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HQ Trivia Doesn't Always Pay Players Their Winnings And Won't Say Why

Illustration for article titled iHQ Trivia/i Doesnt Always Pay Players Their Winnings And Wont Say Whyem/em
Screenshot: HQ Trivia

For months, players in HQ Trivia, a trivia app that offers cash prizes, say they have been having issues getting their money.

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HQ Trivia is basically Bar Trivia: The App. Twice a day, every day, there’s a live trivia show, hosted on the app, that has a pool of cash that goes out to the winners. HQ Trivia players also have to deal with a rising epidemic of cheating, with users joining Discord servers to discuss answers with other players, or even writing bots that will pick the correct answers. The prevalence of cheating first became clear last March when one of the final players in a $25,000 “winner takes all” game was booted for cheating.

Cheating isn’t the only rampant problem in HQ, though. Since at least October of last year, players have been having problems cashing out their winnings. HQ allows you to cash out your winnings to PayPal. There used to be a $20 limit, but that was removed early last year, meaning theoretically players can cash out at any time. A lot of players have been saying that their cash out button is still grayed out, meaning they can’t tap it and receive their winnings.

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Correction - 2:07pm: A previous version of this article said that the $20 limit was still in place.

Since August of last year, multiple players have reached out to Kotaku to inform us of this problem, after having tried and failed to get HQ Trivia’s attention. Some of these players say they were able to receive their winnings after a couple of days, but they still had to wait to cash out. Other players still haven’t been able to cash out at all. All of the players that told Kotaku they reached out to HQ about the problem said that they did not receive a response from the company.

One player who has won $150 from HQ and hasn’t been able to cash out since October told Kotaku that, since then, they’ve stopped playing HQ.

“I don’t care to play HQ anymore since the experience of being unable to cash out is so frustrating,” they wrote via Twitter DM. “It’s also frustrating that they decide someone is ineligible to win AFTER they have divided up the money, so a lot of the money from the prize pot does not end up going to anyone.”

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Fans have speculated that this bug may be arising because of players getting falsely flagged as cheaters. HQ’s “Official Contest Rules” specify that “entrants may not communicate with, work with, or otherwise benefit from more than 25 other persons while entering a Contest if the communications between the entrant and those persons is facilitated by any technological means other than those explicitly provided by Sponsor.” Basically, if you’re in a Discord server during a game, you might be flagged as a cheater, and will be unable to cash out. A representative from HQ Trivia told Kotaku that “HQ reviews all cashout requests for eligibility. The average cashout time is less than one day.”

HQ appears steadfast in their rules, which probably do prevent cheaters from fraudulently winning money. Unfortunately, it also means that a lot of players are left out in the cold.

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DISCUSSION

For the longest time, I saw the complaints and thought “well, they’re probably violating the ToS somehow” and was happy with my $350 I’d managed to cash out over the course of the year. Then, I had an unbelievably lucky week and won something like 5 out of 7 games, building up a balance of ~$75 and taking the top spot on the weekly leaderboard, of which I was very proud.

Then, one morning, as I logged in to check how far I had fallen down the leaderboard, I found that my balance had been reset to zero (they obviously couldn’t touch the $350 that was in my PayPal already). That was in the second week of November. Since then, I’ve won another $27 that it won’t let me cash out.

I’ve created support tickets, gone through the @hqtriviahelp DM rigmarole numerous times, and basically tried to contact them in every way I could without making myself a massive pest. I have never received any response. I’m left twisting in the wind, assuming that I’ve been flagged as a cheater, and left with no recourse to somehow prove the negative.

I know, “poor me and my only $350" when most people are happy to get a couple bucks out of the game at all, but I’m now out over $100 legitimately won dollars. I keep playing in the hopes that someday they’ll at least restore my cashout abilities, but I’ve given up on those $75 from November, and what was one of my favorite nightly rituals is now basically ruined. It’s a real shame that they can’t even answer the messages, even with their reduced player base.