Fidelity's amazingly poor customer service has wasted months of my time only to then tell me that the clock has run out on my promised IBM pension benefits.
I joined IBM as a Distinguished Engineer in 2002, a year or two before they ended their pension plan, so I had a very small pension waiting for me at my 65th birthday.
As that day approached, Fidelity sent me mail telling me I could take it as an annuity, a joint annuity, or a lump sum. Since the amount was relatively low, I chose a lump sum (about $50K), rather than have to log a trivial payment every month.
I filled out all the paperwork in July, 2022, two months before my 65th birthday.
Since then I have filled out all the paperwork 5 times. I have dragged my wife TWICE to a notary to get her to sign the form accepting the lump sum paperwork. I have talked with Fidelity on the phone a dozen times. Each time they have assured me that everything would now be fine and I would get the lump sum soon. The most recent such call was in February.
Now, I come home from a trip to find another rejection from Fidelity. Just like the last five times, they have told me that the effective date for the lump sum was wrong. The last four times, I told them to set it to whatever date would work, and they said they would, and I would be paid soon.
Today, I called them again, and spent 45 minutes on the phone to learn that it is now TOO LATE for me to take the lump sum, and I will have to record a trivial deposit every month for the rest of my life. This happened after I took every proper step to get my lump sum on time, and took most of those steps many times over many months. I also spent hours on the phone with Fidelity to achieve this outcome.
This is the worst example of customer support I have ever seen in my life. If anyone at IBM is listening, perhaps you might look into what Fidelity is doing to your pensioners?