Home Advisor user says online recommendation cost them thousands - KMOV.com

Home Advisor user says online recommendation cost them thousands

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Home Advisor is a popular website that connects users with local contractors. 

Tony and Diana Delia of St. Peters said they used the website in 2017 to find someone to build a new garage in their backyard. 

"Checked out Home Advisor and Streamline Home Services came up as one of their suggested builders," Diana Delia said, 

The Delia's hired Streamline Home Services, a company operated by Connor Duffy. It's a decision they regret. 

The Delia's paid Duffy's company approximately $41,000 in down payments, but no work was ever performed and no refunds have been made. 

In Columbia, Illinois, Ron and LaDonne Mayberry also hired Streamline Home Services to build a sunroom. They also said they checked Home Advisor and found the website "had a good rating on that." 

After paying $16,000 in down payments to Streamline Home Services for no work, the Mayberry's disputed the charges with their credit card company. Unlike the Delia's, the Mayberry's received a refund.

The Mayberry's believe paying with a credit card offered a better level of protection than paying with a check. 

Former Streamline Home Services employees described a chaotic working environment. 

Brandon Schultz said, "Every week we were getting a new key to the office because he fired somebody else." (referring to Connor Duffy)

Landon Boyd answered calls from customers and told News 4 "people were angry." 

Schultz and Boyd said their boss liked to gamble. News 4 asked the former employees if it's possible customer deposits were used for things like gambling.

Schultz responded, "oh yeah absolutely."

News 4 attempted to get answers from Duffy, but instead of answering questions, Duffy offered no comment and drove away. 

According to the Better Business Bureau, complaints regarding Streamline Home Services started in November 2016. 

A spokesperson estimates losses at $92,300 involving 19 total complaints. Eleven of those complaints remain unanswered by the company. 

News 4 also visited Home Advisor's corporate campus in Golden, Colorado.

A spokesperson provided the following written response:

Thank you for providing additional information about the homeowners. We’re always sorry to hear when a homeowner experiences an issue with a service provider. I looked into this situation with my team. The company was approved into our network in December 2015 after passing our screening process. For the first year and a half in our network, Streamline Home Services, LLC was highly rated and reviewed by homeowners. When Streamline started getting negative reviews, we put their account on hold to further investigate. Ultimately, we terminated the account as Streamline didn’t cooperate to our satisfaction to help resolve the complaints. The account was put on hold on 9/5/17 and terminated on 9/19/2017.

 Ms. Delia contacted our customer care team on December 4, 2017. We offered our problem resolution process, to help facilitate a solution. However, the process was unsuccessful as Mr. Duffy was unresponsive and was previously terminated from our network. We then suggested that Ms. Delia consider seeking help from third party resources, including small claims court or the Attorney General. And, as for Mr. and Mrs. Mayberry, we have no record of them submitting a project request through our network or submitting a complaint.

Per your question about our screening process, below are links to pages on our website where it is described in detail. In short, we conduct criminal, civil judgment and state-level licensing checks on all business owners prior to them joining our site. If a service professional is placed on hold for negative behavior (consumer complaint or negative ratings) we’ll conduct an additional background check. In addition to the background checks we conduct on professionals during their onboarding, we recently have started the process of conducting background checks every two years thereafter.

News 4 also reached out to Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's office. Amy Haywood is chief counsel and oversees consumer-related complaints. She said the Attorney General's office can't comment on the status of pending investigations but confirms the organization is aware of the complaints. 

News 4 asked if the Missouri Attorney General's office if the complaints are being investigated. Haywood replied, "yes, absolutely." 

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