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The US’s leading Bitcoin exchange is draining tens of thousands of dollars from users’ bank accounts

Published Feb 15th, 2018 5:53PM EST
Best Bitcoin exchange Coinbase problems wtf
Image: Ben Cawthra/REX/Shutterstock

Coinbase, the leading US crypto-currency exchange, has a problem. According to dozens of reports on Reddit and Twitter, the company has been making repeated unauthorized charges to some users’ bank accounts, totaling tens of thousands of dollars in some cases.

The company confirmed the issue in a statement on Reddit, saying “we can confirm that the unexpected charges are originating from our payment processing network, and are related to charges from previous purchases,” a spokesperson for the company said on Reddit. “To the best of our knowledge, these unexpected charges are not permanent and are in the process of being refunded.”

“We are actively investigating some reports from our customers about unexpected credit or debit card charges appearing on their statements from previous Coinbase purchases,” the spokesperson said.

Coinbase did not immediately answer questions about the extent of the problem and how users should work to get any charges refunded.

Some of the stories on Reddit claim that they’ve seen over 50 transactions go through, draining their account:

17X charges? NOPE. I just got hit with 50, count them 50 duplicate charges to the tune of $67k total. Already contacted my lawyer, closed my bank account, removed CB from everything etc. They will give me my fucking money back!! I made ALL of that money in crypto over the past 8 months. This is not good and I feel sick. I knew there is risk to lose money in this space, but not like this!! I may as well have burned it all. I hope Coinbase implodes!

Another user said that he’s been hit with overdraft charges, and now can’t pay rent:

So I spent $300 on some bitcoin, ether, and litecoin purchases on Feb 9th. I was charged $300 across the 3 transactions. Then days later, each of those transactions was repeated 5x as Withdrawal transactions instead of POS. I CAN NO LONGER STAY CALM. It’s been over a week with nothing but a canned response to my ticket. My bank account went from very comfortable to negatives balance, not to mention extra $5 charges, and overdraft fees. As a result my rent check bounced, and my bank went further into negative for a NSF charge for $25. My landlord is not a nice person and is on my CASE and I have nothing to offer him. I am FREAKING OUT.

One user wrote an impassioned open letter to Coinbase:

Over the last few months, I have seen problem after problem on your subreddit. This current problem is now the straw that has broke the camels back. Perhaps it is a vocal minority of people that has been complaining, and it most likely is, but you cannot deny the amount of problems that have been occuring. Normally I would keep silent but let us be realistic for a moment. Coinbase is bigger than itself. In fact the fate of coinbase is tied to the fate of cryptocurrency as a whole.

If coinbase was sued into oblivion or went under, it would be hard to argue that the price of btc wouldnt tank to sub 6k prices. Your fate is our fate coinbase.

I am not one to complain without offering some viable solutions. I think i can speak on behalf of the community at large when i say this is what we demand. We need better customer support, 3 people on a subreddit isnt cutting it anymore you have grown far too large.

Taking 2 weeks to respond to things is completely unacceptable, especially when people’s money is on the line. We need better communication and we need it now, not later.

What i recommend you do is to stop taking on new accounts. Perhaps your revenue projections dont favor this approach but if you are having this many issues chronically, then you need to beef up your customer support department and fix these types of issues, as taking on more accounts will surely only increase the number of issues overall.

 If you’re a Coinbase user, you should absolutely check your bank account for any charges you don’t recognize, and perhaps consider un-linking your bank account from their service until the problems have been fully resolved.