Is Angie's List a Scam???

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Is Angie's List a Scam???
Responding to their promotions on National Public Radio (NPR), I recently signed-up for a membership on Angie's List. What a good idea, I thought: a database of local service provider reports, submitted by people in my local community, and supported by our membership fees.
I was wrong. If Angie's List isn't a scam, in my opinion they misrepresent the services they provide. Here's what I experienced:
(1) Sign-up and Ease of Use
It cost me $10 to sign-up plus a $6.95 monthly recurring fee. The website was easy to navigate, although there were some inconsistencies. For example, Angie's List claims to have a "Penalty Box" for service providers; I could never find it.
(2) Provider Reports
Reports for most providers in my local community were sparse; in some cases non-existent. There weren't more than two or three reports in most categories. Not enough to see a trend.
(3) Submitting Reports
I submitted four reports based on service providers I had recently used (one plumber, two roofers and one mortuary). Two of the reports were "glowing" and two of the reports were negative. All of the reports were clearly written, honest and used no profanity.
Angie's List claims that it takes two business days for reports to be posted. After about a week, with nothing posted, I sent an inquiry to their customer service department. I received a timely reply advising me that it was taking them longer to review reports because they were receiving "over 1000 reports a week." I didn't know that Angie's List "reviewed" reports.
After several more communications, over the next couple of weeks, I learned that Angie's List would not post three of my reports because they made reference to alternate service providers. I was not aware that Angie's List "edited" or "censored" reports.
(4) Reports Credibility
I have no confidence in Angie's List reports. Here's why:
First of all, I immediately noticed that reports for some providers were suspiciously similar. If there are only two reports for a provider, and both reports have almost identical wording, one wonders about the credibility of those reports.
In some categories, Angie's List has service providers which offer coupons. Coupons! Does this mean that Angie's List has marketing agreements which some providers? This would hardly enhance the credibility of a provider.
Clearly reports cannot be credible if Angie's List "edits" or "censors" the reports. From my own experience in submitting reports, I know that Angie's List does precisely that.
Finally, how would Angie's List report on a company with a known bad reputation? In our community, Whittier Home Roofing has just such a bad reputation. But Whittier Home Roofing didn't show up on their list for Roofers. I then searched by company name. Sure enough, Whittier Home Roofing showed up as a service provider. However, when I clicked to see the reports, Angie's List displayed the message: "We're sorry, but Angie's List is not sharing information about this company currently."
So that's it, Angie's List gladly publishes glowing reports about service providers, but "edits" or "censors" reports which are negative.
(5) Customer Service
Communication with Angie's List customer service was always timely. I was prepared to file a complaint against Angie's List with our state department of consumer affairs, however, Angie's List agreed to refund my sign-up and membership fees and terminate my membership. So, I can't call them a "scam." However, Angie's List is, in my opinion, disreputable.
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I've gotten calls from subscribers to Angies's list. Apparently they did surveys in my area, got opinions about local contractors, and listed at least some of them. People moving in to the area, who have no references for contractors, use the service. It may be that they only want to list "reputable" contractors, which seemed fine with the folks I met

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Thanks for the report. I had wondered about them.
Bob
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My Angie's List experiences have been completely different. I've been a member for the last 5 years and have used them 2-3 times each year for various service providers and contractors -- everything from tree service to household movers to plumbing and roofers.
I've had no trouble getting reports (usually by telephone) and have not problems with any of the companies rated.
Is Angie's List new in your area? I noticed that when the office first opened in our area (Cleveland/northern Ohio), it took a while for enough members and reports to accumulate to be useful.
While I've filed a few reports (all favorable), I haven't checked up to see if they've been posted.
TKM
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com writes:

Seven bucks a month and you ask if it's a scam?
Here were are sharing knowledge on Usenet for nothing. Hmm. How much will you pay for my opinion?
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Seems kind of pricey to me. How often will the average person use it for $84 a year?
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wrote:

general idea of most online websites is to make the information free or near free and derive your revenue from ads. It also skews the demographics to people that are dumb enough to pay the $6.95 monthly fee.
Plus, just how meaningful are these ratings? Suppose your competitor hires his cousin to blacklist you. (They say) your employee told dirty jokes to your teenage daughter, tracked mud on your white living room carpet, and went to the bathroom without lifting the toilet seat. How do you appeal something like that? If you are not a subsrciber, do you have to pay just to see what dirt that others have written about you.
Beachcomber
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I recently paid $43 for an annual membership, might be different pricing by region?
--

Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear
but forgetting where you heard it.
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On 18 Jun, 19:36, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Angie's list has been discussed numerous times in various groups. Just search on Angie's for some links.
Here's a copy of my $.02 from another thread.
Nice web site tour, but here's the issue I see.
Contractors don't get on the list until a member submits a comment about them. Now let me quote something from the FAQ:
Q - Why would I use Angie's List when I can just ask my neighbors for recommendations?
A - How long would it take you to find 25 people who have all used the same contractor and then conduct an in depth interview with them about their service experience? Spend hours on the phone, or just log onto Angie's List and find trustworthy contractors with a proven track record in minutes.
OK, for this to true, I would have to assume that there are actually 25 people in my city who are not only Angie's List members, but have also used the same contractor AND submitted a review of that contractor. Somehow, I'm just not confident that there are enough members in my community to make a $57 membership worth the money. They do say "Annual membership dues are backed by our 110% money back, satisfaction guarantee" so I guess you could be dissatisfied real soon after you join if you really wanted to check it out.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

