SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco district attorney is suing Angie’s List for false advertising with regards to background checking their service providers, according to a civil complaint released Tuesday.
The website, angieslist.com, provides ratings and reviews for household service providers like roofers and plumbers.
Under the site’s “frequently asked questions,” Angie’s List states that they perform background checks on the “principal/owner or relevant manager of all Certified Service Providers” in a statement dated March 16, 2018.
An earlier version of the language on their site went further, saying that “All Super Service Award winning providers, as well as all advertisers on Angie’s List, have been background checked – giving you the confidence to hire right.”
In a video advertisement available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69lINHi4CTA, they make a somewhat similar version of the same statement – saying just “annual background checks, another reason to get Angie’s List for your home.”
These statements are “likely to deceive” consumers into believing that the individuals coming to their homes have undergone a background check even when that isn’t the case, per Angie’s List’s company policy, according to the district attorney.
“We embrace innovative businesses, but it is imperative that consumers are not misled,” District Attorney George Gascon said today in a statement.
“It is a matter of public safety that consumers are provided accurate information, especially when they are deciding whom to let into their homes,” he added.
A spokesperson for Angie’s List said, “This legal matter is solely about how information on our background checks is accessed on the website, not the merits of our background check process, which works in tandem with our database of more than 10 million homeowner reviews to offer Angie’s List customers a robust and trusted resource for discovering quality pros in their area – one that has been delivering value to homeowners for more than 20 years.
“We disagree with the claims made in this case and stand by both our screening process and our commitment to the best interests of our customers.”
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