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Bad experience with Homestars.com! Has anyone else used them?

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Posted by: from Toronto
5/23/2012 at 12:36:48 PM

Last year we used homestars.com to find a contractor for our basement renovation. The contractor we selected had dozens of glowing 10 star reviews from previous clients. Their reviews played a major factor in our decision to hire them. After weeks of delays, broken promises and poor workmanship we decided to dig a little deeper. We found out two very important things - 1. This company was not properly insured and 2. Most of the reviews on their homestars.com profile was bogus and posted by friends, wives of owners and employees or other family members.

We should have realized something wasn't right with them having dozens of reviews with all 10 star ratings. I don't care how great you are but when you get over 30 reviews you would expect at least one or two 8's or 9's. I'm sure this is not the case for many of the contractors listed with their site and great ones are available. I guess we just had wicked luck choosing one of the bad apples. Like so many other sites I realize that this site handycanadian.com also provides reviews. I am now a little suspicious of any site offering reviews but I hope they're learning from the mistakes of others.

I'm not blaming homestars completely for this as we should have dug a little deeper from the beginning however they should have done a little more digging themselves before releasing the reviews. I tried contacting homestars about this and got very vague and generic responses. I posted a review to the contractors account and it was never approved. If you're site is based on the premise of 'Reviews' you should at least allow real reviews to be posted along with the bevy of fake ones!

I have read similar experiences on other sites regarding homestars.com and just wanted to get some feedback from others that may have used them as well. And to all you honest and trustworthy contractors out there - beyond the obvious options, is there anything specific we as homeowners can do avoid being misled by review sites like homestars.com and unscrupulous contractors?

REPLIES (73)
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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time5/23/2012 at 3:37:26 PM

Martha,

Like any web site now-a-days, nothing is 100% as it appears. All you have to do is create 20 new email addresses and signup on the site to post reviews, just like this site. No site is perfect but I agree all can be abused.

I personally have hired people and discussed jobs, asked for references and spoke about web sites, 50% of those on the web sites claimed they could not provide me with jobs I could see and people I could talk to, they said "read my reviews, you'll see"... until I told them about how anyone can write reviews, it is not rocket science to fake email addresses and identity. Kind of like a dating site.. haha, shortly after I never heard back form them.

At any rate, I have heard negatives about most web sites in this manner, truth is, it is still our job as contractor (and a customer) to screen and rely on people who are physically in public eye and able to back up their credentials. Honesty goes a long way and I hate those who are ruining it for other honest companies running proper businesses.

The BBB is still active and should be consulted. Word of mouth is also very valuable.

I just lost a $1000 job because the client said he would not give me a deposit, I felt if he covered materials at least we could work together, he felt I would steal from him. Truth is that trust is still fragile in todays economy and people like yourself have a right to be concerned about who is legit and who is not.

Good luck.

Electrilight

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Date/Time5/23/2012 at 9:29:30 PM

Your right reviews can be faked. The real benifit is the negative ones, no one fakes those, and tells you to stay away from that contractor. Even referances can't be relied on 100%, as even the worst contractor has done 3 good jobs in his life.

The BBB is still reliable and unbiased. Other than that and the normal checks, TRUST YOUR GUT, if you get a bad feeling walk away. There are a lot of contractors out there to choose from.

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Wanda in Mississauga
Date/Time5/23/2012 at 10:38:03 PM

I can't comment on the homestars topic but I do find it funny how both of the responses above mention the BBB as a reliable source. The BBB is completely biased and always sides with paying members. Good luck to any consumer's complaint going public if it's submitted against a paying BBB member.

The BBB wants their membership dues and know it won't happen if they allow complaints to go public and affect they're members A+ grade.

The BBB is a dinosaur and should not be used as a source for screening any company. Be diligent in your research - verify all information and credentials and like James said always trust your gut.

It is a shame that there are so many jerks out there that create such a bad reputation for other honest and hardworking individuals. I give a lot of credit to the good contractors out there that constantly have to bend over backwards to prove their worthiness to consumers because other pinheads have tarnished their industry so much that no one hardly ever trusts them.

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Date/Time5/23/2012 at 11:05:15 PM

Weird how similar post against HandyCanadian is on Homstars.

Homestars and HandyCanadian are only tools for you to use to find contractors for you to screen them.

WOW, kind of crazy allegations to blame on an open forum which is to be used as a guide to find someone to do the work. Serge, Martha, ( Martha is the name used on HandyCanadian to slander homestars)

This site, as Handycanadian are only tools to be used in a someone's search to find a contractor, this site is not responsible for the contractor or their actions. If you have a bad experience from a contractor YOU CHOSE, that's 110% your fault. Homestars or HandyCanadian did not tell you that you had to use the contractor. In fact, both websites are here to help protect customers. Another quick thing to think about, is that if said contractor has nothing but great reviews, and your the only one with a bad experience, did the thought that your're wrong cross your mind? I find it odd that everyone else is crazy, and you're the only smart one'. Everyone else has no clue, but you do?

I am a member of both sites, I carry over 2 million in liability insurance, I'm fully up to date on my WSIB, but I will not post it freely, instead, I have contact information ready for a customer when I show up for an estimate. If a customer wants to pay 'cash' then that's their choice, it's their money and their home. I will not do anything illegal, or cut corners, cash makes no difference to my standards. The only thing cash does for me is give a 5% discount so that a customer isn't paying credit processing fee's.

Again this site is only a tool, just like a pair of vise grips in a tool box. You wouldn't use them to turn a brass fitting, but you could'. If you're really careful you won't damage the bras fitting by using vise grips, but if you do damage that fitting by using the vise grips instead of the proper wrench, there's no one to blame except yourself. It's not the company's problem you used the wrong tool, it's not the manufacturer of the brass fitting fault. It's yours.

We contractors have bad clients too, but we deal and some of do our best to make the best out of a bad situation. We don't have the forum or tools to warn other contractors, and if we did, we'd loose a massive amount of business. But a customer can say whatever they like about us the contractors without harm. What do we do when we have a non paying customer? Especially the ones who acknowledge the work is done right and they are happy but then turn around and either try to renegotiate the deal, of totally out right stiff us. YES it happens, especially if a customer pays with credit cards. I have had a credit card company refund a customers money 4 months AFTER the job was completed. The credit card company was told I didn't do the work and refunded the money. I had to send them a waiver of completion, pictures of before and after to have the refund reversed. BUT the customer got a new card and the only way was if the customer resigned a credit slip for payment. So how do I deal with that? court? yeah, I should take the time away from other clients, spend the time in court, court costs and time actually fighting for my money just because the customer pulled a fast one? You ask how this could happen? Simple, customer got a job transfer and moved, so they felt they shouldn't pay for the work for someone else to enjoy. It's been an unbelievable battle, and I'm still dealing with this since DEC 15th. I even had a stellar review written by the customer that I use to show prospective clients and clients could call to get a referral.

All I am trying to point out is that it's a two way street, there needs to be protection on both sides. Homestars and HandyCanadian are not responsible for choices you made. No one forced you, no one lied, no one mislead you. The reviews are by satisfied customers, but like the old saying goes, 'you can't make everyone happy'

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Date/Time5/23/2012 at 11:06:51 PM

Oh yeah on both sites, they track other things to make sure the review isn't coming from the same person that has multiple email addresses.