It's one of those ideas that sounds good when you first hear it, but as is so often true, "the devil is in the details". It first relies on a large population so that there are sufficient potential clients and "reviewers/customers" to have _any_ chance for success. That, then, creates its own problem in that in a large metro area, the contractors reviewed may be 50 miles or more removed and don't do business where you actually are even if they are "in" the same metro area. That doesn't even begin to address the issues of how to judge the competency of the reviewer to actually make a value judgment, the issue of favoritism or bias/grudge earlier raised, etc., etc., etc., ...
I think it's a fatally flawed concept in reality but may well perform its primary purpose of making the originator a bundle before it goes belly-up--and remember, _that's_ the fundamental objective. If it happens to connect one or two individuals to a contractor on the way, so much the better, but that's pretty much a sidelight I think.
imo, ymmv, $0.02, etc.,etc., ...
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I know a couple of contractors that never advertise, are not listed in the Yellow Pages, yet have all the work they can handle. They don't want to be on Angie's or anyone's list for that reason. I'm cautious as to whom I'd recommend them
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

That, too...the _best_ are normally in that class of having more work than they can handle simply by "walk-in" referrals...
--
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Is-Angie-s-List-a-Scam-226509-.htm sarahdann wrote: COMPLETELY disagree that Angies List is a good thing. I work for a company that does home remodeling. A third party tried to hire my employer to do work on a house that they dont own. When my employer stated that for the company to do the work they would have to have authorization in writing from the home owner the person became irate. Then the person requested that my employer deliver building materials for a $25 fee (normal delivery from the store in question is $75). In the interest of good-will my employer did that and then just out of pure spite because my employer refused to do work on a property without proper authorization this person went on Angies List completely slamming my employer. My employer NEVER knew Angies List even existed and has an A+ rating with the BBB for over 15 years. Long story short, Angies List is a way for crack-pot type people who hold grudges to pay money and then attempt to ruin others when they dont get their way.
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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Maybe you should have read the membership agreement. It clearly states that they review the reports before they appear.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Bingo! There's your answer.
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Is-Angie-s-List-a-Scam-226509-.htm sarahdann wrote:
COMPLETELY disagree that Angies List is a good thing. I work for a company that does home remodeling. A third party tried to hire my employer to do work on a house that they dont own. When my employer stated that for the company to do the work they would have to have authorization in writing from the home owner the person became irate. Then the person requested that my employer deliver building materials for a $25 fee (normal delivery from the store in question is $75). In the interest of good-will my employer did that and then just out of pure spite because my employer refused to do work on a property without proper authorization this person went on Angies List completely slamming my employer. My employer NEVER knew Angies List even existed and has an A+ rating with the BBB for over 15 years. Long story short, Angies List is a way for crack-pot type people who hold grudges to pay money and then attempt to ruin others when they dont get their way.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Is-Angie-s-List-a-Scam-226509-.htm bowserb wrote: I need a good motorcycle shop, so I thought I'd try this service. The price seemed a bit high, so I passed. Over the next couple weeks, I received email offers of 20% off, then 40% off, so I went back.
When I opened a Paypal account to purchase the service (OK, start the flames for me being dumb enough to use Paypal!), I found that the price before the discount had increased by $10. Before I could abort, a Page Could Not be Displayed message aborted for me.
Went back to pay without Paypal, and after I entered my credit card, the rest of the form was filled out--but not with current info or info that the credit card company has on file, or that I gave in my Paypal setup. Where did Angieslist get that information? Why did they have it? I stopped right there and will not be back. They are probably in violation of some federal law, but I don't know that I could prove it.
Like any user-based service, this list is subject to manipulation by unscrupulous insiders. I see that sometimes on resellerratings.com, but one can usually pick out the ringers, as the people aren't even smart enough to give any mediocre ratings. There have to be lots of reviews over a significant time period for them to be meaningful. I don't see angieslist being worth $40 a year in any case, and I really don't like them invading my privacy!
Anyone know a good, reasonable HD cycle repair shop around Houston? ------------------------------------- Bill
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I'd ask in rec.metalworking, rec.motorcycles, rec.Harleys, etc., before I'd shuck out $$ for something I wasn't sure about. Heck, drive around and stop other HD riders and ask them. I'd go by word of mouth, and none of that out of the mouths of Internet people who are trying to sell you services. I have not seen many real reviews on the Internet, written by people who weren't getting paid for them or standing to gain something from them. Except in newsgroups or discussion groups formed by websites related to that particular interest like beer brewing or orchid raising, and you even have to take that with a grain of salt.....................
Steve
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wrote:

............ and ..................?
It is relevant today, isn't it?
Steve
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On Wed, 02 Mar 2011 21:00:58 +0000, william_at_burychka_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (bowserb) wrote:

I doubt angie's list is a scam but in general, any place that can be rated anonymously is going to be very tempting for the owner and all his family to rate positively.
It's not illegal like some of the things merchants do, and many bad places think they are great places giving great service. Just look at the businessme who show up on tv court shows, unafraid to lose business because they believe they are right, even when they aren't.
I haven't heard much about this, but I do want you to know that Mm2005 Products and Services will give you the best buy on any product you would want to buy or rent, and they have the most competent and reliable service personnel for any service you can think of.
They do business in every state in the union and every country on earth. Just email them at snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com , like I did, and they read my detailed request, and promptly replied in detail. They were 35% lower than any other company, did the work in 2/3rds the time, and left the place spotless. I can't recommend them enough. They even brought my wife flowers the last day.
A satisfied customer.
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