Can you rely on internet rating services like Angie’s List to get the best info on local vendors and contractors?
A national consumer group, the Consumer Federation of America, has some major concerns you need to know.
From the CFA:
- Angie’s List is subject to conflicts of interest because it is supported almost entirely by payments from the businesses it evaluates. · A large majority of businesses rated on Angie’s List are given the same “A” rating, making it difficult for consumers actually to identify the best businesses.
- A number of businesses with fewer than five consumer reviews, some with only one review, receive an “A” grade.
- There is circumstantial evidence that some businesses have engineered the submission of fake reviews.
- Angie’s List does not provide reliable information, based on actual price shopping, about which businesses charge the lowest prices.
- Businesses that advertise on Angie’s List have advantages over non-advertisers in listing placements, characterization, and ability to have negative reviews deleted.
- Only those businesses that pay to advertise on Angie’s list are recommended as “top-rated pros.”
- Advertisers are always listed first on those pages listing all businesses providing a specific type of service.
- Advertisers are given information about consumer users in order to market directly to these consumers, and some of these businesses do so immediately through phone calls and/or emails.
Check it all out at: Angie’s List: An Evaluation of Its Usefulness for Consumers