On July 20, TIAA-Cref will be holding its annual participant meeting. There is an effort underway to encourage the company to be more socially responsible and accountable to its customers, and representatives will be attending the meeting to bring any common problems directly to the board’s attention.
Are you having customer service problems with TIAA-Cref? Please see the instructions below. Here are my past notable experiences with the company.
In March 2006, I scheduled a transfer from ING Direct to create my first SEP IRA on April 7, leaving enough time for the account to be created before the tax deadline. I noticed the problem the day after the account should have been created. The company did not create the account nor did they deduct funds from my ING account. There was still a week before the tax deadline, so I was not yet up in arms.
By April 18, 2006, the TIAA-Cref account had been created but they still did not deduct my funds. This was after the tax deadline, so I was very concerned that the funds would not be attributed to my 2005 SEP IRA. I had difficulties getting the correct department on the phone.
My 2005 SEP IRA was not funded until April 28, 2006, and my level of concern was much higher. I spoke to an account representative who assured me that even though they were late, my money would be applied to 2005’s tax year and I would get April 7’s price for the investment. My account information online confirmed this.
Fast forward to January 2007. I received my received my tax forms from TIAA-Cref which indicated my SEP applied to the 2006 tax year. I did eventually have this issue resolved, but it surfaced only one week after I reported that thousands of people were having problems with TIAA-Cref. Customers could not access their money, didn’t receive their payments, and couldn’t get in touch with any customer service representative who could fix the problems.
The company acknowledged the problems and attributed the mishaps to implementation of a new computer system. This excuse carried on as the problems did for at least a year, with updated in March and June 2007. Even today, visitors are still voicing their concerns with TIAA-Cref in these comments this year.
Most people’s problems were a lot more frustrating than mine, involving restricted access to money and missing payments from the company. Although I think it may be too late, Neil Wollman, an author who has been following TIAA-Cref’s activities as a socially responsible company over the past twenty-five years, is looking to speak up for consumers at the company’s annual meeting later this month.
If you are currently having issues with TIAA-Cref that you have not been able to resolve by going through the normal channels, please let me know by commenting here using an email address where you can be reached or email me directly at flexo at this domain name. I will pass your information along to Mr. Wollman who will speak to the board of directors on your behalf.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published July 3, 2009.