05 Feb BlockFi locked me out of my account for 28 hours…
For starters, I want to say that I’ve been a BlockFi user for about 9 months now and have largely had a positive experience, so much so that I’ve referred multiple friends and family members to the platform.
But this recent experience was pretty unsettling and I wanted to let the larger community as a whole know about it so that you are aware of the 3rd party risks when dealing with CeFi firms like BlockFi.
So here’s the story…
To set the stage, this all started with a simple ACH deposit to BlockFi from one of my fiat accounts. For those that have never performed an ACH with BlockFi, their processing times usually take 4-5 business days before you actually receive the funds in your account to trade/earn interest on. This is a bit annoying from a convenience standpoint, but understandable from a risk management perspective as they want to make sure they receive the funds from your other institution before releasing the money to you – makes sense.
So after the 4-5 day wait period, my ACH deposit clears and I trade the GUSD I received for some ETH. (It is also worth mentioning that this ACH deposit represented less than 0.002% of my total funds on the BlockFi platform). The trade goes through fine, just like dozens of others I’ve done, and I head to bed.
I wake up the next morning at 8 am to two emails from BlockFi. The first stating that my ACH deposit had been reversed, and the second saying that I have been locked out of my account and that I needed to call customer support or send them an email.
So my initial thought is “Great, my bank screwed something up and now I have to deal with this.” as well as “Why would BlockFi have credited the deposit after 5 days if they hadn’t received the money? And why wasn’t I given a chance to correct the issue before locking me out of my account?”
I called their customer support line as soon as they opened and explained the situation. The CSR was polite and said that I “needed to re-submit a deposit or place a sell order to cover the negative balance”. He then said that he would forward it to the security team to unlock my account, that it should be done within an hour, and that he would follow up with me via email when it was done.
Great! That seems nice and easy, right? Except for that email never came.
By 4 pm my account is still locked. I send a Twitter DM and receive no reply. So I call support again, sit on hold for 20 mins, fill out the automated system indicating I’m a current customer calling about my interest account…but instead I’m sent to the “new client line” where the CSR tells me “I can’t help with that since it is apart of a different department, and I can’t transfer you to the correct department either, you’ll have to hang up and call back”. Uhm what?
At this point, I’m pretty pissed off at the entire situation, which again is over < 0.002% of my balance that I cannot fix unless I get into my account…not to mention the lack of helpfulness from the customer service team…
So I tweet at them publicly and explain the situation again. They reply and ask for my ticket number from the morning. When I told them I was never given a ticket number I get radio silence. That response has still not been replied to.
So I call again this morning and get told by the CSR that “it is still in compliance and shouldn’t be much longer”. Great – guess I’ll keep waiting then.
Finally, after 28 hours of being locked out, I was able to get back in…only I figured this out myself by attempting to log in. I still have not received a follow up on this from BlockFi via phone, email, or Twitter.
So I go to correct the negative balance and find out that they’ve already done it by selling the ETH purchase that I had made two days ago to cover said balance. Which is fine but 1.) It would have been nice to have the option in case I preferred to sell some of a different asset…and 2.) If that was all it took then why wasn’t that done immediately, leaving no need to lock me out of my account?
Perhaps I’m making this out to be a bigger deal than it is, but something about my account being locked over a discrepancy that is so small, along with this customer service experience, really really rubs me the wrong way. I get that they have safeguards in place for a reason, but why not give your customers a chance to correct an issue before locking them out of their account?
If you made it this far, thanks for listening to my soapbox. I hope this doesn’t come across as whiney, I just think customer experience stories, good or bad, are important for the community as a whole.
tl;dr BlockFi locked me out of my account for 28+ hours over a trivial amount of money and then gave pretty terrible customer service when trying to resolve the issue.