The logo of Robinhood Markets Inc is seen at a pop-up event on Wall Street after the company's IPO in New York City, US, in this July 29 2021 file photo. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY
The logo of Robinhood Markets Inc is seen at a pop-up event on Wall Street after the company's IPO in New York City, US, in this July 29 2021 file photo. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY

New York —  Robinhood Markets said on Tuesday it had introduced 24-hour customer phone support, seven days a week, addressing criticisms over the app-driven retail brokerage’s communications that were also implicated in the suicide of a client.

The fast-growing broker shot to prominence earlier in 2021 during the “meme” stock trading frenzy with its easy-to-use interface that made it a hit among young investors, but users have long complained about a lack of response to inquiries.

Robinhood said expanding its customer support would help its users feel confident, informed and secure about investing, especially when getting started in trading assets like cryptocurrencies.

“We need to help everyone feel like they are ready to become investors, that they belong, and that they will get the support they need in the moments they need it most,” Robinhood Crypto COO Christine Brown said.

Robinhood came under intense criticism in June 2020 after a 20-year-old investor named Alex Kearns died by suicide after he received a notification by the brokerage that he thought meant he had lost $730,000 on an options trade, and then was unable to contact anyone at the company to clarify the matter.

Kearns’s family sued Robinhood over the brokerage’s “misleading communications” that caused their son to panic over what he wrongly believed were huge market losses.

The case was settled earlier in 2021, Robinhood said in a June regulatory filing.

Before the launch of 24/7 phone support, which has been rolled out in recent weeks and is a first for a major cryptocurrency trading platform, Robinhood’s 21.3-million active users mainly had to correspond with the company through e-mail, Brown said.

Now users can request a call through the app and hear back from a trained representative, with the average wait time in recent weeks at Robinhood Crypto of about 30 minutes, Brown said.

“This is a human, live, talking to you any time day or night for every issue that you might have at Robinhood,” she said.

Reuters

The logo of Robinhood Markets on Wall Street after the company’s IPO, in New York, the US, July 29 2021. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY
The logo of Robinhood Markets on Wall Street after the company’s IPO, in New York, the US, July 29 2021. Picture: REUTERS/ANDREW KELLY
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