Ripped off By Service Magic AKA Home Advisor and

These companies specialize in lead generation for contractors. They will send you any old lead even if all the contact information is false. As for me I sold 1 job with each company. Almost every lead Ive got from each company was a bogus lead. It takes me hours on the phone of arguing that the lead is fake (none of the contact info adds up) they tell me they will take care of it and then they bill me for it. Ive contacted the BBB as well as the FTC. Right now Im looking into a claim with the small claims court. If anyone out there has any other information that would be useful in going about this matter, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much. Also everyone out there make sure you stay away from Service Magic (who just changed their name to Home Advisor) and Both of these entities have deceived me and wrongfully taken my money. Dont let it happen to you!
  42 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 06, 2013
    Another one out there is "" The www is crawling with some of these companies...Total scammers. Before 1 single penny is spent you should always do your research.. Rippoff report and the BBB are good places to start.
  • So changing their name didn't mean they changed their practices - shocking The best advice I can give you besides reviewing the TOS you signed is to search the contractor forums for similar issues & pull a search on the company with the word scam, etc... Shoot there might even be a class action suit by now & if not all you guys who have gotten taken should seriously consider seeing what it would take One other thing you need to check (and keep on checking) is googling your company name as they are famous also for creating splash pages with your info except for with their phone number
  • Almost all lead generation companies have the same issues. How to generate quality leads and get paid in the process. There are a few facts about them. 1 most use a lead generation system that is shared among many other companies. Sort of a wholesaler of sorts. These lead generation wholesalers then re-sell the names of the clients, without even knowing if the lead is valid or not to companies such as Service Magic, etc. In addition this is why many of the leads provided are such poor quality. I know this first hand as I was involved with as a sales contact to contractors when they first started out and I handed all the complaint calls as well as signed them up. The bottom line is this type of service always works well when they first start out. Your not competing against hundreds of contractors who have yet to sign up for the service and the company has time to review each lead to see if its bogus or not. As they begin to grow they start cutting corners figuring it would be easier to simply credit the contractor back if they cannot make contact with the client then them having to do it in the beginning. When I was first involved with Service Magic back in the early 90's I had more work then I could handle in a day. As they began to sign up more and more contractors, I noticed that my leads not only became harder to get, but the quality of them went down hill. When that began I started looking more closely into why that was happening. And a few things began to show up. The leads that were generated late night turned out to be the worse ones. I figured that these were the people that had nothing to do other then to sit in their underwear and see what kind of prices they would get for that addition etc by filling out a form. What they were not told when signing up for this was that contractors would be calling them to do a price quote. They simply figure that a price would be delivered via an email. But these were the late night tire kickers who did not know we had to pay to get their name and were not really interested in having the work done in the first place. The 2nd thing I noticed was where the leads were being generated from. Zip codes in my area are very reveling. There are some communities who spend money and others who you cannot pry a dollar out of their hands. And more often then not I would pass on the leads from that one zip as I knew from experience that the chance of me getting any work out of those areas was not worth the gamble for the cost of the lead. Good luck on getting any satisfaction from them. There are hundreds and thousands of contractors who fall into this same trap that try to get somewhere by suing them. Their service agreement with you is a tough one to break through and at what cost? Unless you can get a lawyer willing to do this pro-Bono I doubt you will have any luck getting anything other then your few dollars you spent on a bogus lead. But I feel your pain brother. It is hard enough to generate work these days only to have someone who you think will be able to help you only to turn out they are ripping you off at the same time in the process.
    • Tim22945461 Tim22945461 on Apr 29, 2017

      Exactly my expierance to the T, Thy start off good then they clean out your bank account so you will give up on them

  • Stone-Crete Artistry Stone-Crete Artistry on Jan 06, 2013
    I got a buddy that got raped by them. Sad....he was just trying to get his biz started. Even the bbb is a freakn joke. If you got the money to give the bbb...then awe yea....your good to go
    • Tim22945461 Tim22945461 on Apr 29, 2017

      Even BBB now , Uses Playtapus to sell positions on page. But at least they dont send fake leads ,,, Thats why you only get a few a year from BBB

