ConsumerAffairs Unaccredited Brand
Do not use Vanguard for any retirement planning. You can find other index trading funds that don't charge the fees they do. Unless you have millions of dollars, they don't offer you any help. I tried rolling my 401k over and it took them 5 months!! They did not help at all, sat on a notarized letter for over a month and refused to apologize for it. Passive investing a great way to grow money, but just because they invented it, doesn't mean you need their help. I highly recommend placing your money elsewhere. Unless you're a glutton for abuse and shoddy customer service, do not use Vanguard!
I have been a Vanguard client for several decades and my husband has been for many years. We have always had a good experience until this last month when we tried to actually get our money out. It was the worst experience and one that has caused us to move all our retirement out of Vanguard. I had four CDs with Vanguard of which one matured in Spring of 2017. At the beginning of August 2017 I decided to use another brokerage and they sent a request to have a check for the full mature CD amount sent to them as was legally binding to do. Each week I called Vanguard and they said the check was being issued the following day for three weeks. Today going on the fourth week from their receipt of the fax to move the funds they said they just began the process. They have literally held my funds for going on a month that were sitting in cash and lying about releasing it three consecutive weeks in a row.
I kept telling them to listen to their own voice recordings of our calls to hear their own folks assuring in previous weeks that the check was in the mail. They would put me on hold for 30 minutes at a time only to get back on to say the payment department was not picking up the phone. I would be on the phone up to 1.5 hours per call. I was on with Vanguard today FIVE times. This seems fraudulent to me to lie, to not release funds coming on a month after a legally binding order has been submitted to do so. Imagine if the economy got worse -- who could EVER get their money out of this organization? Seriously very bad practices in 2017. And from other complaints I am reading I am not the only one.
Applied for debt transfer of funds. Company made a mess, no communication, terrible website. This company is nothing but a scam, beware! I need legal advice on how to proceed. I wish someone would investigate these charlatans.
I am an American living in a foreign country. I will retire soon and I want to be able to wire money from my Vanguard account to my foreign bank where I live. I did this once fifteen years ago with a written letter and they sent me $10,000 no questions asked. Now, I just want to set up the same ability in the new country where I live. They now told me I need to fill in an International Wire Service form with the banking information and get a Medallion Signature Guarantee. This you can supposedly get at any American bank or if you aren't near an American bank, you can go to the American Consulate nearest you to get a Signature Acknowledgement. So on a visit to America, I tried to get a Medallion Signature Guarantee at my American bank. No, they don't give out Medallion Signature Guarantees, my bank tells me.
I get on the telephone with Vanguard, and they tell me we can set up "alternative verification" measures, but I have to fill out a different form which they will send me. So there I am on my vacation time filling in a new form and sending it in. I soon get a call, "okay, let's set up a voice verification service, I will transfer you, please hold." She comes back on the line, "sorry, you live overseas, we can't set up a voice verification for overseas customers." Turns out, they can't do a damn thing for me, there are no "alternative verification" measures for overseas customers. So I go back to Japan, take a vacation day off work, drive 4.5 hours to the nearest American consulate, pay $90 in expressway tolls, pay $100 for two Signature Acknowledgements, not to mention gasoline and then I drive 4.5 hours back home, document in hand. I send it in.
A week later, the telephone rings, "You filled the form out wrong. Instead of checking the U.S. Tax Resident box, you checked the box Other and wrote in Japan. You can't be a U.S. citizen and check tax residency outside the USA." I explain that for purposes of the IRS Form 2555 Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, I have to give my tax residency as "Bona Fide Tax Residency in Japan." I thought that's what that box on the Vanguard form was asking. No, the man on the phone couldn't tell me what they had in mind, just that the manual says if I am a US citizen, I have to check off US tax residency. "Well, then just change it for me." "No, we can't do that. You have to fill out another form and submit it. "Why didn't you tell me this when I sent the first form in???" I was practically screaming at this point. "Hey, I can understand you are frustrated, but rules are rules..."
Over and over in my head, I am repeating, "Why did I invest with Vanguard. They are so proud of being the cheapskates of the investment world. I should have known their service would be crap. If I had only gone to Fidelity, there would have been brick and mortar investment centers where I could have walked in and gotten a Medallion Signature Guarantee no questions asked. Stupid, stupid me...
