Consumer Complaints and Reviews
Yesterday, I met with the VP of Merrill Edge for Financial Solutions Advisor at the Bank of America local branch. Within minutes of our conversation, he assured me that I could open a Roth IRA for my son, who is 21 years old and works for a company that does not have a retirement plan. I told him that I would like to make the annual maximum contribution to his account from my BOA and he assured me that would be no problem once he sets up the account and I will have to answer some questions online when I get home and to answer the questions as if he was answering the questions. While in his office, I got a call and told him that I am unable to talk to him because I am at the bank opening a retirement account for him.
When I got home, I did exactly what I was told and had difficulty linking my account to transfer funds to the newly established Roth IRA account for my son. I called the 1-888 Investment Center Representative toll free number and after over 45 minutes of conversation and placed on hold several times, I was told that the Roth IRA cannot be open without his presence and as a result, I cannot transfer funds from my BOA to his Roth IRA account.
Today I got a call and the representative left me a voice message that they have to close my Roth IRA account because, the VP of Financial Solutions Advisor was fraudulent in setting up the account originally without the presence of my son. The voice message also said that he conferred with his supervisors and managers and that is their policy to have the person present to open the account. The VP of Financial Solutions knew that my son was in Charleston and was in the middle of evacuation before the Hurricane Matthew in Charleston.
Arbitrary fees galore. I recently opened an LMA account. (It's a loan for God's sake). Shortly after opening the calls from an assigned broker began hounding me to move all of my assets over, to purchase an annuity etc. After the ninth "NO"! I started to get hit with fee notices. These notices stated "Your account has been assessed a fee... etc. No specific reason, simply an arbitrary fee. I'm afraid my good credit will be harmed. I'm thinking about informing the S.E.C. This is OUTRAGEOUS!
We have a BOA account and therefore transferred some money into the Merrill-Lynch account to buy some investments. I am desperately surprised when I bought a 4000$ security which has a yield of ~ <2.0%, I was charged 2% markup. This means after you hold it for one year, your return is negative. The worst part is that Merrill-Lynch/Edge will never tell you you are charged a huge amount of commission. Merrill-Lynch/Edge has been sued twice because of their discarding, illegal, greedy and unconcealed dirty behavior.
I Sat with the advisor and filled out paperwork, signed papers, and he told me the objective is to get the 2 stock accounts changed to my name and then reinvest it with Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch would give me the medallion signature needed to do so. He also claimed he has a ton of paperwork to fill out with this. A month goes by so I show up and he acts as if we never filled out papers.
We once again fill out papers and I bring him account statements from Pimco and Putnam. This time he made phone calls to Pimco and Putnam and they say that a medallion signature is needed to change the stock accounts to my name. There's a section that I point out to him on the paperwork that needs to be filled out by Merrill Lynch and he claims he'll fill it out later, before he sends any of it in to Merrill Lynch for the Medallion Signatures.
I ask, what happens next. He says he sends in the paperwork to his head office for the medallion signature. Than gets it back and sends it to both Pimco and Putnam. I ask, "how long do I wait to call you or you call me." He says in one month he'll call me. I waited longer, I call him, and he claims that I will receive something from Pimco and Putnam in the mail. More time goes by. I call him. He says he'll find out and call me today or tomorrow. Days go by. I go in person to see him and he claims they never got the paperwork so he sent it in the night before 8/15/2016 with FedEx overnight and he put both Putnam and Pimco in the same envelope since the location for both are at the same address.
2 days go by, I call up both places and they haven't received it yet. I ask for the tracking #. He now says it's U.P.S. and he has none. I call the bank manager and tell her my concerns and to ask him the tracking #. He calls and tells me 2. Turns out he did send them separately. On 8/19 the paperwork is delivered. With no medallion signatures on the paperwork. It's worthless. Very frustrated.
I go in person to talk to him. He claims that he never intended to send paperwork to Merrill Lynch for medallions. He says that the medallion signature is required after the stocks are changed to my name. This is nonsense. Once it's in my name I can do what I want. It's mine. No longer the deceased. There's no purpose for a medallion signature once it's mine. Because it's mine. In my name.
