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Home Advisor / Service magic scam

1 United States Review updated:

As a small business owner, I try to treat my employees and customers well and trust my vendors to do the same. However, in August 2012, I disputed charges for my Service Magic Professional account. To my surprise, they flatly refused to provide documentation! (that’s not suspicious, right?). I closed my account but proposed settlement in modest monthly payments to avoid collection fees and credit damage AND (here was my mistake), provided my debit card number in good faith. They assured me that they would consider it and call back. That was the last I heard for months…

Fast forwarding to yesterday, October 22, 2012. To my complete surprise and without any authorization, Service Magic has debited my card for the full amount. Pay day is Thursday and now I can’t cover payroll! I call Service Magic to ask them to reverse the charges and they respond (NOT MAKING THIS UP) that as long as they have my debit card number they can charge as much as they want whenever they want! Desperate to cover payroll and honestly pretty angry too, I tell them that I am going to call my bank and stop payment. She responds (AGAIN, NOT MAKING THIS UP) that she will continue to charge my card for the full amount every day if I do that! I demand a manager and a few hours later (which I spend urgently trying to think of some way to cover payroll for these employees who are trusting that I will pay them for their hard work so they can support their families) a manager calls back, reads me my email suggesting settlement, and then tells me that if I agree (which is a lie-I only proposed, never approved) to settlement, it can be any amount due.

Well, I found their CEO on Linked In and emailed him and filed a complaint with the TX and CO Attorney General’s Offices, but I just wanted other business owners to know that it is better to generate your own leads or at least work with a company that will provide a foundation for their charges. As far as I’m concerned, if Service Magic can’t prove that they earned it, then it is fraudulent.

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  • Th
      30th of May, 2013
    +2 Votes

    I have been with SM and home advisor since 7/2010 and I think that the above comment must be true as well. I have not had the exact experience but they have tried and succeeded many times in scamming more of my money from me. i have called numorus times and although the customer service people are polite they are rarely helpful and you will need to contact them often to dispute charges (they do help here) as they are deliberately confusing to the average home owner trying to entice erroneous leads they can charge for in hopes that their customers wont all ask for credit requests.
    I have had their own supervisors tell me that they had a bad call and would issue requests to everyone who got the bad lead. Well they didn't till I called and asked when.
    Stay away from this company

  • Em
      27th of Jun, 2013
    +2 Votes

    This makes me question whether or not I should continue using Home Advisor for future project in my home. I don't want to work with contractors who are unhappy with the company they received the referral from. I'd like to know that Home Advisor is treating their contractors fairly, and without such nasty responses to the contractors. I will have to do more research on Home Advisor and may have to reconsider using them in the future.

  • Un
      19th of Oct, 2013
    +1 Votes

    I feel sorry for contractors who pay for this service. When I called Home Advisor looking for a contractor I specifically stated that I didn't want to receive calls. They told me that they would give me the name and number of the contractors so that I could reach out to them. Before I even got off the phone with Home Advisor, I had received 2 calls. Unfortunately for the contractors, since HA didn't properly screen my needs, those contractors weren't able to assist me and therefore paid for a lead that is a dead end. For the rest of the day, I didn't answer the other calls that came in if I didn't recognize the number. I have asked HA to delete me from their database and have thus far not received any cooperation from them. ( I guess that with the vast database, they can tell you guys how great their numbers are!) I asked (many times) for the name of the CEO and they were not willing to provide me with that information either (which is public information) unless I told them who I was - Yes, after some research, I have found that it is Chris Terrill and the parent company is IAC. ( I will be reaching out to Mr Terrill as well as the CEO of the parent company) As a contractor, I would hesitate to do business with and pay a company that won't freely give the name of the CEO to a consumer who requests it. I cannot trust a company that isn't transparent.

  • Ro
      16th of Dec, 2013
    +2 Votes

    I wrote a review on the Home Advisor website. The contractor I spoke with failed to show-up, which infuriated me since the first day was a Friday, and the following day Saturday. Two appointments, and neither fulfilled. I had canceled other things I needed to do on both of these days anticipating the arrival of the handyman. The contractor wasted my time. Not only that, but I inconvenienced my tenant since some of the work was needed in their unit and was necessary for me to give them notice.