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Martha in Toronto
Date/Time5/24/2012 at 9:58:47 AM

Ultima, am I to blame for being misled by a contractor that posted fake reviews and homestars for allowing them to pass? Me and my husband were very fair and understanding with this guy and his employees to point of nausea. We bent over backwards to accommodate his schedule in hopes of getting our basement completed on time and on budget but this guy dragged things out with every excuse known to man, lied about the materials used to the point of doctoring receipts and left a huge mess of our home. Almost half of the work he completed needed to be redone by a real professional' that we hired and had absolutely no issues with and have since rehired to do our flooring.

After it was too late we had verified that at least 4 of his reviews were posted by his wife and other family members and after the work we witnessed and the way we were treated I'd wager any amount that there is no way the other reviews were real either. This is guy did not deserve 10 stars. He'd be lucky to get 5. To homestars credit, they did remove some of the reviews after my husband complained however the negative review we submitted never made it live. They fed us some garbage about reviews not being posted when litigation is pending. Litigation was being considered by us and was not filed at the time the review was denied so it still doesn't make sense?!

Because of this idiot we had to rehire another contractor and ended up going almost $15,000 over budget to fix his work. I don't know about you but $15,000 is a lot of money that we couldn't afford to spend but was essentially forced to because we had a basement half finished that we couldn't use. At least when it was and unfinished open concrete basement we were still able to use it. It didn't look great but it was somewhat functional.

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Martha in Toronto
Date/Time5/24/2012 at 9:59:40 AM

Yes, we should have done more of our own research before hiring them but when sites like homestars, handycanadian, yelp and many others promote themselves as a site to read reviews from clients I would expect that some filter would be in place to weed out the junk. There are some crafty people out there so I don't expect them to catch all of the crap but I certainly would think that they would at least try. They are there profiting from our misfortunes and promoting the services of incompetent fools by misleading consumers to believe that their reviews are true. Homestars home page says in large bold letters who to hire, where to buy and who to avoid'. This site says helping you connect with top rated contractor' and yelp says real people, real reviews'. Do you think that they're not at all contributing to the problem if they allow anyone to post a review without verifying if it's real or not? And if they don't, what is the point of these sites anyways?

I've learned from my mistake and will apply what I've learned to if I need to hire someone again. I just wish I didn't cost me so much money and aggravation to learn this lesson. I also learned that my attempt to use this forum to seek advice from others has only provoked some of you to the point of attacking me. I didn't see that coming at all and don't have the time anymore to waste trying to prove and defend myself.

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Frank in Mississauga
Date/Time7/20/2012 at 7:51:56 AM

Listening to Ultima Home Improvements is ASKING for trouble Martha. This person by the name of Ryan Heritage is after your money, and will take up to six months before calling you to tell you something about your order. Not only that, if 6 months is too long, he will place a lien against your house and sue you on top of that.

Stay away from Ryan Heritage, if you deal with him, it will be a name you will never forget.

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Michelle in Oakville
Date/Time9/7/2012 at 1:39:23 PM

*** Read This ***

Do Not Use Homestars For Finding Contractors. It Is A Complete Scam !!

If You Want Reputable Companies, Go To Regulated Resources Such As Your Local Building Associations Such As Renomark Or Bildgta Or Ontario Home Builders Association. These Associations Abide By Codes Of Ethics And Are Massive Associations That Help Regulate The Industry. There Are Lists Of Thier Members And Thier Information.

Homestars Is A Bunch Of Fly By Night Companies Posting A Free Listing And Adding A Bunch Of Fake Reviews From Thier Brothers And Cousins Or Anyone Who Wants A Free Latte. Homestars Then Wants You To Pay To Upgrade Your Listing. And When Companies Realize Its All A Sham And Ask To Be Removed From Their Website, Homestars Say No, They Own Your Listing. This Is Why You See So Many Companies That Are Just Lingering Around On Their Website.

Trust Me, If A Reputable Company Is On There With No Action, It Means They Really Dont Want To Be On There. Homestars Will Not Remove Anyones Company. If They Did When Asked, The Directory Would Be Empty And Just The Scammers Would Stand Out. Stay Tuned As You Will Probably See Some Sort Of Industry Class Action Suit Against Them.

That Website Has Been Around For A Few Years Now, And Any Reputable Companies On There Have Abandoned Thier Listings As The Site Is So Bogus And Full Of Crapy Con Artists And Uninformed Homeowners Who Just Dont Know Where To Look, So They Google... And Homestars Shows Up In Thier Search.

Why Do You Think Half Of The People On This Forum Are Saying: All That They Find Are Crappy Contractors. Answer: Your Going To The Wrong Place!

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Jon in Calgary
Date/Time9/19/2012 at 4:42:02 PM

Homestars is not a trustworthy site. I had an experience with a company and wrote a negative review since I thought the public should know about it. Homestars deleted my review. Shortly after I noticed several reviews, all rated 10, all looked the same with the exception of the names. So I decided to contact homestars about it. They claim that they don't delete reviews, which is a lie cause they deleted mine. They said the reviews aren't fake cause they go through a screening process, which is a lie cause these reviews were so blatantly obvious that they were written by the company, or friends and family of the owner, only an idiot would believe them. I'm not trained to detect fake reviews, but it really is that obvious.

Turns out homestars collects money from business owners in order to be on the site, which makes them biased. They say they're not, but they are. After more research, I found several other review sites that had nothing but negative things to say about the company I used. Why would homestars rate this company 9.5 with 30 reviews when about 8 other sites warn you to stay away from the company? The answer is easy. Homestars earns a paycheck by literally doing nothing. They get paid to support the businesses on the site.

DON'T TRUST HOMESTARS REVIEWS!!!!

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Joe in Hamilton
Date/Time10/3/2012 at 11:46:18 AM

You really have to watch for the number of reviews that are posted. for example if a company claims to be a general contractor and have two employees that's fine, but if they claim to have 55 reviews in one year. i would choose not to believe that. b

Being a general contractor myself, there is no way that my company could or would do more than 10 big projects a year. Any large project would take a minimum of 4-6 week to do. In my opinion there is no way a small company can do that many jobs a year.

So next time you review a companies rating be sure to see how many reviews they have over the year.

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Rob in Richmond Hill
Date/Time11/7/2012 at 8:50:40 PM

I couldn't agree with you more. They have no way of verifying the accuracy of a review and I am pissed off that I have to spend money on laywers to get them to stop publishing my data. Until then I will publish theirs.

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Rm in Oakville
Date/Time11/14/2012 at 1:58:11 PM

Yes, I was very dissapponted the one time we used this site last year. We looked up an interlocking and landscaping company and ultimately hired them. The owner told us and has written on his quote forms that he won the Homestars award. He had glowing reviews...who was to expect any different. I guess we were niave. I depended on Homestars and it was a disaster.

Does Homestar actually look into who is posting his perfect reviews? It was a big job...too big for this interlocking and landscaping company. He hires inexperienced workers even though his website claims they have experience. Him and his brother who run the company together argued all the time. My neighbours couldn't believe the foul language that they heard. They told us they underestimated the job...kept asking for more money. Some of the work had to be redone over. He would get into arguements with his workers. Workers quit on these 2 brothers because they were not being paid. The job took 2 extra weeks because the one interlocking guy kept getting pulled away to go fix other jobs.

