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Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...
Old 11-13-2006, 10:11 AM   #1
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Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...

Having nothing to do tonight (Nov 13, 2230 hrs) I phoned my pals at Vanguard.

I called (using my cell phone, the skype connection was horrible) the "collect" number at 1-610-669-1000 and asked them to call me back. They asked for my name, SSN and after five minutes I got the ring.

The first caller was talking to her office chum, explaining that she had some guy from Thailand on the line. After 30 seconds the line went dead.

I called "collect" again and went through the same security screening, then received the call back and spoke to a web technical rep. He seemed to know about Thailand being blocked, but the line went dead after about one minute (no details on why I was being blocked)

I called again (third time is the charm) and again went through the security screening and duly received the call back, about a 10 minute wait this time. I spoke to a regular rep and asked when web access to Thailand would be restored. He laughed and replied "thats a good question"

Not funny.

Mr. Happy said he recalled a "political disturbance" that may have cause Thailand to be banned... What the ****? The coup was in September and what did that have to do with me, a Vanguard investor wanting only to access my accounts?!?

I was belatedely connected with yet another web technical rep that seemed to be aware that Vanguard web access was curtailed in Thailand but again, the line went dead before I could get a plausible reason for interruption of service.

After the first disconnect, I gave each Vanguard rep my number and asked them to phone me back if the line was dropped. None did. I phone my parents in a very rural area of the USA and I have yet to be disconnected.

I try to take the long view (I hate capital gains taxes) but I may have to seriously consider switching investment companies. I know anyone can make a mistake, but I have not been able to log on for eight days and it seems that Vanguard could care less about resolving this issue. Why should they if they can even bother to call some one back after being disconnected?

Sad, really sad.

Lance

PS- Etrade, NetBank Treasury Direct and Fidelity still allow access in Thailand. Perhaps they were backing the generals while Vanguard was supporting Taksin the previous prime minister? (Joke...)





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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...
Old 11-13-2006, 10:24 AM   #2
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...

Here's the easy solution: just PM me all your account and security info and I will do your bidding on your Vanguard account from the US.

For a small fee, of course
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...
Old 11-13-2006, 10:39 AM   #3
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancelot
After the first disconnect, I gave each Vanguard rep my number and asked them to phone me back if the line was dropped. None did. I phone my parents in a very rural area of the USA and I have yet to be disconnected.
You've seen the same service in Bangkok with a cheerful smile many times! "Yes, Mr. Lance. Right away sir." (Nothing happens.) "Yes, Mr. Lance, right away sir." (Nothing happens.) And so on... and you know what it means when it happens to you in Bangkok.

This is the service that Vanguard's customers are paying for. It seems like the world's lowest quality of service for the world's lowest fees... maybe it works for 99% of the customers but their repetitive imcompetence is a clear signal that you're being told to stop bothering them and go away. You've already cost them your .09% ER through 2012.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancelot
I try to take the long view (I hate capital gains taxes) but I may have to seriously consider switching investment companies.
When Tweedy, Browne's IRA custodians ticked me off for the final time, we were able to move all the shares in kind to Fidelity. There's a $75 transaction fee to buy additional shares but no fees at all to maintain the transferred shares (not even an annual maintenance fee like Tweedy insisted on charging). There's no transaction fee to sell the Tweedy shares, as we did when we finally ditched TBGVX for PID.

You may make Fidelity very happy if you transfer your Vanguard shares in kind and then continue buying Fidelity's index equivalents.
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...
Old 11-13-2006, 11:24 AM   #4
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...

Sorry to hear about that Lance. So what do you do now? Go to Malaysia to access your account?
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...
Old 11-13-2006, 11:53 AM   #5
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...

Don't mind me, just brainstorming here, and this is totally impractical, but what if you were to call a dialup number in the states and connect that way?

I realize:

1. Slow
2. Expensive
3. Bad line quality

Or a dialup in some neighboring country.

Or satellite?
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...
Old 11-13-2006, 11:59 AM   #6
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...

Good idea.
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...
Old 11-13-2006, 12:22 PM   #7
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...

Use a proxy such as www.anonymizer.com. It's $20/year.
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...
Old 11-13-2006, 07:56 PM   #8
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Re: Phoning Vanguard from Bangkok...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Don't mind me, just brainstorming here, and this is totally impractical, but what if you were to call a dialup number in the states and connect that way?

I realize:

1. Slow
2. Expensive
3. Bad line quality

Or a dialup in some neighboring country.

Or satellite?
Believe me, all suggestions are welcome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
You've seen the same service in Bangkok with a cheerful smile many times! "Yes, Mr. Lance. Right away sir." (Nothing happens.) "Yes, Mr. Lance, right away sir." (Nothing happens.) And so on... and you know what it means when it happens to you in Bangkok.
Two weeks ago I would have agreed with you but now I am wondering... Recently when I emailed my (Thai) cell phone service provider concerning my calling rates, they responded in less than 24 hours with the appropriate information. I also emailed my ISP here in Thailand, asking for assistance with the Vanguard access issue. They also responded with in 6 hours, saying that they could not open the site either (and suggested that I contact Vanguard directly...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
Sorry to hear about that Lance. So what do you do now? Go to Malaysia to access your account?
I may adopt the "Nord's method" and switch to Fidelity

Lance
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