Consumer Complaints and Reviews
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.
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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.
VANGUARD'S RETIREMENT ACCOUNT SERVICE IS DISMAL. A year or two ago I had a negative experience with Vanguard regarding IRA transfers. Because Vanguard was then engaged implementing new procedures and I had contributed to the confusion I called it a wash and got on with my life. On June 10, 2016, acting on a need to re-balance allocations, I completed Vanguard's on-line form requesting a partial transfer of appreciated assets from an IRA in custody of one of my brokers, Wasatch Funds, to an IRA in custody of Vanguard. After printing it out, attaching a recent Wasatch account statement, signing the form in the presence of my bank's representative and obtaining the bank's Medallion Signature Guarantee, I walked the mailing to a USPS station.
Leery of another Vanguard disappointment, I followed up my mailing with a call. A Vanguard representative told me my request had been received on June 14th and informed me it would be about two weeks before the paperwork could be reviewed after which I could expect notice when the forms were forwarded to Wasatch; I was also told Vanguard would also notify me when they received the assets from Wasatch.
I called Vanguard several times thereafter inquiring about the progress of my request and complained about Vanguard's delay in handling it. My last call was around the end of June. Vanguard's representative that day became testy; apparently he had been reading internal notes recording my impatience with Vanguard's progress in handling this transfer. After placing me on hold he returned informing me he had spoken to an associate who handles such transfers; that employee had located my request in a pile of others awaiting action, had cursorily reviewed it, and had concluded it met Vanguard's conditions for implementation.
Then the telephone representative tersely informed me that it would be at least two weeks more before I could expect formal review and action on my request; he emphasized that Vanguard had a backlog of these requests which were in a queue being processed according to the availability of personnel. He further stated there was nothing he nor I could do to speed the process and I best just accept Vanguard's conditions and wait until the company got around to acting on my request.
Since then I have come across an article reporting Vanguard's industry-smashing fund inflows; these have been attributed to investors seeking lower management fees. The article also revealed that though assets under management and the number of clients have increased exponentially, the number of Vanguard employees servicing those assets and clients has not grown at all.
Giving Vanguard credit due, let me say that managing my Vanguard taxable accounts online has been basically flawless. That said, I must advise anyone with a retirement account to avoid subjecting it to Vanguard's custody. It was been over a month since I submitted this straightforward custodial transfer request; it is likely still sitting untouched in a great pile on an apparently overwhelmed Vanguard employee's desk - and it is evidently going to sit quite a bit longer. Placing retirement funds in Vanguard's moribund hands was a mistake; wresting them away will likely be a long and aggravating process resulting in time cost against the use of my money. Should I tolerate disservice in return for low fees? I think not; that has proven to be more value trap than value.
Fortunately there are brokerages that service retirement assets more diligently. One that I have invested with for two decades provides outstanding customer service, the esteemed brokerage T. Rowe Price. While their funds have higher expenses than Vanguard's they are reasonable and lower than most other firms. Additionally their returns ride high on many benchmarks. Price is not the lowest-priced but it is a value is true. Thanks for taking your time to consider this warning: Vanguard's retirement account service is dismal.
I have recently tried to take out a hardship withdrawal to pay off medical expenses. I have contacted them at least seven times within the last month faxing papers, talking to people on the phone, faxing more papers because the first "weren't accurate", mailing papers, etc... This company is 50 times worse than dealing with your local DMV! I would not recommend Vanguard to anyone out there. They are next to impossible to deal with, even when it's your money that you're talking about. If I didn't have to give them one star I wouldn't give them any at all. Grrr.
In trying to create an account, I ran into a problem and had to call Vanguard for clarification. My questions were met with exasperation and impatience. The representative treated me as if I were wasting her time, and even tried to hang up on me before I was done asking about the account creation process. She made no attempt to address my concerns. The most frustrating part was that, after hanging up with the Vanguard representative, I discovered a solution to my problem. So my problem was solvable, the representative just had no interest in trying to work with me. Even though I did find a solution to the problem, I will not be completing the account creation process, as I was so put off by this whole experience. Furthermore, the website is a disaster, with every fifth click or so leading me to an error that would then require me to sign back in. Overall, my experience with this company has been frustrating and discouraging. Do not recommend!