It makes me wonder why all the posts on Homstars are so high? Doesn't make sense. I would never ever use them again. Very diappointed as it's not reliable. I know 2 other people who used this company and they called him to return to fix the interlocking and replace dead trees and he never called them back.

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Michael in Vancouver
Date/Time11/21/2012 at 1:49:47 PM

How do we know the people posting their comments on this subject aren't fake. There is no way of telling if this is just one person posting from multiple names to create a bad image of a company. Sites like HomeStars, Yelp, Handy Canadian etc are guides and meant to used as such. Like a previous poster mentioned the bad reviews are whats valuable. Was the Homeowner being unreasonable, did the contractor really screw up ?

A companies response to a bad review is what I look for more so than the rating. To me 8s and 9s for good and 3s and 4s for bad are far more valuable than 10s and 0s. I buy a lot from Amazon and when I look at the review I read it I don't just look at the score and say oh its a 5 out of 5 it must be good. If you base your decision to go with a contractor solely on the fact they have a 10 out of 10 score then you are setting yourself up for a potential problem.

Let me ask you this - sites like Handy Canadian, Yelp and HomeStars didn't exist would it be easier or harder for you to find a good contractor?

Google is your friend - use it

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time12/13/2012 at 10:54:09 AM

Martha,

I should have seen and responded earlier. My name is Brian Sharwood, and I'm the President of HomeStars.

I would like to respond and also try and figure out what happened here. A couple of things I can tell you to help clarify how we work at HomeStars. We do a lot of fraud checking at HomeStars to ensure that a company does not submit fake reviews on themselves. There are consequences for those who do, and even those who we find out later. You can read about our transparency tools here. http://blog.homestars.com/archives/2011/03/10/transparency-to-review-approval-process/

Companies who we catch who cheat the system will be given a red banner on their listing, and stripped of any awards. We recently stripped a company of all their awards for gaming our reviews. It does not matter to us whether the company is a paying client. Our content team does not distinguish between paying and non-paying member in their process.

As to why your review was not posted, I'm not sure the specifics as i don't know either your user name on HomeStars or your email address. However, what I can tell you is that there are only a limited number of reason why a review would be rejected on the site. which include as per our policy:

- Language: The review contains inappropriate language or personal attacks.

- Company Initiated: The review has been written by the company themselves.

- No Contract: The review was for an estimate, no-show, or showroom interaction that didn't result in a purchase or contracted service.

- Relevance: The review was for a product or service that is not part of the home improvement category and is not considered relevant content for our users.

- You yourself have not hired the company but are writing a review on a job done at a friend or neighbor's house, or a quote.

- Other Companies: The review mentions competitor s names or other company names.

- Names: Your review contains full names (last names)

- Litigation: If currently in litigation with a company regarding a job. In this case we ask that you please wait until the litigation process is completed before submitting your review.

Please get in touch with me personally at brian@homestars.com and I can look into this situation. We aim to have the highest quality of reviews and want to understand these situations. Obviously we aren't perfect, but we aim for the highest quality possible.

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Elizabeth in Toronto
Date/Time1/3/2013 at 5:42:20 PM

Homestars is not a reliable resource at all!

I worked for their #1 Toronto Plumbing Company and part of my job was to constantly harass customers to put reviews on Homestars. The company gave out gift cards for putting up the reviews and my Boss had the nerve to ask for them back if he did not like the review. He would pitch a fit with Homestars and the customer threatening everyone's jobs if they did not take down any bad reviews. Hence he has almost all 10s. Yeah, that's so realistic.

Like your kid getting 10/10 on all of his tests because the parents will threaten the teachers if he doesn't. It makes a fool of everyone!!!

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time1/3/2013 at 5:49:22 PM

Elizabeth,

We know of companies who do such things. And I think it's unethical, and not good social media strategy, but it's a hard thing for us to enforce. What we do as one way to combat that is in those transparency tools that I linked to in my prior post you'll notice that we leave a marker when a homeowner has removed a review. Keep an eye on these things. It's not a perfect system, as nothing like this could be, but it's a step we take to take action against those who do this sort of gaming.

I always take a strategy of reaching down below those who have all the 10s and look for someone who has a bad review with a great response. Personally that kind of thing builds my trust.

Brian

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Elizabeth in Toronto
Date/Time1/3/2013 at 6:02:13 PM

@ Brian

I know you try Brian. I really do. I did experience that. But Michael @ Water works Plumbing and drains just has the entire system manipulated. I'm sorry but he just does. He actually writes the reviews for the customers and emails them over for their approval! Under the guide that they are too busy to do it them selves. This puts him in the drivers seat. He is manipulation the number of reviews he gets, he is solicitating reviews and putting words into the customers mouths. He also gets to choose the rating. He ALWAYS chooses a 10.

The Customers rarely change a thing. It's just not accurate and that option should be removed. I don't know why it is there at all. There is no way that the business should allowed to write the reviews for the customers. it just poisons the entire process. How is that a true and honest reflection? It is a disservice to the other companies out there as well and they should be out raged!

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time1/3/2013 at 6:27:31 PM

Thanks for the feedback, and yes we know of him. One of the things we did recently was remove the ability for companies to rate themselves using the company review tool. The rating itself has to be done by the homeowner. It's produced some good results so far. There definitely are some people who take the reviews maybe a little too seriously.....

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Tony in Toronto
Date/Time1/5/2013 at 1:59:57 PM

Hi

I have a listing on Homestars for my business, it was started by a g.c. who was satisfied by our work's, he gave us a glowing 10. We had carried out works on and off for around six months for this guy, he employed a 'boy' who would be left on the job on his own for days on end, neither of these two had any training or qualifications or licence's.

Never was a project finished on time. He would arrive on day one get a cheque, carry out the demmo then leave the boy, in the mean time he would be finishing the previous job, correcting complaints from the customer so he could get the final cheque.

When we questioned him regarding glowing review's on Homestars he used to let out a little chuckle. We looked futher back in his listing's and found a 'BAD' one, in his reply he denied having worked for this customer.

In looking through review's for our competitor's we have found example's of posting's using the same word, in each case it had been misspelt in the exact same way.

We never ask customer's to write a posting for us and we have no control over this, in these cases they have found us on homestars and they feel the need to write a review.

If you are looking for a trades person, #1, Recommendation, #2 Look at previous jobs, speak to the customer. Ask what was there attitude re coming back to fix any problems. #3 Are they licenced, insured ? Ask for copies to be emailed to you, #4 Get a fully detailed quotation with time lines and payment dates and written guarantee's.

I have not given any detail's about my self or my business.

This was posted to give a point of view.

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Malcolm in Toronto
Date/Time1/19/2013 at 12:34:55 PM

I am a contractor who does have some good reviews on Homestars. It gauls me to know that people cheat the system, because of the hundreds of hours it takes to get a good review or reference of any kind. I lie in bed awake at night sometimes just trying to figure out how to get that one last screw to fit properly in a cabinet project.

Generating good fake reviews takes only seconds. Still, I think there is value in homestars. People should not treat it as truth but as one more source of information among many. Like buying a car checking online reviews is a good place to start and it takes very little time. Probably in an hour or so you can cover several online review sites and narrow your search fairly quickly. This is a small cost compared with the cost of a renovation project.

