Citi Smith Barney refunds transfer fees

I wrote previously about the painful experience I had trying to transfer from stock from Citi Smith Barney into my Vanguard brokerage account, and about the bogus transfer fee that Citi Smith Barney charged me without prior notice.

Citi Smith Barney charged the fee because I initiated the stock transfer from Vanguard.  I did it this way because the Vanguard instructions complete and comprehensible, whereas the Citi Smith Barney instructions were gobbledygook.

Since then, I dealt with another transfer agent, BNY Mellon, about transferring some shares of stock from them to my Vanguard account.  Their policy, believe it or not, is to charge a fee for transfers initiated through them, but to do it for free if the transfer is initiated through Vanguard.

Yes, that’s right, Citi Smith Barney charges for what BNY Mellon does for free, and BNY Mellon charges for what Citi Smith Barney does for free.  This illustrates rather clearly, I think, how completely bogus and detached from reality these fees are.

In any case, I received a letter from Citi Smith Barney today in which they admitted no wrongdoing (of course) but agreed to refund the fees “as an accommodation to you.”  How civil of them.

One cannot help but wonder if the substantive feedback I gave them about the quality of their services will ever be seen and considered by someone who might be able to act on it.  I doubt it.

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2 Responses to “Citi Smith Barney refunds transfer fees”

  1. jik says:

    To do it for free all i need to do is fill out Citi’s Form, correct?

    It would seem so, although who knows? Maybe the rules are different for different kinds of accounts. Maybe they’ve changed the rules since I had my run-in with them. I’d suggest calling them up and asking. And when they tell you that there will be no charge, I suggest that you write down the time and date of the call and the person from whom you got that answer, just in case they decide to charge you anyway.

    I’m probably going to need their assistance too, since they have a lot of gibberish on it?

    Yes, probably, unless you do this sort of thing for a living.

  2. John Gizzo says:

    Your post is very helpful.

    I have a Citi Smith Barney account and I want to transfer everything out.

    To do it for free all i need to do is fill out Citi’s Form, correct?

    I’m probably going to need their assistance too, since they have a lot of gibberish on it?

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