I got this email the other day and wanted to share it with y'all. The original author informed me that she was asking for a refund and was planning to cancel payment via her credit card company if Angies List didn't give her a refund.
Edit for clarity:They sent this to Angie's List customer support first and then sent a copy to me
We are in the midst of remodeling several portions of our home and were quite excited to discover your service. Last Thursday I signed up for a one year membership and contacted a contractor from your list. I was very excited because this company had awards and eight times more reviews than the other contractors in the category. The prices quoted on all of their jobs in the reviews were low. The quality of the work in the picture appeared impressive.
I scheduled an appointment for Saturday afternoon. The company was very pleasant on the phone and the representative who came to our home was also nice.
Angie's List is a great concept, but it's not turning out to be as easy or helpful as I at first believed it would be.
Reason? It seems more of a starting point, with lots of investigative work still to be done. Good contractors may not be on the list and bad ones may be.
The caveat is that I'm still new to this and have only contacted one business.
I will not, however, even consider using the business I contacted.
Here is my problem.
I understood that the contractors on your list could only be there if one of their clients (nominated them) wrote a review and put them there. "They cannot buy their way onto the list."
Is this correct?
In a general conversation with this contractor, I was told that you solicited him. "Angie's List was mostly on the East Coast. A couple of years ago when they expanded West they (needed a list and) called us and asked if they could list us. At first I was skeptical, but I finally told them that as long as it was free they could list us. Our business took off from there."
Do you solicit businesses?
The story has a ring of truth to it. If the story is true, it bothers me immensely.
At least in the beginning, it doesn't appear that this company came to your list from a client.
Of course. You need a list to start building a list. You have to start somewhere to get members so that they can submit reviews.
Angie's List is a business.
It seems that building a list in this way compromises the list's integrity.
This is not the online Yellow Pages advertising and supporting businesses, but rather a service to help consumers choose a business they can trust. Right?
How can you build trust on a foundation of deception?
Actually, to take this a step further, what is to prevent someone from getting on the list by writing a review of their business while posing as a client?
What's to prevent someone from padding their reviews by writing several himself or by soliciting friends or family to do so?
Checks and balances. Consumers can post unfavorable reviews...
but perhaps there is also an easy way around that...
My husband found one company with an unfavorable review and felt strongly that the contractor padded his account with positive letters - I think he said five - to raise his average and counteract the negative report. My husband felt all five letters were written by the same person because all were typed in caps and the language structure was the same. Is this a possibility?
Could a person join for one month just to submit a review?
Paying someone $20 (buying them a membership) to submit a favorable review of your company could be very inexpensive advertising. Even paying lots of people to do that would be cost effective and give a business a huge boost.
This could be especially true if the business stood out incredibly far ahead of the pack - as the one I chose did. Subliminal marketing...
I wonder now if the contractors with less reviews might actually be more real.
I pose these questions because of the quality of work the contractor I contacted showed me. Although the homeowner was very happy, I still wonder if this company may have padded their listing. Perhaps they really do have a huge business going -- and maybe I don't know what a professional remodel should look like.
I've got it.
My criteria: There should be no obvious defects in workmanship and the job should blend well with the house. It should not stand out as a remodel.
The contractor took us to see a "high-end" ($80,000) kitchen remodel that he had just completed. He was very proud of the workmanship and the homeowner was also very happy. I believe she found him on Angie's List and that they did not know each other prior to the project. He said that she did not submit a review but I'm quite sure it would be favorable if she were to submit one.
The cost of this remodel was far higher than the (advertised) prices in the reviews that get a subscriber's attention to call the company. Marketing. I'm just making a point. This is not a money issue for me.
I'm not an expert, so some of the things that I didn't care for may not really be a problem. Maybe just personal taste...
However, there were two things I noticed that I really believe were wrong...
After we returned home, I asked the contractor about the location of the seams in the granite counter top. I told him that I would prefer the seams in my counter to be located near the corner of the L.
He was quite adamant that these things were done properly and skillfully and that my opinion was wrong.
This contractor made the granite seam straight through the center of the sink!
Not only was that the focal point of the kitchen, but it was also the narrowest and weakest part of the entire slab. The seam was wider than usual and the filler color made the joint obvious. I could also see the joint seam along the front edge of the bull nose from several feet away. The contractor told me that the bull nose seam is always visible regardless of who does the work. That is not true. This homeowner got shoddy workmanship on a very expensive part of her kitchen.
The cabinets were "custom", but the upper cabinets on the sink side looked more like random pieces that would work. They were probably made for that kitchen and maybe the designer just wanted a lot of space around them. The staining on the cabinets didn't look professional to me; I also had some issues with the tile work and edge pieces on the back splashes. The kitchen was not large and it did not have a huge number of cabinets. I think they overpaid for what they received, but I really don't know.
So...what do I want?
Answers -- and some reassurance that the list is valid and my experiences should improve.
Maybe, since Angie's List depends on feedback, you might find my experience yesterday helpful. I did not (and will not) use this contractor, but I don't care to leave negative feedback about work that someone is proud of and the homeowner is happy with. I wonder how many others out there might feel the same way?