- Robinhood faced significant outages with its options trading services Wednesday.
- Some Robinhood customers attempting to access options trading Wednesday morning received a message stating “Account Deactivated” and were directed to the company’s support email address without given further explanation of the issue.
- Users turned to social media to voice their anger.
- “The majority of affected accounts have had their trading ability restored, and we’re working to restore access for the other subset,” a spokesperson said.
Robinhood, the trading app that has risen in popularity due to its no-fee brokerage business, faced significant outages with its options trading services Wednesday, keeping customers out of their accounts and preventing them from closing out open positions.
Some Robinhood customers attempting to access options trading Wednesday morning received a message stating “Account Deactivated” and were directed to the company’s support email address without given further explanation of the issue.
A Robinhood spokesperson told Business Insider the outage impacted “a smaller percentage of customers” and trading was limited, “as a precautionary measure.”
“We experienced an outage with options trading, affecting a smaller percentage of customers, and we limited trading for some as a precautionary measure. The majority of affected accounts have had their trading ability restored, and we’re working to restore access for the other subset,” the spokesperson said.
Users turned to social media to voice their anger. On Robinhood’s Reddit page, the first mention of trouble came from a thread posted at 9:04 AM EST in which the user said its option order was reject.
Robinhood first directly acknowledged the issue when responding to a tweet at 10:36 AM EST.
We're experiencing issues with options trading and shut it down while we investigate. We currently have our engineering team working to restore service as quickly as possible. We encourage you to follow (https://t.co/mON07oWvHy) for updates as they arise.
— Robinhood Help (@AskRobinhood) December 12, 2018
Less than 20 minutes later, Robinhood issued a tweet stating it had “temporarily shut down options trading” and was “working to restore service ASAP”.
We’ve temporarily shut down options trading after an issue we found early this morning. Our team’s investigating and working to restore service ASAP.
You can check https://t.co/ZS733G6N1J for updates.
— Robinhood Help (@AskRobinhood) December 12, 2018
Users impacted by the outage also received an email from the company.
Robinhood sent a follow-up email when accounts had been re-activated, offering three months of Robinhood Gold, the app’s premium service, for free.
That didn’t stop customers from pointing out the losses they faced in the market from not being able to access their accounts.
HELLO? is anyone at robinhood listening? How do my big loss back? I couldnt sell any of my options and i planned to sell and rebuy in and they all failed and i lost $$$ @SEC_Enforcement Someone needs to compensate reach out to us, This is not penny losses. pic.twitter.com/a6IB3ncx5A
— matt (@tombaker2012) December 12, 2018
This morning, Robinhood tweeted again, stating it had been working on the issue overnight.
We have been working overnight to restore access to accounts and options trading. Nearly all accounts have been restored and we are working hard to finish this for everyone affected. Please continue to follow https://t.co/ZS733G6N1J for updates.
— Robinhood Help (@AskRobinhood) December 13, 2018
However, users continued to tweet at the company, describing losses they felt they faced due to the outage.
Thank you for your email apologising for the inconveniences. Here's one of the smaller inconveniences you cost me. pic.twitter.com/B3UqYwlG4q
— Brobama (@phillyfab22) December 13, 2018
As of 1:00 PM EST, Robinhood was still working to restore access to accounts and options trading, according to its status page, stating “nearly all accounts have been resorted.”
In another follow-up email sent to users whose accounts had been reactivated, Robinhood said some accounts were incorrectly given “inflated buying power” that they used to open positions they typically wouldn’t have been able to. The company chose to restrict the affected accounts while it resolved the issue.
“In order to fix these accounts, we needed to remove the erroneous trades and the inflated buying power that came from those trades. If that buying power was used to place trades yesterday, you may have opened the day today in a margin call,” the email stated. “We took action to resolve these margin calls normally, which required us to sell you out o f some of the positions you held. If you saw notifications and sales confirmations this morning, that was why.”
The outage comes at an inopportune for the app, which announced Thursday it would begin offering checking and savings accounts to customers as part of its overall goal to “democratize America’s financial system.”
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