Fidelity Investment Errors Ruin Thompson Couple’s Retirement

June 1, 2012
By

John Pasquella was set for a nice retirement. For five years and he his wife Kayrn (CQ) had dreamed of living in South Florida close to their daughter, where he could play golf, fish and enjoy their golden years.

They had planned well: paid off the mortgage on their Thomaston home, had found a great bargain on a Florida house with a pool-lanai in a gated community. John had made sure that they had enough pension to live comfortably.

They even got lucky: John got a great buyout offer from AT&T and after accepting it they put their Connecticut home up for sale. In five days they had a buyer.

Unfortunately there is not a happy ending to this tale.

Kayrn and John in Florida

Soon after they accepted the offer on their home last year, Fidelity Investments – AT&T’s pension manager – notified them that they had made an error in calculating his retirement payout.

Instead of getting $1,600 a month for life, it was only going to be $800.

“I thought maybe $50 or $100, but 50 percent…We were devastated,” he told me, explaining he could no longer afford to retire and move to Florida. “I said what are you nuts?” when they asked him to sign off to accept his new pension figure.

If Pasquella hadn’t been careful about making sure his pension figure was accurate, he perhaps could understand the mistake.

But having been warned by his union years earlier that Fidelity was error prone on pensions calculations, Pasquella had asked SIX times over several years to get written modeling showing how much he could count on for his retirement.

Every one of the financial models Fidelity sent him, showed the pension to be about $1,600 a month.

Fidelity does not deny that it had erred, not once but every time Pasquella asked how much he can count on for his monthly pension.

But, it rejected an appeal filed by Pasquella ‘s attorney, Joseph D. Garrison of New Haven, saying that Pasquella can only count on the pension amount he is entitled to, not the estimates he was sent by Fidelity to prepare for his retirement.

The errors apparently occurred, Fidelity said, because Pasquella had a break in service at AT&T and Fidelity had failed to include in the pension assumptions the fact that he had received a partial payout when he left AT&T the first time. Fidelity said it would not respond to CtWatchdog because this issue will be in litigation.

Fidelity suggested that Pasquella apply for another job as AT&T and forget about retiring.

If it were that simple.  Click for page 2

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18 Responses to Fidelity Investment Errors Ruin Thompson Couple’s Retirement

  1. Mike Rivard on June 1, 2012 at 8:41 am

    This is an outrage! Fidelity should be hung out to dry for their mistake and be held fully accountable! I wish this couple the best possible outcome and hope they can recover their losses!

  2. Noteworthy on June 3, 2012 at 7:20 am

    So this is Fidelity’s roadmap to retirement – the magic green line that appears as soon as you sign up for their “advice” where they stick you in poor performing mutual funds that make more money for them than you. It’s a MF scam. Fidelity ought to pay the difference without question. To be off by 10%, maybe – off by 50% – not only irresponsible but showcases Fidelity’s inability to do basic math. It is stunning incompetence and they want us to trust them with our money? Not any more.

  3. Kate on June 3, 2012 at 9:52 am

    This doesn’t surprise me about fidelity. I had broken my foot and had to have surgery. I was on short term disability for 2 months and I was years over the five year vesting to
    received 100% of pay. I received a notice a few months later from fidelity that they had miscalculated and I owed them 700.00 dollars. While my situation is not nearly as terrible as this couples, it just goes to show Fidelity is a a terrible investment and benefit company. As far as I’m concerned a company who is using them must not pay a lot. And that old Mantra of you get what you pay for describes fidelity to a tee.

  4. sonny on June 3, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Sorry to hear about this,but there thousands of other families that are going thru hell. It seems as though this is a way of life today.God help us all.

    • Jack Pasquella on June 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks for your comments Sonny and you are right. That is the reason I went public. Hopefully, it will benefit others.

  5. VinG on June 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Hi Jack. Thanks for sharing. Stay well. I’ll be calling fidelity tomorrow.

  6. jay on June 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    It seems to me this is a slam-dunk lawsuit…. go get ’em mr. Pasquella! Get a lawyer and settle quickly, in the meantime tell your story to every newspaper that will listen. Be careful to stick to the truth in the story.

    Hey Fidelity: EFF YOU!!!!

    • Jack Pasquella on June 4, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Hi Jay,
      The author; George Gombossy, wrote the article based upon the facts in my file from my attorney. Letters, documents, etc from Fidelity. Have to be factual which we have been throughout this ordeal.
      Thanks,
      Jack

      • Linda Bacor on September 12, 2014 at 5:12 pm

        Jack I just posted something I’d like to know your opinion about. On ctwatchdog.com

  7. Robert on June 3, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I have had numerous problems with Fidelity. They abandon their customers when problems arise.

    To tell Mr. Pasquella to go back to work is an insult.

