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Homestars / Scam Website

1 Ontario, Canada Review updated:
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This website claims to aid homeowners/business owners in the selection process for contractors who are reputable and trustworthy and to also inform the user of who to watch out for.

Here is the reality of Homestars.com/.ca;

They take money from contractors to list with them which completely negates their ability to offer a true unbiased opinion.

When questioned about this I was told that ' we take our site very seriously and accusations very seriously'. Since enlightening Homestars about one of their listed contractors and the fraud in which they engage, I have received no more responses to my claim about Homestars from Homestars.

They have no screening process for the contractors they list. Homestars is a bought and paid for listing service. Homestars concern is not aiding the unsuspecting homeowner but in their own bank account.

Homestars will edit/remove your comments and complaints without explanation or claim that the comment info is not substantiated, they do not apply this same editing to a contractor about to purchase their 'premium' listing service.

Be warned, Homestars is useless unless you are trying to attract potential victims.

I know because I am one of them. See my post on Hawthorne Kitchen Design

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Comments

  • Bs
      2nd of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    I am the President of Homestars and feel it important to respond here in addition to having answeredPSR directly,

    We are a review site, similar to this one, only focussed quite specifically on Home Improvement.

    I wrote this to PSR:
    "Companies don't pay to be listed. They pay for premium listings which enhance their profile and their SEO. Any one can list their company, and anyone can write a review on any company - paying or non paying, as long as it fall in our guidelines. "

    We did post PSR's review on Hawthorne Kitchen on the site.
    http://homestars.com/reviews/41891?company_id=209492

    It is possible that PSR hired Hawthorne based on a single review. Fair enough. There are plenty of Kitchen Companies with over 15-20 reviews, which of course, reduces the risk of hiring based on a single review.

    If you want to look around the site and check out premium and basic companies the reviews are applied fairly between them. If we didn't do that, we lose trust, our most important commodity in this market. If we didn't to that companies wouldn't want to be listed on the site, nor pay for premium listings, because the credibility we bring to the table wouldn't be there.

    Feel free to let us know more. If you think there is some bias to reviews on our site, please let us know. We don't see it, but are open to looking for it.

  • Ka
      1st of Nov, 2017
    0 Votes

    @bsharwood Dear President of homestars, do you think it is fair business practices to allow to publish and refuse to remove a comment that untruthfully calls a business owner a creep. This personal attack is so unprofessional and hurtful . However you look at this, spin it, or justify it, it is just WRONG. We have families, customers and children. To allow a spiteful customer to put personal attacks againest a person on your website it not good for anyone. I have no issues with your company allowing proven facts to be printed about workmanship, service ect but this is a level of disgust that is unwarranted. JESSICA DECKERT SOOKRAM should not be able to print her personal attacks on our employee and you protect her,

  • Bo
      16th of Mar, 2018
    0 Votes

    @bsharwood HomeStars (HS)advertise me during 4 years through publishing the reviews of my clients.During this time I have 128 positive reviews with 10 out of 10 score and 3 times was the Best of the Year. Unfortunately the last review was not as high.After the conversation with the client we found common ground and the review was removed. After this HS put the warning red frame with ambiguous comments : "...We also keep these flags up to alert those considering hiring the company Sometimes a homeowner feels compelled to remove their review due to negative encouragement by the company. In these cases, the user does not feel comfortable keeping their review posted and will ask us to remove it. While we do remove the review, the impact of the user's review is still taken into consideration..."These comments were posted without any contacts with me or client ( I ask the client ).The words of HS create the impression that my company is not trustworthy and I am bulling the client ( both is not true ). Anybody who reads this comments would stay away from my company.
    Two times I contacted HS asking for explanations with no responses.It looks like instead of helping to good contractors to run there business the HS in certain situations is ruining there reputation.

  • Da
      21st of Jan, 2019
    0 Votes

    @Bohdan Lypka Take your hard earned dollar and advertise in your local paper. Send Homestars packing.

