- Trading app Robinhood is expanding its live customer support following a heated Congressional hearing this month.
- The company said it will double the number of full-time representatives this year and expand to new areas.
- Representatives grilled Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev last week after a GameStop stock trading frenzy in January.
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Stock-trading app Robinhood is expanding its live phone support and doubling the number of representatives after the company’s lack of customer assistance came under fire at a Congressional hearing last week.
In a blog post Monday, Robinhood said users will have access to “a registered financial representative” by phone to help with a broader range of issues, including account security and open or recently expired options positions. It plans to expand to more situations as well, such as trading and transfer issues.
In doubling the number of full-time registered representatives this year, the company said it will expand to new regions to support the goal.
“We want to make sure we’re there for customers,” the company said, “especially in time-sensitive situations.”
During a Congressional hearing on February 18, Rep. Sean Casten called the Robinhood helpline and played the company’s 12-second message that ends in a hang-up to give people a sense of the support Robinhood users receive from the company. Casten also referenced a 20-year-old trader who died by suicide after the app mistakenly showed a negative balance of $US730,000 ($924,478). He didn’t receive an answer from the company about the canceled options on the phone or via email and died by the time the company responded, his family said.
Representatives questioned Robinhood and CEO Vladimir Tenev for five hours regarding the company’s role in a trading frenzy focused on GameStop and other “meme stocks” in January. Tenev apologized to the Kearns family during the hearing. The company, based in Menlo Park, California, was founded to make the stock market more accessible to retail investors, but Casten claimed it takes advantage of inexperienced traders.
A company spokesperson declined to comment on the reasoning behind the expansion.
“Millions of people are making their voices heard through the markets,” Robinhood said in its blog post. “We’re investing heavily in customer support and remain committed to improving to serve you.”