Bad reviews can stear you clear right away. No reivews is also a warning sign. Reviews that seem repetative or simplistic can be a sign of gaming the system and should also steer you clear right away. However, having narrowed your search online you should still do your homework:

Check references, get a wirtten quote, get mutliple quotes, don't do cash deals, don't take the cheapest deal, if something sounds to good to be true it usually is, be realistic about the outcome, speak to friends about thier experiences, get a second oppinion, follow your gut if something seems fishy, don't trust a contractor who is too overconfident and does not point out the complexity and complications of a project, take your time making a decision, and don't be pressured into making a decision.

None of this takes that much time and the effort is worth it.

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Date/Time2/12/2013 at 7:06:53 PM

Hello,

I am glad I passed by this forum and comments.

Hotwire Electric has been on Homestars for over 5 years++. We have to say the company and site directors try there best to find fraudulent reviews and catch this fake reviews as much as possible.

As a top rated electrical contractor on this site, and a winner of 2012 Best Electricians, I would like to say it is not an easy task to have over 300+ reviews with an overall rating close to 9.9/10 stars.

Even if we were to attempt fake reviews, please think of what that could mean to us and our business to be caught doing so. Loss of trust. Loss of clients. and with all 10 star reviews regardless, the clients that found us on homestars.com whether we asked them or not, many leave reviews on their own accord. Hence why we have 6/10, 8/10 different rating depending on the client. No one is perfect and surely we can not please everyone. Though we do try to do so ... it would ultimately be impossible to stop the TRUE negative reviews, even if a company was to fake the postive reviews.

Overall, Homestars has created a one place stop and shop for contractors. The onus does remain on the customer to ask for credentials, speak to references and ensure the contractor is licensed.

Have a good evening,

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Hector in Tronto
Date/Time3/22/2013 at 11:23:14 AM

Well. Its true the problems that you come up with is up to you. Because your job is to interview your contractor, and do your research with your contractor. Homestar only provides you with your Search what you are searching for. Just like google when you type a search about 5000 company pops up, you can still get bad companies. Make sure depending on your job your company is ensured, wsib ...

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Mike in Toronto
Date/Time4/2/2013 at 4:21:04 PM

Home Stars won't do it right. They let paying customers get away with everything. If you post a bad review the company will wait a week and ask them to remove the review. If you do not respond with lots of info the review will not be posted.

When they catch cheating paying customers nothing happens. Prime example Brian if you are reading this is Canadian Choice Windows. They posted many fake reviews and were caught. The reviews were removed. Then the following year it happened again and they were red flagged January 2013. Now the red flag is removed, So if you are from Home Stars let us know what is happening with a situation like that.

Why is the red flag removed from the paying customer?

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time4/2/2013 at 4:45:54 PM

Mike,

Good example of Canadian Choice Windows. We leave the company flags up for a period of time, but the review flags stay forever. If you scroll down their reviews you will find the flagged reviews still there. We flag a few companies a month, and flag dozens of reviews because companies generally are pretty unscrupulous about faking reviews, and we catch them a lot of the time. (not all the time). That company, as well as a few other companies, have also been stripped of Best of Awards, both currently and for past wins.

There's always a line between a warning, a big warning and permanent punishment which is why the red flag doesn't stay there forever. The review flags, however, are there as a fixture of time when the company decided they thought they could pull something over. We hope they get better and clean up their act - and many do.

The flags have nothing to do with paying. Our content team doesn't distinguish (and in many cases doesn't even know from their dashboard) whether a company is premium or not.

Hopefully that answers the question. Yes, it's not a perfect system for sure, but we believe, in the world of online, people should have a chance to redeem their reputation, but the history remains.

Brian

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Date/Time4/2/2013 at 5:45:08 PM

Hello everyone,

Hanna from Hotwire electric on homestars and recently won 2012 best electricians.

I have to say last year was a year of learning with homestars for us. After being on the site for over six years and over 350 reviews a competitor with over 300 reviews was caught with almost 100 "Fake" or unverified reviews. At first we were upset to see the need flag on their company lasted a mere thirty days after years of lying to consumers and using it to land an hgtv slot as well. Thirty days seemed like the crime didn't fit the crime. But if you scroll a little further and do your consumer research you will see all their fake reviews remain investigated and flagged and all their fake awards are removed. Yes the onus is on the consumer to research and confirm validity and while we were upset at the short flagging. The volume of fake reviews remain and the Awards remain removed.

It's not a perfect system but every time they upgrade their system and their flagging us (honest contractors) and you (end consumer) benefit from a site that allows you at a touch of a button to search top companies and consistency and frequency will speak for itself. Even if they faked one hundred reviews of ten stars. The honest bad reviews will sooner or later show.

All the best from the Hotwire Electric team.

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Mike in Toronto
Date/Time4/3/2013 at 12:37:10 PM

Thanks for the reply Brian, that clears some confussion up. I just wish these sites were more strict with the cheaters on them.

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Mike in Toronto
Date/Time4/3/2013 at 12:39:56 PM

I should also let you know that I have hired and have had some great experiences with some Home Stars contractors.

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Mark in Vancouver
Date/Time5/27/2013 at 4:57:37 PM

I am a small business person operating from my home. I was contacted by Homestars, and they said I had received a review on their site. Could they send me an email with more information? I said yes. When I checked the review, I found that the person had not described my business correctly, and therefore could not have done business with me.

On reviewing her other posts, I felt that none of them were likely legitimate. They all sounded the same and everyone received an 8 to 10 rating and glowing praise. I believe that Homestars knows or should know that these reviews are fake.

There probably are many reliable companies advertised on the site, but it is just that - advertising! I asked them to remove me from the site and will not have dealings with them in the future.

Do the research and decide for yourselves.

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time5/27/2013 at 8:34:17 PM

Mark,

If the review doesn't belong to your company it shouldn't be on the site. If you send a note with your company name and a link to your review that you don't believe belongs to you to reviewverification@homestars.com our team will reach out to the homeowner to ensure the review belongs to the right company and the reviewer is legit.

If you call the person who called you - your HomeStars rep - they can help you with any other questions you may have.

Brian Sharwood

President, HomeStars

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Lee Anne in Toronto
Date/Time6/4/2013 at 4:03:15 PM

Home Owners BEWARE!!!!

I had always been suspicious of Homestars and other similar sites. I felt that sites like Homestars would be easily manipulated and deceitful. I am a business owner with several Dealers across Ontario and had made a decision not to enter into a contract with Home Stars. Unfortunately one of my Dealer's without my permission signed up. When I found out I wanted to cancel, but that option was not available.

What the home owners need to know is that these type of sites are not "non-profit" they make their money off the companies that sign up with them, without us paying them monthly they would not be in business, so naturally their first priority is too keep us happy. I have told all of my Dealer's that they can not write their own reviews, it must be in the clients own words, good or bad. We have been very fortunate that we do not have dissatisfied clients out there, but I am sure if we asked them to rate us they would not all give us a 10.

If you are reading reviews and pay attention to the language you should be able to determine if the reviews are loaded with family and friends. In many cases the same wording and subjects will be repeated through out the reviews.

The other tell tale sign of self written reviews is companies with a prefect 10 every time. No company is that good! Unfortunately the only people hurt by this deception are the home owners that get a false sense of security from picking a company on the site.

