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Robinhood facing scrutiny over lack of customer support

Posted at 6:42 AM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 06:42:08-04

(WXYZ) — The stock-trading app Robinhood has been making headlines recently, and now it's facing some heat over its customer service.

Michelle Castator's husband, Michael, passed away last year, leaving a Robinhood stock trading account. She's now trying to settle his accounts but hit a roadblock at Robinhood.

"I didn’t know what the steps were going to be, since it was me and not my husband," Michelle said.

Unable to call, she emailed Robinhood three times before she got a response. They said she needed to send them a death certificate and her driver's license.

She did it, but a month later, still nothing.

"You know, this is just ridiculous," she said.

Robinhood is an appealing app to many because it makes stock trading easy. You don't even need a laptop, and there are no fees and no commission. But, some members of Congress say there is almost no customer service either.

At a congressional hearing, Illinois Rep. Sean Casten demonstrated what happens when traders try to get phone help.

"Please visit us at Robinhood.com or on our app for support. If you have an urgent need, please be sure to include details on your order before reaching out. Thanks and have a great day," the response said.

Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev explained that Robinhood is not a full-service brokerage.

"We dreamed of making investing more accessible, especially for people without a lot of money," Tenev testified.

But now, he promises a new investment in customer support with phone reps.

Michelle is thankful she's only fighting for a couple thousand dollars.

"If Mike would have had more money in that account, I think I would have been beside myself," she said.

After our team emailed Robinhood, a company spokesman told us they will contact Michelle and close out the account.