Trying to buy a home and I need to withdraw the money from my 401K. Send everything they needed. They stated additional info, needing MISSING pages. There are NO missing pages. When I call the people that answer the phones can CLEARLY see in their system the info they need from me IS THERE but for some reason the person actually processing my request can't. I spoke with 2 people last week who stated that they can see the info and they will send an email for my request to be re reviewed. I was told if I do NOT get a call back within 3 business days then my paperwork is moving forward, but if I do get a call back they will let me know what is still missing.
I waited 6 business days, NO call; so it's a go. NOPE, incorrect. I called yesterday and they said still missing info and that my request was REJECTED. WTH. You NEVER get to talk to the incompetent person actually working the request. I am not working with a supervisor (supposedly) who can see the missing info needed as well. I was like "thank you, but let me guess, you will NOT give me your phone number as well." He said "NO, just call back and ask for me." OH and the best part is... You are on hold for a minimum of 45+ minutes each time you call. WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER!!! So I will like most people on this blog LOSE my home purchase due to THEIR error. Oh and they can't seem to tell me what pages or what is missing exactly for me to resend to them. PRICELESS.
I was a Vanguard fan for many years. In the last 12 months I have become extremely disappointed with them. I try to do something which should be very simple, like transfer funds from one account to another both of which I have full authorization. The transactions should take seconds. Instead they have to send me a form that needs to be notarized (a change of address). I do that and FedEx the form back. Days to process on their side. I complete that hurdle and then they say, "you need to have check writing authorization." Again, another form another notarization not discussed when I originally asked to transfer funds. Again back to the notary and again FedEx. They inform me a standard 10 day queue. This is just one of about a dozen similar examples with them over the past 12 months. Very very disappointed.
The company my husband works for recently sold, requiring us to roll his previous 401k from Fidelity to Vanguard. We needed to do this quickly, as we wanted to borrow against his 401k to purchase a property for my disabled father. We contacted Vanguard to see what was required and we reassured that if we overnights our check to them they would get it into his current 401k and that after the check was processed, we could have it into our personal account by the next business day. I thankfully overnights a very large sum of money to them this past Tuesday (costing us $71), and did it through UPS to assure I'd have a tracking number.
By last Friday the money still hadn't shown up in our account. My husband called to find out why and was told they still hadn't received his check. So I contacted UPS who sent the signature document to me via email. He once again called Vanguard and said the check had actually arrived last Wednesday and was signed for by an employee, to which they replied, "Well then we've lost your check and will have to open up an investigation that will take two days." We called that evening to find out the status, and the man who answered the phone was rude and acted annoyed that we were calling, as if we were wrong for being frustrated that they lost his entire retirement. Why two days I have no idea, when they could have simply asked the person who signed for it where the check went and then could deposit it the same day.
As of this morning the check was still missing until my husband finally talked to a lady who actually went and looked and found the check. He was told that they could backdate the check to the previous Wednesday (when it was suppose to be deposited) and that the funds would be available immediately to withdrawal. She stated that her boss would have to contact him today to do it, as she didn't have the authority to do this. Of course there was no phone call, so my husband called again to be told the earliest he would hear back would be tomorrow. The money still has not been deposited into our account! Thanks Vanguard!
We informed them via email that we had to have a response today in order to secure the property we were trying to buy. So as of this evening we lost the purchase of the home and my disabled father and mom will be homeless living in a camper this Friday. Do yourself a favor and find someone else to entrust your money to! The only reason they're getting one star is because I can't choose anything less.
They have terrible customer service. I have been hung up on, lied to, and subjected to very condescending remarks. I have had problems with them in the past but this recent issue trumps them all. I am even more motivated to find another job just to be rid of them. They don't even know their own formulas and policies. As a result they are costing me more money waiting for them to provide information on my loan availability. I am so frustrated at this point I would prefer using a loan shark. At least I know what's involved (you either pay the loan back or we break your legs). It's beyond painful when you are requesting a loan on your own money in which you yourself should have a right to.
