For several years, I've noticed a decline in USAA's customer service. Late last year, I finally decided that I'd had enough and began the process of moving my accounts out of USAA because of repeated instances of customer service reps giving me misinformation, and then refusing to transfer my call to higher ups when I asked them to.
I've now begun the process of moving my funds, and once again run into the same problem. When moving funds from my SEP IRA to an employer 401k, I requested (in writing), a direct roll-over to my new employer plan.
USAA ignored my request, and instead processed it as an early withdrawal, which subjects me to taxes on my retirement funds. When I called, the agent I reached insisted that it was coded correctly, and told me that my employer 401k would issue a Form 5498 upon receipt of the funds. This advice was obviously wrong, since a Form 5498 is for IRA contributions, and has nothing to do with a 401k transfer.
I eventually had to hang-up and call again, and was told by another agent that the transfer department (the department that screwed this up in the first place) wasn't even open yet, and that the agent would have to look into the matter and get back to me. So, the first agent was apparently just guessing, and doing so wrongly.
Typical of the "New USAA."
Just a follow-up for anyone who comes along later. After making multiple telephone calls to the very same department and getting wildly different answers, I finally came across a USAA rep. who took the time to reach out to the USAA department that handles these things. Apparently, that department doesn't take telephone calls - from anyone - and so he had to communicate with them electronically. He reports that they admitted to him that they had screwed up the report and told him that they would fix it.
My experience in this instance is typical of how USAA has become just like BofA.
It used to be that when you called USAA, you'd reach a trained, knowledgeable representative who was empowered to research the issue and call you back if he/she didn't know the answer.
Today, I'm just as likely to get someone who will simply make something up, and then refuse to investigate even when I advise him that I think he may be mistaken. As a result, complicated issues can take 5 telephone calls to resolve, instead of one.
For anyone who is considering USAA based upon its reputation for having top notch customer service, you should reconsider. The USAA that earned my high praise in the past is no more.
An apology here is insufficient for the confusion and five calls you have had to endure. None the less, I am so very sorry. I am glad to see you were able to get assistance, but we would truly appreciate the opportunity to talk with you personally to get further details and feedback so that we can improve as a company. We do not want to be like every other company. We truly are committed to serving our members and hope to improve from your feedback and insights. Please email us at email@example.com with some of the details you provided above and the best way to contact you, we will have someone in touch shortly. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience.
Martin, I have had USAA for every one of financial needs since 1991 and have never once encountered any problems. If a Customer Service rep doesn't know the answer to one of my question they either put me on hold and get the answer or call back in a timely manner with the correct info.
Actually, USAA has been quick to recognize if I am doing something out of the ordinary and they will personally call to sak about it - to make sure i'm not being hacked or scammed. Years ago my son gave one of those 'Nigerian Princes'$100 and USAA called him even before they were to transfer the money.
He was young and they explain what that scam was, and saved him at least $100.
May I make a suggestion? Treat these reps like there are human and how you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.
I'm also a longtime member (since 2000).
It used to be as you said. If you called, and the rep. didn't know the answer, he or she would offer to investigate and call me back, and offered me a direct number to reach them if I wanted an update. All that has stopped. Very few reps have direct dial numbers now. Some have extensions, but they never offer them and many won't provide one even if you ask.
The biggest problem that I have is that the reps just don't have adequate training, and instead of offering to investigate, they often just make things up. You can call 5 times, ask the same question, and get five different answers. When USAA messes something up, many of the reps simply refuse to accept the possibility that USAA made a mistake. I've had this same experience at least 5 times in the last 3 years.
I don't blame the front line reps. It's not their fault. People respond to the environment that they find themselves in. USAA has obviously made systemic changes, presumably to increase efficiency and save money, that have pressured reps to behave differently in the past, with predictable results. It's a shame.
In the end, this issue was resolved, but I spent more than four hours of my time just trying to get USAA to fix something it messed up. It didn't used to be that way, and I hope someday that USAA corrects course and gets back to the basic values that made it great. As it is now, however, USAA's legendary customer service simply isn't there anymore..
This is an issue with any large company's customer service department (I moved to USAA because of an issue with Navy Federal).
I avoid calling in and use the secure messaging feature available with most all my online accounts. Two advantages to this, it gives them time to research my question and provides me a response in writing.