Coinbase sees scores of Better Business Bureau customer complaints

July 4, 2018
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They’ve changed. They promise. 

To hear the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase tell it, they’ve turned over a new leaf. Sure, SEC documents revealed scores of customer complaints against them — ranging from allegations of fraud to negligence — but those were in the (very recent) past. These days, insists the company in a series of blog posts and statements to Mashable, Coinbase is a different animal.

But over the course of 2018 its customers have deluged the Better Business Bureau with complaints. Maybe they missed the memo?

The precursor to the Better Business Bureau was founded in 1912 by a Boston ad executive. The organization’s early form was the so-called National Vigilance Committee; their goal was to curb misleading advertising. Today, you may know the Better Business Bureau as the organization that rates businesses across the US and acts as a public clearing house for consumer complaints. It’s often the last recourse for people who feel they’ve been screwed over by a company but don’t have the resources to pursue legal action.

When it comes to Coinbase, the Bureau has received quite a few of those complaints — enough to give them an “F” rating based on “the total number of positive, neutral, and negative reviews posted.”

These complaints are recent. In contrast to the documents Mashable obtained following a FOIA of the SEC, the tales of poor customer service and frozen funds are not from the time of “unprecedented growth” as described by a May 18, 2018, blog post written by VP of operations and technology Tina Bhatnagar.  

“In 2017, the cryptocurrency space experienced a profound uptick in mainstream awareness and growth,” she wrote at the time. “As part of that, consumer demand for our services increased by 40x and we experienced transaction volumes in November and December of that year that grew by 295%.”

Coinbase wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, she assured us. And yet.

Ouch.

Ouch.

Image: screenshot/better business bureau

Of the 1,155 Coinbase customer complaints available on the BBB site, there are a substantial amount from this year. 

“My account disabled to log in on Nov 19th,” reads one complaint from April. “I filed a case report to CoinBase but it is never resolved up to now. I have money in my CoinBase account and have been waiting for 5 weeks to refreeze it. I cannot withdraw the money and trade Cryptocurrency.”

That complaint was far from unique. 

“I wired $14000 (USD) to coinbase over a month and a half ago to purchase Bitcoin and the money hasn’t been processed into my account or returned,” reads another one from April. “I’ve opened up a ticket within coinbase 2 weeks after wiring the money but they have not given me any idea why the funds have not posted to my account.” 

How about a few more, all from May of this year, for good measure: 

Sent wire transfer 4 months back and haven’t received it in my **** account. Have called the **** support number numerous times and am still waiting for them to email me back with an update.

Coinbase froze my account. I can not access my funds to settle pymnt. I have asked coin base to unfreeze my account so i can make payments from my accouny.

I have been attempting to withdraw my funds from Coinbase since January 3rd, 2018. I have been back and forth with the technical team since then but they abruptly stop replying. I recently have talked to the support team on the phone twice but they mention I can’t escalate or speak to anyone else…regarding this issue. My money is stuck in limbo in their system and I have received no solution or answers.

in December 2017 I placed an order of $2000 dollar on coinbase, they however double charged me for another $2000 dollar which they refuse to refund me for. It’s been over 3 months and their support still wont acknowledge this. I’ve tried to get the money back via my bank but they say coinbase is…claiming the transaction was authorized (of course they would say that), and so I’m stuck with $2000 missing.

Again, these are not claims made late-2017 while Coinbase was experiencing a surge in new customers and activity. Rather, these are from a time when the value of bitcoin is down — along with interest in cryptocurrency in general.

A quick look at Google Trends puts this downturn into perspective. 

Way, way down.

Way, way down.

Image: screenshot/google trends

According to Forbes, Coinbase generated $1 billion in revenue last year. Some of that, if the company is to be believed, was put toward beefing up its support staff following what can only be described as a tumultuous 2017.

It clearly has a few more hires to make. But hey, Coinbase will get there eventually. It promises.

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