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San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California

BBB Business Review

BBB Accredited Business since 10/06/2011

Thumbtack, Inc. (Headquarters)

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(415) 992-3103360 9th Street, San FranciscoCA 94103

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Description

This company is an online consumer service for finding and hiring local businesses.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since 10/06/2011

BBB has determined that Thumbtack, Inc. meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

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Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that lowered Thumbtack, Inc.'s rating include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.

Factors that raised Thumbtack, Inc.'s rating include:

  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 175 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

Customer Complaints SummaryRead complaint details

175 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 128 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Advertising / Sales Issues71
Billing / Collection Issues14
Delivery Issues1
Guarantee / Warranty Issues1
Problems with Product / Service88
Total Closed Complaints 175

Additional Complaint Information

BBB's business review for Thumbtack was created in September 2010. A recent review of this company's complaints was done in January 2014. Complaints appear to be largely from business owners who pay to submit quotes to the leads they have received. Complaints state that the leads received are not viable leads, do not have valid contact information, and/or are inconsistent with the types of leads received elsewhere.

The company responded to the above concerns with the following:

"...Thumbtack uses both automated and manual steps in an attempt to make sure our requests are being generated by legitimate individuals looking for appropriate services, and that these requests contain the necessary information for service professionals to craft a quote for the request. The manual aspect of the process is performed by a specialized request verification team, who is hired and then trained to only work on making sure the requests sent out by Thumbtack are legitimate quality leads. The request verification process begins with all requests initially being reviewed by a computer algorithm, which flags requests based on the following criteria:
1. Potentially scandalous service categories
2. Not valid personal name
3. Words we have found signal spam
4. Non-U.S. IP address
5. Duplicate requests
6. Thumbtack service professional placing a request - Thumbtack flags requests from service professionals so that we can catch any service professional placing a request for the same service he/she provides.
7. Requests for an individual service provider, rather than a general inquiry - Our consumers usually make general requests for a service that Thumbtack sends to all relevant service providers. Consumers can also make individual requests for service professionals they know are listed on Thumbtack.
8. Non-verifiable schedule - On our requests forms, there is a field that notes the customer's scheduling preferences. Requests that are missing this information are flagged.

Requests that are not flagged with one of the nine reasons listed above are sent out to our service professionals who match the request's service category and geographical requirements. Requests that are flagged ... are sent to our special request verification team who manually review flagged requests. This team looks at each flagged request and decides whether or not the request can be published and sent to all relevant service professionals. The team makes this decision based on an additional set of criteria outlined below. If the team member decides the request is in fact not publishable, then this decision is reviewed by a manager. If the manager agrees with the decision, this team contacts the requestor to let him/her know that his/her request did not go through, and the reason why it did not go through.

The additional set of criteria that the request verification team looks at for deciding whether a flagged request should not go through to the service professionals is as follows:
1. Vagueness
2. Private message - If a request is for a specific service professional then we do not publish this request.
3. Sexual content or underage requests
4. Full-time employment or barter request
5. Duplicate request
6. Service post - Occasionally a service professional posts a request thinking that he/she has posted about his/her service; these requests do not go through.
7. Test Posts
8. Inappropriate or scammy

Given the immense growth that Thumbtack continues to experience, we are careful to maintain request verification as a critical feature of our marketplace. This requires us to constantly monitor and review the quality of the request verification process. Some of the initiatives underway to improve the request verification process include:
- Regular Quality Assurance auditing and coaching of our request verification team.
- Improved reporting and review of deleted request patterns
- Growth of the request form improvement team to speed up the process of improving request questions to provide higher quality, more relevant information to service professionals.

...

Understanding Thumbtack's 'pay for leads' model is key to understanding any restrictions in place for direct communication between consumers and service professionals. Communication options are different based on whether the service professional has submitted a quote. Before quoting, Thumbtack offers the Public Question feature; after quoting, the service professional can communicate privately with the consumer, depending on the consumer's preference.
...

Currently, we do not require the consumer to respond to quotes if he/she is not interested. We provide a button to 'decline (a) quote', as well as the ability to reply to a quote with a message, but it is the consumer's decision whether to use either of these features. We have, however, listened to the feedback from our service professionals that they would find it helpful to know when a consumer has decided not to hire them. Therefore, we have several improvements under development to strengthen the feedback that service professionals will receive after quoting; these improvements include:
- prompting consumers via email to respond to the service professionals who have sent them quotes, even if they have chosen not to hire that service professional;
- making it easier for service professionals to indicate if they were hired for a job, which will then let others know by default they have not been selected."

Complaint Breakdown by Resolution

Complaint Resolution Log (175)BBB Closure Definitions
10/08/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: None of the Above - Advertising Complaint Issue

Complaint: I never signed up for this service. This organization will not stop soliciting my business via email although I've unsubscribed to their email.
Will not stop email solicitation after unsubscribing from their emails.
I never subscribed for this service in the first place.

Initial Business Response
Dear ****,

I am writing in response to your BBB complaint against Thumbtack. I have attempted to contact you directly to address these concerns, but we have been unable to connect. I apologize for your experience with Thumbtack emails.

Based on your recent request, I have updated your account so that you won't receive customer request emails or texts. Here are the steps to view and update your notification preferences:

http://support.thumbtack.com/hc/en-us/articles/XXXXXXXXX.

The benefit of unsubscribing from email and text alerts, rather than deleting your account, is that your account activity, reviews, and profile settings will be saved and stored. Also, you'll be able to view customer requests when you log in to your account.

Please contact us if you have further questions. We're always here to help.

*****

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

09/19/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Improper or inferior service

Complaint: Basically, Thumbtack failed to produce the leads they promise. Many are obviously fake and the two "legitimate ones" were also fake.
Thumbtack flooded my email with alleged leads, just like the form of many others. These leads are obviously fake, and often to passed on to me, when I am clearly not what the person is looking for. For example, my servicing address is clearly too far or they are looking for a female personal trainer, and I am male. I talked to one client that wanted a quote over the phone, and he stammered through my questions, clearly not wanting or needing my services, and yet claiming I was the perfect match for him. Subsequent calls to him, were not received, nor were the messages returned. I booked an assessment yesterday on a woman, and when it came to pay for my service, she claimed to have to go to the doctor and learn whether or not she was going to have gall bladder surgery. The last two days, just many complaintants, my email has been flooded with "leads". Apparently, this is the format that Thumbtack uses.

Initial Business Response
Dear ***,

I am writing in response to your BBB complaint with Thumbtack. I appreciate the opportunity you've given us to discuss your concerns and resolve them. I know that ****** has already resolved your concerns over the phone. However, I'll respond to them below as well.