  • Da
      21st of Jan, 2019
    0 Votes

    @bsharwood A little advice from one previously signed up contractor who has learned the disappointing truth about Homestars to ALL other contractors. Take your hard earned dollar and advertise in your local community newspaper.

  • Eb
      11th of Jan, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Just tried to look at your link, and it was still off..."This review is under review by the poster". It is quite surprising to me that they would even remove your opinion, because we have been falsely accused by a past client, on our profile, and they refuse to remove her comments, even though I have absolute proof that it is all lies...Even in the disclaimer it says that any reviews that are being questioned, will be immediately removed, and facts checked, but I am still waiting for them to care. They don't even care to review any proof that I have against this client. unbias? Sounds to me like that's a load of bull. And you are absolutely right that they do not screen the companies...anyone can go onto their site and "Create" a company...does not require any lisence numbers, proof of any work done, so virtually, anyone and their dog could go online and be a "Contractor." Also, anyone with a grudge against you, can look up your company and as long as they have a proper email address, can go online and slander your name as much as they want. Either way, this website is virtually useless...If you can't trust the companies to be legitimate, and you can't trust the reviews online, then how can you trust any of the information on it? If you ask me, anyone that wants to put up an add for their company, should have some kind of credentials, or proof of the work they say they can do, and also some kind of proof from clients for good and bad reviews, then it could be a heck of alot more reliable. This way, it's just a bunch of he said, she said, and who likes to play that game with their money, time, or businesses. And by the way, if you start a profile on Homestars.com...you can never remove it. This is not funny...

  • Ga
      14th of Apr, 2011
    +2 Votes

    Homestars absolutely is misleading to consumers and I might even go a far to call it a fraudulet site. Here's why. Our company is on homestars we have been for some time now . When we first signed up about 3 weeks later Terry Mardini called and asked for the $1200 we owed them because our company had a premium listing. I posted the listing so I know that at no point did I sign up for a premium listing that would cost me $1200 paid up front for the year. That is their first scam because if you tell them no they will let you know that others companies banners will scroll above your ad and every so often after that they call to get you to pay them for the "premium" listing. Terry Mardini has even hung up the phone on us mid sentence when she realized we were still not paying for a listing on a site that is supposedly free for companies to post, and we are never rude to her despite her harassment.
    Another thing to mention is that they pick and choose which reviews to post. Customers who found us on homestars are unable to post reviews because despite several attempts their reviews are not approved. So many many of our customers have complained about this to us and it is very frustrating because how can we accurately get an idea of how a company does business if homestars decides which customer reviews are allowed!!! This website has drawn a lot of business our way but if things continue this way we will be petitioning to have it taken down and will blog all over the Internet to let everyone know not to trust this site! Frauds, yes.

  • Te
      22nd of Apr, 2011
    -1 Votes

    gabes1mum, I am Terry Mardini. I have been part of the HomeStars team since June 1st 2006. FOR COMPANIES: you can be on HomeStars as a basic listing and your customers can still write reviews on your company. You can also use our Client tool to send out mass emails to your customers inviting them to write you reviews at HomeStars. For an enhanced listing, we call the Premium listing, you can load as many pictures as you like and get banners for more exposure within our site. The package is $100 to start and if you want more categories and additional service areas this costs more. At this time we do not have a merchant tool and our prices are not listed when you click the banner to upgrade. Since we don't have a merchant account yet, we don't ask for a credit card number and the company is under no obligation. Also, don't harass people or hang up on people mid sentence. That is just not my style (unless YOU were rude to me). One way or another, I don't recall such a conversation taking place. ABOUT THE REVIEWS: We do not pick and choose which review gets posted. We have recently implemented an automated tracking system that can track possible fraud immediately. In that case, the reviews must be investigated prior to being posted. The reviews are not posted until we get a response from the home owner confirming details about the work done and proof of purchase. Our website is built to give the home owner the best possible service, with regards to information they need to make a decision. It's been that way since the beginning. We do not claim to be 100% perfect, however we are trying to provide a great service and many people have told us we have. Regards, Terry Mardini ~ Director of Business Development at HomeStars.com

  • Ka
      1st of Nov, 2017
    0 Votes

    @Terry Mardini Terry how does it feel to work for a company that makes a living scamming hard working businesses and lets customers put hateful personal attacks without merit on your website?

