VanguardConsumerAffairs Unaccredited Brand
My father passed away early October 2017 and it took until late February 2018 for the trust funds to be sent to us heirs. Other similar companies my father invested with, such Fidelity, completed the trust work within a few months. Vanguard's slowness for 5 months, losing records, back and forth with their Resolution Team, and whatever they were doing with his money, cost us many thousands in lost investment income, such as benefiting from Bitcoin's rise.
My mother has done business with Vanguard for about 15 years. She passed away recently, and my brother and I were to inherit 50% each of her TOD accounts. Documentation has been in place since 2006. Vanguard partially filled in forms that we were to finish and return to them with our wishes. I had chosen to set up a new account with my half of the funds. My brother wanted to cash his half out. Our forms were sent in, and weeks passed with no word from Vanguard. I called to see what the status was and was kept on hold for 25 minutes before I hung up in frustration.
My brother called me today to say he had received a check for the entire amount of her accounts. Incredible! I called to voice my opinion of their ineptness, and someone stated they were working on reissuing checks, etc. I said "forget it". We will cash our checks made out to my brother and split the amounts. What idiots!!! I told them I would never again do business with Vanguard, and to be sure my recorded conversation went straight to their CEO.
I had a 401K plan through Vanguard with a prior employer. I have been attempting to roll the Vanguard funds into the 401K I have with my current employer (administered by another institution). It seems to be a pretty common and straightforward transaction but it has been an absolute nightmare. The "first level" customer support at Vanguard doesn't ever seem to be able to answer questions or give me the necessary information or documentation and almost always escalates my calls. After a MONTH and countless hours of phone calls to Vanguard it was determined that Vanguard was unable to supply my new plan administrator with the paperwork that my current employer-funded 401K requires in order to roll the funds into my current 401K.
Subsequently I had to open a personal IRA with the new institution and have the Vanguard funds rolled into that personal account. A representative from my current investment institution called Vanguard with me to get it all finalized. 3 weeks later I called when the funds still were not showing in my new IRA and was told that there was no record of that phone call and the disbursement was never sent! It's infuriating and I hope to NEVER EVER have to invest a penny with Vanguard again.
This January, 2018, I began going over all the documents required to file my 2017 federal income tax return. A letter came in from Vanguard, who I and my wife have our IRA retirement accounts with. I opened the mail and found that Vanguard had mistakenly sent not one, but, two required minimum distributions from my wife's account in December. I attempted to log in to the Vanguard account to verify this error, to no avail. Seems that Vanguard has locked the account. Next, I call Vanguard and, after speaking to no less than 5 "customer service representatives" over a two hour period and being hung up on several times, I was sent a form via email to fill out, have notarized, and return via snail mail to Vanguard to get the account password reset.
Fast forward several weeks -- got an email from Vanguard today that indicated that I needed to check something on the account by logging in. Tried again to log in to find my wife's account was still locked out and spent another hour on the phone with unhelpful and useless "customer service representatives". Now I know why Vanguard has slightly lower fees than other providers of investment services. They offer absolutely NO CUSTOMER SERVICE AT ALL. Do business with this company at your own risk. I'll be moving funds somewhere else shortly.
I transferred 5500 into account for the IRA. Call taker said I transferred it into the brokerage account. But was walked through by a previous call taker who confirmed. Result: stocks sold at a loss today to cover the error. Fortification: call taker said the site is hard to navigate, you may have been confused. Conflict: I had never seen the brokerage transfer page which is totally different than the IRA. Brokerage is GUI interface with buttons and IRA is multi selection boxes which looks like old format which I was used to. They offered no solution. Even though my brokerage acct had 5500 in it they would not transfer to IRA account to fix issue and told me to wait 7 days. Wow. Bye.
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I tried to transfer funds into a money market fund before the close as the market had gone down considerably that day. The website froze and when I called to talk to someone at Vanguard the lines weren't being answered and many times it would go right to a busy signal. The market closed and it wasn't until after a half hour later I was able to finally talk to someone. I thought because their website froze and they didn't answer their phones that they could do a manual entry to get me the market's close price. On the contrary, I was given a speech about Vanguard's market philosophy. The speech went "you really shouldn't sell because the market may go back up and you'll miss the opportunity." Really? How about the market already went down over 1400 points, it could go down another 1000, and I want to stop the losses.
They wouldn't honor the market close price and they said I could put an order in to sell at tomorrow's close. I told them I feared the market would go down another thousand points and they said there's nothing they could do. I had received nothing less than great service before this incident, but it was a real eye opener concerning Vanguard. I found out that when things go wrong, they won't stand behind their customers. Very disappointing.
I've been trying to rollover money from my previous employer's to my current employer's 401K, Vanguard. The website said they were still waiting for my check, which was sent January 10th, 2018. I called Vanguard today, 01/22/2018, to inquire why my balance was still low. They said no check was received and all they could do was leave a message with someone to possibly find it. I then went back and forth between Vanguard and my previous 401K company a total of five times as Vanguard requested more and more information.
All of this requested info wasn't listed in one sitting. Instead, over hours on the phone, it was all finally compiled by me. As I said, hours later, it turns out that they cashed the check January 18th, 2018. As of this moment, they still can't find my money and it isn't even close to being rolled into my 401K through them. I don’t understand how a company can lose nearly 30k. This is my future retirement that is getting unprofessionally dealt with.