He never filled out the portion of investor information on paperwork that was sent in. I learned that when a human being lies, the human being can't keep track as well as when it's the truth. They can't keep up with the lie and lie some more. It's impossible to lie and not lie some more in order to convince another human being that it's true.
I went into B of A to see about a line of credit. I was steered to Merrill-Lynch in the process, with B of A telling me that I would get a preferred consideration, the more connections I had with the bank. I was looking for a new broker because mine had left his firm, BUT I wanted my funds held at Franklin Templeton and just have a broker associated with the account. I was inundated with paperwork between the broker and the bank, so (my mistake) I trusted and signed. I know the ME broker understood me. In essence, they stole my account. It has taken me months to get this settled. After being stone-walled at every turn, I went back to my last firm to get the funds transferred back and then de-networked back to FT. The people at ME are very nice until you want to move your funds. Then they turn into jerks. It's MY money!!
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I wanted to roll over my 401K to an IRA when I left my last job. It took 3 phone calls to finally get someone to tell me that I needed to contact the new fund and they will sort it. The first 2 times I called no one knew anything and told me to check the website. I was calling because the information was not on the website. When the account was finally closed I was charged a $95 fee for closing my ML account as well as a $35 annual fee. In the space of 18 months my fund balance was reduced by over 30%.
I was downsized from my employer, B. Braun Medical in January of 2016. My pension fund was held by Merrill Lynch and I was fully vested. In February I asked to cash out the funds, and the representative said he could have papers to me by May and funds disbursed by July. Immediately this sounded suspicious to me. I completed all the papers and promptly returned them. I waited a long time, then received a letter saying they needed MORE documentation. This was late May. So I turned in all that paperwork and called to verify that they had what they needed, and they said I could expect funds to be deposited on July 1st. Nothing. Still waiting. Now I have placed a complaint with the CFPB. When I took funds from my T. Rowe Price 401k it was very quick. I think something shady is going on with Merrill Lynch.
To start with, Merrill-Lynch held my mothers pension fund. She had originally listed my father as the beneficiary. She was trying hard for over six months to remove her pension and they kept giving her the runaround. My father passed away in March and my mother made calls then to change beneficiary, but they would not accept it over the phone and made her wait for the paperwork to change it. She filled out the paperwork and it was mailed into Merrill-Lynch 3 weeks later and they received it. My mother passed away the following week. There was 1 month and 1 week between my father's death and my mother's. I called Merrill-Lynch several times to see if they had changed the pension beneficiary and they kept telling me they never got the paperwork. This went on for 6 months and they paid the pension money to the estate.
Finally I had, had enough of their runaround and I threatened to have my attorney subpoena all the paperwork that was sent to them and low and behold in 3 days I had the full copy of the paperwork they said they never received with the change of beneficiary right on page two with my mother signature. They also facetiously stamped the paperwork being received in June when it was mailed the first week of May as it was mailed before my mother passed away and she went May 14th.
Since they paid the money to the estate it was taxed at a 49.1% rate which cost me about 10,000 in additional taxes. Since the money was paid to the estate the estate started to spend it on estate bills and that cost me $26,000 before we could finally get a hearing with a judge to rule on the beneficiary status. My mother worked her heart out for the company she worked for, for over 36 years and, because of Merrill-Lynch over 2/3rds of her hard earned pension was lost. I was given the runaround from Merrill-Lynch for over a year and a half and they absolutely lied to me on many occasions. I am the sole survivor of the family and this has cost me a small fortune to try and make things right the way it should have been handled.
My mom, who is now decease updated her beneficiary form August of 2013. Well, after speaking with the relationship manager, I was told the form is invalid and I must go through probate. My mom passed April 16, 2016 and no one bothered to contact her to fix the problem. The person I spoke is not very helpful nor was he able to locate her past beneficiary forms. I requested all documentation concerning her estate and my emails were ignored. I am now seeking legal advice because no one will supply me with my request. Please be aware of this company and make sure everything you sign you get a copy and give a copy to someone you trust.
Looks like all agents want to open your account instead of giving proper information, like Eric did to me. He hung up on me as he realized that I'm asking too much information. He hung up when I was asking and said, "Have a nice day you..." I will not open any account where customer service is this BAD.
