By Ethen Kim Lieser
ABC News in Philadelphia recently produced a segment on the legal troubles of HomeAdvisor. In the latest development of the class-action lawsuit against the Denver-based company, about 1,300 contractors nationwide have jumped on board to challenge the well-known digital marketplace platform for home service professionals and remodelers. HomeAdvisor has unsuccessfully tried to dismiss this lawsuit for years.
The news report highlighted the fact that customers do not pay a single penny with HomeAdvisor, but it’s the contractors who front their hard-earned cash, all in the hopes of gaining more customers through leads. The lawsuit claims that HomeAdvisors’ business model is inherently defective, deceptive and fraudulent — not fully providing what they claim they can do on their ever-present commercials.
All types of contractors affected
According to the class-action lawsuit, HomeAdvisor preyed on everyone from roofers and carpenters to electricians. Claiming that finding your next customer would be a breeze, contractors sometimes put up thousands of dollars for those golden leads, which ended up being empty promises.
$3K per month
ABC News interviewed siding contractor Rick Bevilacqua, who is part of the class-action lawsuit. At one point, he was forking over $3K a month just on leads. Although he did get some jobs through them, he believed that roughly half of those leads were bogus. Rick made it a habit to call his leads immediately after he received them, but all too often they didn’t even answer the phone. Many times, they didn’t know what HomeAdvisor was.
Business plagued with problems
Contractors have voiced their displeasure over the fact that HomeAdvisor often blatantly disregarded their lead budgets and utilized internal procedures that discouraged refunds. The lawsuit also alleges that representatives openly lied to service professionals.
‘There to take your money’
Contractor Scott Ziegler said, “At the end of the day, they’re really just there to take your money.” Ziegler, who signed up with HomeAdvisor in 2006 when the company was known as ServiceMagic, also began to suspect that the company was giving out bogus leads. He also said that HomeAdvisor began exceeding his set monthly budget of $400 and started billing him for an unknown service called “instant bookings.”
Search of proof
In the end, Ziegler said he was billed an estimated $8K over three months. Obviously angry over the charges, he called HomeAdvisor in search of answers. He demanded that the company show him proof that he had agreed to those terms or whether he had signed something related to the “instant bookings.” Instead of working with Ziegler, HomeAdvisor told him to get a subpoena.
Now it’s your turn
If you feel that you’ve also been burned by HomeAdvisor, Dmitry and Roofing Insights would love to know your story. You are also encouraged to sign up for the class-action lawsuit as soon as possible.
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