Vanguard has taken a month to open my account, then double draft. I agreed to $10,000 for 2020 retirement fund. They took 10,000 then 6 days later took another 10,000 leaving me with enough cash to buy groceries for a week. To top it all, they had put my money in a Money market account, the same as a toilet account. I had been specific in my opening that it was for the 2020 Retirement fund that made 6.9 % in 2016; 15% last year. Instead it made 3 cents in January. So they had 20,000 to play around with. When I called to inquire they left me on hold for more than 10 minutes. I called back after the weekend and through all the bull they wanted to discuss they said they would wire it today, but my bank may charge me for the wire!? Wow. I said no, just send it by cheapest way, I made a mistake and since my money is still in MONEY MARKET, send me a copy of the application where I specified RETIREMENT FUND 2020.
Vanguard exhibits a pattern of retaining client funds. They have onerous procedures to delay and frustrate clients hoping many give up. That is certainly my experience and as I read the reviews of Vanguard that appears to be the experience on most reviewers. I have dealt with other brokerage firms and never encountered anything similar. Unfortunately clients look for reviews such as these when they are frustrated and not before they commit funds to Vanguard. As in my case my company used Vanguard for deferred income and 401K accounts; therefore, I assumed Vanguard had a good reputation. My experience since my retirement three years ago has not been good. I began trying to withdraw the funds immediately after my retirement and to date they still retain a small portion of my funds which they refuse to relinquish to me.
I had Vanguard for my 401k which was then transferred to a private IRA when I left my company. They had done a great job of investing for me. I suggested my husband roll his 401K money into an IRA there as well. We recently tried to transfer some of HIS money out to HIS checking account and what a disaster they have been - it is a bit of a story I won't bore you with - but basically we keep sending in the form since they wanted to verify who my husband was since I was involved, as well as verifying his identity on the phone 4 times with his security questions.
Now about 3 months later we still do not have a password so we can't transfer out the money. We are on our 6th notary payment sending in their SAME exact form and they keep finding BS reasons that something is wrong with it. My husband put only a tiny bit of money here just to try them out and they have FAILED miserably and he is closing his account. I have money here as well which has done well but I am also in search of a new company since our treatment has been so disgusting. Sad to see what a cluster they have made of our business. Do NOT put your money here as they have very very very poor customer service and even slower service in responding.
I was forced to deal with Vanguard because my employer had them as the retirement fund administrator for their plan. They were extremely difficult to deal with. In one case they waited three days from the date they received my transaction order (verified delivery by return receipt from post office) until they acted on it. The transaction value in that time moved nearly a thousand dollars in their favor, and they refused to even discuss it! Happiness is Vanguard in the rear view mirror!
Long time investor and I have all of my retirement savings. One day my password stops working. I try the online reset. No dice... I wait a few days and the same. Then I call in and while I am certain about the questions they didn't pass their system and I have to wait two weeks to get resetting stuff in snail mail... They can't (won't) email me a reset. Turns out it was a bug in their system. All said it was the condescending tone that bothered me.
I have been a client since 2003. Until 3 years ago I never experienced any negative event with Vanguard. I was praising the company anytime its name came up in a discussion. I do strongly believe that did an amazing job to make investing affordable, straightforward, and "honest". Vanguard is truly a gift to any customer. Also, I am aware that Vanguard is a low-cost solution and no-frills.
However, in the last 3 years, the quality of their associate/customer support has decreased quite substantially, to say the least. Before 3 yrs ago I would always get my questions answered in a timely, competent, and nice fashion. Since about the beginning of 2015 I had at least 25 episodes in which their associates provided a 1) blatantly wrong answers. 2) Could not answer my question at all and when asked to talk to a more senior associate I was re-routed to a peer. 3) Generally quite ignorant about products' main/basic features, not to mention when I asked for a little bit more sophisticated questions. 4) I would receive 3 different answers from same question in 3 different occasions (I unfortunately learned to not trust them, so I called multiple times with same question). More importantly: those 20 episodes coincide more or less to the number of times I called them...
Other than customer service, in the last 3 years I noticed quite clearly the followings: 1) the website, which used to be top notch, shows several glitches and sometimes some accounts literally disappear for a while from your holding page. 2) More "sophisticated" services such as transfer of shares are below sub par, in some cases taking 2 months to transfer from another brokerage house. I am aware that since early 2016 several articles have highlighted how Vanguard customer services has worsened substantially and that the company was under strain due to the fast rise in asset under management. Those articles also quoted Vanguard executives saying they were aggressively hiring and training new associates. Well, we are in October 2017 and I have not seen any noticeable improvement, if any, quite the opposite.
I am appalled at the lack of professionalism with Vanguard. My husband passed away in August and he had funds in 12 different brokerage houses. At the advice of our attorney, it was suggested to bring all accounts under one house as the money is going to a local charity. Ten of the brokerage firms have been outstanding to deal with and the one that funds are being transferred to has been timely and professional in all ways. All is taken care of EXCEPT for Vanguard... the request went to them eight weeks ago, and they have one rule after another… just when you think you are done, you are NOT... I finally demanded to speak to someone who knew what they were doing and participated in a three way call with Vanguard, the accepting brokerage firm and myself. After two levels of staff, I thought we were done. NO... then I got assigned a broker to move the money to me under Vanguard.
That is NOT the intent of the trust however if that is what they needed then I was willing to go that route. There were six different forms that I had to complete and they were supposedly "mailed" over ten days ago. Today I receive a current balance sheet for the trust, which they say I asked for, but of course, did not. Still no documents for me to fill out. I tried calling the "broker", Elizabeth ** but their voice mail system doesn’t work except during the work day. They are in New York and I am in California so the ability to leave a voice message is helpful. Vanguard doesn’t even offer that after hours. I am going to write to the President and CEO of Vanguard as their incompetence is affecting the charity who is receiving the money. The charity is also writing to Vanguard as everything is being held up by their reluctance to do business in a professional manner. DON’T EVER INVEST YOUR MONEY IN VANGUARD SECURITIES!
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.
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.
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