Thumbtack is not in the business of scamming our professionals. Not only is it fundamentally against what Thumbtack stands for, it doesn't make sense from a business perspective either. Thumbtack can only succeed if our professionals succeed - that's why we work hard to help our professionals get hired as often as possible. We can only grow if we are connecting real, serious customers with real, quality service pros. We spend considerable time and effort on a request verification process to flag suspicious requests. We then manually check those that have been flagged as suspicious. Only requests that clear these processes are forwarded to our professionals. Of course, no system is perfect, and we constantly work to improve the process.

You mentioned receiving a high volume of requests. The number of customer requests is based on the demand for your service category and your service radius. If you would like to lower the number of requests, you can adjust your service radius to be smaller. Also, some requests categories allow customers to be gender specific in their request - like a request for a "male personal trainer". Unfortunately, our system cannot differentiate between male and female professionals when forwarding these requests. This is something we are hoping to update soon.

We don't think you should have to spend your hard-earned money to submit a quote unless you believe the job would be a good fit for you. That's why we pass along all of the request information, which you can use to decide whether submitting a quote might be worthwhile for your business. We encourage you to respond only to requests that look like they could turn into viable work. We always encourage our customers to be as accurate as possible in their requests. If for some reason a customer places inaccurate information in a request, making that request unusable by the professional, then the professional can contact us and we will refund it. Ultimately, it is the professional's responsibility to quote only on requests that they feel are a good fit.

I appreciate you contacting us so that we could resolve your concerns and, most importantly, help you in the process of growing your business. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

*****

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

09/18/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: False or unsubstantiated claims in advertisement

Complaint: I know that Thumbtack is a scam.
I have spent $100 in the past week and gave these people my SS# for a backround check. I have not gotten 1 call. I even offer major discounts in my small area of 10 square miles and those people didn't even call. Scam. I want a full refund or I will sue.

Initial Business Response
Dear *****,

I am writing in response to your BBB complaint against Thumbtack. I have attempted to contact you directly to address these concerns, but we have been unable to connect. I hope I can resolve your concerns below.

We are not in the business of scamming our professionals. Not only is it fundamentally against what Thumbtack stands for, it doesn't make sense from a business perspective either. Thumbtack can only succeed if our professionals succeed - that's why we work hard to help our professionals get hired as often as possible. We can only grow if we are connecting real, serious customers with real, quality service pros. We spend considerable time and effort on a request verification process to flag suspicious requests. We then manually check those that have been flagged as suspicious. Only requests that clear these processes are forwarded to our professionals. Of course, no system is perfect, and we constantly work to improve the process.

We give you control over what you pay for and when - it is free to create a profile and to receive customer requests relevant to what you do. You choose who you'd like to respond to, and only pay when you choose to quote. There's never any obligation to respond to the customer requests we send you. There are no annual fees or minimum payments. I have reviewed your quoting history and it looks like you submitted 3 quotes between the 9th and 12th of August. I encourage you to give it another chance. Many of our most successful professionals say that it took them several quotes before their first customer hired them through Thumbtack.

We see our role as that of making the introduction to a potential customer, and then we get out of the way, so that the pro, who is best equipped to actually sell the customer on their service anyway, can tackle the lead however they see fit. The 'pay to quote' model doesn't suit everyone. Purchasing leads on Thumbtack should be considered an advertising cost. similar to buying TV commercials or listing on a directory like Yelp. Many people see those advertisements, but only a couple will likely turn into customers. It can take a number of times before you land a job, especially in a competitive category, but in almost all cases, the money you make for that job easily pays for your quote investment.

Based on your concerns, and to help build your faith in Thumbtack, I have refunded all of the credit purchases you have made since adding your service on August 8, 2014, a total of $31.66.

I appreciate you reaching out to clarify your concerns. Thumbtack is dedicated to becoming THE online marketplace for local services. Your feedback, along with all feedback from other Thumbtack professionals and customers, helps us improve. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to let me know.

Sincerely,

*****

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

09/11/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Delayed completion of service

Complaint: This is an internet service which provides time sensitive work leads. The leads I receive have been seriously delayed, with no resolution.
Thumbtack provides time sensitive work leads for a fee. For several months I have been receiving these leads significantly later than other pros, causing me to lose work that has resulted in serious financial problems for my business.

After almost a year of using Thumbtack exclusively, my business is failing because of this. Basically other vendors are getting an unfair advantage because I am not being notified of the leads in a timely manner.

I have spoken with them on the phone a few times and they admit a problem exists, but nothing has been done to resolve it.

Thumbtack provides a service central to my livelihood, and is now exercising an unfair practice, delaying my notifications. I also have very high ratings for my business.

Initial Business Response
Dear *****,

I am writing in response to your BBB complaint with Thumbtack. I appreciate the opportunity you've given us to discuss your concerns and resolve them. I know that we have already resolved your concerns over the phone. However, I'll respond to them below as well.

I apologize for any potential delay in receiving requests from customers through Thumbtack. We love helping our professionals grow their businesses, and we recognize that to be competitive, you need to be able to receive and respond to customer requests quickly. I want to assure you that our system is designed to send customer request information to all potential professionals at the same time. Each request is sent via email or text message, depending on each professional's preferences. All requests are also available on the professional's dashboard.

When we spoke on the phone, we did some troubleshooting and found that you were currently receiving requests at the same time as other professionals. All of our customer requests go through a request verification process before they are published to our professionals. We can only grow if we are connecting real, serious customers with real, quality pros. We spend time, effort, and funds on a request verification process to flag suspicious requests. We then go in and manually check those that have been flagged as suspicious. Only requests that are cleared by these processes are forwarded to our professionals.

One other thing to keep in mind, which we talked about on the phone, is that we only send text messages between the hours of 8:00 am and 9:00 pm of your local time zone. However, we send emails and update your request dashboard as soon as the request is published. I really appreciate your help in gathering data for our technical team in case you find any other issues. We will take your feedback and improve by it.

I appreciate you contacting me so that we could resolve your concerns and, most importantly, help you in the process of growing your cleaning business. Based on your concerns and to help build your faith in Thumbtack, I also refunded a total of $151.58 to your card on file. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

****** **

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

09/09/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Sales presentation misrepresented the service

Complaint: There is no way to give a bid on the following request with out see the physical site location. No way.
This was the information : a Six apt. bldg. that needs 100 amps changed to 200amps, permit, and then a panel with meters and fuses on outside and connected to KCPL. You could not give a bid for many reasons. But is that KCPL would require you to up grade the main line in from the pole to the house if the current one is under sized. That runs around 1000.00 plus KCPL would have to do a site review. Now if this was a real request then any licensed electrician would know this. If this is not a big red flag, then there is no way this is correct and true advertising by this company.

