Out of the hundreds of binary options brokers in the world, there are only a handful that we currently recommend. These recommendations are based on our own experience with the websites and the companies that operate them, the recommendations of our readers, and the features and quality each broker offers. Trust is always the number one essential criteria.
Those hundreds of brokers that do not make our recommended list have a variety of problems. Some of them simply do not offer enough in terms of features, while others are incompetently operated. Many however are actually flat-out untrustworthy. They are run by malicious individuals out to rob you. They are scammers, plain and simple.
There are a lot of ways that binary options brokers scam customers.
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Some common tactics include:
Sell you useless systems and alert services. This is not really a scam you take action on if the systems were provided as a “free” benefit at a certain account tier, and it is questionable whether you could ever report them for it even if you did purchase them. Why? Because in the small print they invariably mention that the system does not guarantee results.
Manipulate expiry times and prices. This is one of the most common binary options scams. You are in a certain trade, and it is set to expire in a few minutes. At the time that the trade is meant to expire, you are in the money. But then for some unimaginable reason, the clock keeps running. A few seconds later, it stops, but the trade is a loser. The broker will claim it is a site error and point toward terms and conditions stating they are not responsible, but it is almost certainly malicious.
Refuse to pay out your money. This is another very common scam. You try to get your money out of your account and get a huge runaround. Either you find yourself wading through excessively complicated terms which are impossible to meet, you keep having to send in paperwork even though you already submitted everything, or the broker just ignores your withdrawal request and possibly disappears after absconding with your money.
What do you do if you think your binary options broker is scamming you?
Well, first off, you have to make sure they are scamming you. It is always a good idea to try to resolve the issue before you assume your broker is maliciously operating. If you cannot get the problem solved, though, you will have to take action against the company.
Here are the steps to take if you have a dispute.
Do your homework.
Are you the first customer to raise this complaint, or have there been others before you? It is a good idea to know what you are dealing with. Preferably of course you did this research before you signed up for a binary options account, but maybe you made a mistake and rushed in without doing your research. If so, it is time to catch up on that research now.
If you are the first customer to have this problem, maybe there is a simple misunderstanding. If however you find a bunch of customers before you with the same complaint, something else could be going on. It may be malice or just incompetence, and the reviews will probably shed some light. Sometimes you may find a set of steps you can take to resolve the problem based on the experiences of past customers who have successfully resolved the issue. If so, follow those same steps now. If not, continue down this list.
Make sure the problem is not you.
Anytime you are going to raise a complaint with a company, it is a good idea to make sure that you are not the cause of the problem. This is fair, for one thing, and for another, it may be more efficient. After all, if you find you caused the problem, you can solve it yourself quickly without asking someone else to solve it for you—who may not be able to do anything anyway.
Start by looking carefully over the terms and conditions for the transaction you are trying to complete. If you are trying to make a withdrawal and failing, is it because you did not submit some of the paperwork you needed? Is it because you claimed a bonus, and have not met the turnover requirement? Is it because you requested less than the minimum threshold? More than you can withdraw in a single transaction via a particular method?
If you can figure out a mistake you are making, try to correct it and then attempt to get your money again. You may very well have success. If not, proceed to the next step.
Check for mis-communications.
Sometimes everyone is proceeding with the best of intentions, but for some reason somebody is missing information. Perhaps your broker already contacted you, but your spam filter caught the email. Maybe you contacted the broker, but they either missed your email or misread what you had to say. Go through your email inbox and see if you find any evidence of a missed communication. If you are still not sure, send another email or pick up the phone and call. Figure out whether the broker missed an instruction from you, or you missed one from them.
Politely attempt to resolve the problem.
If you are unable to resolve the problem on your own or after communicating clearly, it is time to attempt a polite resolution. Wait a reasonable amount of time to do this. If a week or so elapses without a solution, call up customer service and speak to them directly about your concern.
When dealing with a customer service team you feel is either inept or out to get you, it is all too easy to fall into a destructive, accusing pattern. You are understandably angry by this point, but anger usually is not the best approach to getting your way. If you begin the conversation by attacking the customer service person, you will only put him or her on the defensive. This is not helpful.
Instead, politely and calmly explain your problem. Assert that you are unhappy, but do not do so in an accusing way. Let the customer service person know that you understand that mistakes happen and that you know that they want to do the right thing to help you out. Try to appeal to the best in the person you are speaking to. Make them want to help you.
Hopefully at this point the problem will be identified and resolved. Depending on what is going on, the customer service team may need time to resolve the issue. Again, give them a few days. If the problem is still not solved, you can proceed to the next step.
Give the broker an ultimatum.
At this point, it is time to take things to the next level. You have waited long and patiently enough and you have given the broker every chance to comply. Now you can feel free to fully express your anger and frustration. Let the broker know that if the problem has not been fixed to your satisfaction within a certain time frame, you will be taking public action against them.
Feel free to make this demand even if the broker is attempting to defend themselves by pointing toward their terms and conditions page. If for example you were robbed of a fair win by a “site error,” it does not really matter if the broker has legally protected themselves. You still deserve that money, and court action is not the only action you can bring against the broker.
So assert your right to your money. Hopefully you will get it. If you do, be grateful, close out your account, and get away from that broker. If not, then you will have to report them.
Report the broker to the authorities and the world.
At this point, it is time to report the broker to the applicable authorities, and to tell the world at large about your experiences. If the broker is regulated, you can report them to their regulatory agency. This could be CySEC, the Isle of Man GSC, FSA, etc. If the broker is not regulated, you can still report them to the authority that granted them a general license to do business.
Next, you can report your experience publicly online. Post to sites like this one and Ripoff Report, and visit binary options broker review sites that let you post your experiences. Also get on trading message boards and start threads that talk about what happened to you.
Taking these steps may not get you your money back, but it will at the very least draw business away from a broker that does not deserve it. It will spare other customers the same misfortune that you have suffered. It will give other legitimate companies a chance to serve those same customers.
In the future, you can avoid going through a similar unpleasant experience by taking the following steps:
- Start searching for a broker by looking through our recommended brokers list.
- Read the reviews carefully and select a broker that offers the features you need to conduct in-depth research on.
- Navigate to that broker’s website. Actually read through their terms and conditions, especially withdrawal terms and bonus terms, with care. Make sure that there are no loopholes built in through which the broker can exploit you or inconvenience you.
- Check out reviews by other customers who have traded with that broker to see if they had any negative experiences. If they did, see if you can spot any patterns.
You cannot expect any broker to be perfect, or perfectly convenient, or even perfectly competent in every respect. But you have a right to expect a reasonable degree of competency. And it is always within your right to expect to be treated with honesty and respect. The broker should value your business, and should be there to help you make money—not take it away.