I should also say that there are many reputable companies on Homestars.

Lee Anne Daniels

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time6/5/2013 at 7:41:37 AM

Lee Ann,

Of course we, as a business, want to keep our customers happy. However, the best way to do that is to build and maintain the trust of our homeowner community who come on our site to find reputable contractors. As any contractor who has been using our site for a while knows that we post bad reviews if they happen and our review team is not connected to sales at all.

If you are upset about one of your dealers entering a contract without your consent and you want to manage that situation I would be happy to look into the situation and see what I can do do help.

As for reviews looking the same and having the same titles, I'll probably agree with you that sometimes they do, but it's not necessarily indication of fraudulent reviews. Many people read other reviews on a company to write their own and end up choosing the same words as prior reviews. Companies who do try to write their own reviews and get caught can get red flagged, as mentioned above, and the review red flags persist forever. We think - and we've heard from homeowners - that it is a deterrent to homeowners hiring that company in the future, and thus a deterrent to writing fake reviews.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Brian Sharwood

HomeStars

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Mike in Toronto
Date/Time7/17/2013 at 1:44:11 PM

I totally agree with lee anne.

Homestars comes across as a non-biased tool for home owners, yet they are in it to make a profit.

Your average home owner does not know about how companies can pay homestars to write their own reviews using their own words and have the home owner just approve it. A home owner will rarely change the wording of their review.

If homestars was all about being an open book then they would let the home owner know which reviews were written and composed by the company themselves.

If I saw a 100 good reviews written and composed by the company vs. 100 good reviews written by the actual home owners, of course I would pick the latter. And I'm certain all home owners would agree.

Homestars needs to change this and let the home owners know which companies are paying for their listing so that they can make a proper decision on who to hire.

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Date/Time7/17/2013 at 1:59:24 PM

Its easy to comment when you are not part of the actual system that takes place at homestars and the contractors on there

did you know that contractors do not have to agree to be on this site?

that homeowners can add and make a review for any company without the say of the company to even agree to be on this site

are you are aware of the stringent policies they have in place to contractors for approval policies.

As a company thats on there, everyday we get reviews whether we like them or not, we have to accept the bad, the good and the great ones all the same. we dont have a magically button to remove bad reviews.

we only have us. our company, our staff and our services to provide exemplary service, to go above and beyond for the client and hope they take 5mins of their time to leave a review. Not sure if you realize how hard it actually is to gain a review for a homeowner. So yes, there is a tool that allows the contractor to pre-register the homeowner and send them a link for their approval. they onus is still on such homeowners, to write/approve and give a star rating for the work completed. No homeowner that was unhappy with your services would agree to this process. as well, above this pre-registration process is all the other homeowners and clients that can write reviews at any given time, going back years and year back to the service date and leave good/bad reviews as they wish without filter.

Sometimes we read these comments and think.. hmm ok so if a company wrote a fake review, what about all the rest, what about all the other clients that still can go on this site and write the real reviews? We always say at Hotwire Electric, the truth will always come out with time. so if a fake review got on there, trust me that the true clients, homeowners etc will find a way to this site and leave their honest reviews!

Thats why this site works. As a company on there for electrical work, I only hire other trades that we personally need on projects from homestars.com we would not look anywhere else.

There is flaws to every check system and this site all in all has served its purpose by filtering out the bad and bringing to light the good.

Everyone says, get referrals - well most contractors arent going to refer to their bad jobs/clients

Everyone says, check references - references are handpicked by companies

Homestars reviews are not handpicked or edited.

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Mike in Toronto
Date/Time7/17/2013 at 2:53:02 PM

Hi Hanna,

My problem isnt with the fake reviews, I'm sure homestars does their best to weed those out.

The problem with homestars is that they come across as an un-biased way to read reviews written by home owners. Yet they allow the companies that pay them $100 a month to compose their own reviews on the site. And up until recently homestars was allowing the companies that pay for the upgraded listing to give themselves a 10 star rating. This means that those 'best of' awards in previous years are far from accurate. Home owners should be aware which reviews are being composed by a fellow home owner and which ones by the companies. This is not made clear to people viewing these reviews.

I'm a home owner and a contractor on this site. I'm looking at it from both sides. And in my view, home owners are not given all the info because they are not aware of this paid upgraded system allowing the company to compose their own reviews and also, up until recently, how they were able to give a 10 star to themselves.

Homestars must let the home owners know which reviews have been composed by the home owner and which ones have been composed by the company themselves.

As I said in the previous post, if a home owner was aware of this and had to choose between a company with a 100 good reviews composed by the company themselves and 100 good reviews composed by the actual home owner, of course anyone would pick the latter.

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Date/Time7/17/2013 at 3:20:25 PM

Hi Mike,

The reviews with star rating where you can rate yourself and a homeowner can just approve stopped in 2012. Its been over a year that those were the case and we have been on the site to know the changes.

I see what you are saying but having used the tool, I can tell you my 9.9 rating will show that I have 7/10, 8/10, 9/10and 10/10 because homeowners are rating us as they see fit, not as I wish we were seen 10/10 on each job :)

Ideally we want to please everyone, but you have the homeowners that think 10/10 you need to walk on water and the others that will be easier on you because you took care of their service needs.

I think there is a lot of transparency on this site and for sure there could always be more. I wont get into specifics but their banners for cheaters only lasts so long on the site and thats my beef. However they have the viewpoint that the banner should be there for a few weeks and then the company can try to redeem themselves as to not effect them as cheaters for life. I dont necessarily agree.

I think a cheater in a company demonstrates a characteristic and to have a banner for a few weeks while cheating for year isnt fitting the crime for me. But then again, the site is there to let readers and homeowners know what the services the business provides, allows them to read if they do jobs in their area, what type of jobs and most importantly in our electrical field anyways to see if that company is a fly by night shop. Everyone these days is an electrician with a truck :)

I'd like to think Hotwrire Electric on homestars demonstrates the work we do and how long we have been around. We have to take the site for what it is and not try to make it the end all be all for choosing a company. This is just another tool for clients to allow them to filter through the thousand contractors that probably all sound the same in their offering.

Regards everyone,

Hanna

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Devon in Hamilton
Date/Time7/18/2013 at 3:22:46 PM

Coming from the contractor perspective, Homestars is nothing more than a website designed to use small business and innocent reviewers to attract traffic and raise advertising dollars.

Anyone can post a positive or negative review for that matter- and the point that the customer reviewers are missing here is that jealous friends, pissed off ex-employees and/or competitors can post negative reviews where NO PROOF OF VALIDITY WHATSOEVER IS REQUIRED. Meaning: Homestars does not vet negative reviews by asking for receipts or proof of the bad experience of any kind, no photos, no emails... NOTHING.

I had a negative review that I was suspicious was posted by an ex-employee who I fired. I called Homestars and they were no help at all. So I decided I would ask my many happy customers to submit reviews instead. Homestars rejected these legitimate reviews and demanded personal financial transactions from my customers!!!! How dare they. Yet- they required NO PROOF AT ALL from the so- called customer that posted the bad review. They still came away with my customers' email addresses and traffic to their site. Clever.

I will reiterate, these sites have 1 goal and 1 goal only- attract traffic to increase advertising dollars. Period. If you want to find a good contractor go by word of mouth only and withhold 50% until satisfaction. AND, don't haggle- you get what you pay for so invest in someone good.