    The person handling the case at Fidelity should be fired. This will cost Fidelity more in future business that what it would have cost them to live up to their word.

    I feel your pain because they have tried to screw me more than once. I will never do business with Fidelity ever again.

  8. Rhonda on June 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Sounds unfortunate. That’s is why the piece of paper is called a document. The first time the error occurred in which the client received the document can be an excusable error along with a follow up apology. Six incorrect documents is an overly gross amount. He should make sure he has all telephone documentation from Fidelity as every call is recorded. Also, I would check with FINRA to inquire about regulation as well as prior issues regarding this type of retirement plan. Everything is usually noted under a SS number including contributions and withdrawals therefore all the info can be seen. They knew he had a payout, right? Sounds like some auditing needs to be accomplished at Fidelity along with new practices and procedures.

  9. Dan Penird on October 26, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Fidelity screwed up my pesion right from the start,logged on did all ONLINE forms and first payment NEVER CAME,,called and person said I NEVER DID FORM,,I had ref# and asked to talk to super & threatened Inspector general action which I did anyway and next thing I know I get a UPDATED CHECK in the mail,,They LIE,,Cheat,,if they get away with prolonging payments thats $$ in their pockets,,I’m sure they get traing and bonus for prolonging how-ever they can,then I get a buyout offer an my benificerary was WRONG,,hell it was someone I never heard of,,lol,,also was older than me,,of course that makes the Buyout (LESS) took a act of God the get my wife back on there and she is younger than I by 9 years,, so they fixed the benificiary BUT didn’t change the $$$ Amount,,it NEVER ends with Fidelity,,like wall street ALL CROOKS,,and they get awy with it

  10. Janice Hague on February 4, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Go jack- the same thing just happened to me- the only difference is they have paid me the wrong amount for a year and a half and now want their money back – no way I can take an 800 dollar cut in pay and pay back 14000 in overpayment- I’m just devastated

  11. Gary Castro on April 26, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    I went back to work for AT&T after I retired. I was told I could stii collect my annuity retirement check. After 3 years on the job Fidelity told me I was over paid and now I owe AT&T $30,000. AT&T told Fidelity that if I didn’t pay it would be considered earned income. I agreed since I didn’t have the funds to pay the overpayment. Then I got a letter from AT&T stating no, they would calculate it from my next retirement. I retired again with 40 years since I got to keep my seniority. Fidelity kept telling me that I would get my new calculation within a few months. I called fidelity today and they stated I won’t get any retirement till I pay off the arrears. That means I need to pay $30,000 or I get no retirement after working for AT&T over 40 years. Does anyone know ifni have recourse to sue AT&T or fidelity. I am so depressed.

  12. Jack Pasquella on April 30, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Hi Gary, I am no expert but certainly understand your pain having retirement problems with AT&T and Fidelity. My situation is still unresolved. Based upon my situation I recommend you save everything, keep it well organized and review it often. This way you can communicate in a consise, factual manner. Consult an attorney who’s speciality is Labor Law. I found that Labor Law is very complex and not favorable to the employee. Discuss with the attorney a phase of the law known as “Estoppel”. As I understand it if you rely on information from a consider expert source and made decisions on that advice they MAYBE held accountable. Between you, me and Janice above we gave AT&T a combined 100 years! I was proud of my life at AT&T until this happened. Good luck and keep me posted. Email is japasquella@snet.net. Jack

  13. Linda Bacor on September 12, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Retired AT&T April 2006, Requested amounts of my lump sums craft and mgmt. received letter indicating amts and decided to retire. Moved from Indiana to Florida after about 3 months when I was settled I requested my funds. I received the craft but after 3 months they finally sent a letter saying my mgmt. was figured incorrectly and would be 60k less. I checked around and I guess if a mistake is made they have a right to correct it. I took the mgmt. lump.
    About 3 weeks ago I received a letter telling me they made a mistake when I finally took my mgmt. lump sum and now I owe them over 14k. Mind you I retired in 2006, this is 2014. Is this going to happen every 8 years! I am checking everywhere to find things. It wasn’t sent certified it’s 1 1/2 pages with a remit page and prepaid return envelope. It is not a scam I called Fidelity (different number) ad the person is an employee. Any suggestions?

    • George Gombossy on September 12, 2014 at 5:10 pm

      Linda – you need to have Fidelity give you a full accounting of your account and then have an accountant review it.

  14. WIlliam Huff on February 10, 2017 at 9:24 am

    No surprise here, been dealing with fidelity and their lies for 6 months now trying to get my pension. . They continually lie cant find the paperwork etc etc. i probably will never recive my pension. Iam just accepting the fact. That its gone … my warning would be to never invest wit fidelity! You might as well kiss your money goodbye

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