    Therefore, I felt it necessary to write the review to alert other consumers like me about the unprofessional conduct, and alert Home Advisor that one of their contractors was a total flake. One day after posting my review, I got a telephone call from a Home Advisor Rep who asked questions of my complaint. I explained the entire scenario to her. Though seemingly sympathetic, she said thay my review may not be posted on their website since there was no actual work done! Apparently, Home Advisor doesn't care enough that I was inconvenienced two times by one of their recommended contractors. It appears that it's ok to inconvenience consumers and not necessary to alert the general public on their website. They're only interested in making money from the leads they provide to contractors, and use their "reviews from customers" to only enhance their business, not to tell the truth.

    I will never deal with this unprofessional concern in the future, and advise that others find another source for services.

  • Mo
      21st of Dec, 2013
    +2 Votes

    I am a mason contractor who lives in a pretty rural area. I signed up because my son had used it in another state with some success. It was over the phone since I had trouble getting on their website. A real salesy smchmooser. Anyway, the first "lead" was someone who never called back despite many attempts to contact. That cost me $11. Second was a lady with a stuck damper who never called back after the first contact, this lead cost me $12. Third was someone who said they never requested our type of service, that cost $19. I called to complain and was told they had no control over the customers. I threatened to cancel and they gave me a $100 credit against future leads. Figuring this would last awhile at $10-20 a lead, I continued. Well, suddenly the lead prices went up. They can't tell you how much a lead will be, it depends on the "category". Right. Next lead costs me $34 and it was a service I did not even offer. Then 2 more leads within a week and these were $58 and $32!! The $58 one was 45 miles away, a guy who almost fainted when I gave him a price of $400 to grind out cracks in his foundation and seal with hydraulic cement. Why did this lead cost $58? Who knows, they make up the rules as they go along. You will see no mention of them on the website, kept intentionally vague so they can rip off you folks who are NOT PAYING ATTENTION!! Mind you, I had put a cap of $100/month and these last 4 leads were all in November. So net loss to me $68 for nothing. I called customer service and they were jerks, actually threatened me that if I did a chargeback it would go to collections and they would add another $20 on each time that I would have to pay. No one will take a $68 collection case like this; they are liars that money is added, usually it is just forgotten as soon as they know you have a good reason for not paying it. So I am in the process of a chargeback.

  • As
      28th of Dec, 2018
    0 Votes

    @Moose Mountain Out of curiosity did you win your chargeback, I am in the midst of the same situation.

  • Ma
      17th of Jan, 2014
    +2 Votes

    I have a small family run Painting and Deck Restoration business in The Omaha NE area. I started using Home Advisor services in September 2013. At first things were going okay, then my statement came in and I was charged $134.99 for the month, which had been set to be paid in four payments. I called and was told I was mistaken, that every quarter a charge of $134.99 is paid. That was error 1, the next month I must have received at least $500 worth of bad leads. Customers who never asked for estimates for painting, customers who had already hired a painter, and customers who were only seeking information. When I called about these concerns of paying for leads, and spending my time and wasting customers time, I was told Home Advisor had no control over customers and their choices. Spent over an hour on phone and came away with a $9.33 credit towards future leads. The following month, same issues, terrible leads, customers who didn't ask for services upset I was calling, and once again paying money to this company I didn't have, but was willing to invest into the idea. I called in December and vented to a real nice customer service lady, she sounded like she understood my struggles and concerns. She spoke to a manager, and came back telling me there was nothing she could do. I told her I would give Home Advisor two weeks to change quality of leads I was receiving, and if nothing changed, I was leaving. Well its the New Year and I've received four leads this year, three were bad, and one was good. I called this afternoon to cancel my account. To my surprise, they didn't even try to keep me or give me a reason to want to stay, "not that I was going to". If a customer calls me with a concern towards work I've completed, I do everything within my power to correct the issue and make things right. I encourage all small business folks looking into Home Advisor as a service to provide leads or jobs, watch out, research the information out there. To customers, they sell your information to other sources, as they do to contractors. Every time you look at their site about home services, they send out leads to 3-4 contractors who pay for that information. Example: Interior painting of 3-5 rooms, cost to the contractor is about $50. So if sent to 4 contractors, they just made $200 off those folks and these folks may never get that job. I made a big mistake using them. Lost over $1000 on leads and not to mention money spent on gas, flyers, calling, and bugging good people who didn't need to be bugged.

