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Coinbase’s Achilles Heel: Customer Service

Sun, 06/17/2018 - 11:00
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Eric Eissler
In the beginning there was Coinbase and not much else...
Coinbase’s Achilles Heel: Customer Service
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If you plan on going into the business of handling other people’s money, then you would better have a strong focus on customer service, because if people can’t get their money, then there will be hell to pay. I can speak from experience.

First crypto exchange

Coinbase was the first exchange that I used for cryptocurrency. It was referred to me by a friend, it was quick and easy, and most people were using it, so it was trusted. I used it for almost a year without a problem except for the Bitcoin Cash caper, that is a story for another time, until just this past week, when I made a withdraw to my bank account.

Now, let me preface the story with the following: I routinely make withdraws from my crypto wallets at Coinbase and use ACH transfers to my bank account. Since December, the time to do this has decreased from almost nine business days to one day, despite the emails saying it could take between two to four days for the transfer to complete. Therefore, I knew it would only take one day.

Transfer gone awry

I made the transfer on a Friday in the morning and I expected the money to be there in the afternoon. The afternoon came but the money did not.

I thought, well my bank is always lazy on Fridays and pending transactions never clear until Monday sometimes Tuesday, another thing to get me up on the soapbox. It was the weekend, I decided to wait it out. Monday came and went and there was nothing.

On Tuesday, I called my bank, thinking the problem was on their end; however they had no incoming transactions. The problem is coinbase. I thought to myself, great, I heard all the horror stories about their customer service. I called and was baffled that phone support does not handle issues like missing funds. When money goes missing, I am sure you want to talk to a person on the phone, am I right? I mean my transfer never arrived, I want answers and I want them now. So, I sent the email to support. To my surprise, I got an email a few hours later. It read:

Hi, Eric.

I’m very sorry for any trouble with this.

When you place a sell order or withdraw USD to a US bank account, the money usually arrives within 2-4 business days.

Again, I apologize for the trouble. Thank you for using Coinbase.


Coinbase Support

That seemed rather copy paste. I wanted specific facts and dates. I pressed on and sent another email inquiring further. Coinbase responds, unbeknownst to me at the time it would be the last response I received:

Thank you for your message.

I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience.

Based on our records, your transaction is currently in process and it should arrive within 2-4 business [days] from the time that you have initiated the withdrawal.

Thanks for your patience.


Poor excuse for service

So tell me something I didn’t know before? Ok, so I gave it till the end of the week and it never showed. I followed up with several emails and never received a response. Oh, I performed another transfer and it went through in one day. My money is clearly missing and Coinbase doesn’t seem to care about it one Iota.

For the time being, as Coinbase rides the wave growth they can hide behind the billion in revenue they make, but it only takes one mistake that is not rectified to lose a customer, and there are finally more alternatives to Coinbase out there. If Coinbase continues to have this terrible customer service, then it is going to lose customers to other exchanges, just as it lost me, and soon my friends, too, who stand in solidarity with me.

A word of warning

When you manage other people's’ money and you lose it, you better make good and pay it back, otherwise, you lose credibility and customers. Goodbye, Coinbase!


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About the author

Eric Eissler is based in Chicago and works in higher-education administration and finance. He is a freelance writer covering blockchain technology, fintech, cryptocurrency, the oil and gas industry, and international politics.