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  • Vanguard Customer Service: Very bad so far

    Has anyone else experienced really unimpressive customer service with Vanguard? I fully intended to transfer all of my investments to them, but am now I'm having serious doubts.

    Series of events so far:

    Call Vanguard, connect with Rafael, who becomes my official Vanguard rep.

    Am scheduled a webcam webinar with another person to assess if I am a "good fit" for Vanguard's services. Incidentally, I am! Shocking This person has great customer service and seems to be very helpful. He tells me once I officially decide to transfer my investments, just call XYZ number. Ok great!

    I call XYZ number; I'm told that I needed to call with a bunch of information ready that I don't presently have (as I was never told to have it ready). I am also treated in a very condescending manner. I find my way off the call in order to connect with Rafael.

    I email Rafael in order to set up a meeting. Let's get this stuff done!

    Rafael responds the next day. (That's fine.) He suggests a time frame.

    I respond the next day agreeing to a date/time within his suggested time frame.

    Rafael does not respond for four days. When he does respond to confirm, I am no longer available. I respond the same day and suggest a new time frame for two days later.

    Rafael does not respond, but does call at the time I suggested two days later. But because he hadn't responded I made other commitments. Oy.

    I call Vanguard to complain about Rafael and to request a new rep. I speak with the customer service person who sounds very cordial. She says she will contact the other department to figure out if it's possible for me to get a new rep. (Really? This might not be possible?)

    She calls me back shortly thereafter to confirm the name of the rep in question (not a big deal, but seems like a pretty important detail - I had assumed she had it in the system). She says she will call me later on that day. She calls me at 6:30pm, and I tell her I can't speak at the moment. She says she will call the following day. This was three days ago.

    Yeesh.

    I was fully intending to transfer all my investments, but now I'm pretty ************************ wary. And a quick google search just showed I'm not the only one experiencing terrible service. Consumer Affairs: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/automated-investment-services/vanguard.html

    Oof. So now what? Vanguard was my jam based off Boglehead acclaim, but now I don't know! Anyone have any terrific experiences with similar services?

  • #2
    That hardly sounds like a customer service disaster. Are you enrolling in the Vanguard advisory program or just DIY using Vanguards funds? If the latter, you can do it at any brokerage and just use ETFs.

    I avoid these sorts of issues by doing almost everything online. On the rare occasions I've had to call the customer service was adequate. About the same as Schwab and better than I get from my partnership's accountant and 401(k) provider.
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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    • #3
      I have had to deal with customer service with both Vanguard and Fidelity.  In both cases I had slightly complicated things that I wanted to accomplish.  I was able to do them with both, but it was easier with Vanguard, even though I sometimes dealt with Fidelity in person at my local office.   But complicated transactions can require a few phone calls.

      Bottom line:  Vanguard is fine.  Give them another chance.

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      • #4
        I second wci's advice, why do you need to speak with someone?

        I would do everything online to avoid the hassle of customer support reps in general

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        • #5
          You are asking for a personal relationship with a low-cost, large-scale brokerage providing commodity investment advice. Vanguard is a fine brokerage firm, if that is what you are looking for, but their cost of production comes before your personal interests.
          Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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          • #6
            I have never really dealt with them as setting up an account or transferring something can be done online in about 7 minutes. With Vanguard I dont find it that hard to believe as they have to deliver low costs from somewhere.

            If you want to benefit from Vanguards fees you dont have to use their actual firm, just buy their products, which is what I do since their website is also curmudgeonly.

             

            After residency I basically have figured this out about life. If you expect or even have a notion that the rest of the world has the kind of follow through, sense of commitment, tenacity, etc...that you experience and expect to deliver yourself as a doctor, you're in for a big disappointment. It just does not work that way in the rest of the world. Things that are world changing important in communications at 330pm are never thought of again at 445 when its prep time to go home.

            Its pretty amazing and I see this almost everywhere. I am fully convinced that most businesses could be making a lot more money if not for behavioral issues. I have never had a quick response or return of call for lawn services, and very few companies for anything house related are prompt and on the ball. Sometimes I feel like Im standing on the corner with a wad of cash waving it to people and they simply refuse to be bothered (this happened once literally, grounds guy told my wife he had no time). I have tried several times in the last year to get things done, once blinds for the house and then a new patio door and both times tried to go with big box stores installers to save time and they were so slow and unresponsive I did it myself.

            Another surgeon and I at my practice always joke about putting together a home services company with doctor style work ethics, we'd make a killing, but couldnt grow since it'd be hard to find enough people with the same qualities. We have what is apparently way too high of expectations for these kinds of things.

             

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            • #7
              Vanguard is a mutual company that offers investment advice/brokerage services.  From dealing with their customer service, one can tell that they are still learning the trade.  Probably should be a bit more patient with their customer service.

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              • #8
                I would agree with all of the above.

