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Writing (and blogs) shouldn’t be about healing.  And it shouldn’t be about revenge either.  Just communication is hard and risky.  Exposing, that is getting closer.

It should be about learning.  After all, “exposing” is always a two-way street.

It doesn’t have to be angry either. If it is thought-out and fair, and if it just needs to be said, it won’t be angry.  Or healing!

This is the greatest customer satisfaction story I’ve ever heard.  (This is my last year of being poor and I want to make the most of it.  There are good things about being poor!)

I’ve had this row with T. Rowe Price.  I wanted to learn more about bond funds because a lot of people live off them, and other reasons including they’re tough to invest in especially when interest rates are rising.  I invested in three different bond funds, corporate, emerging markets, and U.S. high yield.  I didn’t expect tax changes and thought everything was plenty high, and re-buying stocks after 3 or 4 months was a possibility.  As it turned out, the bond funds were up 1 or maybe 3 percent in about 4 months and the better stock funds were up 10% or more; it was not a wise move.

I am smarter than… no one.  Maybe I could sneak in with a few percent plus safety.  Interest rates are and will rise and that means bond prices will go down; existing, older bond prices will decrease in value.  They will still pay interest–Venezuela oil bonds notwithstanding–but it is becoming a matter of covering for the decline in NAV.  It is not worth the risk.  Stocks or cash is the plan for 2018.

These bond funds pay interest.  At T. Rowe Price it is distributed back to the fundholders at the end of each month.  You can choose to reinvest it in the bond fund–isn’t the fund always buying more bonds?–or distribute it to another fund.  Easy to do online, change the dividend reinvestment option to invest in the money market fund.

Over three months it it didn’t work.  Three separate times the money came out of the fund but didn’t go in the other one.  You can see the transactions online immediately, the next day:  dividends coming out of one fund and destined for another fund where they never arrive.

For three months, shortly into the new month I called to complain.  First they moved the money into the destination fund the next day and backdated the trade; next time they wired the money to my (non-IRA) checking account almost immediately.  The third time Jay called me back asking for me to identify myself presumably so the money could be wired to my checking account again.

He told me T. Rowe Price had solved the problem.  The reason the two men I spoke with this AM didn’t do anything about it or know anything about it is the last person I spoke with didn’t leave proper records.  He should have left an alert on my account so that the next time I call they’ll know what to do.  I can talk to any associate and they’ll know what to do.

The solution, the proper procedure, to wait until I call and wire it to an outside account where I don’t necessarily want it to go.  Or, backdate a trade and put it somewhere else.  But only when I call.

I have never seen that before:  the policy is to cover-up the glitch.  And the glitch is taking money out of customer accounts and not putting it anywhere.  But the policy is let the customer try and correct it (even though it can’t be corrected).

The dividends do not get deposited in a different fund as intended.  For over three months I have forcefully pointed the problem.  Apparently they cannot or will not correct the problem.

The manager (he insisted he is in charge) said the problem is they “didn’t leave alerts.”  The previous people I spoke with and wrote to did not keep proper records FOR THE NEXT TIME I CALL.

Is that a new definition of team work, i.e., regardless of who did or didn’t do what, this department should have covered it up.  I even said, “that is not a solution it is a cover-up,” when he supposedly offered to wire the missing IRA funds to a non-IRA account.

It is using customer service–in T. Rowe Price’s case, a rigidly-protected, only conduit to the customer–to cover up other failings.  I have never seen that in terms of customer service.  I’ve heard of, is there a name for it?, the Grisham Rainmaker cover-up.  Another example is Bernie Madoff with the always-locked, secret floor where the actual operations take place.  It is keeping departments separate and ignorant each other as a means to obscure, cover-up, or lie about something.

You could describe handling people or information in the same way:  Someone who refuses to acknowledge or even removes themselves from something or someone.  As I have often written-about here, mores seem to be shifting toward you should have known.  FWIW, more personally, I believe in personal responsibility, as well as transparency, and a lack of denial, and I could go on.

So the senior, he seemed very junior, guy says ‘we should have handled it.’  I could tell he wasn’t the brightest bulb–I said I’ve already argued about this on the first of the month for the last three months and he said no, you called on the 2nd of January.  He could have just meant he and they could have done better…  No.  Three months and too much evidence.  I have asked, who, where, how, why? over and over and no reply or correction.  I think he means our job in “customer service” is to follow rules and cover up.

* In trying to find a name for this thinking, this intentional way of operating I came across “separation of duties” as a business approach which advocates two separate check-offs for key decisions.  I couldn’t find an easy way to explain it as intentional obfuscation, especially in terms of customer service.


It is good to be poor and pay attention to these things.  I wanted to learn more about bond mutual funds.  If the returns are good they’re fine; when the safe investment is losing money while everything else is going up there’s a problem.  Businesses and economies are booming in very large part to years of really low interest rates.  Now, as the heat is clearly showing, interest rates are increasing.  Much of the world hasn’t followed yet, but the U.S. leads.