Exclusive: Vanguard apologizes to customers whose accounts were debited without permission

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Some customers of investment company The Vanguard Group were caught off guard when money was taken from their accounts without permission. 

When Joseph Mercede took a look at his checking account Tuesday morning, he noticed Vanguard had initiated a withdrawal, which by itself was not out of the ordinary.

"The problem is, I didn't authorize this transaction. And no one knows where the money has gone," he said.

Mercede says an hour on the phone with a Vanguard rep only confirmed the problem, but they gave him no answers, and it wasn't clear at first where the money went. Joseph reached out to KYW Newsradio for help.

"They didn't reach out to me to tell me this, and it was kind of ... it wasn't given the attention that I thought it deserved, so I needed to reach out to someone I thought could help," he said.

Vanguard said this is a problem affecting a small number of clients — they didn't provide an actual number — and that everyone will be reimbursed shortly. Mercede says he already got his money back.

The company is in the process of contacting everyone who was affected and apologizing for any issues this mistake may have caused.