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time7/18/2013 at 3:40:02 PM

Devon,

We are a website, and I'm not going to disagree that we want visitors and users of the site. It's like saying that you want to fix people's houses and take their money for fixing them. It's not a bad thing.

You said that anyone can post anything but then say that we won't post things from your customer because they won't verify their transactions. If you have a review posted by an ex-employee which shouldn't be on the site you can email reviewverification@homestars.com and our content team will look into it.

Brian Sharwood

President - HomeStars

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Linda in Carleton Place
Date/Time8/19/2013 at 5:42:57 PM

Homestars is a fraud and a scam. When you report bad contractors they ask you all these questions but if you report something positive about any thing in my case it was a security company well that they post right away no questions ask. What are they? If they are not there to let people report about bad contractor which is what I tried to do?? They are in the same bed probably being paid by all of them.

Way to go scammer homestars.

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Denise in Toronto
Date/Time8/31/2013 at 11:53:08 PM

We renovated our home a couple of years ago and did our own general contracting.

Initially we relied on Homestars but had some poor experiences with some of the "10" rated contractors. Most disturbing was an electrician who was not licensed yet had 41 glowing "10" reviews. I emailed Homestars at that time with my concerns because I was very concerned about the safety issues involved and received no reply.

It would be great if Homestars was a reliable resource for contractors but the business model of having the revenue come from the contractors apparently does not allow this. In fact as others have pointed out, it appears to have become a vehicle for the unscrupulous.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time9/1/2013 at 12:42:07 AM

Well, Thankfully we have alternatives like... HandyCanadian!!

;))

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time9/2/2013 at 4:46:19 PM

Denise,

Our content team has no connection to the sales team. They do not distinguish in verification of reviews between paid clients and non-paying clients.

I hope you shared your review on HomeStars so if you didn't have the great experience with the "10" rated contractors, others will not have the experience you did.

Brian Sharwood

Homestars

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Marcus in Toronto
Date/Time9/20/2013 at 9:39:32 AM

Homestars is an outright scam. It has nothing to do with helping anyone and EVERYTHING to do with making their company profitable.

A close friend of mine recently discovered that his mother (over 90 years old) had hired a Homestars "10" rated company to perform work in her home. Apparently his sister had scoured Homestars looking for an appropriate contractor. They had decided to do this work because of a rebate that was available to seniors. Once the work was completed, my friend discovered that the contractor had bumped his normal price exactly the amount of the rebate. The rebate had no value whatsoever to the elderly lady.

He contacted Homestars to sort this out, but completely got brushed off. Sadly, the elderly lady has since passed away and because all the paperwork was in her name there is nothing they can do now.

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time9/20/2013 at 6:33:46 PM

Marcus,

HomeStars is a social media reviews platform for home improvement. We don't guarantee the work of people who are listed on the site. We do our best to ensure the integrity of the reviews by a number of means. I'm sure our team at HomeStars suggested to your friend to write a review to share the experience. As part of the assurance of the integrity of the reviews the team may have asked whether there was any way of verifying his story - emails, invoices etc.

If you are looking for companies the do work to insure and guarantee the work of people connected to their organization look for companies such as Renomark and Renovantage. Different business - and it can be great for those who are looking for that kind of thing. Our site is a reviews platform and while we do our best to insure the integrity of the reviews, it doesn't always guarantee the performance of companies listed on the site. Historical experience isn't always indicative of the future.

I'm sorry to hear about the experience and hopefully we can get the review of the interaction with the contractor on the site.

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Nick in Oakville
Date/Time11/22/2013 at 10:43:19 AM

You are right. I believe they receive some kind of money for advertising or allowing companies using their websites, They don't want to post a good referral if you didn't pay them. If you pay no bad referrals will be posted. I thought I could trust this them, wrong!

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time12/3/2013 at 11:21:31 AM

Nick,

If you look through the HomeStars site you'll find many, many premium listings on our site with bad reviews. Review are not connected with premium listings and the content team who reads and verifies reviews do not distinguish between paying and non-paying listings.

Brian Sharwood

President, HomeStars

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Riaz in Toronto
Date/Time12/3/2013 at 3:34:46 PM

Homestars is a nightmare. Tried to post a review of a shoddy company but the review got rejected. It is virtually identical to other reviews and I have met their criteria. I called Homestars twice in regards to this but they don't man their phones and do not return calls after messages have been left.

It seems like they only respond when publicly criticized.

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Brian in Toronto
Date/Time12/3/2013 at 3:44:48 PM

Riaz,

We have looked through our inbound emails as well as phone records and don't have anything that looks related or by that name that we haven't responded to. Can you provide us more details? Or send another email and let us know that it's you from this website.

Brian

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Riaz in Toronto
Date/Time12/3/2013 at 4:54:16 PM

I have left multiple messages and spelt my name so this is very strange.

Just sent an email.

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Clair in Toronto
Date/Time7/22/2014 at 1:04:16 PM

I worked for a contractor that used Home Stars. When ever they got a bad review the owner would call Home Stars and get them to remove it, he was a member. He paid $1,200 per year, when a review is removed it says (This review has been removed by the author).

Lots of companies pay Home Stars to remove their bad reviews, this is not fair to the consumer.

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Mary in Toronto
Date/Time8/18/2014 at 3:28:45 AM

I hired a roofing had glowing reviews on Home Star (all 10s) to deal with a leak. I ended up with a $2000 bill, a new roof over the addition while the leak remained. The roofer's response was to have the next tradesperson I contacted send him a report and, if his roof is faulty, he'll fix it and pay the person who called him on the work $100 but expect a payment of $100 if the tradesperson is incorrect.

In the end, we discovered the problem was not the roof but a leak above a window - a water test determined this in 30 seconds. So much for the company who put on a new roof when the old one was less than 10 years old, did no investigating and then refuses to even look at the problem.

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Garry in Whitby
Date/Time9/15/2014 at 4:31:57 PM

I went on the site for the first time the other day, picked out a furnace company, plumber and eavestrough / window cleaner.

So far I have only seen furnace guy, the others later this week. He told me he has to pay them $300 a month for this review service and if he forked out another $150 they would create 10 extra reviews per month, absolute crooks!

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Linda in Carleton Place
Date/Time10/2/2014 at 8:06:09 AM
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Gordon in Toronto
Date/Time10/19/2014 at 8:46:59 AM

So many sheep and so few Shepherds. More rules, more laws, more enforcement, more signs, more legislation, more certification, more watchdogs and more review sites are not ever going to compensate for bad decision making or just plain bad luck.

HomeStars is a blessing in disguise and a solid Investment. Recently I did a video called HomeStars U Roofing 101 on YouTube for them because I was asked to and not paid to. You can lead a sheep to water but you cannot force it to drink so in other words you choose your contractor based on your decisions with the tools made available to you out there in this big wide world.

I am very guilty of not answering my phone, not responding to emails and only serving those that are willing to pay me for my consultation and not expecting a free estimate. I filter out the tire kickers and those consumers that are buying price and not the job. After I have completed my 500 dollar consultation I choose to work for this client and they choose to retain me, I apply this 500 dollars towards their total cost. If they choose not to use me or I choose not to work for these consumers I feel they got far more value than they paid for because the consumer is now fully aware of all the significant issues that need to be resolved or it will end up costing them untold dollars in the future in remedies. I can honestly say with bold conviction that I catch so many deficiencies that were overlooked or understated by the Certified Home Inspectors that I really ruin ones day and faith in this construction world of ours.