My 88 year old mother needed money transferred to her checking account. She has difficulty hearing on the phone and asked me to take care of it. I have power of attorney. I sent them the document last year and had no problem transferring the money. This year I hit a brick wall with every person I spoke with. Apparently Vanguard has a new form that must be notarized... They totally disregard the legal document I have to perform duties my mother request or task I must do to maintain the 24/7 care needs. It is very stressful watching your parents age, Vanguard chooses to add to that stress. I see there are many complaints about Vanguard... Maybe it is time for a group of children of aging parents begin a class action lawsuit.
How do I know I can trust these reviews about Vanguard?
- 906,398 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.
Not sure why companies choose such cheap IRA companies like Vanguard. Customer service is horrible and services were worst. There is no way to send any singed documents other than hard copy in MAIL. Can't send Scanned copies to them. Oh yea forgot Vanguard have cheap Fax... Which takes forever to update your file in system or may never receive for 2 or 3 days.
I recently had to withdraw from my IRA. I read some reviews about the process and was a little nervous because they've apparently had some negative feedback, but this didn't fit my experience. I didn't ever have to wait on hold to speak to someone. That was nice, since that's obviously commonplace with any customer service department. My rep was patient and explained everything to me that I would need to know. I was initially misquoted the time it would take to process a direct deposit, but they redeemed themselves after they mailed the check to me. They quoted me 5-7 business days and it only took two days to arrive in the mail. Overall, it was mostly positive and I wouldn't hesitate to use the service again.
For the past seven months, my parents and I have been in communication with Vanguard to transfer my parent's holdings to a new account. Despite a stack of documentation and lengthy phone calls from the lawyer's office and from us, we remain at square one. In our conversations with Vanguard associates, we are asked for the same basic information which we have repeatedly provided, but it gets lost in the shuffle when received at Vanguard. They then contact us with a case reference number which they can't access when we call back or when we mail the requested material. I have never worked with such an inept, incompetent, disorganized organization before, and I fear for the money invested and held by this company.
I have had continual problems with Vanguard's customer service. My mother had an IRA with Vanguard, which I was to inherit when she passed away. When she died, the process was incredibly difficult. I had to jump through many hoops, yet every time I do so, another representative seemed to put up another hoop. It was finally resolved, over the course of a very long time, many phone calls with unhelpful and unknowledgeable representatives. That was approximately five years ago.
I've recently had to contact them again to get some simple information (my mom's last address before she died), and even though I have all of the information they need, they are again proving to be unyielding, incompetent, and impotent. The representative started out telling me that to go forward it was required that I have my mom's social security number. They could easily track my identity with all of the information I had, but the rep insisted on the SS number. I finally found it, and provided it, but he then told me that to get "through security" I needed her address. That was the reason I was calling - to get her last address! I provided about five addresses that it could have been, but alas - "none of them were correct".
I felt as if the rep was playing a game with me, and he was winning at each hand. I asked to speak to a supervisor, and he told me that I had to "pass security" to be able to talk to a supervisor. I told him that I was simply wanting to put in a complaint, yet he again said that before I could speak to a supervisor, I needed to pass the security test, which I could not do because I did not have her last address, since that's why I was calling. Whew... What a joke. I then called back to find out HOW I could put a complaint in with the company about this representative, and the new rep had to find out how. He ended up taking a verbal complaint with me over the phone, and said it would be looked at, yet there would be no guarantees of getting a response. I surely expect more from a company, and hope others do as well...
I tried to rollover an IRA from my credit union to Vanguard. Vanguard tried to take it from the wrong savings share. I saw an overdraft at my bank and contacted my credit union, who told me to contact Vanguard. Vanguard couldn't wait to get me off the phone; the rep was curt, kept speaking over me, and told me I didn't know what I was talking about. I asked for a manager several times, and all the rep would do was put me on hold, then finally admitted that they screwed up the transfer. I asked for a manager AGAIN, and the rep said everything was corrected and not to worry. Well. My bank told me Vanguard still had the wrong account and urged me to have Vanguard correct it ASAP. I called Vanguard back. The new rep said the IRA had rolled over, it didn't matter that the bank account was listed incorrectly on their end, and, even if it did matter, it couldn't be changed until the original bank account was verified.
He told me that my IRA had rolled over and to stop worrying. He also was curt, rude, and couldn't wait to get me off the phone. The IRA rolled over to Vanguard for a day, accrued a couple cents, and then rolled right back to my credit union. When I messaged Vanguard about this, they said that my credit union rejected the transfer due to insufficient funds and hadn't really ever rolled over. Yeah. One word: NIGHTMARE. My retirement money is important to me, but evidently not to them. Account closed.
