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Angie’s List Review – Find Trusted Services in Your Area

By Sally Aquire

angie's list reviewHave you ever had a nightmare with a contractor, mechanic, or dentist? I’m sure we’ve all had a bad experience at some point in our lives, and it’s probably because you picked someone random, rather than from a referral. If you’re planning to spend a sizable amount of money on things like home repairs, home improvements or medical expenses, you’ll want to know that you’re not wasting your hard-earned cash.

Angie’s List was created with this in mind, and features reports and ratings from consumers who have used the service providers that they are reviewing to let others know if they should trust them. Because it’s not a free service, let’s take a more in-depth look at how it works so that you can assess whether it’s worth the expense.

Try Angie's List!

Advantages

Service providers with high ratings can advertise through discounts
Because being able to advertise through discounts is considered to be a privilege, only service providers who average A or B ratings from Angie’s List members are given this opportunity. If any service provider sees their average rating fall below a “B,” this privilege is taken away.

Service providers can’t pay for good publicity
Although non-members can submit reports, only members can submit gradings and have an effect on the average grading of service companies, and there are procedures in place to ensure that service providers can’t sign up for an account with the intention to making themselves look better. These procedures have been given the thumbs-up by BPA Worldwide. Likewise, service providers can’t pay to be displayed at the top of search listings.

No anonymous reviews
Even non-members don’t have the luxury of being able to post reviews without giving their identity. This makes it less likely that fake reviews will be posted, especially alongside the paid membership.

Live support
Live representatives are available on the phone if you run into problems or have any questions while using the site. The number for the call center is toll-free. If you’re not sure whether there will be enough reviews for your area to make the membership fees worthwhile, you can call and ask.

Disadvantages

It’s not free
To use Angie’s List, you’ll need to sign up for a monthly or annual membership plan. Aside from the phrase “Angie’s List is better than free review sites” on the How It Works page, the fact that this was a paid service wasn’t made immediately obvious. It was only when I clicked on the Join page and started the registration process that I was made fully aware that I’d have to pay to use the service.

The cost varies depending on where you live, but you can expect to pay a bit more if you live in a big city. You can save money by becoming a member for multiple years (1 year or more) but it all depends on how much you’ll use the website. On top of the monthly or annual membership fee, there is also a one-time activation fee of $15. This is only due once, assuming that you don’t cancel your membership and sign up again at a later date.

Frequent communication
Initially, I opted not to continue with the registration process when it was confirmed that I’d need to sign up for a paid membership plan. A couple of hours after clicking off the site, I received emails prompting me to sign up. I did decide to do this later, but I found this irritating.

Once I was signed up, I did a couple of searches to see what was being offered, but I didn’t make contact with any of the service providers that I came across.  Not long after, I received some emails asking if I’d been happy with the service providers, which also encouraged me to post a review of their services. I didn’t do this, because I hadn’t actually used the service providers in question and had only used them to get a feel for the site.

A Google search for Angie’s List revealed that other members have actually been called with similar questions, which I find interesting, because I’m no fan of unsolicited calls. As far as I can tell, this kind of communication is perfectly acceptable under the terms and conditions when you sign up, but it feels disconcerting that your searches and activity are so heavily tracked, though I suppose this is partly necessary for the success of the site and its members’ participation.

Final Thoughts

If you live in a big metro area, you’ll probably find plenty of reviews to help you make informed decisions. If you live in a smaller area, the number of reviews is likely to be much less and there may not be enough information to help you. If you’re someone who doesn’t undertake a lot of home repairs and home improvements and tends to see the same doctors and dentists on a regular basis, I’m not sure that an annual membership would be very cost-effective, particularly if reviews are sparse for your area. Because of this, free alternatives like Yelp may be the better option for you.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be needing to do lots of research into companies in these kind of areas, you’re going to get better value for your money. There doesn’t seem to be any option for a free trial to test how useful it might be so if you’re not sure, you might be better off trying free competitors like Yelp or Craigslist before you decide to take the plunge. Just keep in mind that those may not be as reliable and geuine as Angie’s List.

Join Angie’s List to find high quality contractors, service companies and doctors in your area. (Official Site)

Try Angie's List!

Sally Aquire
Sally is a UK-based freelance writer. As well as personal finance, she also writes on health & beauty and lifestyle topics. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, shopping, hanging out with friends and generally making the most of her downtime!

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Comments

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  • http://www.yourfinances101.com/blog David/yourfinances101

    I would imagine that before long this site will be rivaling Craigs List in popularity.

    It is being marketed heavily and it seems like it offers a quality service.

    • Karmella

      I’d be surprised if that happened – it’s been around for some time and it’s nowhere near as popular as Craigslist. Apples to oranges anyway, I suppose.

      I have heard about those follow up emails and calls – that is kind of creepy and I would hate to be paying for that!