Does anyone know who actually monitors the actions of these companies? Is there an official governmental agency or non-affiliated group that will investigate my issue? I don't understand how they stay in business. I have seen many negative posts about them. Beware! All that glitters is not gold. In fact your gold may never be seen again. I don't know how the people that work for them sleep at night. I wouldn't be able to knowing that the company I work for is not customer service oriented and lacks integrity. I really feel sorry for anyone who has to deal with them, and they give them the runaround as they are doing to me. In this economy it's difficult enough to save anything and then you have these people who work against your own personal financial goals. It's horrible and I want out!
I had taken most of my RMD back in July but still needed to take the remainder before December 31. On December 29 I called Vanguard and requested the remainder of my RMD to be sent to the IRS. In other words 100% to the IRS. I was shocked when I received a paper check that indicated 10% had gone to the IRS and 90% to me despite that my account is set up so that all money sent to me is electronically deposited in one of my checking accounts and aside from the fact that my order was that 100% was to be sent to the IRS. Then on top of that "mistake" on December 31st shares totaling the identical amount were again withdrawn from my account.
After talking to a couple of know-nothings I was finally transferred to someone who could allegedly fix the mistake; however, I would have to cash the first paper check from the 29th and send it to the IRS myself necessitating some annoying trips to my bank and the post office. As for the funds that were superfluously withdrawn from my account on the 31st, the 10% that was sent to the IRS could not be withdrawn supposedly because of IRS regulations, so my accountant will have to do two tax filings which will offset one another. Since the work he does is not free, having him do two tax filings will cost me something.
Since Vanguard made the error, the 90% overpayment of my RMD will be returned to my account, but alas not to the funds it was taken out of because of the restricted trading rule that says you cannot repurchase a fund you have sold for at least 90 days. When I asked how this egregious error could have happened, I was told that at the end of the year Vanguard hires a lot of temporary employees to handle the volume of calls they receive and the one that helped me on the 29th didn't turn off the automatic RMD distribution when he took my call. I've certainly lost my faith in Vanguard and will be exploring moving my funds to another company in the near future.
I called Vanguard to get some initial information about setting up an account with them. I am retired and looking to invest in a low-cost, reputable institution. I had a prepared list of questions which the initial rep felt should be answered by one of their investment advisors. The rep scheduled a call between me and the advisor for the following week and asked that I send to Vanguard a list of my current investments in order that they could tailor their advice to my specific needs. I was told that I qualified for this investment advice because I have a million plus portfolio. Now I know that a million ain't what it used to be, but still, I was very surprised to have a "no show" for the scheduled call. I sent an email to the original rep and left him a voice mail that I was still waiting for the scheduled call.
An hour and a half later he called and apologized for missing the call. He said he was having a very hectic day. He offered to have the call then. I asked if the advisor would be joining us and was told that no advisor was available for two weeks. The point of the initial scheduled call was to talk to an advisor, so I was obviously confused about what the rep was offering to talk about now. I won't base my complete evaluation of a company on the experience with one rep, but it does make me wonder if there is an endemic problem here. I depend upon my retirement investments for a steady income. I would certainly expect and need a timely response to any issue that might arise. I will have to think a bit before deciding to give Vanguard another shot at getting my business.
I received a letter from Vanguard regarding money in a retirement savings plan distribution options from the company I worked for 17 years. Since I was unsure how to proceed in this matter, I spoke with a Vanguard rep to find out how much money I would received monthly from the annuity I wanted to set up. First he asked was I married (yes) then do I want to go with Vanguard for my annuity. I told him I would make a decision about who would handle the annuity later, I wanted to know how much I would receive.
It took forever but I did receive a voicemail stating on the amount. I called back, got his voicemail, told him I would be staying with Pacific Life who the company I worked for to handle it and also asked how I would proceed in receiving the monies. I received no return call from him but after calling the service center a month later I received a call from him in April stating that he gave Pacific Life my number and they should have called me. Since they haven't called he would call them again and ask for them to call. Here it is in the middle of April no return call from Vanguard or Pacific Life. I am so frustrated with them I am ready to get a lawyer.