  • Your correct on the BBB, All you need to do is join them pay a few bucks and you have a AAA rating. This is how all the water proofing companies as an example always have a great rating when most of them are sued out of business in only a few short years. They change one letter in their name, re-up with BBB and they are good to go once again.
  • Southern Trillium LLC Southern Trillium LLC on Jan 06, 2013
    Service Magic has called me for the past few years on a routine basis trying to get my business. I tell them every time that I am not interested. Within a few months, they call again, and I always say no.
  • N C N C on Jan 29, 2013
    I'm just the average home owner. As I read this, one of my thoughts (besides how pathetic these so called companies are for changing a letter etc.) why pay for that service when you could advertise or send flyers or use some other form of generating a lead. Probably easier said than done right? I worked for an Insurance company who promised leads for the sales staff. Well, leads were provided, but all the lead staff did was recycle them from previous years. It was so frustrating from all sides. The customers were irrate, and rightfully so. The lead staff was lazy but also very frustrated as they were not trained properly. Sales staff was spending valuable time on useless leads, suffering irrate customers, suffering sales managers, who suffered district managers, who suffered vice presidents, etc. Word of mouth was the best referral, which brings me to the next part. I had a couple guys finish my cellar. They were local, not insured at the time,but I knew of them and their work was good. I have not been able to have them comeback to do more work, because they are so busy. It was word of mouth and they cut their price a bit. Not by thousands but a few hundred. Now they are insured and licensed, and making a decent living. I also had a proffesional landscaper redesign my yard. It turned out beautiful, better than I expected. He asked me if he could use me as a referral. I received many inquiries regarding his work. I got many many calls. Which showed he was looking to increase his business. But,I know I was a part of his ability to continue in his business. He is still in business today, even when the economy is as bad as it is. I feel like Im rambling on, but, felt like sharing my experience of getting and giving referrals. Wish you all good luck.
  • Tar282689 Tar282689 on Jan 12, 2014
    I was a member of home advisor they are a scam, people i got a hold of told me they were recieving free gifts like ringtones, internet browser upgrades shoes and more check out i swear they are paying people to take surveys!!!!
  • David Tee David Tee on Feb 15, 2014
    Home Advisor called me too and I said, I’ll think about joining,…Hell NO!!! Thanks for all the info.
  • 123 Remodeling 123 Remodeling on May 02, 2014
    All these services are bogus, we are small remodeling company in Chicago and source all our leads thru, referrals via friends and family first we would rather offer what these services charge to friends and family that provide us referrals. 2 - A good website with quality photos of the projects and good details about it. Showcase your projects across the web, social media, pinterest, houzz, porch, hometalk, buildzoom. 3 - Create a good review program that allows your customers to easily provide you reviews. 4 - Setup a good CRM - many online ones work well for contractors Watch your leads start pouring in from jobs between $5000 and $20000. In the end its up to you what jobs you want to tackle. Feel free to browse our website and photo galleries as examples -
    • Yair Spolter Yair Spolter on May 08, 2014
      @123 Remodeling This is some great information for pros. I noticed you guys also have an active blog. How do you feel that plays a role in your marketing efforts?
  • You hit the nail on the head targ! Do a search and you can find a job contacting all these lead generation services and get PAID for it.
  • HonestAbe HonestAbe on Jul 08, 2014
    CONTRACTORS BEWARE !!!!...HomeAdvisor used to be called Service Magic, and back then I figured out their little scheme right away...but I see that they changed their name...probably due to complaints. But yeah - they charge you regardless of whether you respond to a quote request or not - and every time your name appears on a list. What a freaking rip off !!!
  • HonestAbe HonestAbe on Jul 08, 2014
  • Dur371762 Dur371762 on Jul 14, 2014
    scammed me also! i got leads that didnt even exist! hello ABCnews!
  • Ed C Ed C on Aug 20, 2014
    I'm another victim of HomeAdvisors scams! I hope the major networks get wind of these losers AND I hope they get sued so bad they go out of business. Oh wait! They'll just change their name again. Contractors BEWARE of this type of service. Hey HomeAdvisor...I have an awesome name for your next rip-off scheme..."EAT MY $#*!"... ROFLMAO!
  • George home service George home service on Sep 05, 2014
    Home advisor is a total scam!! very very disappointed. We are a small business in Aurora IL that offer handy man and carpet services. If anyone out there could recommend me good and serious lead generating sites or companies it will be greatly appreciated!
    • See 1 previous
    • John C Hanley John C Hanley on Jun 06, 2017

      Reply to George home service...Its my experience in the handyman biz that following the sales/rental market as my target market has had the best results.

