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What You May Not Know About HomeAdvisor and Other Similar Sites


Many consumers turn to websites like HomeAdvisor, Angie's List, and similar services to find contractors and tradespeople for various jobs. These sites have a long history and flashy commercials, so most people assume they are trustworthy. 

In fact, if you look at HomeAdvisor's website, you will find the following claim: "HomeAdvisor uses an extensive screening process to screen businesses and business owners/principals. We perform this screening when a business applies to join our network and, if the business is accepted, once again every two years following — or whenever concerns are brought to our attention." That would lead most consumers to believe that when they find a contractor on HomeAdvisor, they will be a reliable and trustworthy partner. But what you don't know could end up costing you.

A Less-Than-Platinum Experience

Cleveland, a savvy consumer, needed some repair work done to the lining of his pool. Without anyone to recommend a contractor, he went looking online. Like most consumers, Cleveland had heard of HomeAdvisor and their claims that every vendor on their site is vetted before they can list their services. He searched for a pool repair company and eventually hired Platinum Pools & Spa.

The owner of Platinum Pools & Spa came to Cleveland's home to do an estimate. He quoted a price of $5,000 for the repairs and requested a $2,000 down payment upfront. Within a couple of days, the check was cashed. And that was the last Cleveland heard from his contractor. He tried calling to find out when the contractor planned to begin work, but his calls were ignored.

But Cleveland was a savvy consumer and would not be taken advantage of. He tracked down Platinum Pools & Spa and found where the owner lived. Cleveland paid him a visit, and the owner assured him that he would come soon to begin work. But he never did.

When Platinum Pools & Spa continued to ignore Cleveland's attempt to contact them, he contacted HomeAdvisor. They said that they would see what they could do. But all they did was try to contact Platinum Pools & Spa, and just like Cleveland, their calls went unanswered. They put a notice on Platinum Pools & Spa' listing on HomeAdvisor, indicating that this contractor had an unsettled dispute with a customer and could no longer receive jobs from HomeAdvisor customers. But that still left Cleveland $2,000 in the hole and with no pool repairs. So Cleveland wrote TrustDALE a letter.

What HomeAdvisor Doesn't Want You to Know

We started by checking the HomeAdvisor listing for Platinum Pools & Spa. As expected, it showed that Platinum Pools & Spa was no longer able to receive jobs from HomeAdvisor due to an unresolved customer complaint. But we also did a little research of our own.

HomeAdvisor, on their website, claims that "if a business states that it's registered as a corporation or limited liability company, we confirm that the company is in good standing in the state they're operating in." However, when we checked the Secretary of State, we found that Platinum Pools & Spa was listed as dissolved twelve years ago in 2008. They hold no current business license.

When we looked into HomeAdvisor's terms of service and learned that they actually make no guarantee whatsoever about the quality of the businesses on their site. In their words, "We do not guarantee or warrant any Service Professional's performance on the job or the outcome or quality of the services performed." What they don't want you to know is that, although they have a "Screened & Approved" certificate next to each business, they don't actually recommend the services of these businesses. Hidden deep within their terms of service is the disclaimer that "HomeAdvisor does not endorse or recommend the services of any particular Service Professional." In short, HomeAdvisor doesn't stand behind their contractors at all. While they conveniently gather lots of contractors in one place, sites like HomeAdvisor or Angie's List are no more reliable than hiring someone off the streets.

The TrustDALE Difference

Sites like HomeAdvisor and Angie's List provide no guarantees. You may get terrible service, terrible quality, and terrible results, and those sites will just shrug their shoulders. TrustDALE is completely different. Every business you find on TrustDALE has been vetted by Dale's 7-step investigative process to ensure that it only offers the highest-quality service. And TrustDALE stands behind its service providers. We not only put our name on the line, we offer Dale's trademark $10,000 Make-It-Right™ Guarantee on every service you find on our site.

If you're not happy with the business you've hired, you can come right to Dale to make it right. Every business we list has agreed to let Dale make the final decision on how to make it right. And if all else fails, you are protected by our signature $10,000 guarantee. That's something you won't find on HomeAdvisor or anywhere else. So if you need service for your home or business, search TrustDALE first, and hire with confidence.