  • Ga
      26th of Apr, 2011
    +3 Votes

    Non-premium members DO NOT get their reviews posted! We have done over 100 jobs from homestars and for 5 months straight did not receive any reviews despite over 35 customers contacting us telling us that they posted reviews, a few customers even told us that the review was posted then mysteriously disappeared. No matter what you Terry may say about homestars you guys are complete frauds and hey you're in it for the money thats cool we wouldn't go to work unless we were making money but your website is completely misleading to all homeowners and therefore should not be online. You are offering false reviews by picking and choosing which customer reviews go up and as far as your "automated fraud tracking system" goes does that include checking you guys yourselves for fraud??? Because it should. Misleading a customer=fraud. You could be allowing con men to go rob customers blind while you sit behind your desk not allowing legitimate customer oriented businesses to have legitimate heartfelt reviews from actual happy paying customers posted.
    As for you not hanging up on people, think about it Terry, actually think about it. You can lie to others but you know what you have done. Do an online search there are blogs all over the internet not just about homesteads but about you personally. People refer to you as unfriendly and cold and thats only people who have met you online.

  • Ga
      26th of Apr, 2011
    +1 Votes

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! THAT'S HILARIOUS!!! $100 to start eh? Omg you guys are the biggest scammers out there!! How is it that you guys are still in business?!! Homestars is a complete and utter joke!
    PREMIUM LISTING=pay through your ###! And apparently you guys just make it up as you go! How about what you offered me, $1200 for the year there was no offer for $100 trial you told me 12 month contract or nothing!!!
    Let's start a petition to get these con artists out of business!!!

  • Ha
      16th of May, 2011
    +1 Votes

    I am so frustrated with home stars. It is apparent that it is a scam. I am too frustrated to write my whole story now. Basically if you write a negative review you will be "randomly selected" to verify your post. Then they will come up with a reason as to why your post does not conform to their "rules". If you write a positive post it will get posted no questions asked. I am talking about companies that pay to be on their site. If a company does not pay for the premium account they will have no problems posting negative reviews without further investigation. It is a shame more people do not realize what a scam this is!

  • Sa
      14th of Sep, 2012
    +1 Votes

    A few months ago I hired an electrician to rewire my house. I had used him for 2 big jobs a few years previously and he was okay, not great, but I thought better the devil you know... After being lied + cheated to, I fired him halfway through the job. Googled him and up came some HomeStar reviews, a couple positive but most basically confirming that he's a lying ###. Today, on the site for another search, I decided to check back in and see how Mr. Electrician is doing. Imagine my surprise when I now see a Perfect Ten rating! Six fabulous reviews! All raving about him! All posted within the last 3 months! Nothing before that! HomeStars has allowed this dishonest contractor to erase his past and repost with a clean profile. Obviously, this goes 100% against their purported mission and confirms that yes, they are a scam site with zero credibility.

  • Ab
      10th of Oct, 2012
    +2 Votes

    I was reviewing homestars. It looked as a good site. However, I found something lacking - most contractors had 10 star rating and the reviews had nothing critical written. It is not a perfect world out there. I am in the construction industry. This lead me to check the credibility of homestars and thus led me to this site. Happy to note that there are other people who are apprehensive of homestars too.

  • Ho
      28th of Nov, 2012
    +2 Votes

    Please direct all future complaints to the owner of homestars at her personal address of: Nancy Peterson 169 Ridley Blvd., North York, ON M5M 3M4 or better yet give her a call and let her know that I think she is running nothing more than a gossip site that destroys peoples lives while lining her own pocket . 416-488-9435

  • St
      26th of Jun, 2013
    +2 Votes

    Homestars is a complete scam. I wrote a legitimate review about a bad experience I had with a contractor and they will not publish it. They wrote me an email saying they could not verify I had paid for the contractors service. I emailed back right away offering to scan my invoice and sent it to them. I of course am still waiting for their reply. Clearly they will not publish poor reviews of their preferred clients. I will not use them again.