April 14, 2016. I just received another 2015 corrected Year-End income tax statements today via mail after my income tax returns was sent out to IRS. Those statements were dated April 8, 2016 and was the 3rd received. Aren't they supposed to send the statements by March the latest according to the rulings??? Why didn't they send via express or send alert email??? The 1099-Div shown corrected ordinary dividends, Qualified dividend & foreign tax paid; all were more than before. That means I was under filed. Don't know what IRS would do. If they fine me, I would want Vanguard to pay all charges and pay for the amendment tax returns. They made similar mistakes in 2014. I have to worry about my investments in Vanguard.
We are at a loss... My husband has been with his company for over 20 years and their 401(k) plan is administered by Vanguard. Several years back he had taken out a loan which he paid in full in June 2015. Vanguard's plan rules do not allow another loan for 12 months after payoff of any previous loan. We recently moved and are in a crummy apartment, so when we were approved for and found a home, we were ecstatic! My husband called Vanguard who initially told him he had $31,000 available for a hardship, but later told him he could only take out the money for cost related to purchase and we needed to submit supporting documents. So, we did everything they told us: faxed documents, mailed documents, promptly followed up to every message on the account...
8 phone calls later, we still do not have the money. The loan estimate says all cost including closing are $25,874.00, yet over the phone the rep says they will only allow $20, 874.00. When we asked them to explain the rep said in order to receive more money "we should have bought a more expensive home". This was echoed by the Supervisor we requested to be escalated to! The home we are buying is $400,000.00 and all we could afford. The Supervisor kept talking about earnest money they were factoring in, although the number does not show up anywhere on any of the documents.
I went back and re-read his plan documents and it says hardships will cover cost related to purchase of your primary residence, excluding mortgage payments. So, even by their logic, earnest money would/should be part of the cost. The whole thing makes no sense. My husband has had his money managed and been paying a fee to Vanguard and it feels like this is why they don't want to release any of his cash. At this point, I would like him to stop paying the management fee and move his money because I fear something is wrong with this company. Anyway, we had put in our notice to our apartment and soon will be homeless.
I have been with Vanguard for nearly 10 years. When I first went with them, they were very good, they had true professionals who can properly handle an investment account and provide very good service. However as you can see with the mounting complaints on ConsumerAffairs, I am observing what many others are observing and that the service I have experience is horrendous. Hold times are very very long, when I complained about being on hold forever, a representative hung up on the phone on me. This I have no doubt in my mind was intentional as when I expressed with my dissatisfaction with a very frustrated voice, he said "Don't talk to me like that". Then next thing I know, he click the phone shut.
I went at great lengths to file a complaint with Vanguard on this and either the supervisors or management did not get back to me right away. In the end, it was not handled properly, they were in denial that I was hung up on and it took them about 3 weeks to respond. In my opinion, it was very careless and cold response, especially when one had such a horrible experience. Also on two occasions I was promised a call back from a supervisor/manager and that never happened. Here is my conclusion and my personal opinion, this company is in disarray, the morale does not seem good and everyone seems to be very stretched. Also in my opinion, this is not a company you should do business with if you are looking to get an acceptable level of service. I conclude that my experience with so substandard and so bad, if there is a description I can give that is below poor service, it would be a few notches below that.
Tried to get the Vanguard funds transferred to my account. It's been three months, have gotten nothing but cold response and no remedy. I gave up but believe they have to be reported to NASD for not responding to my questions in a matter that's satisfactory. All the other brokerage firms are so much better, E-trade puts them to shame. Hate Vanguard.
I am so disappointed in my recent experience with Vanguard customer service. I feel that I submitted all paperwork correctly for my withdrawal according to the information on Vanguard's website and on the form that I filled out. Customer service person was rude and sarcastic and just kept repeating that what I had submitted was not acceptable and that I should resubmit it via FAX. When I tried to get more information about what was wrong with what I had already submitted, I was told he could "read the statement to me again" as if I am not intelligent enough to have heard him the first time.
