Vanguard is experiencing a partial website outage, now lasting approximately six days, which has prevented some customers from accessing certain account information and led some loyal customers to post public complaints online.
Clients of the $ 8 trillion mutual fund giant complained that the company’s website did not fully work on social media sites like the Vanguard Group official site. Twitter Vanguard Bogleheads.org account and devotee website. Disgruntled customers questioned whether Vanguard’s website would be up and running by the end of the year in time to check account balances and calculate distributions.
Friday, December 31 is an early market close, at 2:00 pm, when year-end balances will be calculated.
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Vanguard officials apologized for the spotty online access and said the problems may also be extended to delay sent correspondence. In a statement, Vanguard linked the issues to a third-party vendor. “Vanguard has been informed of a service outage involving a third-party mail and check processing provider. Vanguard customers and retirement plan participants may experience mailing delays or be unable to access certain statements, confirmations, or forms through our website. While our teams are actively working toward a resolution, Vanguard is taking steps to minimize disruption for customers, such as working with our other vendors, ”the company said in the emailed statement. “Our teams have been working on this issue 24 hours a day and our customer service representatives are available to help customers who need immediate assistance.” The company did not estimate when the service outages would be corrected or exactly when the outage began and declined to identify the third-party provider.
Some Vanguard customers said the problems started last week. Customers transacted but were unable to view confirmations, while others searching for monthly statements were unable to download the information or received an error message.
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A message on Bogleheads.org, posted on December 23rd by a person claiming to be a Vanguard customer and using the online identifier Mike323 He said they “were unable to download business confirmations all day” and were unable to access monthly statements that were needed for a bank loan. “Technical support has not been able to resolve the problem. Several of them have said that there is a problem in the Vanguard system, ”added the online commenter.
Employees within the company, including one who asked not to be named, said the company’s customer service has come under fire in recent months.
“Customers cannot open accounts online, they are told to contact us by phone. Also, excessive waiting time is a problem. Customers cannot access confirmations and statements online. And now the delay with the departure of the exchange checks. Clearly our technology has failed, ”said the employee.
“Christmas has brought another disruption,” said Dan Wiener, editor of the Vanguard Investors Independent Advisory newsletter, which tracks the performance of Vanguard funds. “Telephone services are overwhelmed. If you call the main number, 877-662-7447, you will see a recorded message from CEO Tim Buckley that reads, in part, “We are receiving an exceptionally high number of calls at this time.” No live person answered my call. “
The firm still ranks at the top of polls by JD Power and others, yet complaints about Vanguard’s customer service have grown anecdotally.
In part, that may be because Vanguard and many of its peers have taken on new clients. But Vanguard has also led the race in reducing costs for client funds. Vanguard added to the customer service problems in August when it phased out secure messaging on its website for customers with less than $ 1 million in assets.
In March, financial advisor Allan Roth wrote a column about how he experienced Vanguard mistakenly returning a check for more than $ 100,000, making trust account errors, and messing up the distribution in his mother’s inherited IRA.