After opened an account, on May 7, 2016, I made my first deposit for 4 checks at the ATM machine. The checks are in a total amount of over $3,700. Since I forgot to endorse them, the Bank sent me a message which informed me their rejections of the deposit due to this problem. The message also indicated that all 4 checked will be return to me for my signatures.
After a ten-day waiting, I still haven't received them. The problem apparently got worse - the message was deleted from the Mail Box permanently because neither the representative at the bank nor I couldn't retrieve it from the bank's personal login website. As I understand that if I accidentally deleted the message, the bank is still able to retrieve and recover it. An over an hour phones conversation with the representative last Friday couldn't resolve this problem.
Follow the one hour phone conversation last Friday, I sent an email which stated the fact of the incident and request for assistance. I also attached my deposit receipt with the email. But no one contact me for this issue as of Tuesday morning. It's very disappointed and frustrated because check deposit is within a normal banking activity and $3,700 is not a small amount! I emailed the representative in the branch Tuesday morning. Finally received another message, informed me that my 4 checks will be sent back to me, but the process will take another 6 business days! If the first deposit has so many troubles, especially the mythical deleted message, you can imagine what will be the next.
I had a employee stock purchase plan from a former employer (Republic Services). Unbeknownst to me on January 31, 2015 Republic Services transferred the stocks I had purchased from them to Merrill Lynch. I was assessed an "Annual Account Fee" of $65 from Merrill Lynch and received a notice from them that I owed $25.14 because they had automatically pulled $39.86 from the dividends I had received from the stocks. I called and requested the fee be waived and that Merrill Lynch return the stocks to me. ML said they would review the fee and look into reversing it.
I called back and was advised the fee was not waived. I requested the contract with them showing where I agree to pay an annual fee but only received a blank contract requesting that I complete and sign. Now I am being told that I can not have my stocks until after I have paid the annual fee in full. This is extortion and they are forcing me to pay on something I never agreed to. I have the notice from Merrill Lynch and would appreciate any help from Consumer Affairs in dealing with this unfair practice.
Only a few days after signing up with Merrill-Lynch and been nothing but calls every week or bi-weekly to purchase their products. It's sub-par from what you would think a reputable company. Filled an SEC complaint detailing clearly their unpleasant pushy tactics.
It's extraordinarily hard to find tax documents. When I find information about the tax document the site gives me written instructions for which tab to go to, then a link title followed by another link title. Why can't you just provide a link to the destination I need? I just spent 20 minutes trying to model then exercise. It is completely impossible to do so right now for some reason I cannot fathom. But there are no explanations for why this is completely impossible right now. I tried on 2 different computers, same result. I think Merrill Lynch has multiple websites and that those websites don't communicate with each other. Please hire a developer team and a user experience team. This is 2016 - this website (or websites) are straight out of 1991. I need an intuitive, well thought out path to my destination. It's not rocket surgery.
I am appalled with the experience I just had with Merrill Edge. I started the process of rolling over my IRA to an annuity over 6 weeks ago. Upon my initial contact with M/E, I informed them of my intentions and filled out all the necessary paperwork with my agent. As soon as they received the info they immediately removed the money from the account and then the fun began. They had put my money in an account ready for transfer but then I could not get it out. They first told me the paperwork was incomplete. I fixed that. Then there was a signature medallion required.
Then I was told it was released and sent but never arrived. Then when I went back again, they said I was misinformed and the signature medallion was still required even though my agent had a signature of delivery. Then after all of this the check shows up $75.00 light. I assume that is some sort of processing fee which I never never told about. It not bad enough they held my substantial amount of money in an account. I'm sure they were collecting interest on for over a month but they added insult to injury. I wouldn't do business with these people if they were the last place on earth. The are terrible. Run for your life.
My husband and I opened a Wealth Management Account 5 years ago with all of our retirement money which was certainly enough to live on until we died and also, leave some for our daughter and grandchildren. After 5 years the Walls/Berdell Wealth Management Group in Richmond VA returned .42% in earnings. Time frame from January 2011-December 2015. I completely freaked out when we lost 50K in August to make it a total loss for 2015 of 61K. To add insult to injury my husband had his IRA in a Vanguard account that subsequently earned 8% during the time these Financial Advisors returned .42%. We are both heartsick about the performance that we paid a 1% fee... For what I ask?
