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Vanguard Customer Service?
Old 06-22-2021, 11:33 AM   #1
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Vanguard Customer Service?

There have been complaints here over the years, and I usually replied saying something to the effect of 'you can't expect much if any "handholding" if you want the lowest fees possible.' Vanguard was a place for DIY investors by design.

But they seem to have hit a new low, almost zero customer service if you have an issue! Where I once had a fairly knowledgeable Flagship representative, then a "team" of representatives who rarely gave me anything but 'we will have to get back to you', now there's no one to message and if you find a number online and call, you can bet you'll have a long wait time. And that would be OK with me IF their online help/FAQ was decent - but it's ridiculously basic!

I am just looking for very basic info, not investment advice or recommendations. I can figure it out online 9 times out of 10, but they have clearly worked to making customer service harder to access - but zero customer service on a $XX,000,000 account?

Am I missing something/where to look?

Are Fidelity and Schwab racing to the (cust serv) bottom too?
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Old 06-22-2021, 12:25 PM   #2
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I've been working with VG over the last couple months consolidating multiple outside accounts into our VG account and updating cost basis of all the assets. I am not experiencing the problems you seem to be. Generally I get someone to help me within a couple minutes. I think longest wait may have been 8 or so minutes. Always have gotten compentent help that answered my questions clearly and worked the appropriate paperwork for transfers with me online. When the original account company wanted actual signitures, VG helped me download the form, I printed it, I signed, scanned it and uploaded it back to them over the computer all during the same phone call. All went fine. I'm using just the normal call in numbers for this work even though I still have a specified VG Rep that I like on my monthly statements. If I had run into issues, I would have contacted him directly and have had excellent experience with him in the past. In the past, I've started with him when I didn't know what I was doing.... he would walk me through what to do and get the right folks on the phone to help work the details with me. Always been very happy with his engagement and followup. BTW - my specified rep disappeared off my monthly statements and online account info sometime last year. I called him and asked about it. He said it was a mistake and it was back on within a week or so. We are not a $xx,000,000 account (just $x,000,000) but have gotten excellent service over many years so far. Sorry you are having problems. Maybe a threat to take your business to Fidelity would get you better service and an assigned rep? Just a thought.
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Old 06-22-2021, 02:26 PM   #3
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Vanguard and Infosys have partnered. The second company is based in India and is known for outsourcing.
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Old 06-22-2021, 03:43 PM   #4
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Vanguard and Infosys have partnered. The second company is based in India and is known for outsourcing.
What point are you trying to make?

The partnership does not cover Vanguardís retail business, itís aimed, at least for now, at employer sponsored retirement accounts. So, not on topic. Even if it did cover retail accounts, just the fact that it has been transferred to / taken over by another company does not mean the outcome should be worse. Plenty of US based customer help and interface operations are poorly managed.
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Old 06-22-2021, 03:54 PM   #5
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While I rarely interact with Vanguard reps, I do recall the Vanguard process being more cumbersome than the Fidelity process - hence why I rarely interact with the Vanguard process 😀
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:10 PM   #6
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All my experiences with Fidelity when I needed customer service have been great. They even have a voice print to verify identity when you call.
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by DFW_M5 View Post
All my experiences with Fidelity when I needed customer service have been great. They even have a voice print to verify identity when you call.
Vanguard has a voice print, but actually talking to someone is tough - unless of course your transferring funds in, then they’re extremely helpful like all brokerages. Every firm is expert at transfers and rollovers in…
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:32 PM   #8
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Fidelity has always been and continues to be top notch for me in customer service. Private client line is answered 24/7 and always by a person who sounds like a native English speaker.
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:38 PM   #9
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I've had a Vanguard PAS account for 6 years and the occasional times I need to discuss something with my advisor, an email gets a response within a day or two. I can also schedule a teleconference fairly easily.
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Old 06-22-2021, 05:41 PM   #10
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I've had to call VG 3 or so times in the past 3 months.

Every single time, I get a message saying hold times will be 20+ minutes and I can opt for them to call me back.

I knew going in they were the low cost provider and that I couldn't expect a similar experience to a full service brokerage, but not being able to reach a live person a large percentage of the time - and worse - not being open nights and weekends is almost enough for me to move what assets we do have there somewhere else like FIDO.

Unfortunately, I hold some VG funds that would be costly to do buys or sells on at FIDO. Not that I move things around frequently, but I don't want to get hit with a $49.95 (or in some cases, $75 fee) to buy a non-FIDO TX-fee fund like VWINX. And if I'm not mistaken, Admiral class shares like VWIAX can't be purchased. They MIGHT be able to be transferred in - but after you sell shares, you won't be able to buy more.

