After my last post about Fidelity, I have mixed feelings about the way I was treated by various people in their customer service department. Basically, their policies combined with my former 401K plan administrator’s decision to cut corners, left me in a position where I stood to lose well over 5 figures in tax obligations that I really shouldn’t have owed.
They fixed it, but it took almost a month. I would say it took a bunch of phone calls, but that would be lying. While I did spend a lot of time on the phone with them in the first week of this saga, none if it I would consider progress toward a resolution – in fact all of my phone calls with them over the course of that week resulted in the same answer (para-phrased, of course):
It was not until I wrote a blog post about the situation – and had the link re-tweeted by many people – that Fidelity actually started to pay attention. After a few direct messages and a couple of phone calls, they decided that maybe it was worthwhile, after all, to actually treat me like the human being who trusted them with a good portion of his life savings for several years.
Long story short: On Tuesday of this week, I was finally able to deposit the *FULL* proceeds of my 401K into my new IRA account at USAA. I love USAA; not only did they make the transition simple, but during the process they also taught me about ways I could limit or even eliminate my tax exposure if Fidelity – for some reason – had refused to bend and kept the 20% withholding. And they committed to walking me through it and making sure all of the paperwork would be absolutely infallible come tax time. Thankfully I didn’t need that in the end, but it was nice to see the “above and beyond” attitude at USAA in the midst of such wallowing failure at Fidelity.
So Fidelity, here is my evaluation of how you handled this process:
A – for finally doing the right thing and fixing a problem completely outside of my control.
F – for forcing me to go to the lengths that I did before you actually started listening to me.
The lesson I took from this: due to its high visibility in comparison to crapping on a customer during a 1-on-1 phone call, social media can be a pretty powerful tool in getting big companies to stop being jerks.
Next stop: Progressive. I’ve been with them for over 10 years, but their actions in this situation are inexcusable and I can’t, in good conscience, continue giving them our business. Like Fidelity, it seems they’re learning about twitter the hard way, too.