  • http://www.ferreemoney.mobi/ James Neil

    Considering that less than 1% of the websites on the Net render well (if at all) on an iPhone and mobile search is experiencing double digit growth, I suspect more of Angie’s List members will be using their iPhone and Android to search for and find a quality contractor to hire.

  • withheld

    read all of the horrible complaints about angie’s list and how they take advantage of businesses as well as their own members. Come on…there are many wonderful FREE services that tell you about a company. You do not have to pay to be a member. They contacted our company and lied in recorded phone calls, making all sort of false and misleading claims and promises. Thankfully we caught on to them before we threw $700.00 a month in advertising to them. Angie’s list is a scam no matter how you look at it. They profit from editing reviews posted by their members and make promises of business they simply can not make or keep. They swindle thousands of dollars from business owners and then they wonder why so many people close their accounts and never use them. Our company has actually distributed “warning” flyers in the Indianapolis and surrounding areas warning home and business owners of our story and why they should keep their distance. Also, if you scan through the internet for reviews and complaints, not only will you see horror stories similar to ours, you will see employees of the company try to post fake reviews and comments. I have a friend who use to work for the company and she warned me of how shady they are and even quit working for them because of their business ethics and practices. They do not have a good reputation in Indiana, I guess Hoosiers caught on to their scam a long time ago…..I just hope the rest of the country finds out soon and does not learn the hard way!

  • Kira

    If you are an old customer, make sure to log out and check the new member prices before you renew.. they wanted $227 for 4 years as a renewal and $58 for 4 years as a new member in my area. I think that is really cruddy for those customers who have been with them for years. No brainer there, just sign up with a new email address! :)

  • guest

    ANGIE’S LIST IS A RIPOFF! AVOID IT!

    I wanted handymen ratings. The only way to find out if Angie’s list was useful was to subscribe for a month. The stated 1 month subscription fee was $3.50, payment for which I authorized via Paypal, but I found I was charged $6.50. I found that the number of ratings present in my area made its usefulness somewhat marginal. Depending on your needs and area, it may or may not turn out to be at all useful. Although I thought $3.50 was a bit to find this out, I was willing to do this. After finding out it wasn’t useful to me I didn’t access again. Then, I found, in addition to the $6.50 charge, they had been charging my Paypal account $3.50 for several months for a “resubscription” I had neither authorized nor was aware of. No doubt they had “fine print” somewhere, where you “agreed” to this practice, but if so it certainly wasn’t conspicuous. BEWARE! This is a sleazy operation without ethics! Any organization that operates by principles like this is probably not one you want to be associated with! You’ll do just as well or better with BBB and free internet resources. Don’t get sucked into a sleazy scam like this one.

  • Watersj

    Angies List is not what it is made out to be. I signed up but because I wanted to be able to get “unbiased reviews” about contractors and other swervices I might use. Problem is I live in a small rural town and there are not many companies in my area. So when I go to look up a “Foundation Repair” specialist, I cannot get the review on the comapny because they are outside of my 50 mile radius. If I want a review on them I have to pay another fee to access companies in a different zipcode. The 2 companies I needed reviews on are both in different cities, so I would have had to pay for access to both of their zip code areas. Kind of a scam if you ask me. Don’t bother.

  • PDX

    I did not get value from Angie’s List (AL). I seldom used it, and when I did once, a service provider did not give me the promised discount. I paid much more for it due to automatically recurring payments from my credit card. Cancelling was purposefully difficult. There was no button for it beside the FAQ link saying it was a type of contact. When I tried to write a cancellation message, I was automatically put through to a live chat saleswoman online who tried to keep me on. After twice requesting a cancellation of my subscription, I had to threaten to complain before she “allowed” me to stop being charged.

    I do not know whether AL unfairly profits from its recommendations as some believe. Assuming it’s legitimate, I suggest staying on only when you need it and be prepared for a hassle when you cancel.

    Is the company a scam? Maybe not. But they sure weren’t the value they hype themselves as.

  • Tru

    Can I say how creepy I find Angie’s List? I think the whole concept is great – a list of recommended service providers and even coupons offered from some of the vendors and if that’s all they did, fine, but..
    They not only called to find out how I liked the service I searched for (all I did was do a casual search and read some information on some of the vendors I decided not to use). God forbid if you want any privacy in your searches.
    Then, she asked how I found the ones I used. I told her Google and then she wanted to know who I used and all the information about them.
    Then she wanted me to rate them when they’re not even on Angie’s List.

    I find it a terrible invasion of my privacy and I don’t think they should ask for ratings on vendors we’re not recommending or suggesting. It isn’t their job to police the world – just to offer people a positive vendor’s list.

    Yuck……..the whole thing turned me way off to Angie’s List and I’m going to start spreading that word.

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