Initial Business Response
Dear ****,

I am responding to your recent BBB complaint regarding concerns with the quoting process. I appreciate you working with me to address these concerns over the phone. We value your feedback, and I have forwarded it to the appropriate teams to help us improve. Below, I will address the concerns we discussed on the phone and offer some suggestions on how to overcome potential obstacles in quoting with limited information from a customer.

I recognize that in certain situations, it is difficult to offer an exact quote without seeing the actual work to be done. Many services available through Thumbtack require an on-site review in order to provide a more accurate assessment of cost. We do encourage customers to include as much detail as possible in their request. However, there may be information that is not available to, or unknown by the customer. In these cases, we suggest that you include a potential cost based on the information provided, but inform the customer that you require an on-site survey before providing an exact quote. There is also an option to not include a price estimate, and mark the quote as "Need more information". If you choose to include pricing in your quote, outline exactly what that price includes. In addition, inform the customer of the other services and/or options you have available for them. Any quote you offer is only an estimate and is subject to change based on your on-site review.

It is also important to remember that responding to a customer request is not simply a quote, but an introduction of your services to the customer. Along with your quote, the customer will have access to your profile and contact information. This information will be available for them to access at any time, allowing them to contact you directly to discuss their project.

As the professional, you know what information is helpful when preparing a quote for a customer. We greatly appreciate the feedback you provided. We value the opinions and feedback of our customers and professionals, and we rely on that feedback to help us improve. We are actively refining and improving our process of connecting service professionals and customers, and you have helped us in that goal.

If you have any other questions or further suggestions, please let us know. We are always glad to help.

Sincerely,

******

Complaint Resolution: Company addressed the complaint issues. The consumer failed to acknowledge acceptance to BBB.

Page 1 of 33
08/08/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: None of the Above - Product Quality Complaint Issue

Complaint: This company is terribly unprofessional. They have caused me to waste a lot of valuable time.
I used Thumback's service while looking for a web designer. While not terribly impressed with those that responded to me I was intrigued by their service and decided to register my two businesses with them. Almost immediately, I started noticing problems.

I was told that I could have two separate business profiles under one account except the customer service rep didn't know how to do it. She said she would figure this out and get back to me. While I was not in a rush I did call back after five days to discover that she had done nothing. The second rep was able to help me after I over an hour on the phone with her.

However, when typing in my biography I discovered that it was limited to 125 characters or, roughly, 15 words. Oh, "so sorry, I'll submit a suggestion," she said. Then, being one of the millions of professionals whose professional certifications are not State-issued, I discovered that I could not list them. Oh, "so sorry, I'll submit a suggestion," she said. I expressed my dismay that, in five years this company has been in existence, they hadn't encountered this or, since it's likely they had, that they hadn't solved the problem.

Then today, I received an invitation to bid via text message. Forty minutes later, I attempted to respond only to find that the customer had received her five bids. I inquired as to this limit and discovered that Thumbtack arbitrarily limits the number of bids a customer receives so as to not "over burden the customer." Putting on my customer hat I suggested that the number of bids should be determined by the customer. Oh "so sorry, I'll submit a suggestion."

Throughout this last call the young lady with whom I spoke kept having problems hearing me because I was "fading in and out." Except, her co-worker in the "next room" was so clear to me that I had to speak more loudly to hear myself. It sounded like they were in someones garage. No, they're in a "call center." The loudest call center I had ever encountered. I asked to speak with a supervisor. No one was available but, she'd have one call me back "within 24 hours." The only reasons to wait that long to escalate a customer complaint are (1) they don't want you to speak with a supervisor, (2) they don't have supervisors, or (3) their supervisors are too busy responding to all the complaints they are receiving.

The invitation to bid which I have received to date was so vague that I probably would not have responded.

All of this indicates to me that they have no idea how the service profession operates, they have insufficient resources to alter their service structure to accommodate their customers, and have no sense whatsoever, how to handle customer problems.

I have encountered all of this over one week. Without significant changes I will likely terminate my use of this service. Right now, I can't recommend it to others.

Initial Business Response
Contact Name and Title: ****** CRS
Contact Email: ******@thumbtack.com
Dear *. ******** *****,

I am writing to you in response to your BBB complaint against Thumbtack. I apologize for the poor experience you had using Thumbtack, and hope I'm able to address all of your concerns. I spoke with **** who took your call this afternoon; I fully aware of the issues that were addressed in that conversation.

I would like to first apologize for failing to provide you with a great customer service experience. As mentioned by ****, we are building out our support team in ************** and currently experiencing some 'growing pains', which is expected. With that being said, we're actively hiring more staff members and updating our call center tools in order to prevent this from happening in the future. In regards to your account, I'd like to personally apologize for the difficulties you had in setting up multiple profiles over the phone - these issues are being addressed with proactive coaching and quality assurance audits. Our goal is to provide a fantastic customer service experience each and every time you contact Thumbtack. Our goal is to improve each and every day in order to provide super-helpful customer support.

Thank you for providing us with such high quality feedback suggestions. Please note that we have recently implemented a new feedback process which allows agents to submit "suggestions" that are analyzed by our product team on a regular basis. I apologize if this phrasing offended you in anyway - the agents were simply trying to be as helpful in possible and followed the guidelines that are currently set in place. Our company takes these suggestions very seriously and actively reviews this feedback.

The biography field is limited by a character count on purpose. This limitation allows Thumbtack to rank higher in search results, which is ultimately to the benefit of our professionals, like yourself. We've performed extensive research and have optimized our marketing platform to drive as much search traffic to our professional accounts. Remember, this is for your benefit and note that you are free to fill out your service description in as much detail as you'd like.

At this time, we are not able to validate a licenses that is not state issued. Thumbtack is unique in that we offer a wide range of professional services on our site, and are therefore unable to verify every type of license that exists. We made a business decision to only validate state licenses, but hope to offer these verification across other licenses in the future. Please note that your Thumbtack competitors do not have this ability as well, and therefore does not put you at a disadvantage when the customer evaluates your quote. Our suggestion is to scan your license documentation and upload this to the media section of your profile. You're more than welcome to highlight this licensing in the quote message as well.

I'm sorry that our five-quote limit on customer job requests is causing you trouble - I understand how frustrating it can be to click on a work request after you receive it, only to find that it's already reached its quote limit. We're here to help you get more business, so we take your feedback very seriously. The main reason we instituted this cap was to help reduce competition and improve your chances of winning a job when you submit a quote. We run a lot of surveys and focus groups with both our service pros and customers. Both professionals and customers have overwhelmingly supported a shift to the 5-quote maximum, rather than 10, but we do understand that there is some variation in sentiment. Consumers have long told us that for popular work requests, they feel inundated with quotes, and simply do not like receiving and sifting through up to 10 options - some of which may arrive after they've already made their decision. Most have indicated that they are unlikely to choose quotes that arrive after the first 5. Instituting the cap was a way to help make the process easier for consumers while also preventing our pros from spending time on quotes with which consumers are far less likely to engage. With that being said, I really like your suggestion to allow the customer to choose the limit for themselves. I've personally passed this feedback to our product team who may run this as a beta test in the future. Again, our Thumbtack Credits program was designed to create a process that is transparent and fair to all of our pros while retaining ease of use for consumers. Our initial tests of the program showed that it helped to alleviate the 5-quote cap issues some pros were facing.

