Many years ago, I had a job in college that offered a 401k. I took advantage of it, and when I quit I had about $600 in the account. I became a customer of TD Waterhouse (at the time there were no account minimums), and rolled it over into (what I thought was) a rollover account. After I saw the transfer had been made, I filled out the paperwork to subsequently transfer the money into a Roth IRA. When I called to check on the status of my Roth IRA a couple of weeks later, I was told that the money started out in a Roth account. I tried to explain that the initial paperwork I had was for a Rollover IRA, but the person either didn't understand or didn't want to bother with an investor with a measly $600.
As you may know, there are tax consequences if you want to transfer money from a 401k into a Roth. You need to first complete a rollover from a 401k, and then transfer that money into a Roth IRA. Even though it was a small amount of money, I didn't want this to come back and bite me 40 years later. Paying the taxes on $600 when I was a poor graduate student seemed a lot better than breaking the law!
It took roughly 10 phone calls for someone to understand that they had made an error. By this time, it was February of the following year, and I didn't have the proper paperwork to file my taxes. After they finally understood the problem, they said that they no longer had the Rollover IRA paperwork, and had the nerve to ask me to fill out a new application and backdate it!
After asking to speak to a supervisor a number of times, I finally got in touch with a competent individual who took care of the problem. As soon as everything was worked out in terms of getting the proper paperwork, I moved the money to another company.
Overall, I like to think that when I call a financial services company, they are willing to take care of the client regardless of the amount of money they have. I get nervous when the customer service representatives are not knowledgeable and are unwilling to transfer you to someone who is experienced (keep in mind that I was calling the retirement services number the whole time). I am appalled that a company would ask me to essentially forge financial documents.
I am sure that overall, TD Waterhouse (now TD Ameritrade) is not a bad place to hold your accounts. But if you don't have a large account and have an issue that needs to be worked out, I would beware!