Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Angie's List Blues

Just because you read a recommendation on a popular or regarded service, that doesn't mean the recommendation is reliable. Here's what one consumer had to say about a recommendation from Angie's List, as reported on the Brookland listserv:

You still have to do your due diligence with Angie's List. We used an electrician from Angie's. He was rated highly, I got his insurance and license when we did the tour. He spoke knowledgeably and we contracted him to do some upgrades.

Turned out he was a professional scam artist. He took us for a lot of money in a simple scam: He told my husband I'd promised he would pay the down payment after I'd already cut the check. So my husband trustingly paid the sum again. He then cashed both the checks. In the hours that he was at the bank, we discovered that his crew were amazingly ignorant of electrical work and actually did substantial damage to my house in just a few hours. We had to forcibly kick them out and tried to stop payment on the checks, but it was too late. It's not check fraud if you willingly (if unwittingly) wrote the check, so there was no way to stop the payment. In researching a claim against him, I found out he was being pursued for many tens of thousands of dollars in stolen payments and damages by several large contractors. I also found his history of cons (illegal nightclub owner, duped his own mother into putting up her house on a bad loan at huge interest, just a lot of crap). Used someone else's license, had a long record of cons, including several I found using Lexis Nexis.

Back to Angie's List: I collected a packet of proof that this guy was a fraud, sent it to them as support for my rating, and I rated him an F. Their reply was to ignore my rating because it seemed I might have a personal dispute and their policy is not to accept the F until the dispute is clarified. Since I did not in the end file a claim against him, since I'd never win and just be out more time and anger, it was never resolved and they never accepted my F. They instead suggested mediation, which was out of the question.

I checked back six months later and he was still there with an A rating. I haven't been back to check again because I'm not inclined to pay for a membership to check. Others have had good experiences, but that one pretty much turned me off Angie's List. If they won't remove a proven con artist or at least accept my bad rating, then it's too easy for the cons to create good profiles of themselves. I've instead stuck to personal recommendations and very thorough research.

No comments:

Post a Comment