally) in 2010, I thought maybe it was a fluke. I told him my former name and he said, "No, it is not showing up as THAT name." I let it go and proceeded with the process as the system seemed to let us move forward. He indicated that he would mail me the papers overnight delivery via Fedex, then corrected himself and said twice, "No, I'll send it via Postal express." The next day I received a FEDEX envelope with the return envelope enclosed, but no papers! I called and the rep. who took my call could not find me in the system.
Granted my account had not been finalized yet, I WAS registered with my social security number, and all other kinds of identifying info. This added to my concern re identity issues. I logged into my "account" (still in system) to complain requesting cancellation of the whole process. Jon responded, indicating that he sent two applications by mistake, one via Postal Ex. and the other via Fedex, with no apology for the empty Fedex package. Since then, I have received a Fedex package with the application enclosed. Should I expect a third mailing now from the post office??? Too many inconsistencies to establish any trust. I guess I ought to be grateful that I never gave them a chance to screw up my investments.
My wife recently tried to get money out of her account to pay the mortgage. 10 days have gone by no check. When she called getting the check canceled was no problem. They could FedEx to us overnight at our expense, but we had to have a FedEx account. Not sure how many ordinary people have FedEx accounts. The first time she took money out they offered direct deposit but did not do it. Once a check has been issued they would not do direct deposit, supposedly then anyone could get the money out of the for security reasons. If the check is void, and the account info for the direct deposit is same, there is no security issue that I can see. Furthermore, when I asked to speak to the supervisor, he never did do it, even though he put us on hold twice to speak to him. Incidentally I talked to the rep personally at my wife's request. I finally gave up and hope we receive the money in time.
I have tried multiple time over the past day or two to contact the "customer service" number at Vanguard so I can roll over my 401K. I have been on hold for 10 - 15 - 30 minutes with a message "all agents are busy - wait time is 5 to 7 minutes" (!), so eventually gave up. The "customer service" number I used was 1 800 523 9442 and one or two others when that did not work, but to no avail. I wonder if I should be even thinking of dealing with this organization to invest my money?!
My wife and I have been using Vanguard as a chief provider for our savings accounts for 30 years: Retirement, College, Personal. We were recently locked out of our college savings account. It took 20 phone calls and a certified letter to gain access to our account again. This occurred over a 60 day period. During this time, some idiot decided to blanket us and lock us out of the rest of our accounts. We were told that the notes on our account said we were posing as impostors. We have made numerous additional calls. There is never a supervisor available to speak with us. We have been given times to expect calls. The calls never come. Then they said we had to send another certified letter! We did and followed up with a call and instead of unlocking our other accounts, they rest our college account.
The Vanguard funds are wonderful and I have enjoyed the ability to manage my own finances, but it has become nearly impossible to do now. I have wasted many hours over the past 3 months just trying to gain access to my accounts. The customer service people at Vanguard has totally hit bottom. As a client with a 7 figure balance I expect to receive better service from my financial partner, but perhaps Vanguard has grown too large for this to be possible anymore.
I have been trying to get a hold of Vanguard for the past week and end up being on hold for hours. Where is the sec enforcement people regarding protecting the consumer.
Customer service is not setup for quick or customer convenient resolution of matters. Phone calls can only be placed during working hours, tough for me to do. When you do call you go into a holding loop, first time after 40 minutes my phone was dead and I had to get back to work, second time it was about 20 minutes,. E-mail is a 2-10 day delay to get response for each email. Instructions are conflicting, in my case for a rollover I was told how to send and address check. After I mailed I received a phone from a representative who said 'Vanguard would not and could not' accept my check for legal reasons and I would to get new ones cut. Then Vanguard cashed the check and deposited into my account. At this point I am so frustrated. I still trying to get this money. Vanguard couldn't accept back to; I can invest at a broker who does have good customer service.
We have been Vanguard clients for over thirty years. Lately, we have been consolidating assets. Because of PAST good experiences we naturally chose Vanguard. Mistake! The higher level customer service numbers for larger accounts continually state that "Vanguard is currently closed" when it is absolutely not closed. Brokerage Reps can't answer questions. The entire situation is proving impossible.
