Your new W9 letter and the dumpster fire that is the current level of USAA customer service.

Montana Me
Contributor

I have had USAA for years. I also have PenFed, a couple credit union accounts, and even a traditional bank account. Over the years, I have had brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards, auto loans, investment accounts, auto and home insurance, other insurance policies, umbrella insurance, and a mortgage from USAA. I have probably had way more stuff from USAA that I can't remember right now.

 

To a consumer like me, banks and credits unions all offer the same services/products. The ONLY thing that differentiates one financial institution from another is C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R S-E-R-V-I-C-E. All banks have checking and savings accounts, CDs, car loans, retirement accounts, etc. Nothing rare there. USAA is usually a bit more expensive and ALWAYS more arduous in its dealings and communications (you'd bury me in documents if I stayed in one place long enough), but because there is the myth of the USAA customer service...strength...protection..blah blah blah...I tried to stay.

 

Your customer service has slipped to the level where I call it a "dumpster fire." When the customer service slipped at the credit card department...I cancellled my USAA Mastercard and Amex and went to another institution. I get wonderful treatment. When the customer service slipped at the insurance department I switched insurance carriers. GEICO is great. When the customer service didn't live up to the myth at the auto loan department...I paid off my BMW, drove off into the future, and have used manufacturer 0% interest ever since. Thanks Toyota Financial Services for my new truck. Same with the brokerage and investment accounts and on and on until all I had left was an old Visa and a checking account with $5.02 that has been sitting in it for a very long time.

 

The last thing I want is a difficult conversation with a Texas youngster about my money. That is increasingly what I get with USAA. Today was no different.

 

The poor $5.02 in the checking account caused you to send me a pretty aggressive W9 letter. Now, I know exactly what a W9 is and what it does...I am a licensed attorney in 10 states with an LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown Law and dual certificates in International Tax and SALT. A W9 is a document that identifies a taxpayer. The W9 is typically used to report payments to an individual and also used in a variety of foreign financial transactions. As you may note from the previous products, you have all of my identification numbers....you were very able to send me tax documents on the retirement accounts, the investment and brokerage accounts, and the rest of my USAA products and services. You have had all of this information for many years...you would have failed the Patriot Act almost 20 years ago otherwise. 

 

Your letter stated that if I did not turn in a W9 my account would be subject to backup withholding. I said "fine," tax on $0.00 in income is always $0.00. If USAA does happen to pay me $0.00, then they are more than welcome to send 24 percent of $0.00 to the IRS. Heck, be generous, send all of the $0.00 to the IRS.

 

Let me remind you that USAA does not pay me. I don't work for you. I don't get money from you. You are not a client. You don't represent the licensing boards or judicial officers in any of my jurisdictions. You aren't my mom. You are not my child. I'm not married to you. You aren't my doctor or spiritual advisor. You aren't the cute kids who live on my street who sell me cup after cup of overpriced dirty hand-mixed lemonade. the .02 in my account is interest that has accrued over the past years...well below any reporting threshhold. You did not report the penny in 2018. You won't be reporting the penny in 2019. To reach the reporting level, USAA would have to pay me more than $10 in a calendary year.  Yup, to be required to report income to the IRS you would have to pay me 1000 years of interest on this $5 checking account. You would very likely have something to report if your customer service wasn't so abysmal.

 

USAA doesn't tell me to fill out anything. USAA should ask me...like a bank asks a customer it needs and depends on. This really isn't about the W9...its about the letter and the dumpster fire customer service at USAA. When I called today, I learned that you are not going to backup withhold at all, which is the legal consequence for failing to fill out a W9. You are going close my account if I don't fill out the W9. Your representative, "Colin," , decided he was going to speak over me and at me in a way that does not befit our customer-provider relationship. I'm hardy and I can withstand much...but what I won't do is take it from a Texas youngster over my money. Since Colin decided he wanted to tell me how it was going to go, I decided to end the call and let Colin complete the paperwork and go through all of the motions to close the account in 90 days. I don't care anymore...I like PenFed and my credit unions much better.

 

So, close my account. I'm not using it anyway. This W9 thing irritates me because it is unneccesary and ridiculous. But what cost you all of my business, and I have had a lot of your products/services, is the dumpster fire level customer service.

 

I'm sure this won't get posted, but gosh it made me feel good. Now I need to go fish.

 

'Message edited to protect employee info'

 

 

7 REPLIES

Montana Me - I understand the seriousness of the situation. I have located your information and will engage a specialist to review the details. Thank you for speaking up today. - Jason

Yet another example of the "Stuart Parker Effect".  He needs to resign immediately or USAA will NEVER return to the company it once was.

Wow.

 

Just reading your letter made me want to stop, drop, and roll. Talking about on fire.

 

I'm a 25 year member of USAA myself and I have insurance, credit cards, mortgage loan, and IRA's with them as well. But, like you, it seems that USAA's level of personal customer care has been slipping as of late, not to mention, that many of their products are becoming uncompetetive (think auto loan) with the competition. USAA seems more interested in replacing current members with new members (hence the huge marketing campaign) than perhaps retention of existing, long term, members.

 

I want the old USAA back; PS, please post photos's of your catch please. 

As a big fan of USAA I have been surprised by the lack of understanding by the USAA car buying and loan department that the new car buying service is not user friendly and actually results in a higher price for the average car buyer....And this is from a 50 repeat 50 year member......I too will be buying my new car with another financial institution.....USAA owes me a lot more than I owe them.....Dean Davis....living the dream in Florida.....sincerely.....

I’m a 37 year military and Government employee, I made an allotment from my government 401 (TSP) to USAA savings and made the mistake of using my member I.D number instead of my account number. Come to find out my member ID is the same number of an Air Force ladies account number. USAA never matched the name, social or DOB on the transfer.
I notified USAA on what happened and it’s been almost 2 months of trying to get the money returned.
First your member ID should never ever be the same as another person’s account number, second my other information I.E , social, DOB, address should’ve been matched and was not.
USAA customer service is now farmed out for the most part, so far I’ve been on the phone for over 7.5 hours total, the TSP representatives have been very helpful and have been on most of the calls with me. A number of security steps were missed and USAA is attempting to ask for the money back. November 5th going on 75 days and USAA as still not taken action against the other member who excepted and withdrew money not belonging to them. The latest USAA representative Gus Garcia from the office of the CEO stated with 12 million member the numbers could be the same with a members ID being someone else’s account number? Really, we gave them the federal tracking number with all my information on it. USAA is still refusing to get my 1700.00 back, stating they’ve attempted to contact the other account holder ( female Air Force thieve ) and haven’t heard back from her, and will not put a hold on her account.
The customer service with USAA is the worst experience I’ve ever had.
I spoke with Bank of America and Navy Fed. And both said the same thing about the account and member ID numbers being the same for two different persons
I made an honest mistake and USAA could care less

There is an amazing representative named "Christina" in the Office of the CEO who took this on. She got this resolved, the account does not automatically close if I don't turn the W9, and ONLY because she is simple AMAZING in her understanding and  customer skills...I'm gonna put some money back in and give USAA another chance. I need her to come work for me...seriously.

Great news to hear @MontanaMe! I'm glad to hear we were able to get you taken care of, have a wonderful rest of your and and please know we appreciate your membership :) -Emily