CEX.IO Refused to allow withdrawal after taking BTC from me. Internet
I used CEX.IO to transfer a portion of my Bitcoins to in order to sell them. I read their disclosure's, fees, and TOS. At no time did any there information or FAQ's provide information about needing to provide banking, photo's (selfie) of me holding my ID card, or other information. They also did not announce that there would be a 17% transaction fee above the cost of selling, as well as seperate fees for sending my money. For $472 in sells, minus $12 before I was given my part, they also are charging me over $90 just to withdraw my money, if they allow me to withdraw it.
Following the withdrawal procedures explicitly, even after finding out how stringent they were, I used their 'verfication help' link to insure the process went smoother so I could get something back besides a scam, a waste of time, and a massive headache. I uploaded my most recent bank statement that was mailed to my home, with all banking balances, accounts (not the #'s just the transactions I've had) and transactions blacked out to protect myself and the people I do business with. This was done from a flat bed scanner to a file, in color, as directed. I also copied, in color and over 3 MB's in size, a copy of my Government issued Driver's License, front and back, clearly readable. This was scanned and uploaded exactly as the site requested. And finally, I had my spouse take a picture of me this morning with a 16MP camera, after I put in a newly charged battery. I uploaded it, in color and format as requested. I then sat down and wrote the following email to the company:
As an early supporter and adopter of Bitcoin, I have been sitting on my little stash for approximately 3 + years. Over the years I have watched numerous Exchanges and finance houses close due to fraud, mismanagement, and continued failure to provide basic reasonable services for the very product which they are stated to support. CEX.IO is no different in my opinion, and if anyone in your Quality department cares to take a look, I will provide all the reasons.
First, setting up an account and uploading BTC is relatively easy. You make no mention at the time of set up that I will be required to provide some very controlled personal identification in order to make a withdrawal. That borders on the edge of dishonesty. To be fair though, based on reviews, I chose to take the chance and only upload 2 1/4 Bitcoins out of my 100+ in order to determine if your company had just overlooked the process..
Second, I looked at the spread in what you charge to purchase BTC's and what you sell for. As someone who deals in precious metals routinely, I understand premiums and other 'costs' associated with doing business, so the spread your company makes between the buy/sell points is understandable.
Third, charging over 17%, or even over 5% on each transaction for a withdrawal is completely dishonest and does not show me a company that is choosing to support BTC or even wishes to established itself as more than a 'fly-by-night' crooked operation.
Finally, I sent my verification's to your company just prior to sitting down to write this email. I have worked in industries that must be very critical of scanned and electronically submitted documentation, to the point of being able to discern quickly if an item is acceptable or not. The 'Selfie' that was sent was taken exactly 10 minutes prior to my writing this email, in full light, with a 16MP camera at a distance of less than 1 meter, with numerous shots taken to ensure glare and clarity were removed. The overall file was 3.6 MB of data, which is quite large for 1 photo, because it was done in high quality. My bank statement was extremely clear and showed all pertinent information, but did not show my transactions, balance, or other personal information that your company absolutely has no right to for information unless you planned on using it for illegal purposes. And my Identity documents were scanned photos, front and back that had the clarity of even showing the holographic displays that are built in for anti-theft purposes. Your company sent me a reply on my uploaded documents within 5 minutes of submission rejecting them all because of 'low quality' and 'not taken recently' and 'other'. I find that completely false and can see that any attempt to withdraw money will be met with repeated step after step after step until maybe 3 months from now, only if I stay on this will I receive even a fraction of what is rightfully due me.
So in summary, as your company is simply doing business in the worst way possible, and making every step as hard as possible, while also being dishonest and fraudulent, I will be taking my aforementioned 100+ BTC to another service in order to conduct business. Please do not believe that I have given up in getting my money for the BTC's I have sold, as failure to provide them to me by your company is simply theft. If you were going to require all of these things in order to make a withdrawal, why didn't you require them to accept the deposit? Unless your whole business model is set up for fraud.
Charles E Hall
The reply I received for the first denial was this:
Dear Charles Hall ,
Thank you for your letter to us.
We highly appreciate your interest to CEX.IO services.
The verification with providing information and photo proofs is used to create a strongly secured environment, in order you can feel comfortable and sаfe, using our platform. At the same time, any operations with crypto coins do not require any verification. As soon as users wish to use fiat money, bank transfers and payment cards we ask them for verification to avoid fraudulent activities on the site.The charges for withdrawals via bank transfers are connected with the expenses of payment processing.
Our Compliance department informs that your your documents can be accepted for the verification purposes but they kindly ask you for a little bit of cooperation.The reason why your selfie was not accepted is that it was recognized as an old one. We kindly ask you to check the time settings on your camera - the issue may be connected with this.As for your Driver License, we kindly ask you to send us not a scan but a photo of it (both sides).
And the proof of residence may also be accepted. As you have sent a file, we kindly ask you to make a screenshot of the website where you downloaded your proof of residency and upload it. The screenshot must contain an open document. We must clearly see the website URL on the screenshot.
Thank you for cooperation in advance.Please do not hesitate to write to us if you have any questions.
Best regardsMia BarrettCEX.IO Support
I replied with this, after checking the website for my own accuracy and taking screen shots of the verification process should litigation ensue:
So again, to prove the point I made in my email, your company is being both dishonest and is attempting to delay the process for a simple withdrawal. To wit, your email addressed the issue of a 'scan' versus a 'photo'. No were on the website, either during the verification upload process, or in the 'Verification Help' link does it say that a 'photo' must be used. It CLEARLY states a 'scan' of both sides of my government issue ID, in color, and clear. Which I provided and is clear. To make sure, I sent it to one of my other accounts and opened it from a phone to make sure it was clearly seen and all information on it was legible/readable.
Also, you state that the selfie is out of date? If you are aware that the settings on my camera are showing a date that you feel is outside the 'authorized' period, why doesn't your website 'specifically' state to insure the settings for the camera are up to date. I put a recently charged battery in my camera this morning and had my spouse take the picture. The file was written to my camera this morning.
And last- AGAIN, where does it say anywhere during the verification process that I MUST have a copy of the URL for the proof of my bank? The statement shows my bank name, it's operating address, heck, it even has it's email and phone number verfication on the print out, it shows my name, the date of the statement (which is the most recent one I was MAILED to my home address) and my home address on it. And it was 'scanned' as per the instructions your website requested.
And you still did not answer my question about the high interest charged for the withdrawal that was not available at any point when I sent my BTC to your company, which should and is considered theft in most countries. And in others, it's a clear indication of very unethical business practices.
As it is, I am documenting every bit of your replies and each of the actions your company has taken to mislead and redirect away from the responsibility it now holds to provide me with my withdrawal within a satisfactory time frame. I have already notified 7 different Bitcoin community review companies of your actions, and mine, and will continue to post more until your company follows through with the withdrawal procedures AS YOU STATED THEM to begin with.
Charles E Hall
At this point the company has not gotten back with me, but per their current actions and refusal to follow their own rules, I can see that litigation may be required in order to gain satisfaction for their theft.