Coinbase is often seen as the front-shop of cryptocurrencies, the place where newcomers go to buy and sell bitcoin or eth, but as the crypto-broker has grown, so too have complaints.
While previously they may have been dismissed as just small blockers angry at the exchange, it is actually quite surprising just how widespread the complaints are and just how varied they are.
It is not uncommon, for example, to receive a message that says little more than “unfortunately, a further review has determined that we are unable to clear your account’s ability to receive deposits at this time.”
Their “review” is probably automatic through algorithms. So you receive no reason, leaving you to wonder: what, why?
Who knows. Coinbase’s verification works by you sending them a small amount, rather than them doing so. Suggesting they’re not quite using state of the art technology to verify bank accounts.
So maybe you’d think it is worth to take the time and talk to them, but some have been waiting for months. One unfortunate Coinbase customer says:
“Says it been escalated twice but I’ve been waiting over 3 months. Every time I call in customer support says they can only escalate it again since I’ve been waiting so long.”
Another one was happy to finally reach adulthood, but soon found out that being 18 might get your account locked, rather than served. He says:
“I’ve been going back and forth with Coinbase support for the past month and a half about my account standing. I recently turned 18 and I was attempting to re-verify my documents to have my buy restrictions lifted, and over the last 4 weeks I’ve opened 3 separate cases, two of which I was promised to have followed up and then promptly ignored, and then today I find out that they’ve basically just decided to say ‘**** you, no access to our platform for you.'”
Their complaints are global. “I’m not sure if it’s an Australian thing but Coinbase won’t accept my debit card at all,” says another, we assume upstanding, customer. And we assume upstanding because you’d get angry only if you are honest we’d think, and because there are just so many complaints.
“I am one of the many caught by the system bug of coinbase where the secondary email simply does not get sent, therefore the BTC sitting in the vault is locked – until Coinbase does something about it.
Well I am tired of waiting for coinbase to respond and when trying to call they simply say that vault problems can’t be solved by the phone.
So I have had to make a formal complaint to the CFPB about it. I just want my BTC out of the vault – I have already lost too much since BTC started freefalling and my funds were locked down by Coinbase,” says another very unhappy customer.
“Was told would have funds on 6/16, no funds but in my account it is marked as “completed”. I was hoping to use this service a lot in the future but how could I? They had one job, it’s almost as if they are completely unaware that they are messing with people’s money,” says yet another.
We could go on. Stories of being banned or locked out take pages. Customer support complaints have been going on for some time. Errors here and there appear to affect much of the services they provide.
With it all reminding us of PayPal and the terrible reputation it developed, but Coinbase, thankfully, doesn’t actually keep your money after closing your account.
Cryptos like bitcoin and ethereum were of course meant to get rid of these intermediary third parties that can abuse their privileges to your annoyance, but as neither is sufficiently widely accepted, fiat on-ramps have forced such intermediaries for now.
Yet you would think there would be a lot more competition to provide Coinbase like services. Instead, there’s hardly any.
Why all of America is effectively limited to only Coinbase does remain a mystery. It can also be a single point of failure for lest we all forget MT Gox and the vital lesson learned from its demise.
A lesson which gave rise to Coinbase in the first place as it became obvious many exchanges were needed, yet now four years on, few remain standing in good order, with choices today less in some ways than even in 2014.