The delinking occurred before July 2016 and I noted the error June 2017 so one full year elapsed with my account value noted to be $75,000 less than it actually was.
I think "delinking from my statement" is another way of saying they were trying to steal my money and hoping I was not savvy enough to figure it out. BUYER BEWARE. CHECK your quarterly statements. Your funds may be DELINKED and if you don't call them on it, the money may never be reissued to your account. I am so disappointed with Vanguard that as soon as a manager calls me to give me their full side of the story I am closing my entire account and investing elsewhere.
You have unprofessional personnel that is working on equipment that they have not been certified to do. This technician they have working on my Volvo don't even know what type of oil he is putting in my truck. During the middle of a service he goes to lunch. I have been here since 8:30 a.m. He started serving my truck at 10:00 a.m. and my truck is still not be yet. But he goes to lunch. Instead of finishing the service on my truck. If something happened to my truck this complaint against Vanguard will be in my phone.
Using their website is like using Windows 95 in a world on Mac technology. Overall trying to roll over any retirement account, adding an agent, or just user friendliness from their website to their forms and customer service is like dealing with a company that is still stuck in the early 90's. I highly warn you to stay away from using them because it will cost you a lot of time and grief. Do yourself an investment and look at newer alternatives like betterment and so forth.
Base on my experience with Vanguard trying to retrieve any funds invested by loan or withdrawal are like pulling teeth. I have attempted to pay off a loan from a 403b plan and there is still a balance that reflects due to uncommon application of payment practices. There is no need to speak with a supervisor as they will only repeat information. It takes 20 minutes of hold time the representative provides them with. There is never a resolution that is applied to assist with any transaction issue that will not require a week of waiting. No complaint can be filed formally unless mailed as I was informed from a supervisor. This company's practices with pay-offs, withdrawals, and loan request should be evaluated for compliance. Also the way interest is applied towards payment should be reviewed for compliance as well.
Called Vanguard, with a question about my account. They informed me they were recording my call. I informed Vanguard that I was recording the call also. Would not talk to me if I was recording call. Why can Vanguard record the call, but I can't?
I was calling the customer service to notify them that my brother, a Vanguard customer, had died. I requested information about how to put his funds in probate. I was switched to the department who can supposedly assist me and have been waiting for 1 hour and 36 minutes now. A person comes on about every 20-30 minutes to tell me to continue to hold. Customer service is clearly the very lowest priority at this company.
Within the last year, the majority of my contacts with Flagship representatives have been negative. I have never understood the purpose of the Flagship representatives. They seem to be newbies in the firm who turn over at a rapid rate so never develop a "relationship". They are disrespectful and controlling. I was asked "why" I was making a transfer from one account to another within Vanguard (it's my money; I manage it!). Yesterday the new Flagship representative in his introductory call argued with every statement I made and after saying "internet access" could be denied, did just that. Monday I am calling a supervisor and asking to be transferred. I would really like not to have to deal with these young, poorly trained and transitional staff at all. The sole advantage to Flagship is the lower rates.
Vanguard's cs number is fraudulent. I got an error screen on the website when I tried to buy a mutual fund, and I got a recording trying to sell me unrelated products such as DirecTV and a new mobile service. When I did not go for any of the offers, it told me to hang up.
I have had 3 unpleasant experiences recently with Vanguard. I guess lower cost comes with a price. I had recently requested (Online) Vanguard to convert my small cap Investor Shares (NAESX) to Admiral Shares (VSMAX) when the online portfolio prompted me to convert because the balance satisfied the minimum required for Admiral Shares. Something got messed up in their system with the conversion and it's been a month and they have not able to resolve it. And even worse, the system does allow me to trade that fund, because the fund conversion is in pending state.
I had requested Vanguard to transfer assets from Fidelity. And within 3 days, I called Vanguard to let them know that I wanted to the cancel the request. They promptly canceled it and I got a confirmation email. Then to my disappointment, I get an email from Vanguard that transfer has been initiated; and when I checked with Fidelity, the assets were transferred. Vanguard did not bother to inform Fidelity about the cancellation or me to inform Fidelity about it.
