Robinhood jugé pour avoir conduit un investisseur de 20 ans au suicide
The victim, Alex Kearns, was a Robinhood user from the school bench. His parents saw nothing wrong with his son learning financial literacy and earning money by buying and selling shares
However, in 2020, despite his lack of experience, Kearns decided to try his hand at options trading. It is a risky tool even for hard traders.
So when the guy received a $730,000 debt from Robinhood on June 11, 2020, and saw that his account had been subject to trade restrictions, he was just in shock.
In the next letter from the platform, received a couple of hours later, there was a warning that within a few days the trader must repay the first part of the debt and deposit $178,000.
The guy didn't have that kind of money, and he thought it was a mistake. Alex wrote to support, but received only an automatic response stating that his appeal had been accepted and would be reviewed within a few days.
There was no other way of communication, which would involve questions and answers in real time. And the guy didn't find any other way out and killed himself.
The next day, his email received an automatic standard letter from the company explaining that the transaction was closed, there was no debt and the restrictions were lifted. However, the guy did not return it.
A tweet on the subject was posted on Twitter. It was written by Bill Brewster, a relative of Alex, who posted a screenshot from his account with all the data. As a warning to novice traders about high risk and inevitable reckoning.
Alex Kearns' parents believe that the responsibility for their son's death lies entirely with the support service and the Robinhood platform itself. They filed a lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court, California.
Speaking to CBS News, they also spoke about their grief and the tragedy that happened to their son. According to Alex's father, the situation was catastrophic:
My son thought that's it, his life is over. She wrote to support, but received no response from a real person. It was fatal. He's just an inexperienced 20-year-old who's caught up in Robinhood's "aggressive strategy"
The company's official reaction was the following. Representatives of the platform said they would make a donation of a quarter of a million dollars to the Suicide Prevention Fund. However, Alex Kearns will not save it.
What do you think about this? Is Robinhood to blame, and what responsibility should be...