It has been nearly a year since a 20-year-old Robinhood user took his own life, in no small part due to the company’s abysmal customer service, according to his family. Despite the tragedy, things do not appear to have gotten better.
Amy Vickers, who was frustrated that Robinhood prevented her from selling her shares in GameStop on Jan. 28, began the process of transferring her stocks to Fidelity Investments…. Robinhood told her the process would take five to seven days to complete, but it wasn’t until Feb. 16 that the last of her stock arrived at Fidelity. By then, her GameStop shares had lost much of their value.
“I had a lot of days laying in bed feeling depressed,” said Ms. Vickers of Austin, Texas. “Robinhood is the most unprofessional company I’ve ever dealt with managing my money.”
It’s not just meme stock traders, either: Customers complain about accounts locked for more than a month, requiring dozens of e-mails (there is no phone customer support except for some options-trading users) to resolve. Although one such situated customer came up with a useful hack: After a fruitless month of back-and-forth with Robinhood, including its trademark failure to meet its own deadlines, Brenton Place started tweeting about it with an unfavorable hashtag. That got things resolved in a week, breakneck speed by Robinhood standards.
In fairness to Robinhood, it couldn’t have reasonably foreseen the surge in users and volume that accompanied the GameStop mania back in January.
“If you, overnight, have an increase of 350% of volume, there’s just not enough humans to throw at the issue to be able to deliver effective support,” Mr. Mesa said…. During the last week of January alone, Robinhood received as many customer-support tickets as it typically gets over three months, Mr. Mesa said. In response, the company reassigned a large number of engineers to work on and deploy customer-service improvements, and it largely cleared its issue backlog by the beginning of March, he added.
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