INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. — A federal agency is taking legal action against a company that connects homeowners with service professionals such as plumbers and electricians, claiming it deceived businesses about potential customers.
Bill Albritton owns a small business in Indian Trail. He told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke he did not get an adequate number of leads despite paying Angi (formerly known as Angie’s List), a popular website used to find home improvement contractors.
Albritton, a carpenter who builds custom cabinets, closets and furniture, says he paid Angi $475 each month to advertise his business and connect him with potential customers. Eventually, he decided the subscription wasn’t working well for him, so last summer he canceled it. But he says the company, which also increased its monthly rate, continued billing him, even charging him at the new rate.
“Being a small business, 495 (dollars) hurts,” he said.
Albritton says he complained, but Angi gave him the runaround. That’s when he contacted Action 9.
Stoogenke contacted Angi and received the following reply:
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We have reached out directly to Mr. Albritton and have resolved the situation. All charges for his renewal have been refunded. We work closely with our pros throughout their contract, and we notify them when their account is up for renewal so they can opt out of the renewal if they so choose. This particular case was a rare oversight and we are addressing this with the team member responsible to ensure it does not happen again. We apologize for the inconvenience this caused Mr. Albritton and are glad we have been able to resolve it.”
At the time of this report, Albritton said he still had not received a refund.
Other small businesses allegedly say Angi’s sister company, HomeAdvisor, did not deliver what they expected either. The Federal Trade Commission has filed an administrative complaint against the company.
The FTC claims HomeAdvisor deceived businesses about the quality and source of its leads, about how often the leads resulted in real jobs and used an allegedly deceptive “free trial” offer to reel in prospective members.
The Better Business Bureau says business owners don’t have to spend a lot of money to boost their business, however. Click here to see the BBB’s tips on ways to market your business on a low budget.
(WATCH BELOW: Homeowners ask county to investigate builder’s work)
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