Digital currency exchange Coinbase said it inadvertently charged punters for transactions they never made, effectively draining money from their bank accounts. It has promised to refund the money taken.
For the past few days, netizens have been complaining that funds had vanished from bank accounts linked to Coinbase without reason. Some people report multiple charges being made that drained their accounts and left them with heavy overcharge fees and the inability to pay bills and rent.
"We can confirm that the unexpected charges are originating from our payment processing network, and are related to charges from previous purchases," a company rep called Olga said on Reddit.
"To the best of our knowledge, these unexpected charges are not permanent and are in the process of being refunded. We apologize for the poor experience."
Rather bizarrely the post also asks those people affected by the errors to post up details of the transactions, including their location, the bank used, the number of bogus charges, and the case number from the bank. From a security situation, that's very poor practice indeed.
The spokesperson went on to say that the issue wasn't a security incident, meaning that Coinbase hasn't been hacked. Instead it was down to a charging issue with payment processors and they promised a fuller explanation in the next 24 hours.
That's going to be cold comfort for some of the people who have been affected. The message board went red with people who were now penniless and facing bank charges and possible eviction because they have no rent money.
Although you have to wonder if gambling the rent money on digital currency was a wise move. That said, a survey last month showed only 39 per cent of Americans could raise $1,000 to cover an emergency bill, so people's financial trauma from being overcharged is slightly more understandable. ®