My account was converted (Upgraded) from normal account to Voyager account ('coz the balance satisfied the Voyager minimum); and soon all the cost basis of the Vanguard funds in my IRA before the upgrade; disappeared. Vanguard is helpless and asking to trace the cost of each fund. It is puzzling how cost basis would go away for the same Vanguard fund just because an upgrade occurred. I dread any conversion at Vanguard and lost trust in their system.
All I wanted to do was update my mailing address. The customer service rep told me that he needed the month and day that I started with my company. I asked a couple of simple clarifying questions, and he would state that he couldn't provide me with any clarifying answers. He was extremely rude and not helpful. I'm extremely dissatisfied with this representative.
I called a couple weeks ago to ask a simple question about my account. It is (was?) an employer sponsored 401k that was transferred by my former employer from Wells Fargo (very easy and friendly to deal with). Vanguard required that I contact my former employer and get my start date and separation date from that employer. I verified ALL other information and they still would not speak with me regarding the account. When I called back, like the first time, I was transferred several times before speaking to someone that could help me.
After numerous phone calls I was finally able to speak about the account. However, at this point I was so frustrated I wanted to transfer my 401k to a different company. Well in order to do that (or anything for that matter) they required that because I had moved I had to wait on a change of address form, fill it out and return it. I asked the gentleman I spoke with if there was ANYTHING else I needed to do so that I could get this wrapped up and he said, "Just fill out the form and return it." Done. I gave it about 10 days and called to wrap this nightmare up and when I called and went through the super long verification I gave my new address and it worked.
Next hurdle: there is a "hold" on my account which means that the change of address form has to be notarized. When I asked why I was told that it was a "regulation" I said that is a company policy not a "regulation". When I called him on his "lingo" I was then told that the reason it needed to be notarized because they didn't have a signature on file to compare it to. Well, this is an EMPLOYER plan and was transferred by my EMPLOYER so not only do you not have my signature on file you don't have anyones on file from employer sponsored plans. Unless of course they sent a change of address form. I demanded to speak to a manager and was told "If I can put you on hold I'll see if I can find a manager who can explain this to you but if they aren't available I'll have to put you on a 2 day call back list.". I don't think so.
So after holding for an EXTREMELY long time he returns and says that they will accept the form without being notarized. Great! Now we're getting somewhere. Oops! Wait! It wasn't accepted so now it will take 1-2 business days for it to process. Well if you recall when I called the first person I spoke with verified my identity with the new address. Did he happen to have my paperwork sitting in front of him or was it in the system? I was told that it IS in the system but its listed as a second address. I am a very easy going person but these people will make you jump through hoop after hoop after hoop. I'm astonished at the whole experience and it all started over a phone call to make a simple change. Not that Vanguard cares about my account. They have $4 Trillion (yes, TRILLION) in investments. Do yourself a favor and just go somewhere else.
With high hopes, I started investing my wife's IRA at Vanguard a few years ago. Now that we are buying our first home, we requested a withdrawal for down-payment. Even after 9 working days, the check hasn't arrived. We already extended the closing date once, looks like we have to extend it again. And now I am afraid when we are going to get that money. I guess after this fiasco, I will move all my wife's accounts somewhere else.
After my husband passing away, his funds for 401K were transferred to Vanguard by the company he worked for. After 6 months I called them because I needed the money. They kept me on the phone for almost 3 hours and transfer my call to 5 different individuals. No one was able to help me, they couldn't located the money anywhere. I was beyond frustrated and the last person just hang up on me. The next day I did contact HR of the company my husband worked for and they told they have all the proof that my husband money was transfer there. It took another day to HR to get an answer for them. After that they requested documents included my marriage certificate in order to send me the check. I don't know yet when I will receive the check. This is the worst of the worst institutions to make business with.
I've been a member with Vanguard for more than 10 years. I've been noticing that the customer service is getting worse and worse each year. Today, I simply ask the associate to explain to me some of the transactions associated with my account and she can't explain it. She even said, "we don't have a record of where the cash came from. SERIOUSLY?! How does Vanguard (or any business) stay in business when it does know the sources of cash flow. This is a case of incoming cash... can you imagine if it were my outflowing cash? They also don't have a record of where the cash of flowing to!!! SCARY!!! She said that I needed to write a letter if I want to know where the cash came from. Write a letter?! I have tax to pay in about 15 days... and aren't we living in the digital age? Why can't this be done digitally? I'm seriously considering to change brokerage company. Sad.