Furthermore, we've decided to stick with a pay-per-lead model after experimenting with many different payment structures. With our current business model, we give you the control over what you pay for and when - it is free to create a profile and to receive customer requests relevant to what you do. You choose who you'd like to respond to and you only pay when you choose to quote. There's never any obligation to respond to the customer requests we send you. There are no annual fees or minimum payments - our professionals have expressed overwhelming support for this model since it allows them to quote when it feels comfortable and only pay for customer job requests that are a good fit.

We are a small company with a big mission. We are actively refining and improving our process of connecting service professionals and consumers, as it's important to us that we create as many great customer experiences as we can. I hope we were able to resolve your issues, and please do not hesitate to reach out directly if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,
****** CRS

Initial Consumer Rebuttal
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Because they still maintain their "model" is appropriate. It isn't. I first connected with the site as a consumer looking for web design specialists for my HOA. I got five referrals. One was out of our area, another didn't respond to my request for a bid based on our needs. Another, kept sending me a contract to sign even after he was advised that (1) I was not the decision-maker and (2) his "package" included services we did not need or want. He did not address our specifications four times. One doesn't seem all that qualified. The remaining one does. So that's five referrals, one good candidate, and one extremely marginal candidate. If need to move forward with four candidates. So what do I do? I was incensed that the five candidates I received made the cut because they were the first five to respond. Give me twenty referrals so I can get the best candidate. Speaking as a professional marketing my business I can't sit in from of my email, waiting for referrals so I can guarantee that I end up in the first five. I have clients to service. I would think that customers would prefer to consider a professional who is actually busy, i.e. has business, rather than someone waiting by the phone. Thumbtack promises me that by using their service, I'll get more business then prevent me from selling myself (see below). Now, some believe many of the referrals are fraudulent. The fact is the five referral limit is designed to hide the fact that they don't have a lot of qualified professionals and that they wouldn't know how to serve them if they did.

Being a professional, I decided to give it a try myself. I have cataloged my experiences in amendments to my original complaint. My final assessment is that they have a lot of "professionals" whose quality cannot be assessed because the state doesn't license them - which is the case for most professionals. You want an accountant; the state licenses accountants. Want a bookkeeper? No license. So a bookkeeper could be a Certified Quickbooks Pro-Advisor, critical skills for a bookkeeper, but since it's not a state-issued license, this cannot be posted as part of their profile. Same goes for land use planners (AICP), site designers (LEED Green Building Council), public participation practitioners (IAP2), informed consent specialists (SDIC), microsoft network administrators (MSCE, Microsoft), wetlands biologists (PWS, Society of Wetland Scientists ), arborists (ISA, International Association of Aboriculture), economists, business plan consultants, geographic information systems specialists (GISP, URISA), etc., etc., etc. So exactly what professional credentials do states license? Not many, really. I have 35 years experience as a land use planner I have Bachelor's degrees in political science and economics and a Master's in Community and Regional Planning. I am a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and have five other certifications in public participation, informed consent, and charette planning and management. Of that information, none of that will show up under credentials.

They have a section of questions you can answer to give a potential customer valuable information about you. Like, "What do you like about your job?" For some reason Thumbtack thinks that professionals are selected on the basis of answers given to questions asked in a fast food restaurant interview. Every client who has hired me want to know what I can do, how fast I can do it, and the expected outcome not, if I like traipsing around in the field rather that selling their project to the planning commission.

Add to this that when categorizing my land use planning business their learned "professionals" placed me in accounting, writing and editing and ... with respect to my writing and editing business ... had me listed as a ... wait for it ... search engine optimization specialist.

Their response is full of "proprietary" research that has told them that their model is appropriate. Go tell that to any college business administration program, trade organizations, professional societies, and the Small Business Administration you'll get laughed out the door.

So, no, there is no compromise position because they would require me to pay for a service that is so fundamentally flawed that I will get no new business.





Final Business Response
Dear *. ******** *****,

I'm sorry if my previous response did not satisfactorily address all of your concerns. **** and I have spoken to you about the Thumbtack business model and the reasoning behind our current quoting guidelines and how they relate to the overall customer experience.

Again, I'm sorry that our five-quote limit on work requests has caused you trouble. The main reason we instituted this cap was to help reduce competition and improve your chances of winning a job when you submit a quote. Both professionals and customers have overwhelmingly supported a shift to the 5-quote maximum, rather than 10, but we do understand that there is some variation in sentiment. Customers have long told us that for popular work requests, they feel inundated with quotes, and simply do not like receiving and sifting through up to 10 options - some of which may arrive after they've already made their decision. Most have indicated that they are unlikely to choose quotes that arrive after the first 5. Instituting the cap was a way to help make the process easier for customers while also preventing our professionals from spending time on quotes with which customers are far less likely to engage. Remember, both parties are not obligated in any way to the services provided by Thumbtack - professionals like yourself willingly submit quotes for attractive customer job requests and customers are under no obligation to hire any of professionals that submit quotes. With that being said, serious customers use Thumbtack because they are able to connect with qualified professionals in less than 24 hours.

I'd like to point out that we've built a large network of professionals in an attempt to provide multiple quotes for every customer job request. I looked at your last customer job invite - this request was sent to 136 other professionals that offer a similar service. We've spent a lot of time (and money) inviting professionals to Thumbtack and enjoy sharing their success stories.

I'd like to reiterate that we are not able to validate a licenses that is not state issued. Thumbtack is unique in that we offer a wide range of professional services on our site, and are therefore unable to verify every type of license that exists. At this time, we've made a business decision to only validate state licenses, but hope to offer these verification across other licenses in the future. Remember, your competitors on Thumbtack do not have this ability as well, and does not put you at a disadvantage when the customer evaluates your quote. Our suggestion is to scan your license documentation (and other certifications) and upload this to the media section of your profile. You're more than welcome to highlight this licensing in the quote message as well. Customers are responsive to these credentials, which is likely to put you at an advantage in the quoting process.

In regards to the questions section on your profile, this is simply just a list of questions that are recommended by Thumbtack. You are more than welcome to create custom questions and respond accordingly.