I have made a big mistake relying on past experience when the organization is failing--excuse the Trumpism. It is clear that the explosion in assets Vanguard is receiving cannot be adequately managed and they are refusing to publicly acknowledge this fact. The failure to publicly own up is the greatest mistake an organization can make for its future. Vanguard evidently did not learn the 40-year-old lesson Johnson & Johnson taught the corporate world when they quickly admitted the Tylenol problem and thereby saved the company and the product.
Everything takes weeks to process. You call then wait on hold for 30-45 minutes in order to talk to someone who has no clue how to do anything. I have been trying to withdraw from my IRA for a month now, every time I call them I talk to some new 20-year old that has no clue what's going on and wants different documents. I keep sending them different signed documents. Still no money has been sent, meanwhile my account is losing money. I get an email every once in a while to contact them. I call them and get a new story every time.
Until earlier this year client services were generally very good at Vanguard. Then, suddenly the good people got promoted and the less experienced, read... know nothing reps moved in. Additionally, it was no longer possible to dial a number and be transferred to your reps phone. No. Now you push prompt 1, 2 or hold. And hold and hold. If you actually want to speak directly with your new inexperienced rep, then you're directed to make an appointment by going to their website! This is absolutely insane. I guess Flagship service is like saying Sewer service at this point. It also took them a month to do an institution to institution IRA transfer, after making me fill out paperwork twice. They are now totally clueless. Having funds with low charges is one thing, but providing zero competence to handle these funds is something else.
Absolutely the worst. Slow. Inaccurate. False promises. I brought my IRA money into Vanguard...a supposedly 10-day process. After 8 weeks, and still not getting my accounts set-up the way I wanted them...I finally gave up and transferred my funds to E-trade. Keeping true to the horrible Vanguard service, they are retaining a portion of my IRA, and not allowing it to be transferred to E-trade. Despite numerous phone calls, and false promises...it looks like things are going to get legal.
I created an online account for a traditional IRA on Oct 24. I was told to send in the paper work. I did. On Nov 14, I got an email about not receiving my paper work. I called and checked with them. They told me they did receive the paper work and it would need 7 business days and once the account has been created, they would send me an email. Today is Nov 21 and still have not received any information. I called them and they told me to call back another time and talked to someone else.
I submitted the required paperwork for Vanguard to roll over my 403B. Vanguard reported I didn't have the correct information. Then, after talking to numerous people at Vanguard, it was finally confirmed I did complete the correct paperwork; however, my ex-employer hadn't updated the plan administrator. I informed Vanguard the plan administrator had retired. I quit the job in March of 2013 and did not have access to the newest plan administrator information. Vanguard wanted me to update the plan administrator, but finally, after discussion with MORE workers at Vanguard, it was resolved that Vanguard would update the information.
I called 2 days later for confirmation that my plan would be rolled over, only to find out that Vanguard hadn't updated any information and that my ex-employer didn't know whether or not I had separated employment. Really? It's been since 2013. Who, at Vanguard, would accept that for an answer? Basically, Vanguard is content to sit on my money and charge me fees while not servicing or processing my request at all. I have had to call them repeatedly, and Vanguard HANG UP THE PHONE ON ME!!! They are completely incompetent and I, as the consumer, have no recourse for this unacceptable service. Boo. Badly played, Vanguard.
I have had to call Vanguard multiple times recently about rolling over my retirement account. I didn't speak to one cordial person. Every call I had to wait a minimum of 20 minutes for someone qualified to help since the first person answering said they were not. Then the qualified person would remind me that I was on a recorded line, and when I answered that I was not married they would read from a statement warning me about the consequences of perjury. I was told initially that the rollover forms would be mailed and I would have to mail them back. When I inquired about electronic transfers and asked the Vanguard representative to hold while I called Schwab for routing numbers she hung up while the information was being read to me.
Today when I asked why the wait was so long I was told it was election day, and when I said the wait was long every time she said that was why they extended their hours until 9PM. Following that I endured another 20-minute wait, heard again that I was being recorded and was again warned not to perjure myself. I learned that if/when the completed forms were deemed acceptable I would be assigned a trade date, the amount would be fixed, and then it would take 1-2 days for the electronic transfer. If Vanguard can't afford to upgrade their software for wire transfers and hire more qualified people to speak to investors they should at least write a new script for them to read.