A few cocktail parties we could have paid for ourselves. Stay away from Merrill Lynch at all costs and especially Peter **. We have moved all of our money back to Vanguard and subscribed to a newsletter by Dan Weiner who outlines his model portfolios for $189 for 2 year. His results are outstanding. Also, Warren Buffet recommends Vanguard. Don't pay Merrill Lynch to lose your money... Manage it yourself.
MERRILL Lynch gives people a hard time if they need to take a hardship withdrawal from their 401k. It's my money that I invested into the account. After waiting 10 days to get approved, ML still holds your money for a few more weeks. The purpose of the hardship is to prevent whatever unnecessary expense from occurring. I've been waiting since the middle of December for ML to send me my check. Obviously I need it in a hurry, so I can pay my mortgage company. With ML making me wait an extra month, that's just more money that I owe.
Find another service; don't put your money with Merrill-Lynch. Every distribution (4) that I have tried to do has been mishandled. Whether an education savings account or a mandatory distribution from an IRA it has been bungled. Most have required the same form faxed 2-3 times because it can't be found despite a confirmation of delivery on my end. Despite requests for a call to acknowledge receipt, they never come. After long holds and much searching, I'll hear, "We found it". Most recently my mandatory IRA distribution was handled by the head of quality (ironically) who was helping cover in a busy time. I was assured of the distribution and now on 1/7; I see that it did not happen. My accounts with T. Rowe Price and TIAA-CREF run very smoothly. Stay away from this incompetent organization.
I have been a Merrill Lynch Gran Junction, Colorado customer for several years and I stayed with them during the good and bad time but lately, the customer service received has been deteriorated so much that they forced me to move to a different branch office and to appoint a different financial advisor. I have been treated unprofessional and disrespectful after many years of giving them the trust. I don't suggest to anyone to use ML Grand Junction office.
In 2013, I rolled over a retirement acct from a previous employer into my current one. ML reported it as taxable income & sent an inaccurate 1099-R. When informed, they sent me a correct one. Didn't update the IRS, though. Sadly, I neglected to make a copy before submitting it. After the IRS asked for $4K+ based on the inaccurate 1099-R, I've called ML 3 times to get a copy. Each time, I was told something different, but promised a copy would be sent (The third time, the rep tried to tell me I didn't need one & could submit something else. I had to throw a fit that time.). Weeks later, still nothing.
Because of my BOA relationship, I transferred part of my 401 K into an IRA at BOA. I also opened a cash management account. The broker/advisor recommended a ''conservative" bundle of diverse BlackRock Funds for the IRA and then just duplicated them in my CMA. No discussion or choices offered. BlackRock. Period. They were underperforming, so I researched them, and the funds have high fees, don't preserve capital, varying degrees of risk, etc., etc. Not really "conservative." Lousy in every category. One hasn't covered its own fees in three years! Supposedly, these ME guys are licensed. Found out that as my accounts were "managed" I would be charged $75 a trade!
I changed both of them so I manage them, and get 100 free trades a month as good BOA customer. I am now managing my own traditional IRA and CMA ,and I am trying to sell off the BlackRock junk, but the losses keep increasing, and I just need to bite the bullet, accept the thousands I have lost, and move on. Bad advice, driven by commissions.
I had no plans to start an account with Merrill-Lynch but was introduced to better offer through an adviser who said he can get my money out faster than to issue me a signature guarantee medalion; this is where it began. I had changed my address from my last investment firm which I had planned because I was moving. In order for me to get any funds out I had to wait 30 days or have a signature guarantee card issued from my bank. I was referred over to branch officer to discuss this issue. He had recommended that I switch over to Merrill Edge account so I can receive my funds faster, 2 to 3 weeks tops. What a mistake!! So far it's been over 30 days and they are holding all my money from my transferred check for another 8 days until any money can be withdrawn. 90 days until I can receive the full amount. FRUSTRATED AND LIVID. THAT'S ME, VIOLATED.
