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Metro Detroit woman says her money got stuck in a mobile payment app

Posted: 6:51 AM, Apr 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-10 14:16:52Z

WESTLAND, Mich. (WXYZ) — "I started using it to pay bills or send money to my mom, my sister."

For Westland resident Amber Woods, it was all about convenience. She could quickly transfer funds using a special debit card linked to her Cash App account.

But then, she says she hit a snag.

"I tried cashing out, my money would not cash out," she says.

Without explanation, her $209 dollars was now stuck inside the app.

The company’s customer service doesn’t have a phone number, leaving users to make contact in the app or via e-mail. Woods did reach out, several times, but says she ended up with only generic replies.

Nationwide 7 Action News found others facing similar issues, one user complaining of having $8,000 dollars locked in the app, another, saying he was unable to pay his rent because of a tie up.

After nearly two weeks, Woods says she finally recouped her funds, but the delay comes as no surprise to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

"Their communication style... is not great," said Melanie Duquesnel of the BBB serving Eastern Michigan.

The consumer protection organization has been tracking complaints against Cash App’s parent company Square, nearly 2,000 of them settled in just the last three years.

"It just made me mad, what gives you this right to hold onto it," complained Woods.

But it turns out they do have a right, the company’s legal fine print saying that Square “...may limit how many transfers you can initiate....to your….bank account and the amount of funds you can transfer in a single transaction…” which it argues, allows them to screen for risk of fraud.

Square told 7 Action News it was looking into the matter and added that its..."goal is always to provide customers with fast and thoughtful customer support that resolves the issue. Occasionally, as in this case, we fall short of that goal, and we’ll use it as an opportunity to learn and do better in the future."

The BBB says it’s a reminder to pay closer attention to the rules governing the apps that manage our cash. Always read the fine print, which could lay out how your money could be delayed during transfers. Make sure to seek out and read any possible reviews -- good and bad -- before you sign up, so you know what to expect.

The BBB urges anyone that has problems connecting with mobile payment service providers to contact them at BBB.org so they can help mediate or settle an issue.