Do your homework whether it be 5 dollars or 5,000 dollars to be invested in your residence. Hire a private detective for a very nominal fee to research this contractor your going to allow in your home around your children. Be sure they are the real deal as good contractors are in demand and can only do so many projects in a year, so you will have to wait if in fact they actually respond to your need for an estimate. If you have to wait for your work to be completed then do so if you find someone that meets your criteria. Mario of Hallmark Investigations is a good resource for helping you in your decision and remember that your contractor if clever will have checked you out as well as no one likes to not be paid for their properly conducted services.

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Oliver in Toronto
Date/Time11/3/2014 at 8:39:41 PM

I came across this post earlier and have to comment on it. I am currently going through litigation with a company on homestars who has at least 15, 10 ratings -- that's 15, 10 ratings in under 8 months!

Something seems a little fishy here.

He is an active participant in Government-based harassment. And it appears that Homestars is an active participant as well.

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Gordon in Toronto
Date/Time11/4/2014 at 7:44:47 AM

Oliver,

I can say with all sincerity there is nothing fishy about HomeStars. It is what it is, and for my investment dollar it offers a fantastic return. If a legitimate bad review is submitted then that can have a bad effect on one's image, pride if you have any and a reason to strive and not forget your struggling, humble beginnings.

Now I see HomeStars has placed a second version tag on a review that has been revised by the homeowner because they finally were appeased. How much fairer can you get. Nothing is ever perfect and in this Society where incompetence is the order of the day and finger pointing a national symbol. How can HomeStars be everything to every one. It is a free service for consumers and an advertising tool for contractors like me. The site really does help to keep us honest and work diligently to satisfy our client's demands. So in retrospect to blame HomeStars for your problems is another added form of finger pointing when in fact the blame lies squarely on you and no one else. Failure to fulfill one's expectations can lead to mental illness and if your involved in this construction business of ours this would be an understatement.

Every company that has good reviews on HomeStars is probably swamped with calls, many that go unreturned and if in fact they are returned, many potential clients are simply buying price or just fishing for an opinion from the highly rated company with no actual intention of ever using them as they well know in advance, that company will be more expensive than let's say, their handyman cousin or friend next door. It works both ways and there is no perfected formula for finding and trusting someone, let alone their employees or sub-trades.

You have to do your homework and research and not be smoozed by Mr. or Mrs. Polite that answer all your questions with what you want to hear. Look for the real deal, a contractor that tells you what has to be done and can explain why. Look for a contractor that does not know the answer to everything and seems to hesitate on responses to questions. A contractor that can see ahead, plan, organize and is quite frank and matter of fact and remember that the person your speaking to is not necessarily undertaking all of the work involved, So ask about the other workers that are to be involved in your project and around your home and children. Look and feel for honesty.

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Tammy in Whitby
Date/Time11/5/2014 at 2:11:25 PM

Hi, sorry to hear of your unfortunate experience.

I was compelled to respond because of the comment you made pertaining to how many tens that company had. We own a Landscape company on the HOMESTARS and have been in business for over 23 years. The business has been on HOMESTARS for many years as well and we only have one review that is not a ten. Last year a client made a comment about the rating and said that despite his satisfaction and the quality...he would review but would not give us a ten because we have too many already. We did get a ten from him but the fact is that he had the same thoughts.

A company who works to earn should not be penalized due to the reputation of others. We work very hard to please our clients and provide all they expect.

It is unfortunate that there are those who will create such a sour outlook on a system that seems to work in helping others but i am here to tell you that WE are not all the same.

Did you check references? ask for clearance certificates? call WSIB to check their status? these are all some things that may help you in the future as a further to the research you had done already.

All the best in your future projects.

Tammy A Gould

TWG Landscaping & Property Maintenance Inc.

Whitby, ON

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Gordon in Toronto
Date/Time11/6/2014 at 11:43:46 AM

I just got off the phone with a contractor and asked a simple question" How much does the contractor pay you for the referral or the priveledge of giving an estimate based on your lead? The answer I got was, a phone call from a young lady that Did Not Want To Divulge this information. So I asked is it 15% like Home Service Club? I was told it was not that much and why would I need to know since I was not looking to use their services of providing me leads or referrals. I stated that openness and frankness is fair play as they pop up above HomeStars during my Google search, which they obviously pay for, to be right at the top of the search. I found this evasiveness rather unsettling as "what is there to hide?

I read about frustrated consumers slamming HomeStars because Contractors pay a reasonable modest fee to be an active participant to their site and because of this there must be some form of collusion going on. Consumers get to vent and possibly destroy a companies reputation if their expectations have not been fulfilled on the HomeStars review site. However what do they do when they pay those companies that send them these so called 'preferred contractors' that fail to do as promised, how do they vent then? I guess they use HomeStars as a viable option and kick themselves for failing to recognize that the contractor paid up to 15% or more of their hard earned dollars to the referral source and possibly another 10% commission to the estimator that sold them the project for a grand total of 25 %. So, was it better to hire through the transparent HomeStars or the referral company.

I think I pay about 500 dollars a month to HomeStars for my membership and all the perks that come with it, like, great people to work for that recognize my reviews are the real deal. The other fantastic thing is I do not have to pay someone good hard earned money for a lead and better yet for my client, all their money being spent on the project is spent on the work itself.

Homeowners have to do their research and realize that things go wrong all the time during a project and that "it is not how you start that counts, but how you finish". Blaming HomeStars for something you did not pay for and is offered as a free research tool is very annoying to someone like me that firmly believes in it's intention and delivery.

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Annabelle in Toronto
Date/Time11/7/2014 at 4:00:32 PM

Homestars is definitely bogus when it comes to accurate reviews. If you look at the reviewers profile, rarely do they have more than one review, meaning it's a one time thing for them, and they all have 10 stars and give obviously gushing reviews.

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Gordon in Toronto
Date/Time11/8/2014 at 8:49:45 PM

Annabelle,

I hope you had a box of Kleenex with you when you read my hard earned, heart felt reviews. The only thing gushing is the faceless and fact less nonsense that comes out of your mouth with no positive input. People like you are the reason more signs, more rules and more laws have to be made.

HomeStars is not perfect, however, they are a good investment for honest contractors and a detriment to those that are not.

False reviews eventually come to light and this speaks volumes about the company submitting them. I will tell you that I check mine regularly and know each and every one. My guard would come up if one was submitted that I was not aware of the project and I would have it pulled if they let me because of naysayers like you just waiting for the opportunity to pounce. Your statement makes me wonder what ulterior motive you have?

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Robert in Toronto
Date/Time1/12/2015 at 12:08:03 PM

Recently Garcon Builders has gone out of business taking along with it money from 20 different people for projects not completed as a result.

You know what Garcon Builders Homestar rating was?

9.4 with 137 reviews posted.

A very good rating...

Now Homestars has been covered negatively in the media and is back-peddling furiously.

They have the nerve to place on the Garcon Builders page that suspicious posting have been placed...OH REALLY???? Isn't it a little too late for that?