  • La
      6th of Oct, 2014
    +3 Votes

    As a person looking to hire a contractor.. It's a shame I didn't read this.. Legit Bussiness don't waste your time and money.. I will not hire anyone listed with them..
    This was my experience.. Caution.. Do not rely on Home Advisor as a screening tool.. Do your own home work.. They recommended.. O yeah when I complained they explained they don't recommend.
    The Four recommendations they gave me. 1 stole from me and the same guy charged exorbitant rates.. He was also recommended by my Tankless manufacture as "Authorized" 2nd was Clueless and had no idea how to fix my Tankless water heater, 3rd Unlicensed as a plumber. (According to Home Advisor, in NYC you don't have to have a license to fix tankless water heaters.However, Home Advisor listed him as a plumber and he had a Home Improvement License. 4th.. Refused to clean the burner and vacuumed the unit. Claimed my unit was faulty and I needed a 1, 000 commercial Water heater... Wanted a deposit and wouldn't give a receipt.

  • Ri
      14th of Oct, 2015
    +2 Votes

    I am a roofing contractor who was asked to start working with Home Advisor Pro as one of their preferred roofing contractors. One week later I owe Home Advisor Pro $550-650. I asked the sales lady not to proceed with our account, when there was a problem with our company address listing. Then she calls me back from her personal cell phone with the caller ID blocked, so she would not be recorded misleading me into their scam. She then signs me up after I told her not to and we start getting leads before I even knew we signed up. Plus the three leeds; which cost about $70 each, on top of the $350 yearly subscription, turned out to be a wast of our time. No contractor should use this service; unless that contractor already charge's too much for their services.

  • Ro
      4th of Apr, 2016
    +2 Votes

    I too got scammed by Home advisor. They refused to return my call to cancel on the second day and then said I was out of my three day grace period and could not rescind the contract. I spoke to at leasy 8 people and none on them had any authority and would not connect me to anyone who did have the authority to discuss the request with me. It is obvious that they now manage a scam knowingly. They refused any effort to even have anyone with authority discuss it with me. Their answer was to try to collect and then send it to collections. Continue to contact your AG, BBB, and Golden Chamber of Commerce about their unethical practices.

  • Ja
      8th of Jul, 2016
    0 Votes

    I hired a company through Home Advisor to install gutters and gutter guards on my house. The work was not done correctly and had to be redone twice. They did it promptly but I had to have a in-your-face chat with the owner. I went onto the Home Advisor web site and posted a review, giving the facts as they took place. The review never showed up on their website. I sent two emails to them but never received a reply and the review is still not posted. The only reviews of this business are five star reviews whcih leads me to believe that Home Advisor only posts beneficial reviews. To me, that is cause for a complaint to the county and state consumer affairs bureaus which I will do. I'm posting here to warn others that this is a rigged bid. Find your craftsmen and tradesmen via some other route. I can't even get the gutter company to send me a correct bill. they're that bad.

  • Ge
      24th of Jul, 2016
    +1 Votes

    How to get over Homeadvisor. They are not going anywhere any time soon. If you are a contractor, the best thing for you to do is what they do but on a much smaller scale. Reviews, if you noticed, seems all contractors on their site have high reviews. We should be doing the same but with something that's more powerful. Interview satisfied and happy clients on video. Upload and and rank in Youtube. You can embed the video on your website. If you have any type of marketing out there, then more than likely people are looking for reviews of your company. Google owns Youtube so if your video is properly done, you will rank high with your own video, have a call to action and point towards your high converting website. This link shows you exactly how to do this... Take control of your own business.

  • Ce
      16th of Sep, 2016
    0 Votes

    I have been a contractor for home advisor for several months and they are a complete fraud. Take my advice and do not sign up to do work for them. They will charge you for leads you never receive and will tell you you have to automaticly accept them. This is a scam and you will never get your money back.

    Casey ac service
    humble, texas

  • Sm
      24th of Mar, 2018
    0 Votes

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