Problems with Paychex 401(k)
January 21, 2009 5:25 PM   Subscribe

Things got bad enough that I cashed out my 401(k) from Paychex recently. On the 19th of December I gave the order, and a check was sent on the 23rd. I never received it and had to wait fifteen business days before they would void it. I was then told that it would take five business days for them to void and then re-send the check.

Calling on the fourth business day today to check of the progress of the re-send, I was told that that the person I spoke to before was mistaken and it would actually be 10 business days before it would be processed. Now that it is the 21st of January, it has been more than a month since I requested this money and I have made financial promises for the 15th of January thinking I would have the money to cover them. Instead, I'm overdrawn totally and my rent check has bounced.

My sense from Paychex is that there is nothing I can do about this to expedite the process. However, I'm very frustrated as it seems like they are holding my money hostage as my financial situation deteriorates. What should be my strategy when I talk to a supervisor who will call in "24 to 48 business hours"? Let me note, that two weeks ago when i called I was told that a supervisor would call and never did. I have both the name of the supervisor and the rep who I talked to this time.
posted by josher71 to Work & Money (13 answers total)
Heh, don't hang up until you talk to a supervisor.
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:53 PM on January 21, 2009

Best answer: hm. so two different people at paychex told described different policies? well, the solution is obvious. you need to keep calling until you find the rep that says that their policy is to send a check right out via overnight carrier.

i've been in a similar situation before. what i did was keep calling. multiple times. i'd start as early as possible, and i'd press the rep pretty hard, politely, but hard, by insisting that they overnight payment. ask to speak to their supervisor, and hold for them. don't swear, just keep saying 'this needs to be resolved today.' demand immediate written confirmation of everything, preferably via fax.

if you end up in a dead end, end the call. wait 20 minutes or so, and call again. repeat above. if you get bored with that, then call the corporate office and bitch to someone there. be prepared with names of people you spoke with before.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:00 PM on January 21, 2009

oh, one other useful phrase--you don't want to speak to a supervisor. you want to speak to someone who can get this resolved today.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:02 PM on January 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: First of all, hang in there. It's going to be okay.

Second of all, you should call both your bank and your landlord. Explain, matter of factly, that you are waiting for a large denomination check and it's been lost in the mail. The bank may be able to forgive a little, the landlord certainly can - but you need to be proactive and not wait for them to call you. If you don't want to call, then email or drop a written note through the mail slot - I did the latter because I couldn't face them. Being up front makes it seem like everything's okay.

Paychex are, largely, morons. This is complicated by the fact that they will have different policies published in different places so the person who told you fact #1 may not in fact be wrong, they were reading it right, it just was usurped by something else that no one knew about.

Call first thing in the morning, and approach it as, I've got a situation here and I hope you can help me. Be calm. Don't raise your voice, don't yell. If they say the supervisor is going to call you back, you can say, I understand that, but unfortunately, I'm in a situation where I need to pay rent, and I made promises based on information given to me, I've run out of time to wait for a supervisor to call me back. If they say they can't help, your next question needs to be, "I understand. Could you please transfer me to someone who will be able to help me?"

Make notes of everything thats happened. Also, get the names of everyone you're talking to. When they answer, after they validate you, say, "And can i please get your name?" If they say they can't give you their name, they most certainly can provide you with an identifying number.

Hang in there.
posted by micawber at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

The other thing is, they most certainly can overnight the check to you. IF they can't do that, ask if they can wire transfer the money to your bank account. Call your bank first and get that information so that if someone says "yes" you don't have to call them back and relay it. A wire transfer will allow you to use that money as soon as you have it, instead of depositing a large denomination check and waiting for that to clear.
posted by micawber at 7:24 PM on January 21, 2009

Best answer: A wire transfer will allow you to use that money as soon as you have it

Uh, maybe, maybe not. It depends on your bank's policies. In some cases your bank may make you wait longer for an electronic transaction to clear than it would if you wait for the paper check in the mail. Do check with your bank.

It may depend on your total deposits, which it doesn't sound like you have a lot of.

I will say -- having been in an analogous situation -- that if this 401(k) money is all you have to live on for the next few, you should not view it as rent money, but as bugging out money. The worst possible situation is to be evicted with no cash for a security deposit and nothing to pay any movers. Seriously. This was "free advice" from a housing court judge. Carefully consider whether you will really be able to keep this apartment. Better to have a judgement against you some months down the road than no cash next month.
posted by dhartung at 8:31 PM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

Dhartung is seriously wise on this.
posted by Goofyy at 9:13 PM on January 21, 2009

When I was laid off, Paychex decided to send a check to me instead of using direct deposit. It was their mistake, and they had the ability to void that check and wire me my paycheck in TWO HOURS.

I imagine cashing out the 401k is subject to different rules/regs than the paycheck, but it sounds like Paychex is bluffing to some degree about how quickly this can be resolved. Can you ask your employer to help you? Your employer is their client, so they might be more willing to act fast.

I hear what dhartung is saying about judgment vs. having money to survive, but please do not underestimate the damage to your credit a judgment can have and how badly it will affect you in the long run.
posted by anthropoid at 7:51 AM on January 22, 2009

Oh, and my bank (Bank of America) had NO HOLDS on the wire transfer at all.
posted by anthropoid at 7:52 AM on January 22, 2009

Response by poster: Sadly, no longer employed and my boss at that place is the most helpful in the whole world. The money is cashed out of the market so it seems like there should really be no delays on a new check sent other than just being in some sort of queue.

This advice is great. Talked to corporate and am waiting on a call back from them. If I don't hear back by three I'll be calling J. back in the office. Customer service is still stone walling when I speak with them directly.
posted by josher71 at 9:03 AM on January 22, 2009

Response by poster: Spoke with corporate. Check being cut tomorrow and should arrive by monday! Let's hope.
posted by josher71 at 11:19 AM on January 22, 2009

do not underestimate the damage to your credit a judgment can have and how badly it will affect you in the long run.

I want to emphasize that I am hoping josher71 considers how long this money will help him stay in his apartment and make arrangements. Breaking his lease and "affecting his credit" are of somewhat lesser importance than being thrown out in the dead of winter.

These days I'm on the other side of housing court situations, and ... sometimes it happens. Plan.
posted by dhartung at 4:39 PM on January 22, 2009

Response by poster: Of course I was wrong. Check still not here. Supposedly tomorrow.
posted by josher71 at 8:31 AM on January 27, 2009

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