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Old 09-12-2021, 05:42 AM   #81
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These Vanguard customer service complaints are very interesting to read. What customers expect has evolved, and Vanguard lags Fidelity and Schwab.
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Elaborate on what has evolved, please?
Sure. I'll use examples from my own investing timeline to explain what I meant.

My first Vanguard exposure was in the late 80's when we used two tax-free funds to preserve cash from my business. It was a holding pen of sorts between personal and business needs. We kept those funds for almost 30 years. Vanguard closed the MMF, which was understandable. That left just the long term fund, and I moved it to Schwab because I required more flexible transfer arrangements. We also have IRA's and Roth-IRA at Vanguard. In the 90's we'd mail a check, it was deposited, and we received statements in the mail. Customer service was just that, and not much else required by us. Expectations probably remained constant for a long while, not just for us.

Increasing expectations came about due to computer evolution including web platform, messaging, and email. Customer expectations of service level had increased greatly as computing prices dropped and internet connectivity improved.

I believe that today most customers want a reasonable answer to their questions in the shortest time possible. I would ask a question of Vanguard through their system, and it would take at least 3 days for the response. The answers, as I recall, included a re-stating of my question in different terms, therefore leading to an incorrect answer. My expectations were for something conclusive, and hopefully something that fixed a problem. I did not get what I wanted.

We opened a Schwab brokerage in 2014 to receive gifted stock. Investments steadily grew there, and we used more and more products from Schwab. An inheritance and other accoumulating money went there. The entire customer experience was much better IMO. But even small things (like web features) can make a difference just like large things (Schwab Bank). I have to admit that I was stand-offish to Schwab, and always thought Vanguard's model was better. But I discovered that Schwab (and I'm sure you can substitute *Fidelity* everywhere I mention Schwab) had features Vanguard was just trying to implement, or they just weren't very good at.

So, we are comfortable leaving some assets which will just sit quietly at Vanguard. But we also now need a customer model that lets me ask a question in messaging, and I receive a human response usually in less than 30 minutes. The local branch also is useful. I email my rep or her admin and get an answer to my question in a short time. I took a large rollover check to their branch, filled in a brief form, and stuck it in the secure box at reception area. I was home in an hour and the funds had appeared and were available in my rollover account.

These are examples of how a company has evolved to anticipate my expectations, and has a convenient solution. I'm sure they did not get everything correct on the first swing, but there is enough innovation to keep us interested.
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Old 09-12-2021, 06:42 AM   #82
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I think Vanguard is best suited for the target base that John Bogle intended to address: the buy and hold, dollar cost average index investors. Not the Robinhood/market-timing crowd.
There's a LOT of space between:

the buy and hold, dollar cost average index investors

and

the Robinhood/market-timing crowd.
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Vanguard - last straw?
Old 09-12-2021, 04:23 PM   #83
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Vanguard - last straw?

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There's a LOT of space between:



the buy and hold, dollar cost average index investors



and



the Robinhood/market-timing crowd.



ExactlyÖand many if not most of us reside in the middle. Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry was more than adequate to satisfy my taste buds for ice cream until someone gave me Swiss Almond Vanilla.
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Old 09-12-2021, 04:28 PM   #84
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Happened to run across this comparison review of Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab offerings and services today. OP might find it of some interest or use for information if OP is contemplating perhaps a change:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/vangu...205257415.html
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Old 09-13-2021, 02:38 PM   #85
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I am listening in on this thread about the declining quality of Vanguardís customer service with some concern, as the majority of my investments are with this firm. For the past 30 years, Iíve been mostly a buy and hold investor with Vanguard, for both taxable and sep-IRA accounts, so my interaction with their customer service has been limited. Iím getting so close to the Vanguard Select Flagship level of customer service that Iím hesitant to change because Iím curious about it.

