Let me start this by saying that I am helpless and stupid in the realm of stocks, mutuals, IRA's, etc. Our introduction to Fidelity Investments came when my husband joined the 401K program at work. The plan was managed by Fidelity. We got our quarterly statements, which I understood just enough to know if we accrued any money or not.
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The real fun began when my husband left his job to work somewhere else that did not have a 401K program. Now we were faced with the question of what to do with the monies that had accrued in the 401K. My husband got on the phone with Fidelity Customer Service. Understand now, he knows even less than I do about these things. The agent on the phone went over all the possibilites with him and we decided to just roll the money into an IRA account, again handled by Fidelity. They sent us all the paperwork to fill out and return, which we did, to get the money transferred from the 401K to the new IRA. That was in October of last year. Since the fiscal year ended in December, I wait all through January for our regular statement. It never came. Okay, so I waited through most of February before voicing some concern to my husband about it. Near the end of February, he called Customer Service to ask about the statement. They assured us it was on the way and let us know that, in the meantime, we could access our account through their web site.
To make this shorter, I tried to access our account off an on for two months, always to be informed that the information I was seeking was unavailable at this time, please try again later. I tried probably 10 times, at various times during the day, for about six weeks. In the meantime, no statement was forthcoming. We finally gave up and called again. Supposedly, now that we had filed our paperwork with them, my name was on the account too. So I called. Bad idea. I felt like a complete leper! They were rude, obnoxious, and just plain mean, as they informed me that "I" was not on the account, it was NOT my account and I would not be given any information about this account.
After several phone calls, with my husband on the line, we got to the root of the problem. They never rolled our money over. They created a nice new IRA account for us, which is what I was attempting to access on the internet, but alas, it was empty! No wonder the data was "unavailable" at that time.
It is now May. Guess what came in the mail last night. Right, the regular quarterly statement for the first quarter of 2000. Who knows what happened to the year end statement. Armed with everything we had collected from them, my husband entered the newly opened Fidelity Investment office in town.
To their credit, the staff in the new office had everything straightened out in under an hour, were very helpful and courteous, and actually restored some of my faith in Fidelity. We had to refile our paperwork since it had been over 6 months, but then the money was transferred right then, while my husband stood there. We were given an interim statement as soon as the money hit the new/old account and we now have an IRA. I can't say I'm thrilled with it, it lost $200 from March to May (which I am still not sure I understand), but at least I know where our money is now (what's left of it).
Given the choice now, I would NEVER willingly choose to deal with Fidelity. The office in town may be the one factor that changes my mind, but their telephone customer service is lousy to say the least. The online support is even worse. When I attempted to contact them that way on two occasions, it was a disaster. I gave them my husband's name, account number, PIN number, social security number, and very detailed description of the problem right down to cutting and pasting the exact error message I was receiving. They sent me a canned response saying, "We're sorry, we do not have sufficient information to address your problem." Lovely.
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