I found the entire staff-written article "You've Been Rated," to be very valuable to me as a contractor, and it hit home right away. Recently, I had the following experience with Angie's List:
I contracted with Angie's List to advertise for insulation services. We received nothing -- nothing in terms of any lead generation for the four months we were with them. No names, just monthly fees. As a customer, I couldn't justify paying for something that received no results.
I began the complaint process. Angie's List claimed that I needed to get more reviews to bolster my ranking, which I understood, but people don't want to pay the membership fees when there are other places where it is free to post feedback. Angie's List then claimed that I needed to advertise specials, which costs more money. I said, "No."
They said they would offer me some free areas to help expand my reach but never did so. I then blocked my credit card and did not pay Angie's List. A collection company kept calling me asking for a new credit card. I complained through email and no one responded to me except for people trying to collect.
Finally, I got on the phone with an account manager who could not promise me anything, but said that if I paid the bill, they would work with me.
A week later, I received an email stating they couldn't do anything unless I paid the bill and they proceeded to pull me off Angie's List entirely. So Metro NY Insulation does not exist on Angies List even though I had five positive reviews and a bunch of reviews from clients who are not members.
I finally told collections that I would pay two months of what was due -- not the $1,000 they were looking for -- as long as they re-listed me. The outside collection service said that my offer of two months wasn't enough. I responded that I would file a small claims action in Hackensack, N.J. The collections person said they were preparing to do the same.
It's interesting that they want to collect money and don't really care about what contractors really think. I know that I did not get any leads from Angie's List, and I am bothered that they just don't care.
I don't know how long contractors will put up with advertising for a fee with no results. Angie's List is not for us in the long term.
I'd love to see a follow up to your article, on-line or in print. It would be beneficial for us contractors.
Howard M. Falkow, Owner, Metro NY Insulation
BPI - Building Analyst & Envelope Specialist
NYSERDA & BPI Accredited Contractor