I also have accounts with Fidelity and T.Rowe Price with significant assets, but my interactions with their customer service have not always gone smoothly. Eventually, everything was straightened out, but it seemed to take much more time and effort than anticipated.
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Old 09-13-2021, 02:47 PM   #86
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After Vanguard fumbled for weeks and still unable to open our trust accounts, we finally went to a Fidelity local office. We have been assigned to Fidelity Premium Services with a VP as our advisor. We also met one of her staff who is a CFP and they have both been very welcoming and efficient in getting our accounts set up. The whole process was very smooth and we can schedule future meetings with the VP in the system as well. The experience has been night and day.
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Old 09-13-2021, 03:52 PM   #87
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I am listening in on this thread about the declining quality of Vanguardís customer service with some concern, as the majority of my investments are with this firm. For the past 30 years, Iíve been mostly a buy and hold investor with Vanguard, for both taxable and sep-IRA accounts, so my interaction with their customer service has been limited. Iím getting so close to the Vanguard Select Flagship level of customer service that Iím hesitant to change because Iím curious about it.

I also have accounts with Fidelity and T.Rowe Price with significant assets, but my interactions with their customer service have not always gone smoothly. Eventually, everything was straightened out, but it seemed to take much more time and effort than anticipated.
I am in a similar situation. And likewise my interactions with Vanguard have been very very limited over the years. I am at the Flagship level with Vanguard, but due to my limited interactions would not know if that would make any difference or not.

I also have sizeable assets at Schwab. Generally satisfied, but again very limited interactions for many years. Even at Schwab I did experience a few hiccups upon my wife's passing, but nothing that wasn't resolved fairly easily.
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Old 09-13-2021, 04:03 PM   #88
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I am listening in on this thread about the declining quality of Vanguardís customer service with some concern, as the majority of my investments are with this firm. ...
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Originally Posted by RetireeRobert View Post
I am in a similar situation. ...
If it were me (I am a long time Schwab customer with VG funds) I would sit on my hands for a year or two or three until VG, Schwab, and Fido have worked through the impacts of this new zero-commission world. I have no doubt that customer service levels will vary as they tune their systems, probably most notably at Schwab as they onboard the huge TD customer base. If VG is having as much trouble as this thread indicates, their service center metrics will show it as extended call times, multiple calls from the same customer, and customer squawks. That's a bit of an "if" since anecdotes are not really data, but if the problems are there they will be working on them. COVID and people working from home certainly will not have helped.
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:25 PM   #89
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After Vanguard fumbled for weeks and still unable to open our trust accounts, we finally went to a Fidelity local office. We have been assigned to Fidelity Premium Services with a VP as our advisor. We also met one of her staff who is a CFP and they have both been very welcoming and efficient in getting our accounts set up. The whole process was very smooth and we can schedule future meetings with the VP in the system as well. The experience has been night and day.



Are you paying a fee for the service of the VP or the CFP?
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Old 09-14-2021, 07:11 PM   #90
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Are you paying a fee for the service of the VP or the CFP?
Nope. The local office Fidelity VP who is also a CFP herself and her staff, a CFP are available to us. We send quite a bit of email to them and get fast response. We also have both their direct numbers and we can schedule on their calendar for a meeting which we are doing so next week to review our investment strategy.
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:37 PM   #91
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Nope. The local office Fidelity VP who is also a CFP herself and her staff, a CFP are available to us. We send quite a bit of email to them and get fast response. We also have both their direct numbers and we can schedule on their calendar for a meeting which we are doing so next week to review our investment strategy.

Thanks!!! I have been hesitant to transfer some of my money to Fidelity since they have a block on buying some preferred shares and I was trading them for awhile... might send them some of my funds that I have just sitting around.. I am really surprised how many different named accounts I have at Vanguard...




Edit... just checked... 8 different accounts...
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:41 PM   #92
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Thanks!!! I have been hesitant to transfer some of my money to Fidelity since they have a block on buying some preferred shares and I was trading them for awhile... might send them some of my funds that I have just sitting around.. I am really surprised how many different named accounts I have at Vanguard...
We had called the phone line listed for our local Fidelity office. The person on the phone asked us how much investments we were looking to transfer to Fidelity so that he could set us up with the "right" person. I think we got the VP as our advisor based on the amount. Her team includes the CFP who helped set up our accounts and he was on top of everything. We have been very impressed with both of them.
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Old 11-19-2021, 09:33 PM   #93
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Is it too soon to stop kicking Vanguard?

I noticed today that when I signed in that I am "Voyager Select". Seems odd as I've topped 7 figures there for over a year. I sent a message to Vanguard asking what I needed to do to get "Flagship" status. Their reply was to have a household (same address) portfolio of 7 figures. Duh.

