Robinhood helpline hangs up when users ask for help
- Representative Sean Casten called Robinhood’s unmanned helpline during Thursday’s hearing.
- Casten accused Robinhood of taking advantage of inexperienced traders.
- The Robinhood CEO has apologized to the family of a young Robinhood user who committed suicide.
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During the House Financial Services Committee hearing on the GameStop Frenzy, Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) called the Robinhood hotline and played the company’s 12-second message that ends by hanging up to give viewers an idea of the support. Robinhood users receive from the company.
The audience largely focused on Robinhood’s role in the GameStop stock rally. The platform functions as a site that seeks to make the stock market more accessible, by offering trading options with no commission fees. Casten told Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev that the company takes advantage of inexperienced traders on its site.
“There is an innate tension in your business model between democratizing finance, which is a noble calling, and being a channel to feed sharks fish,” Casten said.
The referenced representative the death of a 20-year-old trader who committed suicide after the platform mistakenly showed that he had lost $ 730,000 on the Robinhood app. Robinhood trader Alexander Kearns called the hotline after discovering the loss and sent the company several emails about the canceled options, but initially received no response.
Although there was a later response to Kearns’ email indicating the $ 730,000 error on the app, Kearns was already deceased.
Casten pointed out that the helpline Kearns called was not busy and ended his five-minute questioning during the hearing by playing the 12-second message that is requested when someone calls the hotline. ‘assistance. The message instructs callers to contact support online or through the app before hanging up.
Tenev said earlier in his testimony to Congress that many Robinhood users identify as first-time investors and are generally younger than the average investor.
“The story of financial regulation is about protecting people like Alex Kearns from the system,” Casten said. “Under Illinois law, he was not allowed to buy a beer, but he was allowed to take $ 730,000 in positions and exposure that he did not have.
Earlier in the hearing, Tenev apologized to the Kearns family.
“I feel sorry for Mr. Kearns’ family for your loss,” Tenev said. “The passing of Mr. Kearns has been deeply troubling to me and to the entire company.”
Tenev said Robinhood is looking to increase the number of customer support call centers it uses and plans to expand its live phone support.
Kearns’ parents Dan and Dorothy Kearns filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Robinhood in January. Lawsuit Alleges Robinhood Provides No “Significant Customer Support” to Investors, Says CBS News.