Maybe Homestars should be held accountable for profiting at the expense of people who look to them as experts. I mean, if Homestars presents itself as a place to find experts and profits by doing so, should they be held accountable for some of the damages?

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Gordon in Toronto
Date/Time1/13/2015 at 6:22:01 AM

Robert,

Give your head a shake. You obviously did not read all the posts about this issue. A fair minded reasonable individual that may not even possess a post secondary education would have a fair minded opinion. You just blame and attack either because you have an ulterior motive or you cannot accept blame where it is due. The blame lays squarely on you as no one forced you to hire the contractor if in fact you did. I also encourage you submit your real name and not hide for it will lend weight to if in fact you are someone that hired a contractor off the HomeStars Site. Can you provide a receipt for the work you had done by any contractors on HomeStars?

It is very easy to hide behind a screen with what could be a fiction created by a paid or disturbed person. I take exception to your chronic non constructive poison without any transparency. Homestars is a fantastic tool for real consumers looking for real contractors.. The site is not that old and yet when this situation with Garcon Building Group surfaced, the company took the bull by the horns. With you they need a shovel. I have submitted reviews in holding until their validated and one client emailed that he better get a better price when I replace his roof because they are making him jump hoops. His name is Marco from Etobicoke and it was an emergency 750 dollar device call. I challenge you to read all of Academia Roofing And Attics reviews and see if a one is questionable. Go ahead Make my day.

For those people that want the simple sample of what good honest reviews are to look like Please read mine and ensure that read each and every company response. I go out of my way to earn these reviews and to have some ghost writer slam what is food on my table is an act of insanity especially when it could be a phony. There is no way to punish you if you are a fraud and for someone that is so outspoken it is best you come out of the closet to validate yourself. I Gordon Thomas Bailey joined the site in 2011 and was able to contact previous clients with 10 year warranties to ask them to submit reviews. Guess what many did. If you check the dates of submissions you will notice a lull due to being seriously afflicted with a chronic illness. I have overcome and now fear I will suffer mental illness due to the likes of you attacking what I along with many others hold dear.

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Edward in Mississauga
Date/Time3/26/2015 at 12:53:42 PM

I also found homestars becoming less and less reliable in terms of finding trustworthy businesses. I have quite a few bad experiences based on their reviews. I found homestars more interested in getting good reviews than genuine reviews. I hope trustedpros will give me a better experience.

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Joe in Calgary
Date/Time3/26/2015 at 9:00:17 PM

Homestars is aweful. They pay users to add reviews. Review fraud is so strong that I wouldn't give 2 cents for an online review. KnackThat.com is generally my choice to find a tradespeople. Give me good content and I will figure the rest out for myself. Overall I'd have to agree with Robert. Nothing beats word of mouth.

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Rick in Toronto
Date/Time4/8/2015 at 12:56:47 PM

I here you, Martha.

Though I believe Homestars has their heart in the right place, they really ought to crack down on staged reviews. I know many people that have staged fake reviews.

Sincerely,

Rick Woolsey

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Fine Lines Painting and Decorating in Edmonton
Date/Time7/7/2015 at 1:10:14 PM

I contacted home stars today because there was a fraudulent posting about our company. The gentleman I talked to ( that's a kind way of putting it ) talk down to me all the time. He was extremely rude and ignorant. He basically said don't worry about replying to the negative review he said you need to build your good reviews. So I asked him how is that done and he told me that his company will work to get us better reviews. And all in all it all came down to I would have to pay him $200 a month to get better reviews. Home stars is not regulated it is not part of the Better Business Bureau pages amazing they can get away with the things they do.

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Fine Lines Painting and Decorating in Edmonton
Date/Time7/8/2015 at 7:47:30 PM

My experience with home stars was absolutely ridiculous. They are like the mob they say they will give you good reviews if you pay them so much per month. They posted a bogus review from a customer who made faults accusations and I cannot understand how that can happen. I actually called home stars or should I say I tapped on to their contact information and someone called me back. His name was David Coughlan. I told him my concerns and he got so angry that I had to ask him to please calm down and he said I will not come down I will tell you how it is and he continued to berate me. The only thing I could do was hang up on him but then five minutes later he contacted me through email. He told me that he would like to work with our company in helping me getting better reviews and I asked how does that work he explained in general how that works and then he said it will cost you between $200-$250 a month. I told him I do not pay for reviews. He got irate and I told him never to contact me again. 15 minutes later he emailed me again and said how good it would be if we were together I told him I would never ever sign on with the company that treated me the way he did on the phone.

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Fine Lines Painting and Decorating in Edmonton
Date/Time7/11/2015 at 10:47:11 PM

Home stars are allowed a customer to give us a horrific review. The gentleman who gave us the review was slanderous call and irresponsible and his comments. But the terrible thing is that home stars does not regulate who can give you a review unless you pay them so much per month. Call I am so disappointed that a company like this can exist here in Canada allowing fraudulent claims upon true honest business owners.

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Lisa in Richmond Hill
Date/Time7/23/2015 at 12:21:48 AM

As someone who works for a home renovation company that has a high rating on HomeStars, I can tell you that all of our ratings come from clients, and I think that most companies conduct themselves ethically, though there are obviously a few that do not. For us, we provide references with our (free) quotes & estimates. A potential client should always demand 3 or more references that they can contact and perhaps even visit to see the work. this would be phase 2 (HomeStars or other review sites being phase 1), and would ensure the contractor is on the "up-and-up". As a consumer, you must do your due diligence, to ensure you are dealing with an ethical contractor.

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Alex in Mississauga
Date/Time8/3/2015 at 9:42:13 PM

I don't trust homestars review at all. I was looking for plumbers and I found most of them have fake reviews. Also, just a moment ago I was looking for computer repair reviews and came up homestars as first result. The top list shops almost 4 shops with more than 100 reviews, all of the are fake. You can really tell easily from the title and the content. I think they have been done by freelancer to optimize their business on Google. Please, don't let them fool you. Make a deep search and use your sixth sense. I think you can trust Yelp reviews 60-70% but 0% to homestars. I wish google consider this point and not to give them the priority on the search engine.

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Steven in Edmonton
Date/Time3/21/2016 at 2:58:22 PM

I am a designer trying to use there service, I have had a very unpleasant experience with Homestars themselves, they are not easy to work with and get very nasty, even when i just ask for my profile to be removed they get up tight and information its our information and you cant have it removed, obviously the behaviour stems from the top down.

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Scott in Toronto
Date/Time9/2/2016 at 3:49:31 PM

Homestars is a massive scam and designed to rip the consumer off. Do the work yourself or get a personal reference. DO NOT trust YELP or HOMESTARS or use them as a barometer for what businesses to avoid.

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Matt in Port Rowan
Date/Time11/15/2016 at 8:56:15 AM

I am a contractor who has had reviews done by customers on Homestars. My ratings have always been 100%. Now home stars has this "responsiveness" rating that dropped my rating. This responsiveness is something homestars created that nobody was even made aware of. Its if we respond to the reviews people leave us.

If a customer sees We have a lower percentage than other companies due to some number created by a factor which revolves around us responding to reviews, that's total horse shit. What if they base their decision on the percentage we as contractors get?

I will see Homestars in court if they don't remove this slander or what is known as defamatory actions. Lowering ratings of a company because they never knew to respond to a customer's great reviews?!..give me a break.

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