Absolutely the worst investment company with atrocious customer service. Due to lack of foresight, Vanguard's lack of attention to detail caused my new company's retirement department to send me my Rollover check back to me and labeled it as an "Ineligible Rollover" because Vanguard did not include a Proof of Plan Qualification nor a Distribution statement of the funds, despite numerous requests to do so. Process started all over again with multiple phone calls to Vanguard and wait times averaging over 1 hour.
Despite having sent the required IRA Rollover fax to Vanguard requesting the Rollover, customer service agents did not understand how to retrieve nor read the fax labeling it as "incomplete". When I asked to speak to a supervisor to look into the matter, the supervisor confirmed all required pages of the form were in fact sent, however due to internal issues at Vanguard, the customer service people were not able to read the full number of pages of my fax. Bottom line: Terrible internal logistical operations to include ** customer service in the form of long wait times on the phone (easily over 1 hour to speak to a supervisor).
The rollover request described above was filled out correctly and I requested the "Total Amount" of funds to be rolled over. Result: You guessed it, Vanguard only sent 60% of my money as a rollover, later telling me that since the other 40% were stocks and ETF's that I would first have to sell them and put those funds into my Market fund before the distribution can be made. Bottom line: The supervisor agreed that this little fact was not easily apparent on their distribution form. Folks, bottom line is stay away from Vanguard. They are irresponsible, with poor customer service and internal logistics issues. I will never send another penny to Vanguard.
I called Vanguard to retrieve some money out of my accounts. They sent 3 checks out that took 8 days to arrive (USPS). Checks were made out to my address, my name nowhere on them. Bank declined to accept. This is when it got bad. I called Vanguard, I was put on hold and dropped several times before I finally got someone to keep me (on hold for over and hour) then just when I thought I was getting somewhere "Nathan" said he would transfer me to someone who was in the Department I needed to speak to. I sat on hold another hour. I gave up, called again, to be told that Nathan had went home for the day! Left me on hold while he went home. They assured me it would be taken care of. Checks would be sent FedEx over night, might take a day to get them out. Supervisor assured me I'd be called 2 days later to confirm this. No call was received so I called again.
I was assured the checks had been sent out, but no tracking number would be provided. They don't do this for some reason, and they weren't able to track the checks themselves either. So next day I call again, talk to Mr. Kyle ** (another supervisor). He too cannot find a tracking number for checks. Another day passes, he calls me the next morning to let me know the checks had somehow got send USPS again! Would I like him to cancel the checks and have them overnighted FedEx. Are you kidding me!?! By now I've lost all faith in this company and told him so. Apologies for the mix up. It's been two weeks since my first phone call requesting the withdrawal I have not received check yet! I spoke to at least 6 different people during all this, all saying how sorry they were. No type of compensation was offered. I want to file a formal complaint against Vanguard, not sure where to do that. So posting here for others to beware.
I've attempted to withdraw money from my investment account to no avail TWICE in different years. They play the "wear our personal investors down until they throw their hands up and quit" game very well. Each time as requested I've resubmitted documents, submit additional document, and then resubmitted sometimes the same documents already received. The customer service representatives are well versed on the company needs, but have no clue OR have no motivation to RELEASE MY MONEY when I need it. They claim there isn't any way to speak to the department that receives these documents to verify... you have to wait until they enter them in the system. I have never been successful at withdrawing money to ease the financial burden for 2 life emergencies (12 years with Vanguard) that I've had which totally further frustrates my situation. This organization SUCKS!
I moved 3 years ago and have called Vanguard 3 times a year since (record of 9 names and dates), each time they assured me they changed my address. Over 1 hour again on the phone today only to be told they can't change as account out of their control. Meantime person information continues to be sent to my old address. This isn't okay, they have a responsibility to protect my information. Only way to change is to send them more information via fax. I am moving all accounts out. This isn't the way to protect your investors.
They have the court order in hand. It is no secret that he owes the money. He knows he owes it, and so do they. In the meantime I am losing the interest that should be growing in my children's 529 plan (which is where I wanted to place those funds). All the while my ex-husband reaps the benefits. Vanguard, you stink! Thanks for nothing. Thanks for attorney fees that I should not be responsible for because your company cannot get their crap together.
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.
Vanguard expert review by Barbara Friedberg
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.
Personal 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.
Vanguard Company Information
- Company Name:
- Year Founded:
- Vanguard P.O. Box 1110
- Valley Forge
- Postal Code:
- United States
- (877) 662-7447