Should TrustedPros post reviews they know to be misleading?

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Posted by: from Winnipeg
9/29/2014 at 5:02:56 PM

We had a client wishing to completely renovate her kitchen (moving a doorway and relocating appliances) and 2 bathrooms (possibly moving walls and relocating fixtures). She had no plans or concepts and had not sourced or selected materials/fixtures. We explained to the client that detailed costing could not be provided until we knew what she wanted and that we could help her plan her renovation, but would require a small deposit to do so, after which a detailed contract could be provided. She agreed and provided the deposit. We also committed to do the job during the client's requested timeframe and turned down other work.

Over the following 6 weeks we corresponded with the client (over 50 emails), sourced materials and costs with suppliers, created plans and conceptual drawings, did site measures and took the client shopping to select cabinets, countertops, etc.

We advised the customer that we could now proceed to a contract and she requested we send her the plans/conceptual drawings. We sent them for her review while we proceeded to prepare the contract. The client then canceled the job (before seeing the contract) citing that she did not have enough details and asked for a refund. We did not refund her deposit nor bill her for the balance remaining.

She has since posted a negative review stating that her ratings are "artificial" as the renovation work was never done (and as TrustedPros review system requires a person to rate all "fields"). This review is still "pending" and I am in discussion with TP, although they have advised me that "as long as there was a contract or if a financial transaction took place, a consumer can rate and review a contractor". Regardless of the rating, this doesn't seem right.

Has anyone else experienced this? Advice?

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TrustedPros Inc. in Toronto
Date/Time9/29/2014 at 6:03:03 PM

Hi Robert,

Our policy regarding reviews are as follows:

A consumer that has hired a company by way of a financial transaction or signed contract to perform work on their property is entitled to post a review regarding their experience.

Within our rating system we have 6 criteria's listed:

- Quality of Work

- Timeliness

- Cleanliness

- Stayed on Budget

- Communication

- Courteous

Of these 6, three are mandatory and a rating must be provided for Timeliness, Communication and Courteous. If a consumer has hired a contractor but that contractor failed to begin the work or the contract was terminated by the client prior to the commencement of the work, that client is still entitled to submit their review however, the other 3 criteria would be ignored and not affect your overall rating for these particular conditions.

In the case of a consumer being victimized by a shady contractor that takes their deposit and runs or when a consumer hires a contractor as a 'consultant' for larger projects without the contractor actually getting physically involved in the renovations - both of these scenarios would meet our review guidelines and entitle the consumer to post their review - good or bad.

When a negative review is posted by your client a good approach is usually to post a reply and share your views with respect to the complaint. Prospective clients will not only judge you based on your positive reviews but also on how you deal with conflict.

If you feel the comments posted by your client are factually false and can provide us with documents to support your claim, contact us and provide valid proof about specific statements that are factually false. Signed contracts are typically accepted but we will review any documents or photographs you provide but, again, we will not remove, redact or editorialize reviews except where facts have been misstated.

Hope this helps. If not, let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. We're always open to your comments and suggestions and utilize your feedback to make TrustedPros a better tool for both consumers and business owners.

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Date/Time9/29/2014 at 6:19:16 PM

Hi. I am in Ontario. Yes we have had similar problems. And actually it can be very frustrating that the only recourse we have as paying contractors in TP is to spend even more time submitting a rebuttle in a not-so-good frame of mind.

But now I am very selective with who I do business with. I ask for more money up front for any running around, product sourcing etc. Otherwise I tell them they will save more money if the domit themselves and then we can price from there.

Don't know if this helps you at all, but want you to know, you are not alone. Don't bend over backwards for free to get a job -I never will again.

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Date/Time9/29/2014 at 7:04:11 PM

Hello Max,

I understand what you are saying, but the client did rate all 6 of your criteria. She also did not mention a single thing about all the work and planing that we did do for her... I would have no problem if she was rating that work, but she is painting a picture that we took a deposit and did nothing.

We are offended and resent the implication from the client and Trusted Pros that she has possibly been "victimized by a shady contractor that take their deposit and runs".

You have stated "If you feel the comments posted by your client are factually false and can provide us with documents to support your claim...." We have offered to provide TP with the 58 emails going back and forth with the client discussing her job, as well as another 26 emails with my suppliers locating product for her, also the 12 pages of plans for her kitchen and bathrooms which she received and now owns, and the dates spent meeting with the client, taking her shopping for product, and doing site measures. TP has not responded to this.

Bottom line is the review is very misleading!

And thank you Michael for taking the time to respond and let us know we are not alone.

We also take monies upfront for these services and now find ourselves in this position.

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TrustedPros Inc. in Toronto
Date/Time9/29/2014 at 7:47:45 PM

Hi Robert,

I was not implying that you were the 'shady contractor' but instead illustrating (in general) that it's not uncommon for consumers to be taken by shady contractors or for consumers to hire general contractors as 'consultants' in which case, not all of the 6 criteria's would apply to a review - good or bad.

Allow me to provide a few scenarios - Let's assume you're a consumer that hired contractor for a basement renovation and a deposit was given with an immediate start date. Over the next few weeks you struggled to make contact with the contractor and the job is delayed over and over again and you're unable to get the job started or collect your deposit. With no other possible recourse you decide to terminate the job and post a review on TrustedPros.

Or, let's assume your client has chosen to act as their own general contractor but hire you to consult on a major home addition. The services performed go beyond their expectations of your client post a review on TrustedPros.

In both of these scenarios, would you not want the review posted regardless if work was performed?

In the case that work was not actually performed and your client submits a rating for all 6 criteria - as in your case - if we approve the review, the criteria(s) not applicable to the job would be removed.

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Date/Time10/5/2014 at 11:14:22 AM

Hi Robert,

A couple of things from my stand point. First off I don't think it is necessarily all bad that we don't always get "perfect" reviews of our work. As a "shopper" I am always sceptical if some company is 100% in reviews. The second part I find is that managing expectations is sometimes the toughest part of our job; and no matter what happens clients will not be happy.

Since we have started requesting reviews for this site, I would say that most are "average reviews" then the highs and the lows balance themselves out for a decent rating. Of course the math dictates that the more reviews you have the less impact a positive or negative review will have.

As far as dealing with the negative review, I have only had one where I felt it was necessary to respond. I explained through the rebuttal post of what we did and how it was resolved. In the end the rating did not change and I still got screwed out of the payment. It got settled when I sent it to collections; not the point really of the post.

I agree with the notion that by rebutting it helps show potential clients how you deal with a conflict and managing client's expectations. The rating systems is a double-edged sword and it take some on-going maintenance if you want it to work for you.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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