Cryptocurrencies reached all-time highs last year and BTC/USD markets touched $19,600 per coin on December 16th. Since then a lot has changed as most crypto-assets have lost at least half or more of their fiat value since that date. The consumer analysis group Valuepenguin decided to do a study on the number of complaints filed with the CFPB between June 1, 2017, and March 1, 2018. The results were staggering, showing a 669 percent increase in consumer complaints after the prices of digital currencies dropped in value this year.
It Seems Customers Want Their Money When They Want It
Some key takeaways from researcher David Ascienzo’s Valuepenguin study detailed the biggest complaint, by more than 40 percent of the files, showed dissatisfied customers who were unable to withdraw their funds. 32 percent of the issues derived from transaction issues and fraud complaints. Transaction problems included long wire transfer delays and a lot of gripes were directed at crypto-businesses and the lack of customer service.
“Money being unavailable was the number one complaint and consumers struggled to transfer and trade their cryptocurrencies at a critical time — Complaints spiked to a climax during the week where price decline was steepest,” explains Ascienzo’s findings.
Higher numbers of complaints rolled in just as prices started crashing, reaching a climax during the week of sharpest descent. Even then, BTC prices didn’t fall anywhere near where they were in the earlier half of 2017, but the data shows an array of negative experiences for consumers struggling to manage their coins when it mattered the most.
Beefing Up Customer Support
One company that was highlighted during the research was the San Francisco cryptocurrency firm Coinbase. The Valuepenguin study even highlights a few quotes from some of the customer complaints directed at Coinbase. The complaints against the digital currency firm emphasized withdrawal and deposit issues. News.Bitcoin.com also reported on the study Lend EDU did this past August that showed the first signs of increasing consumer complaints, and Coinbase was at the top of the list. However, the head of customer support at Coinbase, Tina Bhatnagar, announced on March 1 that the company was hiring 500 customer support agents this year.
“My first, and most obvious observation was that we needed more people to handle the inbound volume of support requests and a solid plan to handle any spikes in volume, Bhatnagar stated at the time. Our first group of 90 new agents will start on March 5th and we will be adding a group of agents every week until we hit our goal of 500 in late May.”
The latest study also shows some consumers were unable to access funds as much as $100,000 USD. Moreover, according to the Ascienzo’s research, the cryptocurrency companies had managed to close all of the complaints filed. Complaints submitted to the CFPB were closed with an explanation from the company, but the research could not tell if any customers received any restitution. The author notes that all the data was derived from the public CFPB databases and he used bitcoin historical prices from the website Coinmarketcap.