200 words will not do justice to what I am going to say about Merrill-Lynch Redding, Calif. But in general 3 withdrawals during the 08 crash. And 3 mistakes by Merrill-Lynch. My son fell on hard times, so I needed money for him. Asked the tennis player Merrill-Lynch employee who was a friend at the time, to take all Taxes and Liabilities up front to have no surprises twice. He listened well. The IRS came in over a year later and seized my business account for $1800 a month Fed & $1000. State for over 2.5 yrs in Taxes & fines because my so-called friends incompetence. Plus the manager there, Don called me 3-4 weeks later about my concerns. They Care. A $70K withdrawal costs me more than $50K. Stay away from Merrill-Lynch Redding, Calif.
In 2002 I lost everything. What was supposed to be a guarantee return or increase turned out a total loss. 1/4 of a million Dollars of my retirement was gone. 1997 to 2002 a M.L rep. single-handedly lost my retirement by enrolling me in high yield bonds that never returned even a quarter of my investments. Thus leaving me 83 yrs old, barely getting by having to have to depend on a service called meals on wheels to eat. My 73 yr old wife is still working up for retirement twice with the same company for 40 some odd years. Please can someone help. I'm not sure on the statute of limitations or how it would be possible to even just have a 1/8th of what was taken back . Please MERRILL-LYNCH HAVE A HEART... I Have nothing to show for my life and I trusted you... I still have every portfolio and all records if anyone could help.
I have been contacting Merrill-Lynch all week, by phone, fax and email and no response. I paid the majority of the money into the 401k, not the company, and by law I am entitled to that money. I have a 401k with Merrill-Lynch, from Teletech. I no longer work for the company and am trying to roll over my 401k to an IRA. Myself and the new company's financial advisor have contacted the ML phone # provided at least once a week for three weeks now and have faxed the spousal consent form four times and still every time I am being told it wasn't received. And the form just states I am single, and always been single. Fax machine states ok, verified phone # and now I am out 2 hrs. worth of pay in fax fees and still ML claiming form not received. Is my next action a lawyer? Do I really need to take ML to court because they cannot find a form? To me that is ridiculous but so is this runaround I am getting every time I call.
I closed my account with Merrill-Lynch in Kingsport, Tn over a month ago because Mark ** turned my account over to a Merrill-Lynch Edge account without my permission and I have been trying to withdraw my money for over 5 weeks and they just keep adding thing to that account so they can keep more of my money. They are nothing but a high paid bunch of crooks. Please people run from Merrill- Lynch because the outcome is very nasty!
Be warned!! Do not trust Merrill Edge reports. Their Target prices are a scam. They are inflated so that customers would buy the stock at a high price and keep their money in the account waiting for the price to go up! GME- Analyst stated Target price $56, I bought at $50... made a loss by selling at $38. SAVE- Analyst stated Target price $80, I bought at $60... made a loss by selling at $48. DAL- Analyst Target price $65, I bought at $49... made a loss by selling at $48. Slowly and slowly I have lost $450,000. Never again would I trust such legalized SCAM ARTISTS. NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH THESE GUYS... I WOULD NOT want ANYONE to go through what I have suffered.
Very poor customer service. I have been promised callbacks for several days in a row, and have got none. I sent many original documents and was promised to have them back in 2 days. They received them on October 21st and I've had zero correspondence. I finally demanded to speak to a supervisor and they were conveniently all in a meeting. After setting a deadline for a call back, before the close of business, my phone rang exactly at 5:00 pm (the deadline) and it was the same CSR that made all the promises to begin with, suddenly she was available. She made multiple mentions that the phone call was being recorded, and I'm sure that supervisor was listening in while she made even more promises to deliver good service. I'm now waiting for the call asking me to consider reinvesting with them. Stay tuned!
I completed an application for a CM account on 10/23/15, received an immediate email that states "In most cases, accounts are reviewed and opened within 1 to 2 business days." On 10/29/15, at the end of business 6:05pm EST, 4 business days later, I called the phone number listed on the email; "Need help? Call us at 866.867.6730, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." I spoke to a male representative I spoke to indicate that I didn't complete the affiliations portion of the application (wrong, because I wouldn't been able to submit the application without answering those questions); when I explained that point to him, he then said that there may be additional information needed (wrong, because if there was an email would be sent to me once they make that determination; I confirmed via junk mail and inbox, that no email received), when I explained that point to him, he said that its probably still in review.