I'm sorry that you were listed under search engine optimization on your profile. We serve over a thousand different request categories and therefore must categorize professionals into different, yet organized service groupings, with all request categories whitelisted by default. Please note that these service categories have sub-categories, and you are able to edit these settings in your profile at anytime. **** went ahead and deselected this request category from your account when discussing these concerns on the phone with you.

We are a small company with a big mission. We are actively refining and improving our process of connecting service professionals and consumers, as it's important to us that we create as many great customer experiences as we can. I'm sorry that our platform is not a fit for your professional services, and encourage you to stay updated with Thumbtack since we are constantly making improvements to our product.

Sincerely,
****** CRS

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Their refusal to allow me to list certifications from professional organizations, i.e. non-state issued licenses, compromises, severely, my ability to market my services through them. What it does serve is Thumbtack's marketing strategy, i.e. to be able to brag about all of the professionals they've signed up. However, failure to address the certification issue means that their database of professionals is littered with individuals and firms who are not qualified to perform the services they offer. Listing certifications issued by professional organizations would expose eighty (80) percent to evaluations of their qualifications which would eliminate them from further consideration through a competitive bidding process. In addition, the five (5) referral limit requires Thumbtack's "professionals" to sit by their computers and concentrate on responding to referrals promptly rather than doing actual client business: failure to respond promptly as occurred in my case eliminates many professionals from consideration.

Their professional groupings is absurd: listing me as an SEO professional when my qualifications don't permit me too provide those services, confuses potential customers AND has me reviewing invitations to bid for jobs for which I have no services to offer.

I believe that Thumbtack's Business Model is designed (1) to inflate the number of "professionals" in their database so as to enable them to advertise large numbers of professionals regardless of their quality or competence; and (2) hide the fact that many of their "professionals" lack the requisite experience and skills by controlling the amount of information available to those searching for professional services. They do not allow professionals to list professional credentials (college degrees or professional certifications), categorize their services, or prepare and offer FAQs about their services Thumbtack's standard questions are not relevant to professional marketing and are the types of questions which would be asked of individuals applying to jobs in the fast food industry. Everything is standardized and controlled to the nth degree.

Thumbtack's Business Model reflects the fact (my opinion) that their employees have a stunning lack of understanding about the vast number of service categories offered by their members, do not understand how and why professionals are hired and have no clue as to how small businesses operate.

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

06/15/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint Category: False or unsubstantiated claims in advertisement

Complaint: Website touted 22 service businesses listings. After 2 responded, "all available... have responded" This is a service / product finder service.
Conducted computer / Google search for "best lawn service in my city and state, Thumbtack.com popped up, near the top. The main line contained "22 best". So, clicked on link, went to site, found 22 businesses listed. I submitted a seeker / finder form (what I needed and other info.). Within hours, I'd received an e-mail from them, followed by 2 responses. I waited. Next day (today), I receive another e-mail from thumbtack.com, stating "all available and interested" had responded. TWO!? REALLY?!

Seems to me that they are either providing free ad listings just to attract more users, either without businesses knowing and/OR not providing service to them, perhaps listing them, unknowingly (to those other 20 businesses). In my opinion, and I believe I speak for the majority, this is misleading advertising, if not false advertisement. Of course, maybe these folks have a loop-hole, by not plainly stating that most of the listings are USELESS to those seeking services or products.

Still, let's take a vote!

Thanks.

***************

Initial Business Response
Dear *******,

I am writing to you in response to your BBB rebuttal against Thumbtack. I apologize if my initial response was not sufficient in addressing all of your concerns.

I went ahead and reviewed all of pertinent landing pages and was not able to find any evidence of misleading advertising on our site. When you submit a request, we reach out to service professionals in your area that provide the service you requested. Once the request is submitted, we display a confirmation page that lists next steps, which includes the following for your particular job request:

"We'll email you multiple lawncare quotes"

For your particular job request, we were able to successfully provide two quotes from interested pros. We reached out to 22 professionals on your behalf (as advertised), and allow a maximum of 5 quotes per job request within the 24 hour quoting window.

Please note that you received the following confirmation email after submitting your request:

"Available pros submit quotes within 24 hours"

We do not guarantee that you will receive any quotes, however we do promise that we'll reach out to our qualified professionals to let them know that you are interested in their services. The professionals that are visible on these landing pages are active pros who are not 'On Hold' and have indicated interest in receiving leads from your job location.

Thank you so much, again, for your feedback. We are working hard to create a great experience for both our service professionals and consumers, and hope that you will use Thumbtack in the future.

Sincerely,
****** CRS

Initial Consumer Rebuttal
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I'm rejecting this for two simple reasons; (1) "reviewed OUR site" (my emphasis. (2) only two of twenty-two responded, which leads to a logical conclusion that those advertised are not interested, by majority, or are falsely listed clients. (How can so many, and assumedly paying for advertisement, not be more interested?! Makes NO sense. One pays for service, they'll use it.) END

"Landing pages" - reference = Google > "Best 22".
(a) Some of THE best / TOP rated, in OUR community are not listed. (b) Again, only TWO responded.
search reference = "best lawn care service in *********** ****

An outside/third, unbiased party should review. Other complaints have been noted, by me, as documented by the BBB. My personal feelings are that this is misleading and that most others would feel the same, regarding the facts. There is no use in debating this matter, any further.
END
# # #

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

02/27/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Sales presentation misrepresented the service

Complaint: Misrepresentation of service; targeting/retaliation against individual vendors; failure to mention rule changes; inconsistent/violation of own rules
Over the past few months, Thumbtack has consistently changes their alleged "guidelines" & makes this up as they go along. Meanwhile, their "guidelines" have not been updated for a few years.
The language on their site clearly states, in pertinent part: "The ideal Public Questions are those that ask for specific details, such as the client's desired date or what size of crowd they are expecting. Once you see the client's answer, you send a quote tailored to their needs."

But yet, Thumbtack knowingly prohibits vendors from asking for specific details in order to give a specific quote. Asking specific AND PERTINENT QUESTIONS also determines if this is a client we even want.

Thumbtack knowingly makes unannounced "guideline" changes when they realize asking a PERTINENT specific question affects their bottom line -- meaning a vendor might not spend money. Especially if a potential client posts an extremely vague service request. Thumbtack decides what is against their "guidelines" whenever they feel like, and fail to disclose it -- although their OWN rules require they do. Thumbtack has become more & more less vendor-friendly -- those that PAY THEIR BILLS -- and they bend over backwards to accommodate those who do NOT pay to list their request. Their 'reason' is that a question is against their guidelines, although it's not listed as such not allowed -- or anything remotely close. For example, we can not ask a client about venue anymore. Although that guideline is not listed. Knowing a venue is PERTINENT in order to give a quote. Whatever excuse they have for this is simply ridiculous. Fact is, it's done just to get money from vendors, which leads to issues with potential clients on behalf of vendors.