So I needed an emergency disbursement of funds. I can only say the whole mechanics of this disbursement was poor. First of all, the agent lack knowledge and the ability to give direction on how to handle issue. I needed a small amount. I asked that all taxes be removed. I stated how much I needed. I was disbursed lower than I needed. I feel since I stated the gross I needed, he should have had calculated that into the request to ensure I received the base. He told me I had to calculate myself the tax to be removed. What? This is not my only IRA. Second, I couldn't register my account because my name is wrong in their computer. So now I have to incur the cost of a notary to correct my name which has always been my name.
Third, so now since I do not have the needed amount, I have to make a second disbursement which I will pay tax on and now have to pay a penalty. UGH. This should never happen. So in order to ensure I receive that money, because now we are into 8 business days, 10 regular days, and I don't have a check in hand. I have to incur 35 dollars more to pay for FEDEX delivery!
Today, we are 12 days in, 10 business days, NO CHECK! I needed this check days ago. So they assure me if I don't get the check I requested 12 days ago, they will FEDEX me overnight a check. Okay, 12 days, no check. It is Friday. I call and request a new check, per their offer and overnight delivery. Only to find out, they will not cut check until Monday and I will not receive it until the following Tuesday 16 days after initial request. I will now be pulling ALL my money out of their company. I will rollover to a reputable company. RUN FROM THIS COMPANY. I will spread the word of my experience with Vanguard to my coworkers. No one should be treated so poorly and an investment company should never have such poor mechanics.
I have had a brokerage account with Vanguard since late 2015, just less than a year. The funds and their performance are excellent, and at the time I set up my initial accounts, the customer service was also excellent. I couldn't have been more pleased. All that has changed. I attempted to make another of the same rollover transactions that I had in the past and suddenly it is brain surgery. One phone rep somehow sets up two accounts instead of one and tells me I can fund it electronically. When nothing happens, I call again. This time I am told I need to fill out paperwork, so I do.
Next I get a message saying the paperwork isn't complete. They read to me what is missing, but what they read to me is the information I gave them; in other words, nothing is missing. But Abbott and Costello are too busy asking "Who's on first?" to notice the information they are asking for is the information they are reading. All told I spoke to 4 confused and incompetent individuals. I closed the account. It doesn't bode well for Vanguard if these are its representatives.
My accountant pointed out to them specific discrepancies in their statements and documents and we have been trying for over a month to get them to respond with answers and I keep wasting my time calling them and getting total run around. Never use this company for anything!
In July 2016 we sent two separate $6500 checks to Vanguard - Vanguard has all of our IRA's - for our 2016 Roth IRA contributions, along with explicit instructions & account information that one was the husband's contribution and the other was the wife's. Husband's contribution was duly recorded in Vanguard periodic summary; wife's never showed up. We phoned on 10 October to find out what happened to the wife's contribution, were transferred to the brokerage department, rep reviewed records and agreed that the $6500 check never made it to wife's account. Spent a fair bit of time on hold - twice - while rep made inquiries. Hung up eventually because the 2nd hold was waaay too long.
Phoned Vanguard back and eventually made it back to brokerage. New rep apologized and said someone would phone back that day. No one ever phoned. We phoned Vanguard again the morning of 11 October, twenty-four hours after the first inquiry. New rep read the notes on the account and said he'd phone back after making inquiries. He phoned an hour and a half later to say that the "problem account" rep would phone back today. No one ever phoned.
In the meantime, after several hours of headache-producing scrutiny of our financial records, we finally discovered the problem. Vanguard made a mistake, and they need to 1) figure it out, too, and 2) fix it. Meanwhile, we're not impressed with the lack of response. 48 hours later, we STILL haven't spoken to anyone who can straighten this out. We've been promised call-backs, but the call-backs are no-shows. We're going to stop recommending Vanguard to our friends, and we'll probably go exploring new options ourselves. Vanguard, you're not our type.
WARNING! DON'T EVER USE VANGUARD! I was forced to use Vanguard by my employer for a 401k plan. Since the day I started with Vanguard it never had a good experience, there customer service is HORRIBLE. The worst I ever dealt with in over 30 years. You will have to wait at least 10 minutes if you lucky enough to get someone on the phone and then another at least 10 minutes more each time you get transfer because the previous person does not know what he/she is doing. I have tried to terminate my service with them for over a month now and was not able to do it since they make a mistake and transfer my account to nowhere land. The people that they hired to handle your hard earned money are STUPID. DON'T EVER USE VANGUARD!
I recently opened a brokerage account with Vanguard. Almost as soon as I am done with the registration, I was told that I do not have access to the account and was directed to call their customer service number, at which time I was told that I had other accounts that was locked up. I have to wait one week for them to mail a form for me to fill out, then send it back to them before I can have access to my account again. Over the phone is impossible, plus, I do not know who are the people answering the phone. They are rude, arrogant, disrespectful, they really tried hard not to please any customer, but to annoy them, they tried to yell so that their voice could cover yours, and then asked you to repeat what you just told them.
They wasted no time to transfer a large amount of money from my other bank account without me verifying that is indeed my own bank account to draw money, they did this so efficiently yet when I told them that I want the money back, they gave me all the BS that I need to verify the micro amount of deposit they made to my account and took away. I did over the phone, but was told it will take them 7-10 business days to verify that I want my money back. I don't know how that works.
They also claimed that my husband opened the account for me was fraud, give me a break. It is fraud for Vanguard to take my money out of my bank account without my final ok, to do so, but not fraud for my husband to set up account for me and put money in that account, is it so hard to understand? Yes, apparently it is to Vanguard employees. Don't know who they hired and how they got trained, but once I am through with all these BS, I am done with them. I will put my money to a place where I could trust better, where I am heard, where the business is really taking care of their clients. It made me wonder who is regulating Vanguard, so many complaints yet no sanctions against them yet?!
I filled out all the forms to create an account and was told they would send some micro-transactions to my checking account in order to verify it. One week later everything was dead silent. No calls, emails, or any other attempts to contact me. After calling them it turned out there was some kind of error and they needed to confirm some things with me, but why did I have to reach out to them to find this out? Another week goes by and still no communication after my first talk to a rep. I sent them a 'secure email' using their message center, and got no response twice. After sending another email telling them I am fed up, I had a rep call me at 8 in the morning out of the blue.
Upon agreeing with the rep to continue the conversation at a better time I was never called back. Today I got a letter in the mail saying they did open an account for me, and placed my money into some random fund which I had no choice in. What the heck? No checking account confirmation, no discussion with me about my concerns or how to proceed, and no website access. This is ludicrous and bordering on fraud. When I log in to their site I still see the 'open an account' page and links, with nothing to indicate that I have any account open with them, however my checking has been credited for the money which is now in limbo. I never imagined a financial institution could be so crass and careless.
The only reason I have Vanguard funds is through an inheritance. I will quickly move out of Vanguard as soon as possible. I submitted paperwork and Vanguard could only find it because I have the FedEx tracking number. Vanguard has had my paperwork for over a month, and still not implemented the requested change of ownership. I asked for copies of statements; Vanguard said it would post them on my account and mail them to me. Nothing was ever posted and I received the statement by mail a month after my request. Hold time are at least 30 minutes and, even then, I often have to hold again, and again, as my call is switched to the "appropriate" department. I never call Vanguard unless I have at least an hour open for being on hold. There are other, more user-friendly, mutual fund families to use and, these days, Vanguard is no longer "THE" fund to use for low cost fees. Bottom line: avoid Vanguard!
General Atomics retirement accounts 401k's accounts were previously handled by Schwab and switched to Vanguard about a year ago. I liked Schwab so much I started an personal account with them. They are very fast and responsive. Vanguard is horrible. You cannot reach anyone over the phone. Brokerage transactions are so slow it's pathetic. Whatever money they saved in the switch over it is not worth the headache for dealing with Vanguard. Vanguard is below sub standard. It's easier for me to schedule a HMO doctor visit than to deal with people at Vanguard. I am going to contact HR and complain. I am extremely unhappy with Vanguard and I am a very undemanding type of customer. I do simple things with my 401k.
I like Vanguard. It's been a good company to deal with. I've been pleased with the funds and fees. Vanguard began using HSA Administrators as a major custodian for their HSA business which in my opinion and experience was a very big mistake for clients. I have had nothing but bad experiences with HSA Administrators. HSA Administrators gets a lot of business by claiming to be an arm of Vanguard. Many other top notch HSA custodians deal with Vanguard as well as other funds.
So do your research and don't rely on an endorsement from Vanguard on this one. HSA Administrators customer service is atrocious. They are outright bold and obnoxious about giving poor service and incorrect information. The website routinely freezes up and restricts access to your account prompting a call to customer service which is a nightmare. How a little LLC in Richmond VA with no FDIC protection got to pair up with a major player like Vanguard makes me nervous. I'm getting out asap and going to a secure bank.