I replied that if we include the whole household, we are closer to double the qualification. So what next? Answer is, "sorry, we only do the updates periodically". Since they elevate my individual funds to Admiral automatically, it seems odd that they would not do the same for overall status.

And no birthday cards, either.
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Old 11-19-2021, 11:43 PM   #94
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Is it too soon to stop kicking Vanguard?

I noticed today that when I signed in that I am "Voyager Select". Seems odd as I've topped 7 figures there for over a year. I sent a message to Vanguard asking what I needed to do to get "Flagship" status. Their reply was to have a household (same address) portfolio of 7 figures. Duh.

I replied that if we include the whole household, we are closer to double the qualification. So what next? Answer is, "sorry, we only do the updates periodically". Since they elevate my individual funds to Admiral automatically, it seems odd that they would not do the same for overall status.

And no birthday cards, either.
Meh, being Flagship doesn't mean much anymore. I was Flagship 20 years ago when there were some good extras thrown in.

Never got a birthday card, but that's fine. They're not my friend - they're a business relationship.
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Old 11-20-2021, 12:28 AM   #95
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I don't even know what Flagship gives you. We get free portfolio advice, right? I took advantage of that a while ago. The advice was very simplistic, and wasn't anything that I didn't already know.
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Old 11-20-2021, 03:36 AM   #96
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Meh, being Flagship doesn't mean much anymore. I was Flagship 20 years ago when there were some good extras thrown in.
I think even 5 years ago stock and ETF commissions were lower. Now that everyone gets $0/trade, the benefits are quite slim. I've been buying calls, and for that the free trades are still a good deal. If you buy 50 contracts, instead of paying $50, you use up one free trade.

For years I've preferred internal messaging. That worked fine when Vanguard assigned someone to Flagship clients - I got quick replies. But now, maybe I'll get a reply a week later, maybe not. Seems to be similar at other brokers, unfortunately.
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Old 11-20-2021, 03:48 AM   #97
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A few months ago, Vanguard annoyed me and I considered if I should move some assets over to Schwab. When I actually looked at the list, it heavily favored Schwab. Vanguard has the worst website for placing trades. I literally select "market" and they clear the damn thing back to "select". The interface actually fights me - I have to click elsewhere or tab furiously to avoid it happening repeatedly.

For most of my time at Vanguard, I didn't trade options. Now that I've started, their interface for that is very, very limited. At IBKR, they show you bid/ask prices for every strike. At Vanguard, they show you one quote at a time. If you try to select several for display, it happily uses stale data. They charge more than IBKR or Schwab. I created a put spread, and they focused on the put I sold, and locked up the maximum possible loss... silently. I had to figure out they didn't recognize a put spread, claiming in a cash account this is how they deal with it. Others may not deal with options, but for me it has shown a light on an area where Vanguard is well below par.
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Old 11-20-2021, 05:48 AM   #98
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The last couple of times we used the "Flagship" message service, they responded to my carefully worded, specific query with vague boilerplate.

Haven't bothered with them for years.

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For years I've preferred internal messaging. That worked fine when Vanguard assigned someone to Flagship clients - I got quick replies. But now, maybe I'll get a reply a week later, maybe not. Seems to be similar at other brokers, unfortunately.
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Old 11-20-2021, 06:58 AM   #99
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At the Bogleheads site I've followed a few "I hate Vanguard and am or did move my assets" threads. Vanguard fits my needs, I don't want ETFs, I don't trade, I don't care about options, shorting, buying on margin, et all so Vanguard suits my needs. YMMV. I will say, they are slow about upgrading to Flagship, but as many have stated there is no real benefit other than perhaps the status of the title.
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Old 11-20-2021, 07:02 AM   #100
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Is it too soon to stop kicking Vanguard?

I noticed today that when I signed in that I am "Voyager Select". Seems odd as I've topped 7 figures there for over a year. I sent a message to Vanguard asking what I needed to do to get "Flagship" status. Their reply was to have a household (same address) portfolio of 7 figures. Duh.

I replied that if we include the whole household, we are closer to double the qualification. So what next? Answer is, "sorry, we only do the updates periodically". Since they elevate my individual funds to Admiral automatically, it seems odd that they would not do the same for overall status.

And no birthday cards, either.
Low cost means low cost!!! You got your reward in the fund balance you were alluding to in the post. That is what being on the "clipper" means......

VW

p.s. I had to remind them when I became flagship also.
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