Matchbook thieves

This is a precautionary tale to avoid the sports betting exchange Matchbook! Because their service leaves a lot to be desired 🙁

For my matched betting antics, I usually stick to a combination of Betfair and Smarkets. Especially as both now integrate nicely with my OddsMonkey account – making the process of laying bets super simple.

Last week was a busy one in the sports betting world – mainly due the annual Cheltenham Festival. Although I had put my own matched betting on pause for the time being (as I was busy scraping all my spare cash together in a bid to max out my ISA contributions before the end of the tax year), I had spotted a tweet from TFS linking to his Cheltenham preview post. This got me thinking – perhaps there was easy profits to be made..

So I loaded up my Smarkets and Matchbook accounts with some capital using my Mastercard debit card, as both were offering 0% commission for a limited period.

I scoured the OddsMonkey forums and various other posts to find the best offers and got to work each early morning of the 4-day festival. I’m still a novice at this lark but managed to make over £300 profit by the end of the week – which I was very happy with! Thank you ta 🙂

Then the fun began.

I had already started the process of withdrawing funds from the various bookies back to my current account. When the last few bets were settled, it was time to cash out of the exchanges too. Smarkets went without hitch but Matchbook was a different story!

It turns out that Matchbook do not allow you to withdraw money to Mastercard debit cards. They are happy for you to deposit with them, just not withdraw! To be fair, there is a note on their deposit box (as well as in their support pages) advising of this fact, which I had clearly overlooked. The only other site I have experienced something similar is 888sport – which allowed me to deposit using Mastercard, but would not allow me to withdraw. This was soon fixed by using a Visa debit card instead though.

I could see no obvious way round this conundrum so got in touch with Matchbook Customer support via live chat. Then ensued a very frustrating dialogue. Here is the initial feedback:

Unfortunately users are unable to withdraw funds back to Mastercard cards due to restrictions imposed by Mastercard. In order work around this we will need to request that you send us a copy of the back and front of MasterCard.

Once these have been received. A Minimum deposit via one of our current accepted payment methods are Skrill or Neteller is required via a desktop / laptop computer. Once this has been registered on our system you will then be able to withdraw back to the new payment source

Please forward your details to our compliance department by e-mail to [email protected] We can also take these images through chat if you have the images available on your device. We request that you block out any confidential information and we will only need to view the last 4 digits of your card.

So let me get this straight. They want me to send them a photo of my Mastercard, even though this card can’t be used to withdraw? Alrighty..

Otherwise I could use Skrill or Neteller. Erm – I don’t want to open an account with either of those services, thank you very much.

By this time I was getting a little hot under the collar and telling them how outrageous this was. They replied with another option:

We also have bank wire available the minimum amount for bank wire withdrawal is 500.00. Keep in mind that there is a 35.00 fee for bank wire processing unless the withdrawal requests is for 2000.00 or more

So they are telling me the only realistic option available to me (to withdraw my own money) is a bank transfer which will set me back £35? You’ve got to be kidding me!

I ran out of patience, and just before I was tempted to start swearing they offered me the option of lodging a formal complaint. I said I would do exactly that and ended the live chat.

After I had calmed down, I composed an e-mail to complain about the matter and attached the live chat transcript for added colour. I received an automated response within a few minutes:

Dear Customer,

Thank you for your email.

We have received your comments/query and we will reply shortly.
Please allow for 5 to 7 working days for the investigation into your case to be concluded.
Our office hours are from 09:00 to 17:00 – Monday to Friday.

Kind regards,

Matchbook Complaints Department

Marvellous.

I decided at this point to humour their request to send in photos of my Mastercard – just in case this would avoid any unnecessary delays. They responded 10 minutes later:

We can confirm that we have received and verified your MasterCard images.

This will allow you to withdraw your funds to an alternative source.

If you haven’t done this, we will need you to carry out one of the following steps in order to link the alternative funding source to your Matchbook profile:

Deposit the minimum from  a payment processor (Skrill or Neteller).

Please let us know if we can assist you further and thank you for your patience in this matter.

I then decided to try my luck with a Visa debit card instead. There was no mention of that not being allowed for withdrawals. So I proceeded to deposit the minimum amount (£10) and then submitted my withdrawal request for the entire balance. It appeared to work! That is until I received the following:

Thank you for sending the used Mastercard images in. Unfortunately your withdrawal to Visa could not be processed due to banking restrictions.

Due to the regulations as you have deposited by Mastercard but have not sufficiently deposited by VISA card your withdrawal request to this alternate method cannot be processed. It would be blocked and returned by the processing banks and that would cause significant delay in receiving your money.

You may certainly withdraw your funds via bank wire transfer if the amount would be above 500.00 or by eWallets like Skrill or Neteller for smaller amounts. Please keep in mind that you will need to have successful deposit(s) made by your eWallet before being able to withdraw to it.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

Grrr.

The next day I received a reply to my complaints e-mail which basically apologised for the inconvenience caused but once again went over all the same points that had already been mentioned:

  • No, I could not withdraw my money to the Mastercard debit card I had originally funded my account with.
  • No, I could not withdraw my money to the Visa debit card I had now registered on my account.
  • Yes, I could use Skrill or Neteller (but why should I? And besides, they both attract additional fees and are not really suited for transfers of this size).
  • Yes, I could have my money back via bank transfer – but I would have to pay £35 for the privilege!

I was over a barrel and they knew it.

The following day, I reluctantly agreed to the £35 fee and shared my bank details so they could initiate the transfer. At this point I made it very clear that they had lost a customer and that I would be sharing my experience with others. I will also be contacting the Gambling Commission.

I can understand that the betting industry hasn’t got the best reputation in the world – but making it so easy to deposit money yet so difficult to withdraw it again is simply unacceptable.

I have since discovered (via the power of Google) many other unhappy customers – some of which have even had their Skrill or Neteller withdrawal requests denied after jumping through a similar number of hoops. So I’m glad I didn’t go down that route.

Thieving barstools!

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4 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear about the bad experience with Matchbook. It’s just as well that I only use Smarkets and Betfair, even though Matchbook recently had a 0% commission offer, I wasn’t tempted. Have to say that I’ve never really checked the small print regarding withdrawals – might be worth doing for any new account signups with the smaller bookies in case they have something similarly sinister lurking in their T&Cs.

  2. This is a story I hear and have experienced personally time and again… easy to deposit and gamble/lose your money but as soon as you want to get your money back all of a sudden there are loads of regulatory “laws” that apply.

    What a load of bullsh!t!!!!

    Look… I don’t mind there being regulations to protect people from fraud, but surely that should be at the point of deposit. Don’t hide behind those “rules” when are blatantly trying to make more money for your company.

    Cheers and thanks for putting the warning out there… I think the safest way forward is to only ever use Debit cards for depositing in future.

  3. I had a similar issue with Smarkets but instead they were totally cool about it, I deposited into Smarkets using a Mastercard, but after I attempted to cash out back to my Mastercard more than I deposited they said that I couldn’t do that due to “Mastercard restrictions”

    However, where my story differs is that I just added a VISA card to my Smarkets account and withdrew everything to that, none of this MatchBook Drama.

    Thanks for sharing, I think I will avoid, besides I really do like Smarkets a LOT and they are 0% until 2019 now anyway so going anywhere else just isn’t worth the price nor the risk for me personally.

    Thanks for the heads up

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