- Coinbase customers are quite angry having experienced poor customer support after crypto assets vanished from their accounts.
- Former employees say the massive growth of the company over the years has contributed to poor customer support.
Once again, Coinbase users are venting out their frustration after the exchange’s customer support ‘ignored’ users’ queries into lost funds. An Aug. 24 CNBC investigation shows that thousands of customers had put up complaints against the company.
Interviews with Coinbase customers around the country and a review of thousands of complaints reveal a pattern of account takeovers, where users see money suddenly vanish from their account, followed by poor customer service from Coinbase that made those users feel left hanging and angry.
For instance, Coinbase’s client Tanja Vidovic claimed that crypto assets worth nearly $168,000 disappeared from her account. This happened after the user received multiple password change security alerts in April. Attempts to contact Coinbase by phone were fruitless, Tanja said.
In March, another customer reported about $35,000 in crypto holdings vanishing from his account after he logged in. Eventually, the company’s Regulatory Response Team emailed the victim saying blockchain transactions are irreversible. Coinbase’s insurance policy does not cover theft from individual accounts, the Team added. In the same month, the New York Times ran a piece on Coinbase clients who sued the company after losing $100,000 in cryptocurrency.
Coinbase customer complaints
Popular analyst Kaleo tweeted similar complaints saying the company had shown an “absolutely embarrassing display of care for customers.” Having 360,000 followers, the tweet attracted lots of responses from other Coinbase clients and Coinbase itself. The company reached out within a few minutes and promised to help with the issue. One Twitter user, however, bashed the company’s response saying it was only assisting those with many followers to maintain its reputation.
Ironically, during Coinbase’s public debut in April, CEO Brian Armstrong said, “People no longer need to be scared of it [crypto]like in the early days.”
Since 2016, Coinbase users have filed over 11,000 complaints against the company, most of them regarding customer service. These have gone to the Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Former Coinbase employees said that with the company’s growth, the need for customer support intensified. However, it became hard to keep up. Features such as live chats were phased out and replaced with automated answers to frequently asked questions.
“The sheer scale at which the company was growing was a lot to handle. I didn’t see that we were keeping up,” Jacques Reulet said.
Nevertheless, Coinbase said that phone support and live messaging will be rolled out this year to resolve “long wait times.” Additionally, since customers have two-factor authentication, only 0.1 percent have had account takeovers, Coinbase noted.
Of note, crypto exchanges are enticing to hackers since they hold billions of dollars in crypto. One early example is the Mt. Gox exchange hack that lasted for over 2 years and drained 650,000 Bitcoins. Additionally, according to CipherTrace, $1.4 billion in crypto assets was stolen in the first five months of 2020.