                Specifically, do as much online as you can.

                Be patient.

                If you want concierge level of service, be prepared to pay for it.

                Once you get things set up, it is a well-run machine.

                As you know, health care has an impossible (IMO) triple aim of great service/patient experience, high quality, and low cost. I have oft heard that you can have two of the three, but all three are impossible.

                Similarly, I would say the same about the investment and personal finance business (and maybe all retail business, for that matter). Vanguard does two of the three extremely well (high quality and low expenses). If service/investor experience is your priority, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

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                • #9
                  I would like to show some love for Vanguard's customer service, as my experience has been outstanding.  Disclaimer: I am a "Flagship" client, so the level of service I receive may not be replicable for a non-Flagship client (Flagship status is automatic once $1m in assets with Vanguard is reached).  That said, I have received concierge-level service on numerous occasions, most recently for a complicated paper stock-certificate transaction that involved so many moving parts that I thought it would never get done.  The Vanguard rep handled everything, sometimes even doing a conference call with me and a third party brokerage, to walk me through the process.  He even phoned me on an every-week basis for awhile, to followup on all the transactions that were supposed to be occuring between another brokerage and Vanguard.  It was awesome.

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                  • #10
                    Are you enrolling in the Vanguard advisory program or just DIY using Vanguards funds?

                    The advisory program


                    Bottom line:  Vanguard is fine.  Give them another chance.






                    Vanguard is a fine brokerage firm, if that is what you are looking for, but their cost of production comes before your personal interests.

                    With Vanguard I dont find it that hard to believe as they have to deliver low costs from somewhere.


                    Probably should be a bit more patient with their customer service.

                    Vanguard does two of the three extremely well (high quality and low expenses). If service/investor experience is your priority, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

                    I would like to show some love for Vanguard’s customer service, as my experience has been outstanding.

                    All worthy points, thanks all. I envisioned Vanguard indeed as the triple crown king of low cost/quality/service, but I suppose something must give to facilitate the low cost. Ah well. I'll try again and hope for M's experience...
                    Another surgeon and I at my practice always joke about putting together a home services company with doctor style work ethics, we’d make a killing.

                    Let me know when you get the service together. I'll be your first customer

                     

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                    • #11
                      That is basically what happened to me. I got the “i will be your advisor” with a phone and extension. The person was never available and sometimes called me back many days later. I tried to connect with another advisor and had to start from the bottom again and felt like crap dealing with them. After this horrible experience I am switching to fidelity.

                      Why does anyone put up with vanguard?

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                      • #12



                        I have never really dealt with them as setting up an account or transferring something can be done online in about 7 minutes. With Vanguard I dont find it that hard to believe as they have to deliver low costs from somewhere.


                        If you want to benefit from Vanguards fees you dont have to use their actual firm, just buy their products, which is what I do since their website is also curmudgeonly.


                         


                        After residency I basically have figured this out about life. If you expect or even have a notion that the rest of the world has the kind of follow through, sense of commitment, tenacity, etc…that you experience and expect to deliver yourself as a doctor, you’re in for a big disappointment. It just does not work that way in the rest of the world. Things that are world changing important in communications at 330pm are never thought of again at 445 when its prep time to go home.


                        Its pretty amazing and I see this almost everywhere. I am fully convinced that most businesses could be making a lot more money if not for behavioral issues. I have never had a quick response or return of call for lawn services, and very few companies for anything house related are prompt and on the ball. Sometimes I feel like Im standing on the corner with a wad of cash waving it to people and they simply refuse to be bothered (this happened once literally, grounds guy told my wife he had no time). I have tried several times in the last year to get things done, once blinds for the house and then a new patio door and both times tried to go with big box stores installers to save time and they were so slow and unresponsive I did it myself.


                        Another surgeon and I at my practice always joke about putting together a home services company with doctor style work ethics, we’d make a killing, but couldnt grow since it’d be hard to find enough people with the same qualities. We have what is apparently way too high of expectations for these kinds of things.


                         


                        Click to expand...



                        Amen.

                        Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

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                        • #13

                          Fidelity has much better customer service in my experience.


                          It's true that you can do just about everything online, but you'll still have an occasional question or problem. Fidelity reps are responsive and knowledgeable. When they don't know the answer they track it down promptly. 

                          Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            I guess if you need a cheap advisor, Vanguard PAS is your ticket and maybe your experience is typical. I have never heard of a two way webinar with Vanguard. Why does that need to happen?


                            I only use Vanguard for low cost mutual funds and ETFs. Very happy with their service. I will concur Vanguard is not always the fastest. But they always get the job done, and make sure to follow through.

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                            • #15

                              If you're going to pay the % asset fee for advisory service, I'd expect better service. Either pick something else or better yet DIY. You'll get better service asking about allocations on this board for free.


                              I love Vanguard for and try to do everything online - shouldn't have transfers once it's all set up.

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