Betfair Incompetence

I'm sure I'm not the only one to be caught out by Betfair's latest piece of ineptitude.

I was trading the last dog race at Newcastle before stopping for lunch when BinarySoft lost it's connection. I managed to switch to the Betfair interface and cancel my unmatched portion of my bet, but was unable to close my existing position before the off. Needless to say, the dog lost and so did I, to the tune off more than £10.

Not a great sum of money in the grand scheme of things, but more than the profit I'd accumulated for the day.

This loss was all the more galling as it wasn't due to a faulty broadband connection or a server going down suddenly. No, the API servers at Betfair had been turned off due to 'problems'.

Betfair made an announcement via their forum a full 7 minutes before closing them down, thereby disconnecting any application that was using the API. Such a short notification is not only unacceptable, but the the method of delivery is inadequate.

Not every one has time to review the forum posting when the races are coming thick and fast. Even more so for me as I switch back and forth between dogs and nags in the afternoons. In addition, Betfair have been banning users from their forum left, right and center in recent weeks as an aftereffect of the introduction of the premium charge. How the hell are these people meant to see the announcement?

I went to vent my anger on the forum, but couldn't as it kept saying I had to register a chat room name, despite the fact that a did so ages ago. Useless!

I readily accept that unexpected equipment failures is one of the risks we traders take but this is different. This was a deliberate act by Betfair to close down their API servers. Granted, they weren't operating correctly and that situation needed addressing. That isn't the issue here - though every time Betfair 'upgrade' their systems as they did on Monday, the aftershocks seem to last for days.

No, the issue here is the woefully inadequate notice given to users who, like me, wound up with unintentional liabilities that they couldn't get out off. Yet again we have an example of the appalling customer service that emanates from what used to be an excellent company.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Betfair's customer service has never been great, but recently it has been absolutely shocking. Betfair seem to think that the forum is an adequate place for them to make announcements that affect all their customers, despite they themselves admitting that only a fraction of their customers actually use the forum.

Introducing a new bet matching logic that impacts hundreds of markets and makes considerable profits for Betfair? Just make some vague announcement on the forum and not update it for months.

Having problems with the API? Just make some sort of inadequate announcement apologising and then provide little or no updates.

For them to just turn off the API as they did in the middle of a horse race is unbelievably poor decision making. But it seems that this is now the rule rather than the exception for Betfair.