      It wouldn't hurt your carpet cleaning biz either.

      Believe it or not.

      Moving companies use third party services

      as do real estate agents and property managers.

      Think about it, for a sec;

      every time someone vacated a residence, it opens the door for someone else to vacate theirs, to move in.

      I'm the front side;

      the people moving out are moving into a vacant residence.

      Somebody moved there as well.

      It's self perpetuating lead generation

      I'm not sell anything...

      My buisness is long established and it's 80% referrals now.

      Just thought I'd share w/ u

  • I don't think there is one George! I have heard of a couple of small remodeling companies, that do handyman services, have done okay w/ angies list. I wouldn't do it myself. The best thing you can do is get your company listed on as many free directories listings as possible. From what I understand, DMOZ is tied to most directories. Don't forget Zillow also. Homeowners & agents are always looking for handymen (and women).
  • @george home service I agree, If you market the real-estate offices for home prep before sale and after you can get quite a lot of work. Also your own web site with reviews of past clients goes a long way to help you out. Only thing these sites do is generate money for themselves. Also being on Home Talk will help. Respond to peoples posts and get to know some of them, your ranking in Google will go up and you will be amazed on what transpires as a result. My other business that I do not talk much about here is called The Home Care Club is my web site. This is where I market to the real-estate agents, attorneys and clients.
  • Ahmad Fladger Ahmad Fladger on Sep 22, 2014
    I welcome and challenge any Contractor to give Rampart an opportunity to prove that all lead generation companies aren't self centered, greedy, and a waste of valuable time. Rampart leads are guaranteed. I can say this because our leads are all derived from our Homeowner member base. These aren't passerby Homeowners just trying to get information. Our Homeowner members are serious about getting work done!
  • Allan Allan on Sep 26, 2014
    Ive spent thousands on this and finally turned it off.People who seek contractors through this dont realize they are setting wheels in motion and that each phone call they got was from someone who paid for it.Nothing is free!The high pressure sales stuff has infiltrated our business and unfortunately homeowners think everything is negotiable. Contractors -forget about getting bigger,the suppliers and others get rich while you sweat through it all as thye margins get lower. Go back to the basics,do what you do well and at a PROFIT!
  • Ahmad Fladger Ahmad Fladger on Sep 29, 2014
    The problem with lead generation isnt the competitiveness of multiple contractors getting a lead (1-4 any more than that is ridiculous) because homeowners have been cultivated to receive multiple estimates. So you cant stop that. The main problem with lead generation companies is they dont work in tandem with contractors as a team to accomplish the ultimate goal which is to win jobs!
  • We have a small remodel business in Oregon and are interested in leads, and I get contacted every week by someone wanting to sell us search engine results, leads, advertising or whatever. The only one that has been cost effective is FriendsTrusted, a cell phone app, and they only charge for giving you a phone number after you have had blind conversations (texts or emails) with the customer and come to some understanding of the job and the cost. Even then the cost is low. To be honest we just got started, and I have not received any work from them yet, but I have not paid a nickel for the service either. Time will tell :-)
  • JY JY on Oct 10, 2014
    SCAM! My brother is a contractor, he received a call from a sales rep who told him that he will send him leads and if the lead turned into a job, Homeadvisor will charge him for it. He paid $80 for a sign up fee and started getting emails with leads. Within two weeks, he realized that they arecharging his account over $300 for the leads which by the way had non working numbers or people didn't answer or didn't want any job done... We called them, cancelled our account and asked for a refund on the leads. The lady on the phone absolutely refused to help out saying that these are their services, their buisness , model and they will only refund money if the phone number doesn't work. The refunded money will go into the homeadvisor account and NOT to the customers credit card account. I asked if there is a supervisor I could talk to and she would only give me his email. Tried calling the sales person who sold me this scam and he hung up on me immediately and would not pick up again. Seriously what a scam this is. I can't believe the law of our land lets such aholes do this BS to honest hard working people. If anyone has an advice on how to stop these fools please do so! Luckily, we called our credit card company and they accepted to refund me the $300 but not the $80 sign up fee which is understandable. Bottom line is this company is a FRAUD!
    • Joe Joe on Aug 28, 2019

      Hopefully he requested a credit for those leads like you are able to do! They only get your number when you put in a request for work that takes like 10 minutes online. There isn’t this random database they pull fake numbers from like you’re saying, your brother probably just sucked at calling people back right away so they weren’t answering him.