  • Te
      30th of Jan, 2014
    0 Votes

    Hi gabes1mum, I had some time to spare and thought I'd address your comment from April 26th 2011. About your statement 'Non-Premium members do not get their reviews published', I would like to invite all viewers to go to www.homestars.com and check out listings that have reviews with no pictures or logos. These are non paying listings. There are thousands of companies like this at the site with thousands of reviews.
    I know it is frustrating for reviews not to be publishing, for everyone believe me.There is a process that HomeStars has to follow and internal flags that need to be looked at. The individuals who read the reviews are trained to look out for certain things as well. HomeStars also consults with lawyers when need be. It's all part of trying to be a trustworthy website.
    gabes1mum, in my entire career at HomeStars, I can only remember hanging up on one individual who started swearing at me about a negative posting he had on his listing from one of his customers. I am pretty sure this individual was not you. So, if I did hang up on you, I am sorry. I can tell you that during the spring of 2011, balcony renos were taking place in my building. Part of this time I stayed at a hotel to work, but I also worked from home at times. We never new when the drilling would start and it was deafening. The only thing I could think of is perhaps I hung up thinking that our conversation was over because of the noise, otherwise I really don't remember.
    Correction: '$100 should have read '$100 a month'. The package now starts at $150 a month.
    So, if I called you, I would have asked if you wanted to stay on and if so, it was starting at $100 a month. Therefore $1200.00 for the year.
    If you were asking your customers to review you on HomeStars, you probably saw the value in it yourself. It's a challenge for HomeStars to continually have to appease the companies and consumers about why reviews are posted or not. I can assure you that it has nothing to do with whether you are a paying customer or not. It has to do with credibility. It is to HomeStars' advantage that reviews are posted, positive or negative for volume of content at the site.
    As I said before, it's hard to always get it right, as thousands of reviews are submitted every month. And I don't know of any other site in Canada that is as thorough as HomeStars in the publishing of reviews. So, I hope this gives you a clearer understanding and that these days your experience has been better.
    About your statement of accusing me of lying, that's defaming in case you did not know. If you would be so kind to point me to other sites that have said that I am cold and unfriendly, I would greatly appreciate it as your comment is the only one I have found online and I am not a cold and unfriendly individual. Thank you.
    I would like to point out that I myself have had negative experiences with companies, but I've only written about my positive experiences. I like to address my concerns with a company or individual directly. Negative statements can be hurtful, especially when you have no idea who the person is. I think it's unfair, but that's how the internet world is now. For this reason, it's important to tell the other side of the story and let the reader make up their own mind.
    Abraham Jacob, the reason why you are seeing extreme ratings is that when HomeStars launched the .com, the questions were narrowed down to 2 questions - 1) How satisfied were you with this customer 2) How likely would you be to hire this customer again. The reviewer is obligated to write at least 30 words before the review is posted. You may much older reviews, where this is not the case. The questions were narrowed down to 2 questions, so as to not discourage reviewers from writing reviews.
    HomeStars is fraud - can you please ask the administrator of this site to remove Nancy Peterson's personal address and phone number. It's illegal. It should not have been posted. Thank you.
    Whomever wants to talk to Nancy can reach her at 877-488-0312 x701. You can also post a you comment at the site's forum asking Nancy to respond. Thank you.
    Best wishes to all.
    Terry Mardini

  • Je
      11th of May, 2014
    +1 Votes

    Homestar is essentially trying to corner contractors into paying $100/month so their reviews will not get drowned.


    I created an account in anticipation that a customer would leave me a review, as he had said he would.

    I soon was solicited to pay for a premium account. To be left alone, I had to be very clear that I would never sign up.

    My I search for my company name on Homestar I do NOT come up in the search results. I have to use the link they gave me or I have to search my company name + "reviews" on Google.

    On my page, they drown my listing with giant ads for their premiums clients, to the point that I'm not very noticeable on my own profile page !?

    So my problem with Homestar is that I find their tactics cheesy. I'm also doing a startup and I understand technology. Using a freemium model is fine, meaning a free option with a reasonably price upgrade.

    $100 / month by extortion is underhanded no matter what the company says to justify it.

  • Te
      12th of May, 2014
    0 Votes

    Hi Jerome, your profile says you are from Toronto. The rate of $100 a month was increased to $150 a month for an enhanced premium as of September 2012. So, this tells me that it could be some time since you've spoken to anyone at HomeStars. If you type your company name exactly how it is spelt with the right city or postal code, your company name should come up, otherwise it is probably a bug that HomeStars needs to address. Yes, there are competitive banners in the listings, as part of the premium package, however the actual ranking of your company in a search result is dependant on the number of reviews, the average of your reviews and other content related criteria. You may want to touch base again with your rep to get an update on what is going on. You should see your rep's name when you sign into your listing. I moved on from HomeStars at the end of June last year, to give my attention to a family related matter. Wishing you much success in your business. Sincerely, Terry Mardini

  • Je
      12th of May, 2014
    +1 Votes

    $150 a month is even worse. Again I see a moral problem with how this company is monetizing itself.

    But working there you probably have it justified that you're providing a service that helps contractors and homeowners.

    What Homestar has factually done Is to place itself at the top of the search engines, which consequently puts contractors at a disadvantage unless they pay you $150 a month for a review system which is not even accurate due to a poor scoring algorithm and due to the inevitable bias that comes from accepting money from the contractors.

    That's why I've used the word "cheesy"to describe Homestar's tactics and "extortion" to describe what they're factually doing.

    As a technology startup itself, Homestar is a bad role model for young entrepreneurs with it's immoral sense of execution and poorly implemented monetizing strategy.
    It's not a source for good in the world, it's a capitalistic cancer.

    And it's ironic that Homestar is getting bad reviews on the Internet such as on this page as well as others.

  • Te
      12th of May, 2014
    0 Votes

    The website is called HomeStars, Jerome. With an 's' at the end. Like I said, I left a year ago to attend to a family matter.
    Yes, I worked at HomeStars for 7 years and was part of building a site that was very special and envied by many, with a group of very talented people. You have an opinion and everyone at HomeStars, including me, had an opinion. Yes, HomeStars does appear in top Google searches. Leading this division is Andrew Goodman, who is one of the founders and also a respected Google expert. No one is paying to be at the top of searches, whether it be for HomeStars or for Google. You are responsible for how your company is found at Google, through SEO services or your own doing. As far as the HomeStars search results, as I explained to you, the results are strictly based on criteria. The company does not pay to get at the top of the search results. Please do get your facts straight. It makes things a lot more interesting.
    You are entitled to your opinion about HomeStars, Jerome. Yes, some weaknesses do exist, with the website, but it is constantly evolving. It's mission is to provide a credible service for consumers, with the best of intentions.
    Regards, Terry Mardini

  • Je
      12th of May, 2014
    0 Votes

    I've never said or suggested that Homestars Is paying to be the top of Google search -- of course not. It put itself at the top of the search engine on Google legitimately, but it's essentially extorting money from contractors through a cheesy business model. You probably won't be able to see this because you're too used to drinking own Kool-aid.

  • Te
      12th of May, 2014
    0 Votes

    If you have any suggestions, by all means, post at the site's forum. That's what it's there for. Someone will respond to you. Take care, Jerome.
    Regards, Terry Mardini

  • Je
      12th of May, 2014
    0 Votes

    I must say that is a fair thing to say.

  • Ja
      3rd of Jun, 2014
    0 Votes

    We called a furnace company after seeing favorable reviews on homestars. It was a total scam. They estimated $400 dollars for something we fixed the next day with a $10 investment and 20 minutes of research. I am disgusted that they are promoting scamming contractors. Luckily we just lost $60.

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