Fidelity had terrific tax reporting to the customer and great customer service.
TD had been a temptation. Their technical support was better. They always gave an answer rather than refer you up their organizational chain where at times you never received a proper answer. Fidelity support was generally quite friendly but over time had fewer immediate answers. Certain types of trading, such as option trading are available from TD and not offered by Fidelity.
Let's examine my point about customer service, which is actually directed at the tax reporting advantage.
Yesterday, February 6, 2017, I was told my 1099 would not be available until March 4. The reason I was given is that certain securities that I held were holding up their data to Fidelity as some things might be reclassified over the next weeks and Fidelity would not receive the data until this was done. This turned out to be a flat out lie as I investigated further.
My complaint was handled via social media online via twitter direct messages, phone calls to their support (where the initial complaint was reported and the initial lie was told), and to my own personal representative in my local Fidelity office. My local representative was no help. He said he could do nothing other than refer the issue to his boss, the office manager. The office manager and I then conversed. She said she could do nothing other than refer the issue to her manager who would not get back to her until tomorrow at best, after repeating the same lie. I informed her that I had investigated and found other Fidelity clients with the same security holdings that I had, and even more extensive trading portfolios, had received their 1099s already. Friends at TD Ameritrade had also received their 1099s on time. This was later confirmed by a Fidelity employee, in writing.
Fidelity said they are filing an extension with the IRS. Heads up Fidelity, I am your customer, not the IRS. My tax accountant firm is very busy and I made my appointment last year as I always do. I figured that since you are obligated to have tax forms in the hands of your clients by the end of January 2017 for the 2016 tax year, it is safe to schedule my appointment for mid February. I do not want an extension. I want my 1099.
The Fidelity end of year advantage was over. I should have seen this coming as each year my tax forms arrived later each year. The service advantage was over too. Last year my representative was promoted within the Fidelity organization. It was warranted. He was a great rep for many years. He always got my issues addressed without me having to repeat the incident time and time again as things are referred to others. He was gone and a new rep was assigned to me who sent this issue to his manager, and so on.
TD Ameritrade .... now with better tax reporting, more competent customer service, lower commissions, more investment trading options, and better trading software. If even one of those points hit home with you it seems you now have the same issue facing you that I have .... when do I switch to TD Amertrade?
Update Feb 7, 2017 2:30pm pst
I just learned that Fidelity is not under the same laws as employers. They are allowed to extend delivery of 1099s until Mid February via an extension. They can also exercise a second extension until mid March of 2017. So ... legally, they are within their rights. But .... they lied to me about why things are late, they do not have the resources to deliver tax documents in a timely manner, they never explained this to me and gave me a false excuse instead, they do not mention this on the tax area of their website. I intend to keep riding this every day until my 1099 arrives. I have requested daily updates from my Fidelity representative in my local office. He just assured me that I will hear from him every day with a status update. I am currently in full ISO9000 documentation mode.
Feb 8, 2017
I have learned that two of my positions I held in 2016 were limited partnerships and receiving documents for them is allowed to be later. I was also in error regarding a TD Ameritrade customer who had already received their 1099 who shared similar positions. It seems that they did not hold the actual securities as I did, they had options on those securities. I then called the Burbank office to try to ask them if they would be supplying the K1 forms necessary for filing as this was not explained. I was on hold a long time, then my call was sent to some office on the east coast, I told them I wanted to speak to Burbank, the original number I called, they would not transfer me back until I supplied a bunch of information. So .... the bigger issue remains .... poor service and no single point of contact.
Side note .... this is not the first Fidelity blunder. This issue was added to my original Fidelity complaints in another blog piece that can be seen at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2013/03/asshat-of-day-award-fidelity-investments.html
Feb 23, 2017
I just received an email from Fidelity which told me that my complete 1099 would not be available until March 10. This keeps slipping. I contacted by Fidelity financial representative and instructed him to escalate this issue again and send me daily status updates. I instructed him to contact the entity that is holding up this process and supply me with specific information which I can use to focus accountability. I told him that if he runs into any sort of wall in his investigation that he is to escalate with somebody above him and give me their direct contact information.
Legally, Fidelity may be on legal ground but from a customer service aspect, to inform me with a date that my forms will be ready and to have this date slip three times at this point is irresponsible customer service at best and is a very poor reflection on Fidelity Investments. They may be fine all during the year when it is not near the end of the game but at the end of the game, tax season, they fail miserably and lose the game in a dramatic way.
I was told I'd be contacted today. To be continued.
0931pst - I just received a call from my Fidelity representative. He told me he contacted the party who is holding things up and will check and get back to my rep. I asked my rep to send me the information at the end of today in writing.
Feb. 24, 2017
I talked to my personal Fidelity representative this morning. He is being quite helpful. I think we are on a track to resolution.
To be continued.