  • Home Advisor does not charge a fee to join. Might want to look into that as well.
    • See 1 previous
    • Lin725685 Lin725685 on Oct 27, 2014
      Are you kidding me? They do too. I got out 2 days after "Brent" signed me up. I have been contracting for 40 years and fell for the scam under Service Magic. Got out fast then. It was 2003. Look at all the past reviews ex H.A. employees have written. This is a scam company. I do speak the truth. "The drywall guy"
  • Ahmad Fladger Ahmad Fladger on Oct 12, 2014
    Well i checked the other day and home advisor does charge to sign up. But that could be different for other contractors. Personally I've heard too many horror stories about home advisor to seriously consider them.
  • Wes969633 Wes969633 on Dec 18, 2014
    The lead issue is simple. You don't pay a lead fee unless you get the job! SIMPLE! You take the whole fake lead/ the company paying people to set up leads out of the equation! So I will start a network that only charges contractors if you get the job! And Contractors across the board need to charge customers for estimates! Woodbridge you are not being honest. If you signed up with Home Advisor you paid $288.00 and agreed to $57.00 lead fees regardless of job status!
  • Tom Psillas Tom Psillas on Jan 30, 2015
    If Lead generation companies depended on getting paid when a cobtractors sells a job, they would all go broke. Not all contractors do good work. Not all contractors are honest. Paying for leads works, like the old fashioned Yellow pages. You sell 1 out of 12 on average. Weezoo has a cherry picking system for contractors to pick what they want. A home owner that fills out a complete request, is more serious than a homeowner just typing in mimmum information. The problem with Home Advisor is they biuy leads from other lead generators. Thumbtack is ok, except most homeowners do not ;provie contact info and hide behind the system. Weezoo is similar to Thumbtack, but you get all comtact info omn a lead. AngiesList is a joke because most people are not going to pay to read reviews. You get those free on numerous other sites for free.
    • See 1 previous
    • Joe Joe on Aug 28, 2019

      But Home Advisor gets their leads from their own website when people go on and fill out an application? I just did it for my tree to get cut down last week. Got called by one guy, gave him the job. A couple days later another guy called me and I said he was too late. You want to win jobs; you gotta call people

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 31, 2015
    Is there no government agency such as Corporate or Consumer Affairs that can be contacted. These outfits should be shut down. Think the best advertising is word of mouth. The rub is getting that first job and having the homeowner spread the word. Have managed over the years to get a good contractor "group". The electrician did an amazing job and, when I asked, recommended other trades. None of them want their name sullied by referring someone who won't do a good job. In turn, have recommended them to a lot of friends and acquaintances. Have given them a lot of work renovating two houses, maintenance, etc. My other advice is to take what is a "small" job a homeowner is having a hard time getting done - down the road there will be a big one and you'll be the one who gets called.
  • Raymond Davis Raymond Davis on Mar 02, 2015
    HomeAdvisor worked for me for years until recently. After the crash of '08 they kept me alive. BUT, in the past 6 months at least 4 out of 5 have been bogus leads, price lookers, people looking at the site etc. Sure, after you provide proof, and end up calling because the online request doesn't give the correct options, the give you 'credit' that is supposed to be applied to the next one....and guess what within a short time you get a couple of hits...look at your weekly bill and you was charged for every single one. Now I find that half of the search engines pages have bogus local numbers that takes them to HomeAdvisor and many of them you have to pay companies like YELP to get them fixed! Look out that means that they get free advertisement under your company name.
  • Ana Torres Ana Torres on Apr 27, 2015
    I'd like to add about my experience with Home Advisor . I wanted to look for a certified Handyman in my area, so I subscribed to their much advertised service, and started chatting with their CS Rep. Their first question was if I was a homeowner. I said no, that I was a renter, but that I did not trust the guy the homeowner brought for repairs, as he was always asking stupid questions about my place, and that my landlady would eventually approve my repairs. But they continued setting pretexts. I had a welcome email in my mailbox. I replied that that was a hypocrisy. They answered back with the usual "Sorry" babble, reaffirming the CS Rep stupid speech. In conclusion, I might want to go to the nearby Home Depot to find someone who can give me an estimate of the job in person, because Home Advisor is visibly a scam and they are after the credit card of homeowners...By the way, any suggestions to repair the electricity in my small kitchen? A surge left me without electricity!
  • Corey Edwards Corey Edwards on Nov 13, 2015
    Thank you very much for presenting this. They are currently calling me now.
  • Donna Donna on Aug 05, 2016
    Best way of marketing is to use previous clients... upload review video and that is the word of mouth we are looking for on the internet...
  • Veronica Dario Veronica Dario on Nov 18, 2016
    Class action lawsuit has been filed.
  • Hard workerf Hard workerf on Dec 08, 2016