I asked if there was someone else I could speak to who could help me to understand what else was needed since I had already submitted the requested information and was at a loss to what else I could submit. He stated that he could "get someone else on the phone to read me the same statement". I am stuck with Vanguard since that is who my company has their 401K program with but if you have a choice, do not use Vanguard. In the event that you need a withdrawal, your money will be inaccessible to you even with IRS guidelines that allow withdrawals. Vanguard's snarky customer service will not help you.
I thought I was alone in my experience of rude and inept Vanguard reps until I came across more complaints. We've been getting the run-around just terminating our 401K and rolling the money over into an IRA account. It's taken over 6 weeks. We've called 4 times and finally were sent some papers but they weren't all the papers that were needed. Just got off the phone with a rep named Maria. She started out by saying "let me educate you..." and then laughed in a strange way. I'm thinking we should just pull the money out completely and go somewhere else.
It's hard to believe that it takes 20 business days to update the new address in the account. I have a rollover account and employer-sponsored account with Vanguard, the employer-sponsored account receives the current address from payroll and is up-to-date. Unfortunately my rollover account does not reflect the new address. I was under the impression it will be easy for them to look at the feed from employer, verify the information and update, so I called them and explained, I was told it does not work that way. I had to go through the paper-based address change form, get it notarized and send to them - I even did that.
After 10 days the hold on my account was not released. I called the Customer Service again to find the status. I was told they received my papers and it will take another 15 business days because they have more such paper to be processed. Would you imagine we are living in such a high tech world and takes 1 month to update the address in the system? It's ridiculous. This shows how much Vanguard care for their customers. I am not able to do any activity in my account for 30 days.
Trying to get money out of 401K for down payment of house. They say you can only fax the request (very archaic way of doing things these days) so we fax and then 3 days later, they call to say they can't read it. The copy is so poor (or their fax machine is old and inefficient) so I fax a new, very legible copy and now they say have to wait another 3 days. I ask questions on how they determine how much I can take out and NOBODY CAN ANSWER THE QUESTION. So I ask, "Can I speak to someone that can answer the question?" and I am told NO, that department does not talk to anyone.
So basically we made a deal on a home but cannot find out how Vanguard determines the amount of money you can take out of your own account. Not to mention this account has NOT made one red cent in two years! Poor investing by a lousy company that only wants to keep your money so it can collect their fees. This is a piss-poor company that steals your money and doesn't want to give it back even for the right reasons. I will stop putting into this fund and I will roll my money over to an IRA somewhere else. Vanguard sucks!
As a financial institution, Vanguard has the worst customer service - it is slow and inefficient. I was requesting to rollover my 401(k) to another institution, and it didn't allow me to do it online. Then I called the customer service 4 or 5 times just to figure out how - none of the calls managed to process the transaction and each time there was a different error. I was told that I didn't have my PIN activated. So I had it activated and the system still wouldn't let it through so they said "Oh it has nothing to do with the PIN." Finally someone said he could do it over the phone (because guess what? You can't request a paper form but you can't do it online either) and apparently I needed to have the address of the other institution ready.
Assumably I should have that in my hand, but anyway, when I called them back in 10 minutes after I got that information, they told me because of a "flash" on my account there is a technical error so they can't process it this time. They would call me back in several business days to resolve it. What's the worst is the customer representatives all sounded so impatient and condescending, and there is no official customer satisfaction survey in the end for you to make a complaint. It was just awful and frustrating. If were not for the employee retirement plan, I would never choose Vanguard at the first place.
Vanguard does not care about its customers at all and make it exceedingly difficult to do anything. I just needed to change my last name due to marriage and have been able to do this with SSN, driver's license, passport, and all my banks and other investment firms. I cannot at Vanguard. They are not helpful at all and act condescending on the phone. I have given all that I should have to document the change but they cannot put two and two together. IT is ridiculous to me how they treat their customers. DO NOT invest with Vanguard - they don't care about you at all.
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.
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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.
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Vanguard Company Profile
- Company Name:
- Year Founded:
- Vanguard P.O. Box 1110
- Valley Forge
- Postal Code:
- United States