I have also documented numerous times that Thumbtack specifically has targeted me individually, and they continue to do so. They are extremely quick to either edit my question -- without my permission -- or just delete it entirely. Although I've witnessed other vendors ask the same questions, but they remain. Thumbtack will of course deny this or make up an excuse blaming on something technical, but I have the documentation. They are intentionally retaliating against me in this fashion because I've taken them to task about their constantly-changing 'guidelines' and overall questionable business practices.

They've also failed to stop fake listings and remove them in a timely manner. They should put as much resources into combating fake listings as they do removing my questions -- or others. Of course, they'll have an excuse for this, too!

Thumbtack also continues to allow people to list extremely vague service requests. Then, when we try to get more specific info, our questions are not allowed. This is an unfair business practice because the site wants us to spend money and then find out after-the-fact that the person is not a client we'd want.

Thumbtack is ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS as to how this business works, and they see it nothing more than an easy cash-grab on behalf of vendors like me, while also driving down prices of professionals.

I'm sure Thumbtack will just copy and paste the same diatribe they do every other time -- that they really do care about us blah blah blah, but any response they provide is nothing but garbage so they can save face with the BBB.

Thumbtack has very questionable business practices, along with regularly violating their own rules, and they are knowingly misleading vendors by representing they can ask questions to get specific quotes, when essentially we can not. It is required of some services that specifics are needed in order to give an HONEST quote (and honest is something Thumbtack knows nothing about), and the site refuses to understand that.

I am in the process of compiling my information to submit to the CA Attorney General to file a complaint with them. Thumbtack needs to be held responsible for their questionable and retaliatory business practices & I plan to do so.

Initial Business Response
Hi ****,

I am so sorry you have had such a frustrating experience with Thumbtack and our public questions feature. I understand how aggravating it must be to feel that you cannot get the adequate information from our consumers to create an accurate and complete quote. Therefore, I have gone ahead and refunded you all of the refunds you requested through PayPal, which totaled $39.64.

I do, however, want to emphasize that Thumbtack has never targeted you, nor any other service professional, for giving us valuable feedback on our site and it’s features. We can only improve when service professionals and consumers let us know when they are having a bad experience with our site, and therefore, we encourage our users to give us honest feedback.

The guidelines for public questions have not changed since their inception. That being said, they have been applied inconsistently by our customer service agents who monitor the questions. The guidelines are not pointed enough for our agents to be able to apply them uniformly. Therefore, we are in the process of revamping our guidelines so that they will be implemented more reliably. When the guidelines are officially changed, we will notify all service professionals.

In regards to questions about venues, we have decided not to allow them and instead are working to incorporate them in the request form. This should be implemented in the near future. Nonetheless, we anticipate there will still be consumers who choose to leave the venue blank, as we have discovered that many consumers are interested in suggestions from our service pros on where to hold the event.

I am sorry you feel that Thumbtack only cares about consumers and not our service professionals. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Our mission to be THE online marketplace for services, and this can only happen if we create a great experience for both our consumers and service professionals. Our public question guidelines are in place to create a balance between the needs of our service professionals while protecting the consumer experience and Thumbtack’s stake in the process. We do not want to bombard the consumer with questions, so we only allow questions that will clearly improve the quality of the quote for that consumer. We strive for fairness between all of our service professionals by making these questions and answers public, while ensuring that service professionals are not circumventing Thumbtack’s pay for leads system.

Thank you so much, again, for your feedback. We are working hard to create a great experience for both our service professionals and consumers, however, sometimes we do not get it right. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,**********

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
They have simply provided the typical 'copy & paste' response to simply satisfy the BBB, without having cited valid reasons. They claim their guidelines haven't changed, but yet acknowledge they're inconsistent.

Yet, the day after I get this response, they made ANOTHER UNANNOUNCED changed to their guidelines. Just this morning as of this writing, they made EVEN MORE UNANNOUNCED changes to their so-called 'guidelines.' The fact is, their guidelines HAVE changed. When they inconsistently decide to "delete" or "edit" a question, they clearly state that the question "did not meet our guidelines", which a link to their guidelines. And their 'guidelines' mention NOTHING about what they claim is a violation. So, their claim that their guidelines have not changed is blatantly false and misrepresenting. Since my complaint, they have made TWO UNANNOUNCED changes to their "guidelines." They have just refused to update them AND announce them to vendors as their own rules state they would do. Their behaviors, responses, reactions, etc. clearly GO AGAINST what they state on their own website.

They stated they no longer allow people to ask about venue (for example). But yet, they provided absolutely ZERO explanation as to why this is against guidelines, when this is a very valid and relevant question to many vendors of several service providers. They selective choose to "ban" certain questions because they simply want vendors to SPEND MONEY and give a quote. Then, find out AFTER THE FACT that a quote isn't correct or that a client isn't a good fit when we could've found this out BEFOREHAND. All of these 'bans' is simply greed on Thumbtack's part & in contradiction to their own posted policies.

They also claim they have not targeted me (or anyone) personally. Of course they're going to claim they aren't doing that. But, I have seen first-hand my responses being targeted within SECONDS after posting, when others have not. Questions they claim are against "guidelines" are quickly deleted when I post them. But, when others have blatantly asked questions allegedly against guidelines, they've remained up. So, their claim they don't target specific people is not true.



These people who are searching for "service pros" FOR FREE are NOT client's of Thumbtack. They are simply users. Thumbtack's clients are VENDORS -- the ones who actually pay. WE are the reason this site exists. NOT the people who pay nothing to inquire for "service pros" (and I put that in quotes because there are many DJ's, for example, who are far from professional).

Their claim they DO care about service pros more than consumers is nothing short of laughable -- and blatantly false. Just earlier, I posted TWO ADDITIONAL examples of how they made ADDITIONAL unannounced changes that are beneficial to the consumer -- who does NOT pay to use the site -- and more UNFAVORABLE to the service professionals. It states on their website, in pertinent part: "The ideal Public Questions are those that ask for specific details...Once you see the client's answer, you send a quote tailored to their needs."

They claim they don't want consumers "bombarded" with questions, well, that's too bad. Especially when Thumbtack knowingly and intentionally allows extremely vague service requests. As a service provider, DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT!! The more details a service provider has, the more accurate and honest quote can be given. Accurate quotes can not be given on general/vague information. Again, these consumers are NOT paying to use the site. The more details the consumer gives AT THE START, the better. But, Thumbtack knowingly and continues to allow consumers to have "I'm Not Sure Yet" as an answer. We service providers need details. Plain & simple. I've been doing this for over 20 years. Any "reason" Thumbtack offers up is simply an excuse and shows how clueless they are.

