Ask DN: Stripe is holding thousands for no explained reason

over 7 years ago from , Designer @ Hologram

After setting up a Stripe account for a client years ago, and it working well for a while, my client noticed that deposits hadn't been hitting their account anymore. I updated and reconfirmed bank account details, but deposits kept failing. Now that stripe had thousands of dollars just pending and failing to deposit every 2 days, I reached out to support@stripe.com.

Over the course of the last week, their support team has failed to respond in their 24-hour promised timeframe multiple times, offered no assistance beyond "Checking into this...".

After waiting two days, I emailed their general support line a second time and got a new agent who had no record of my previous conversation. (That's reassuring.) Considering my client's business is in danger with this amount of money just being held from them, I'm not sure what to do.

They offer no phone support, and it seems their email support is basically "Let me look into it" and then no further responses.

Any suggestions? I'm not sure what I should advise my client to do.

Update: Stripe contacted me this morning and confirmed they had a bug in their system, which they resolved.

However, I don't understand why people are saying they handled this like champs or that they are providing good customer support when they ignored my client and me for a week. (Which still hasn't been explained.)

Ignoring a customer with a problem, saying agents will follow up when they don't, and then resolving it only when It goes to the top of DN isn't good customer service. It shows significant flaws in the way they have designed their support channels.

Design can't stop at just the product or interface, but should be integrated into the entire experience. That includes customer service and support. If you build a system that allows for customers to process large sums of money, their livelihood, and then fail to assist when it goes sideways: your product is poorly designed.

I hope this helps others, including designers, who have the ability to influence the support protocols will take this message to heart. I hope more will understand and realize that service design deserves as much attention as the interface.


  • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, over 7 years ago

    Jesus, that sounds terrible and makes me uncomfortable. Please update us as things happen.

    17 points
    • , over 7 years ago

      Will do. I'm not sure how anyone can trust Stripe with their income when they handle support situations like this.

      11 points
      • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, over 7 years ago

        Yeah, this entire issue should've been handled in private the first time you contacted them about this. Waiting for issues to make the rounds in our designer circles is not the way to go.

        Since you're doing eCommerce stuff, I thought you'd be interested in CommerceJS (http://commercejs.com). I'm not affiliated with them, but they seem to be the most open of eCommerce solutions in that you can design absolutely everything. They also interface with Stripe and PayPal. I'm just getting started with their platform for a client site and I love it already.

        1 point
  • Ian Mellett, over 7 years ago

    Hi Quintin, I'm Ian and I work on Stripe support. Firstly, I'm really sorry to hear that you've run into an issue here. I've located the email you sent and I'm taking a look into this now for you as a matter of priority.

    I'll be sure to get back to you by the end of the day today with at least an update on the situation, but if you've got any other questions or concerns in the meantime please feel free to drop me a line directly: ian.mellett@stripe.com .

    15 points
    • Vipul. MishraVipul. Mishra, over 7 years ago

      That's some customer support. Good job @ian

      2 points
      • Todd SielingTodd Sieling, over 7 years ago

        This is damage control customer support. Good customer support would never have had to hit a public site with many eyes.

        10 points
      • Todd SielingTodd Sieling, over 7 years ago

        (But even damage control customer support is 1000x better than many where problems disappear into black holes; even where a company like Stripe stumbles, it does better than many)

        1 point
    • , over 7 years ago

      Thanks Ian, wish it didn't take this but I appreciate you reaching out.

      4 points
      • Ian Mellett, over 7 years ago

        Hi Quintin,

        I'll update you further directly by email but I wanted to let you know that we've resolved the issue on our side and the funds are on their way over to you. I'm still investigating but it appears to me that you hit an odd bug when you set up the account a couple of years ago.

        Again, I'm very sorry for the trouble here -- please feel free to reach out to me any time with other questions.

        4 points
  • Clark WimberlyClark Wimberly, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Really glad you added that update. The best customer service takes place in private, the first time around. It drives me absolutely bonkers when a company will only fix things once the screw up is so public.

    (Point of reference: I used to run a huge website and we'd constantly have issues with our host, MediaTemple. They'd ignore ticket after ticket and only respond when we tweeted at them (our account had a few hundred thousand followers). It realllllly rubbed me the wrong way, as you can see I'm still sour about it years later. Bah!)

    6 points
  • Alejandro DorantesAlejandro Dorantes, over 7 years ago

    That's awful, I was just about to set up a bunch of local businesses e-coms through stripe but it seems that i'm better off looking for another service.

    1 point
    • Ix TechauIx Techau, over 7 years ago

      Well for balance I can tell you that I've used Stripe for around a dozen different sites of varying sizes and I've never had any problems with them. Don't make an impulse decision before you know what is actually happening here. We don't know what has happened to the OP.

      4 points
  • Giulio MichelonGiulio Michelon, over 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing. This is very disappointing.

    1 point
  • Aubrey JohnsonAubrey Johnson, over 7 years ago

    Stripe support handled this like champs. I love that company. https://www.designernews.co/comments/205293

    0 points
    • wojtek w.wojtek w., over 7 years ago

      No, they didn't.

      0 points
      • Aubrey JohnsonAubrey Johnson, over 7 years ago


        They fixed within 30 minutes of this post and transferred his thousands. Someone was probably assigned the ticket and didn't know how to fix right away. Did he try to schedule a call with them? Doesn't look like it. They are historically very responsive.

        I lost access via 2FA last year and they took a few days to reply but someone called me and fixed it up. It's a company of PEOPLE, not a bot or some machine. Took a few days and this guy got his transfer completed. Read some of the paypal nightmares where they tie up tens or hundreds of thousands for shop owners with NO fixes.

        :Unrelated: - BestRes is a pretty sweet app. Nice!

        0 points
  • David DarnesDavid Darnes, over 7 years ago

    Sorry that this has happened to you and your client. I hope someone at Stripe sees this and picks up the issue.

    0 points
  • Tom Holt, over 7 years ago

    Usually they're super fast I've found. Sounds odd.

    I've always got great support out of the dev's in IRC – #stripe on freenode. Wouldn't hurt to bounce a few questions around there.

    0 points