I proceeded to inquire as to the reason the review was taking longer than the 1-2 days, he said "that is just an average" time frame it takes to open the account, I asked how to find out what the issue is and he asked to place me on hold for 2-3 minutes, which I replied "sure", he came back and said that I needed to speak to the New Account team to understand the issue, however, they closed at 6pm EST.
At this point, because I felt like earlier in the call he was just giving me guesses as to why it was taking so long, I asked the name of his supervisor, to which he responded with "Sir, who you need to speak to is the New Account team. I understood who I needed to speak to, however, I asked him again for the name of his supervisor, again he said, I need to speak to the New Account Team.
Last time I checked my question was no longer who do I speak to, it was "What is your supervisors name?" I asked him why he wasn't responding to my current request, I asked him to listen to my request again, and again asked; and again he didn't respond to my request. I asked him was he even listening to me, he said that I was belittling him, I responded with, "I just would like to know the name of your supervisor and their phone number or I would like to speak to them, please." NOTE: In customer service you NEVER take anything personal, when you feel belittled or a customer was condescending.
At one point the agent placed me on hold without asking, he just said "I'm placing you on a 2-3 minute hold." He then came back and asked am I ready to finish the conversation. I said, "yes, I would like to know the name of your supervisor or speak to them now," and I advised him I was recording the call. I had to 'literally' ask 16 times, yes 16 times total, and I believe the only reason he finally got a supervisor on the line is because I threatened to put the call out on social media. When the supervisor came on the line, I advised her why I was calling, and what my concern was; I'm an investor for crying out loud, have money to invest, every day that passes is a missed opportunity in the market, this week especially. She said she didn't know why it took the agent 16x's to finally transfer my call, she didn't indicate she was on another line or busy either.
She did confirm the New Account team would be the only ones who could answer my question but they were closed, I asked her why the email indicates 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, she said that is if the account was already opened. She did however, take the initiative to find out from the New Account team what the issue was the following day and call me to deliver the info. Now the agent should take a lesson here. That's why I asked for the supervisor, because they were going to go above and beyond for a frustrated customer, and it's likely that because of that I may decide to reconsider finding a new investment avenue.
Today at 12pm EST, I did receive a call back from the supervisor and she indicated that there is a backlog and they have moved my application to another stage of review, however, she was still not given a timeline as to when it will complete the review. She indicated that there are 3 stages of review and each one takes 1-2 business days: I'm thinking if that is the case then no application would ever be opened within 1-2 business days. She did say she would call me back on Monday or Tuesday to update me on the status.
Just another story of the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Also, this is not just a one-off situation, I also referred a colleague to open the same type account, no affiliations, same type of account and they submitted their app on 10/22/15, and no docs requested, no email confirmation of account opened. I heard there are other reputable institutions that review the application and approve the same day that I am looking into, because this is ridiculous.
Submitted application for a hardship withdrawal from account. Submitted all the information, waited and did not hear from them. My husband called and they said they needed a itemized breakdown of the bill we were trying to cover. We asked why didn't they email or call and let us know that or told him that before and they said, "Well, you will have to resubmit it." So again, having to wait about another 10 days for them to review it and process it. We resubmitted it and faxed in ALL the information and called to confirm receipt... Okay, everything received.
We called today because we have not heard anything and now they say they don't have any record of any of it. I gave the name and employee ID number of the person I talked to and first, they tried to reach her and no response, 2nd, they said she was out of the office and 3rd she was with a client... All in the same conversation!!! Now, they said she will call us back but it won't change anything because it's not in the computer. Oh, and NO ONE will give me a phone number to the corporate office.
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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Merrill Lynch is owned by Bank of America, one of the world’s leading financial institutions. The company serves approximately 47 million consumers and small businesses and has 4,700 retail financial centers.
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Merrill-Lynch Company Profile
- Company Name:
- Merrill Lynch
- Year Founded:
- 250 Vesey Street
- New York
- Postal Code: