Angie's List Is a Sham Bordering on a Scam
by Jeffrey Sward
 
Angie's List is not what it claims to be. The following describes the promise vs. reality and some unpleasant negative surprises after joining. Understand the pros and cons before joining
 
Comparison of Promise vs. Reality
 
Promise Reality

Access to great local reviews on AngiesList.com.

True. However, the coverage is very light. Most companies have zero reviews. Yelp has far better coverage.

Reviews come from real people like you, not anonymous users

True

Companies can't pay to be on Angie's List

True. However, once companies have an "A" or "B" rating, Angie's List relentlessly harangues the companies for paid advertising.

Exclusive discounts from top-rated businesses - save up to 70%

True. However, is this an advantage? When Angie's List takes advertising money from businesses, then Angie's List cannot be neutral and impartial.

Ratings and reviews in over 550 home repair and health care categories

True. Categories are present. Actual reviews are sparse.

Live call center support and help if a project goes badly

True.

No anonymous reviews.

Probably true.

Certified data collection process prevents companies and providers from reporting on themselves or their competitors.

Probably true.

Our Complaint Resolution Team will intercede if a home repair or health experience goes bad.

True. However, this is essentially a mediation service. If a member's objective is a mediation service this is fine. Since companies potentially buy advertising, the motivation of Angie's List is to keep the companies happy. Because Angie's List is motivated to keep companies happy, the mediation service decreases the objectivity of Angie's List

Companies and providers respond to reports, so you get the whole story.

Invalid conclusion.

Award-winning Angie's List magazine.

True. A magazine does arrive. The magazine consists of a few one page "articles." All of the articles can be summarized as "consumers should not do something stupid." The vast majority of the pages consist of vendor purchased advertising. This publication is indistinguishable from free home improvement advertisement compendiums sent as junk mail.

Annual memberships are backed by our 110% satisfaction guarantee Partially true. Cancellation is made as difficult as possible.  Cancellation is a two step process. The first is to cancel the immediate subscription. The second step is canceling the automatic renewal.   The mandatory automatic renewal is particularly annoying. 
 
Unpleasant Negative Surprises After Joining
 
Category Details

Email Spamming

Spam email is received at least one a day from "Angie's List - Big Deal." Spam email is received about every other day from "Angie's List." Most of the emails are paid advertisements from vendors. Refer to list of email subjects below.

Intrusive phone call solicitations for reviews.

Refer to transcript below of intrusive automated phone calls directly from Angie's list

Angie's List relentlessly solicits paid advertising from vendors for email spam and print advertisements in the magazine

Soliciting advertisements from businesses means Angie's list cannot be objective.

Unethical repetitive credit charging for renewals

The credit card is automatically charged at renewal time without customer's subsequent authorization. When the customer requests cancellation, Angie's will not refund a prorated membership fee, but will only cancel the automatic recurring charge. Additional member arm twisting is necessary to persuade Angi'es list to both refund prorated member dues as well as discontinue the automatic renewal charge.

The magazine is worthless

Junk Mail instead of a true magazine. Angie's magazine is merely collection of home improvement advertisements. This publication is indistinguishable from free home improvement advertisement compendiums sent as junk mail.

Members are solicited for reviews while logged on to the web site

The members know they can submit reviews. Constant nagging is annoying.

False pretense of Angie's List as a neutral collection of consumer reviews.

The main purposes of Angie's is to obtain consumers for Angie's to list to sell to businesses for direct marketing rather than provide useful consumer rating information. Consumers pay to access Angie's and therefore should not be converted into direct marketing solicitations.

 
 
Examples of Spam Email Daily Offers Sent Directly from Angie's List (Paid Advertisements from Vendors)
 
  • $999 for a $2,500 Custom Natural Stone Outdoor Fire Pit!
  • ENDS TODAY!!! $999 for up to 200 Sq. Ft. of Roof Repair!
  • $79 for a Whole House Mold Inspection!
  • $199 for Exterior Home Pressure Washing!
  • $299 for One Year of Quarterly Pest Control Service!
  • $999 for up to 200 Sq. Ft. of Roof Repair!
  • $97 for Holiday Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning!
  • $499 for Whole House Installation of Tamper Resistant Child Safety Outlets!
  • ENDS TODAY!!! $499 for 3 Rooms of Interior Painting!
  • ENDS TODAY!!! $1,899 for Complete Ceramic Tile Shower Replacement or Tub Surround!
  • $99 for Interior Design Consultation PLUS Follow Up Conference Report!
  • $249 for 6 Months of Weekly Pool Cleaning Services for 2012!
  • $399 for Complete Professional Landscape Design!
  • $499 for 3 Rooms of Interior Painting!
  • $1,899 for Complete Ceramic Tile Shower Replacement or Tub Surround!
  • $99 for Rainy Season Gutter Cleaning!
  • $99 for 2 Hours of Audio/Video Installation Services!
  • $80 for a Carbon Monoxide Detector Installation Including Labor and Materials!
  • $99 for 5 Hours of DEEP Holiday Housecleaning!
  • Save $9,000 on a Complete 9-Panel Solar System Installed!
  • $99 for a Complete FrontPoint Home Security System + 1 Month of Service!
  • $99 for Rainy Season Gutter Cleaning!
  • BLACK FRIDAY DEAL! TIME RUNNING OUT! $149 for Complete Mobile Auto Detailing - Great Holiday Gift Idea!
  • $79 for Laser Parking Assistant Protection System and Safety Inspection for Your Garage!
  • $149 for Complete Mobile Auto Detailing - Great Holiday Gift Idea!
  • $99 for a Complete FrontPoint Home Security System + 1 Month of Service!
  • $349 for Whole House Humidifier INSTALLED!
  • $1,499 for a Week of Home Improvement and Project Executing!
  • $97 for $200 Worth of Carpet Repair!
  • $69 for Drain Cleaning and Plumbing Inspection!
  • $349 for Whole House Humidifier INSTALLED!
  • $129 for Inside AND Outside Window Cleaning!
  • $97 for 2 Piece Upholstery Cleaning!
  • $39 for $80 Worth of Home or Auto Glass and Mirror Service!
  • $299 for an Outdoor Water Spigot Including Installation!
  • HURRY, THESE DEALS END SOON! $6,499 for a Complete New Roof with a Lifetime Warranty!
  • $299 for an Outdoor Water Spigot Including Installation!
  • $89 for Installation of Kitchen Faucet, Bathroom Vanity Faucet, Toilet Replacement OR Garbage Disposal!
  • $97 for $200 Worth of Carpet Repair!
  • $749 for 1,000 Sq. Ft. of R30 Blown-in Cellulose Attic Insulation!
  • $139 for Yard or Main Drain Line Camera Inspection and One Hour of Clean-out Labor!
  • $6,499 for a Complete New Roof with a Lifetime Warranty!
  • LAST CHANCE! $4,999 for Whole Home Electrical Re-Wiring!
  • $189 for Flat Panel TV Mounting INCLUDING Mount and Cables!
  • $199 for Your Choice of Roof Cleaning Options!
  • $4,999 for Whole Home Electrical Re-Wiring!
  • $39 for Windshield Chip Repair Inc. Wiper and Glass Inspection!
  • $125 to Install an Outside Electrical Box for your Holiday Lighting!
  • $299 for a Handyman for a Day!
  • $199 for a Painter for a Day!
  • $59 for Garage Door Tune-Up!
  • $125 to Install an Outside Electrical Box for your Holiday Lighting!
  • $59 for Garage Door Tune-Up!
  • $35 for a Plumbing Service Call!
  • $59 for Garage Door Tune-Up!
  • $749 for 1,000 Sq. Ft. of R30 Blown-in Cellulose Attic Insulation!
  • $9,999 for a Complete Kitchen Demolition & Remodel Including Labor AND Materials!
  • $79 for Spa or Hot Tub Draining and Cleaning Service!
  • $179 for Junk Removal Including Loading and Hauling!
  • $99 to Re-Screen up to Five Windows!
  • $69 for a 4-point Toilet Tune-up!
  • $779 for Ceramic Tile Flooring in Your Bathroom Including Demolition, Labor and Materials!
  • $139 for a Drain Cleaning, Hot Water Heater Flush & More!
  • $69 for an Early Bird Furnace Tune-Up!
  • $69 for a 4-point Toilet Tune-up!
  • $29 for Full Hour Massage and Chiropractic Exam & Treatment!
  • Ending Soon: Angie's List Holiday Deals!
  • Is cosmetic dentistry a specialty?
  • Your Angie's List gift memberships!
  • Do you need a physical?
  • Don't miss it! Angie's List holiday deals start at $7.50
  • Cyber Monday deals from Angie's List $7.50 and up!
  • Angie's List gift memberships just $20!
  • Is hydrotherapy right for your colon?
  • Help a professional who has helped you!
  • Angie's List has $20 gift memberships for the holidays!
  • Angie's List is checking in
 
Transcript of Automated Phone Solicitation for Member Reviews Received Twice Directly from Angie's List
 

Hi, this is Carissa calling from Angie's List. We recently began making phone calls to members who may have extremely valuable feedback to add to out list. We know you're busy, so our phone calls are specifically designed to make gathering your feedback as quick and easy as possible. We're sorry we missed you but we'll try calling you again within the next few days. Please remember that you can always give us a call back at 866-908-5478 or log on to angieslist.com and click submit a report. Thanks and have a great day.

 
The Bottom Line: Understand the Pros and Cons Before Joining
 

The main purposes of Angie's is to obtain consumers for Angie's to list to sell to businesses for direct marketing rather than provide useful consumer rating information. Consumers pay to access Angie's and therefore should not be converted into direct marketing solicitations. If these practices seem unethical, then do not join. If you can live with these practices, then consider joining.

 

All written content of this web site is solely the editorial opinion of Jeffrey Sward. All images, graphics, and written content of this web site, including the html files, are creative products covered by copyright law. All content copyright Jeffrey Sward 1975-2014. All rights reserved. No portion of this web site or its constituent elements may be reproduced in any form, by any means, without prior written permission. So there.