So, I grit my teeth and deal with VG's really bad customer service (IMHO) for those funds like VWIAX that I want to hold. Would definitely prefer to consolidate, but at least so far, there's no good option to do so without paying a whole lot more..
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Old 06-22-2021, 06:03 PM   #11
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I like Fidelity. They have offices and people. What a concept eh?
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
Vanguard has a voice print, but actually talking to someone is tough - unless of course your transferring funds in, then theyíre extremely helpful like all brokerages. Every firm is expert at transfers and rollovers inÖ

I provided recent experience moving accounts to VG. You appear to discount that so Iíll mention Iíve had VG accounts for at least 20 plus years as I expect you have. As youíd expect interactions over that length of time have included many topics. Questions on taxes, fees, step up basis, and large asset sales/purchases are ones that quickly come to mind. My experience has been very good, so good iím currently consolidating into VG. Again, sorry you arenít having a similar experience. Not sure why you donít just move to whoever better fits your needs if you are unhappy at VG.
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Old 06-22-2021, 08:07 PM   #13
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We are VG Flagship and VG Personal Advisory Service, so our dedicated rep handles most things and weíve zero problems. With $XX,000,000 there, donít you have a special number to call? Iíd certainly ask, if I were you.
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Old 06-22-2021, 09:42 PM   #14
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Yeah, If I had 10 million I'd want someone to call. I've got people to call at all my places that will call back same or next day. And I ain't got 10 mill.

Weird.
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Old 06-22-2021, 10:18 PM   #15
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I never had anything approaching 8 figures in assets with Vanguard but like many others here was a loyal customer for decades.

At one time I hired an advisor who used DFA funds and required them to be held at Schwab (Vanguard doesn’t allow access to them) and divided my assets between the two brokerages.

I got to the point where the only thing keeping me at Vanguard at all was being able to have Admiral shares of Wellesley. Several experiences of waiting 20+ minutes on hold, all the while listening to their self-congratulatory message about their low fees being the reason for the wait, combined with the ridiculous pop-up ads for their PAS “service” every time I logged onto their laughably outdated web site made me throw in the towel and move everything to Schwab.

I have the greatest respect for Jack Bogle and Vanguard’s legacy but he’d surely shudder to see what they have become. The worst customer service - by far- among the “big three (i.e. Vanguard, Fido, Schwab), an atrocious website, and simply no excuse given that their competitors have physical offices, banking services and profit-seeking corporate “shells” to support vs. Vanguard’s much-touted (and clearly meaningless) “you own us” schtick. The very fact that they even offer a percentage-of-assets-under-management “service” for which you pay .30% to be put into the same 4 index funds they use in all of their LifeStrategy and Target Retirement funds is so anti-Bogle that it’s reason enough alone to jump ship.

Endless discussion of this topic on Bogleheads in recent years leads to the same conclusion: buy their excellent ETFs and mutual funds - and hold them somewhere else. Their real corporate motto (driven by massive inflows into their funss) is the same as that of AT&T back in the bad old monopoly days: “We Don’t Care - We Don’t Have To>’
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Old 06-22-2021, 11:08 PM   #16
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We own many Vanguard ETFís within Fidelity and havenít been charged much if anything to buy them. Perhaps there are others we havenít explored that have higher fees to transact, but there is such a plethora of investments available through either Schwab or Fidelity that I canít imagine tolerating poor customer service just to avoid a relatively small transaction cost.
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Old 06-22-2021, 11:37 PM   #17
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What point are you trying to make?

The partnership does not cover Vanguard’s retail business, it’s aimed, at least for now, at employer sponsored retirement accounts. So, not on topic. Even if it did cover retail accounts, just the fact that it has been transferred to / taken over by another company does not mean the outcome should be worse. Plenty of US based customer help and interface operations are poorly managed.
The point I am trying to make is when I called a while back to Vanguard that when I was put on hold for a long period of time. When I questioned it when I spoke with a rep I asked if there were issues at their call center in PA when Vanguard is based. The rep advised me she was in AZ and some call ops were moved to the West Coast. Also just like many ops centers just not Vanguard there seems to be staffing issues and us the consumers are not getting timely customer service. Your take of customer service being poorly managed is somewhat correct and not having enough staffing due to company decisions play a part and we the customers are the ones inconvienced. Lets have a cordial discussion as always! That's why I like posting and reading on many topics here on these forums. In regards to customer call back, I don't use the call back option because when I call after market closing the Vanguard reps stop their calls to clients early in the evening. I would not call the day the Dow has a correction. One is just going to learn the call volume will be tremendous to Vanguard. Have a great day everyone! The markets are doing very well and I am a happy client!
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