Vanguard is too big. While their customer service reps are very nice and very friendly, expect wait times of 30 minutes if you want to talk to a live person and, unfortunately, if there is a problem to resolve, it likely will not be resolved through only one call.
This has ranked very high among the most moronic experiences I have ever had (and I'm nearly 73). I called your client service for one simple question. I had tried to enter an order for BRESV and got an error message with the advice to phone an (800) number. I did so, with the simple question: "What does the error mean?"
The client service person insisted that I give her my account number, then answer a number of security questions. I kept saying that I didn't wish to make any account activity; I just wanted to know what the error is with this equity. She kept doggedly asking for account info. I refused: 1) the answers are all unreal, deliberately contrived, 2) I was not located anywhere near where we keep them, and 3) I am not about to give out real answers over our unsecured phone line.
In frustration, I did finally take a stab at a security question or two (I might remember these, but I never have placed a trade over the phone and, hence, never needed them). I now get an email that this little gem has disabled some aspects of my account due to erroneous security answers: clearly stated upfront that I did not have easy access to them at that moment and could only guess.If her approach might be starting to seem reasonable, keep remembering: I made it very clear upfront that I would not be requesting any account activity. Only a question about the meaning of an error message. I like the concept of a shareholder-owned company, but the few times I have had reason to
talk to a Vanguard phone rep have been total, frustrating disasters. I have had better luck with both Fidelity and Scottrade, where I also have accounts.
I assume that all have gone their separate ways for the night. Tomorrow, I'll give the other guys a try. But, I'd still like to know 1) what is the error message? and 2) is it possible to purchase this equity without using an unsecured phone? By the way, I have re-entered my previous security answers, then transferred $1.00 from one of my money markets to another as a test. It went through.
Next gripe: We also have a TBE account. A while back we were advised that Vanguard Prime Money Market (VMMXX) - Core Account would now be our core account. Just tried it. Wrong. We now have no core account in our TBE!!! Failing to get some sensible responses to both these issues, I will begin tomorrow, Monday at the latest, to dismantle all my Vanguard accounts: my IRA, my wife's IRA and the TBE. Note that by zeroing out our previous core money market in our TBE account, then failing to carry through with designating VMMXX as the new core, your rep left us with no core account and, hence, unable to make any trades. This lets us with only two alternatives with the TBE account: 1) let the funds forever in their current money markets, or 2) move the funds to another brokerage.
Note that any "fixes" involving the use of account numbers or security questions over an unsecured phone line are off limits. An on-line chat, with us logged in over our secure business router, would have easily resolved these issues. If Vanguard has a "chat" feature, it doesn't show up under "Contact Us" and I have never seen it when I have used the website. I truly wish these things had gone better. As you are probably able to see, I have been with Vanguard for many years.
Barbara FriedbergPersonal Finance Contributing Editor
Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS is a former investment portfolio manager with decades of financial experience. Friedberg taught Finance and Investments at several universities. Her work has been featured in U.S. News & World Report, Investopedia, Yahoo!Finance and many more publications.
More about Barbara→
The Vanguard Group is one of the oldest and most highly regarded mutual fund companies on the market. This company is known for its pioneering creation of low-cost index funds. Their robo-advisor offering is targeting the baby boomers with a combination of automated and human advisor services.
- Financial advisors: The Vanguard Personal Advisor Services begins with a meeting between the client and the advisor in order to map out the user’s goals and to create an investment plan. Vanguard implements the plan and allows the consumer to decide upon their level of input.
- Fees and minimums: The annual management fee is 0.30 percent of AUM with a $50,000 minimum investment account. There are no commission charges for transactions.
- Low cost index mutual funds and ETFs: As is the case with most of the automated advisors, the account is populated with low fee ETFs.
- Other features: Vanguard offers rebalancing as well as consideration for tax consequences. The Vanguard site provides access to valuable educational and investment tools as well.
- Not comprehensive: The Vanguard Personal Advisor Services minimum $50,000 entrance investment rules out lower net worth individuals. The platform is limited to Vanguard funds.
- Best for Higher net worth investors that prefer contact with a human advisor.
Compare Automated Investment Services
Vanguard Company Profile
- Company Name:
- Year Founded:
- Vanguard P.O. Box 1110
- Valley Forge
- Postal Code:
- United States