They claim they're going to make changes, then I want proof. Until then, they are just offering up word salad to appease the BBB. And, until I see FIRSTHAND these changes have been made, I will NOT consider my issue rectified. And, they should PROVE to the BBB that these changes have been made as they stated they'd do.


Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

02/26/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
X

Additional Notes

Complaint Category: Advertisement did not disclose all conditions required to take advantage of an offer

Complaint: Advertisement on job boards requiring jobseekers to PAY to bid on jobs, with no guarantees.
The job board "JobSerious" this am had 4 jobs from Thumbtack. I had to register on their site to apply, which I did—but I found no links to the jobs that were posted. On researching further, I found out I have to PAY Thumbtack to send a bid for a job, with no guarantee of success. I don't even know if the 4 jobs are real. When I wrote to customer service, they wrote, "Please understand that these ads are sample job leads and part of our marketing campaign, meant for non-users who are interested in signing up because of the posting, and not for registered users to be applied on. That's why you won't find it on our site to send a quote. You should just pay attention to the leads that we'll be sending you directly and disregard the ads you are receiving from third party sites."
I feel this is some sort of bait-and-switch, at the very least.

Initial Business Response
Contact Name and Title: ****** CRS
Contact Email: ******@thumbtack.com
Hi ***,

My name is ***** and I am writing in response to your BBB complaint. I apologize for the confusion surrounding our job board postings and understand the frustration in not being able to submit a quote to a particular customer. I would like to clarify our business model and hope to address all of your concerns.

I am so sorry for the confusion in our customer service response last Thursday. I’d like to clarify that our job board postings on sites such as ‘JobSerious’ are real customer requests. The reason we prohibit our active service professionals from bidding on these third party requests is because Thumbtack is a matching platform. We post a small percentage of our total job requests on third party sites in order to recruit more service professionals to Thumbtack. With that being said, bidding on these requests is only available for for non-users who are interested in signing up because of the posting, and not for registered users. We’ve found that job boards are a great way to inform service professionals about our service; it is important for us to recruit Thumbtack service professionals since our the number of customer job requests is rapidly growing each month.

Once you are a registered Thumbtack pro, we send customer leads directly to your Thumbtack dashboard - we’ll send a notification via email or text message when you are invited to submit a quote. Register users receive customer leads directly to their dashboard and can decide whether or not they’d like to respond to that lead. Please note that Thumbtack is not a free service and our service professionals spend ‘Thumbtack Credits’ on each submitted quote. When a customer’s request looks like a good fit for you, use your credit balance or buy credits to submit a quote. The base credit price is $1.67, and we offer discounted packages as well.

We are a small company with a big mission. We are actively refining and improving our process of connecting service professionals and consumers, as it's important to us that we create as many great customer experiences as we can. As such, please note that I am willing to add a few complimentary Thumbtack credits if you decide to reactivate your Thumbtack profile. I hope we were able to resolve your issues, and please do not hesitate to reach out directly if you have any other questions or concerns.

Best regards,
****** Customer Relations Specialist


Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I do not wish to pursue this complaint any further, but I'm clicking "no" here because there was no "proposed resolution." I received an explanation about how they do business. As long as they are not doing anything illegal, I accept this. They will continue to do what they are doing, and I will continue to not do business with them. I DO NOT WISH TO RECEIVE FURTHER MESSAGES, REQUESTS TO FILL OUT SURVEYS, OR ANY OTHER COMMUNICATION FROM THUMBTACK. Please respect this.

Final Business Response
Hi ***,

I appreciate your response and feedback regarding our service professional recruitment marketing efforts. I reached out to you this afternoon and left you a voicemail; if you'd like to speak with me over the phone, please send me an email at ******@thumbtack.com. Otherwise, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

I'd like to clarify that we allow service professionals to apply to these particular online job requests. As long as you are aren't a current Thumbtack pro, following the job request link will allow ask you to sign up and create your profile before submitting a quote for that particular customer. However, if you are already an existing pro on Thumbtack, you will not be able to apply to these jobs as they are designated for new service professionals only. With that being said, our active Thumbtack pros receive customer leads on a daily basis, and many of them complain that they can't handle the volume of requests we send their way!

I do want to strongly convey that we are not in the business of scamming our service professionals. Not only is it fundamentally against what we stand for here at Thumbtack, it wouldn't make sense from a business perspective either. Our goal is to be the online marketplace for local services. We can only grow if we are connecting real, serious customers with real, quality service professionals. Spending time, effort, and funds on creating fake leads simply isn't a winning strategy. We spend a lot of time talking to service professionals who have seen a lot of success on Thumbtack - we're proud of them and you can see some of their stories here:
http://www.thumbtack.com/pros/stories.

I encourage you to give us a shot before making any assumptions about our service, since that is the best way to truly evaluate our platform. I understand that you do not want credits, however please note that I am more than happy to do so in the future, should you change your mind. Again, I hope to speak with you soon and thank you for your feedback.

Best regards,
****** Customer Relations Specialist

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

02/13/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint Category: None of the Above - Sales Complaint Issue

Complaint: Money taken for bad or non existent leads with no credits once a project is canceled.
In relation to canceled projects by a client who is searching, Thumbtack does not return the credits/money spent back to the business. Their explanation is that "we have made a connection and that is our responsibility." In reality absolutely no connection has been made because the business does not receive the contact information of the person and the client seeking the job will never contact any of the bidding businesses.

More clients than not, approximately 2 out of 3 are coming on to the site to simply put out "feelers" for what the market is for services with little or no intention of buying. However since the entire financial burden is on the end of the business/bidder, it's the business that loses money while Thumbtack simply claims ignorance and that a connection is made.

After further research through my own network of associates I found two businesses that have setup "client" accounts on Thumbtack which they use to monitor who the competition is in their market. This is just two so far, but they are taking money from legitimate businesses and no connection or leads will ever come to that business.

The policy should be that for any canceled projects, Thumbtack refunds the credits back to the bidder. Furthermore if a client views a quote but never responds to the quote in any way shape or form, be it a question to the business or simply declining the job the credits should also be returned. Thumbtack should err on the side of protecting their source of money (the businesses) and not only focus on stealing and unintentionally scamming the money into their own pockets.

Initial Business Response
Hi *******,

I am writing to you in response to your BBB complaint. I'm sorry that you are upset with the customer bidding process on Thumbtack; we work really hard to introduce you to interested clients, and encourage our customers to respond to each quote. Nonetheless, I can understand that it is frustrating to spend the time creating a bid to then not hear back from a customer. I really appreciate your feedback regarding our refund policy and providing more information to the service professionals. Your suggestions have been sent to our product team for consideration.