    yes i use home advisor and if you put your spending target say at 300.00 per month they will send 20 leads but 15 leads will be wrong or you can't get in toch with customer and they chargenyounany way because they sell the information not the person. also they don't veryfy any of the information before sending it to you. free to customer but cost to contractor for every lead good or bad and mostly bad. I have tried everything to get this corrected but no luck yet

  • Marc Mosello Marc Mosello on Dec 12, 2016

    Home Advisor aka Service Illusion calls me from time to time to apologize(because that makes it ok that they ripped me off) They get me on the phone and tell me they have changed their ways. (I highly doubt that) I told them if they want to do business with me again they will give me a $1500.00 They decline every time. Most of the customers Ive met with are usually not the customers Im looking to work for anyway. Most are just shopping around trying to find the lowest bidder. In the end, dealing with them cost me money, aggravation and ultimately wasted my time. Contractors beware! Home owners need to smarten up. Home Advisor aka Service Illusion isn't doing anything anything for you that you cant do yourself. If your looking to hire a contractor: Ask you friends and family if anyone knows someone. Do a google search for the local contractors. Pick 3 of them. Meet all 3 and get estimates from each one. compare all estimates and pick one. its that simple! these lead generation services suck the blood of us honest hard working perfectionists.

  • Tony Tony on Mar 03, 2017


  • Mark Mark on Mar 23, 2017

    yes.. they have sent hundreds of leads to me not knowing i would have to pay for each lead.. they used my credit card and maxed it out in a month without my permission! then went to my debit card...i now they are trying to bill me for the rest that they couldn't get out of my cards .. i am not paying!!!just waiting to see what happens next... Mark's Landscaping

    • Tim22945461 Tim22945461 on Apr 29, 2017

      Same here , When I started getting them a gift card to pay bill where they couldn't drain entire account the leads went fro 80% fake to 100%

  • Tim22945461 Tim22945461 on Apr 29, 2017

    Angies list for 900.00 a month?? Fake leads there??

  • Mar28488530 Mar28488530 on Jul 28, 2017

    Just my two cents, but if you want leads then you should hire a digital marketing company that creates new leads for your company. I run my own digital marketing company out of NC and I can tell you there are alot of scams out there. Never pay per lead as you never know where they come from. You can check out my blog at and ask me any questions.

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  • Devon Eddy Devon Eddy on May 29, 2018

    Seeing all these unhappy business owners working with HomeAdvisor really reinforces my belief that lead generation companies should be changing how they charge for the business they generate...

    This is exactly why we started LeadsForward We build lead generating websites in specific local markets and only CHARGE PER CLOSED SALE on customers.. We get paid when you get paid. To us this makes a lot more sense in terms of effectively scaling a business.

  • William Hilton William Hilton on Feb 16, 2019

    Let me tell you I have tried Thumbtack =extreamly overpriced

    Angie's list = way to many marketing calls to get the job .

    Porch = NOTHING they give you a free $100 dollars to purchase leads and I tried to call the customer and text but no one ever would answer so that sums up the last year of my life.