In terms of the contact information we send along with leads, we only include the contact information our customers have allowed us to pass ****** We cannot give out our customers' contact information without their consent. Our customers' privacy is very important to us, and if they have opted not to share their phone numbers and/or email addresses, we must respect and accept that choice. Nonetheless, you can always communicate with them through the Thumbtack messaging system. These messages are sent directly to the customer's email. You can also ask the customer for his/her contact information once you have bid on the request.

I'd like to address your specific concern regarding businesses setting up customer accounts to monitor the competition. We do flag any request that is made from a service professional account to make sure that no service professionals put in a request for the service they provide so as to see how their competitor respond. We also flag any request that has been made for the same service by the same requestor within the past three days as a way to prevent price fishing. You are right, however, that a service professional could create a separate customer account with a different address to place a request. We are aware of this issue and currently developing ideas for measures we can put in place to make sure we are only sending you requests from customers seriously looking to hire a service professional. As such, I have added complimentary credits to your account so that you will hopefully stick with us to see the improvements we plan on implementing.

I do want to strongly convey that we are not in the business of scamming our service professionals. Our goal is to be the online marketplace for local services. We can only grow if we are connecting real, serious customers with real, quality service professionals. Spending time, effort, and funds on providing low quality leads is simply not a winning strategy. We completely understand that the financial burden is on the service professional and therefore refund all bids that are not viewed within 48 hours. Please note that if a bid is viewed after 48 hours, you will not be charged for those credits.
Again, I am very sorry for the aggravation you have experienced from using Thumbtack. We are really trying hard to improve for our service professionals and customers, so your feedback is incredibly helpful.

Sincerely,******
Customer Relations Specialist

Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I completely understand that the issue is a "work in progress". However in the meantime the company continues to accept money from paying vendors with the issue still in place. It was a great conversation about what could be in the future and at the moment I cannot in good faith accept a resolution. Once the company is actually revamped, then I can resolve this issue.

Final Business Response
Hi *******,

It was great speaking with you on the phone this afternoon. I appreciate you taking the time to provide us with such valuable feedback and please note that your suggestions have been forwarded to our product team.

I understand your frustrations in communicating with customers and how these issues create a scam experience for our service professionals. On top of that, we realize that photography leads are not expensive and that this is overall a poor experience. We always encourage our customers to respond and update the job requests, however there is a lot more that we can do to address this issue. As discussed, we are currently addressing the customer communication process and hope that these product changes will create a better experience for service professionals. I will let you know when any major changes have been applied in hopes that you will consider giving Thumbtack another shot.

We value your expertise as a professional photographer on our site. Thank you again for offering your time to help us develop new features on Thumbtack, specifically in the area of photography. We are currently revamping the overall bidding process and will be in touch if we need to gather any initial feedback.

We are working hard to create a great experience for both our service professionals and consumers, however, sometimes we do not get it right. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Best regards,
*****, Customer Relations Specialist

Complaint Resolution: BBB determined that despite the company's reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied.

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Additional Information

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BBB file opened: 09/01/2010Business started: 10/09/2008
Type of Entity

Corporation

Incorporated: October 2008, DE

Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Marco Zappacosta (CEO)Customer Contact: Jodie Auster (Director of Customer Support)Mr. Sander Daniels (Co Founder)
Number of Employees

49

Business Category

Internet Services

Products & Services

Thumbtack allows service providers and consumers to find each other and negotiate jobs online.

Hours of Operation
Mon: 06:00 AM to 08:00 PMTue: 06:00 AM to 08:00 PMWed: 06:00 AM to 08:00 PMThu: 06:00 AM to 08:00 PMFri: 06:00 AM to 08:00 PMSat: 06:00 AM to 08:00 PMSun: 06:00 AM to 08:00 PM
Refund and Exchange Policy

Thumbtack is entirely free for consumers.

If you have listed your business on Thumbtack, we will sometimes send you job leads. Responding to these leads is not required.

Every time you reply to a work request, we promise to get your quote in front of the consumer. If we're not able to facilitate that connection, we'll automatically return the credits to your account to use again free of charge.

We'll send you an email as soon as your quote is viewed by the consumer. If they don't look at your quote within 48 hours of your submission, we'll automatically return the Thumbtack Credits you used to send the quote to your account, so you can use them again free of charge on the next work request that interests you.

Please email any questions to support@thumbtack.com.

Service Area

Thumbtack is available nationwide

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Map & Directions

Address for Thumbtack, Inc.

360 9th Street

San Francisco, CA 94103

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Industry Comparison ChartX

The information in the table below represents an industry comparison of businesses which are of the same relative size. This is based on BBB's database of businesses located in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern Coastal California. Businesses may engage in more than one type of business. The percent of time the business engages in a type of business is not accounted for. There is no known industry standard for the number of complaints a business can expect. The volume of business and number of transactions may have a bearing on the number of complaints received by BBB.

*Thumbtack, Inc. is in this range.

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Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

BBB handles the following types of complaints between businesses and their customers so long as they are not, or have not been, litigated:

  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
  • Problems with Products or Services
  • Delivery
  • Guarantee or Warranty

We do not handle workplace disputes, discrimination claims or claims about the quality of health or legal services.

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Additional Email Addresses

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BBB Complaint Process

Your complaint will be forwarded to the company within two business days. The company will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made. You will be notified of the company's response when we receive it (or notified that we received no response). Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.

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What is BBB Advertising Review?

BBB promotes truth in advertising by contacting advertisers whose claims conflict with the BBB Code of Advertising. These claims come to our attention from our internal review of advertising, consumer complaints and competitor challenges. BBB asks advertisers to prove their claims, change ads to make offers more clear to consumers, and remove misleading or deceptive statements.

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What government actions does BBB report on?

BBB reports on known significant government actions involving business' marketplace conduct.

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About BBB Business Review Content and Services

Some Better Business Bureaus offer additional content and services in BBB Business Reviews. The additional content and services are typically regional in nature or, in some cases, a new product or service that is being tested prior to a more general release. Not all enhanced content and services are available at all Better Business Bureaus.

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BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview


BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.

Customer Review Experience Value
Positive Review 5 points per review
Neutral Review 3 points per review
Negative Review 1 point per review

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.
Details

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating is not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' BBB Rating and Customer Review Rating in addition to all other available information about the business. If the BBB Rating is NR then only Customer Reviews are used for the Star Rating.

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.

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What is a BBB Business Review?

We offer free reviews on businesses that include background, licensing, consumer experience and other information such as governmental actions that is known to BBB. These reviews are provided for businesses that are BBB accredited and also for businesses that are not BBB accredited.

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BBB Reporting Policy

As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.

BBB Business Reviews are provided solely to assist you in exercising your own best judgment. Information in this BBB Business Review is believed reliable but not guaranteed as to accuracy.

BBB Business Reviews generally cover a three-year reporting period. BBB Business Reviews are subject to change at any time.