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Got a bad review on HomeStars? Read this interview with their CEO on what NOT to do about it

HomeStars won't help you out with getting bad reviews taken down, simply because you advertise with them.


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November 5, 2014 by Steve Payne

We are working on an article about online contractor review sites, including the market-leader in Canada (based on our research), HomeStars.

A few weeks ago, the Globe and Mail published  a very revealing interview with the founder and CEO of HomeStars, Nancy Peterson.

In the interview she talked about the “Chinese Wall” that her company keeps in place between advertisers (you, the contractor) and the reviews from the homeowner.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you give HomeStars money, they aren’t going to take down any negative reviews of your work from clients – even if you think they are really unfair.

If you bully the homeowner over a review, and they ask HomeStars to take the review down, because you’ve intimidated them, HomeStars will put a comment that says “Removed By the Homeowner.”  According to Peterson, in the interview, “that’s a really strong signal.”  Peterson didn’t complete the thought (a signal saying what?), but most of us can figure out what she’s telling the homeowner in this interview: There might be issues with this contractor.

If you are on HomeStars, or are thinking of listing with them, this interview is a must read.


Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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10 Comments » for Got a bad review on HomeStars? Read this interview with their CEO on what NOT to do about it
  1. Phil Lewin says:

    There is one practice of Homestars that I have been told about by dealers that is worth questioning. When a homeowner goes to a specific dealer’s listing, there is a banner advertisement, usually for a competitor on the page. However, dealers report to me that they were told that they can eliminate this competition if they buy the banner advert.

  2. norm richter says:

    My message is simple. I checked with the major banks. They said we “only” accept the Better Business Bureau’s evaluations for Contractors and Clients be they be good or bad. The reasoning is simple. It’s rules are published and if these rules are broken your conduct is brought into question. They apply there published rules of conduct fairly to every situation. If the client is out of line because they want something for nothing these rules apply accordingly. If the Contractor fails to respond to the client/BBB’s request for followup they are first warned and then if nothing is done, the BBB will publish their findings and score the Contractor from an F to A+ . If the Contractor is an accredited BBB member they’re membership is revoked. The BBB published comments and resulting published scores take three years before they are removed. Like it or not the BBB is about responsible grownup behavior from both sides, not malicious comments and slanderous behaviour like you find on YELP, TRUSTED PROS and HOMESTARS.

    • E says:

      Their are MANY MANY questionable comments on the site…I watched one company list itself and 3 week later, they had over 100 reviews!!! And now, they are doing ‘Pay-for-leads’, and a few contractors I have spoken with just say ‘NO’, which means the trusting public is not getting their choice…The site has gone from a pretty honest start, to a cash-grabbing ‘AmeriCorp’!!! Some enterprising Canadian entrepreneur will see this and start a site where good companies will be given their due recognition and clients will be given THEIR choice. Used to be that if you were reputable, you were near the top…Now, whoever pays up gets to the top!!!

  3. I find it amazing how naive some Contractors are. Most people make up their mind on Who they hire before they even get the Estimate Homestars has played a major Role in how the public thinks and works with Contractors. I have seen Contractors losing 250K Jobs with a short comment like ” I don’t want to be on this Site”

    • k. anne says:

      HOmestars do not play fair and anything on their sites should not be taken seriously. Paid advertizing is not fair and if you do not give them money, they let bad reviews that have not been proven to remain on the site and destroy hard working contractors and suppliers. The alberta new home warranty program is a far better way to see the credibility of a company . They review banking, credit and surveys from actual clients not just someone with a computer that can discredit you without any recourse.

      • HomeStars says:

        Thank you for your comments. At HomeStars, we have always been committed to protecting homeowners: in fact, the site was created 11 years ago to help homeowners make better hiring decisions. Every verified homeowner who has hired a service professional on HomeStars and posted a review is checked to ensure they actually hired and paid for the services of the pro they are reviewing. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if the homeowner is not happy with a company’s service, it is their right to express it, and it is up to the company to make it right. We also enable service professionals to investigate a review they have a dispute with. We do not remove reviews – negative or positive- unless requested by the homeowner, or if review guidelines have been contravened, as is clearly outlined in our terms and conditions. https://homestars.com/review-guidelines.

        • former homestars vendor says:

          that is bull crap
          I worked for a company that enforced you to write false reviews
          I myself have written 3 for this company

          I did let homestars management know
          but since this contractor is paying them 80k a
          year for “traffic’ , they turn a blind eye

          this is very miseading to the public and how
          you do not seriously vet all reviews

          homestars WaS great but now , just like the comment above , its all about the mighty dollar and screw the public

  4. k. anne says:

    Homestars are basically bullies. There is very personally demeaning review about our company on their site and they will not take it down. I have no problem about a client talking about our service or professional work but when they the owner a creep and put down his wife. It brings it to a nasty personal level . This has been very hurtful to my family and homestars has continued to side with the reviewer. This is just wrong on so many levels. I really am hopeful about the lawsuit that went through and the company won a 100,000.00 settlement againest a untruthful reviewer. Companies are being untreated unfairly and being held hostage by homestars and other so called unsatified customers not playing fairly.

  5. Bohdan says:

    HomeStars (HS)advertise me during 4 years through publishing the reviews of my clients.During this time I have 128 positive reviews with 10 out of 10 score and 3 times was the Best of the Year. Unfortunately the last review was not as high.After the conversation with the client we found common ground and the review was removed. After this HS put the warning red frame with ambiguous comments : “…We also keep these flags up to alert those considering hiring the company Sometimes a homeowner feels compelled to remove their review due to negative encouragement by the company. In these cases, the user does not feel comfortable keeping their review posted and will ask us to remove it. While we do remove the review, the impact of the user’s review is still taken into consideration…”These comments were posted without any contacts with me or client ( I ask the client ).The words of HS create the impression that my company is not trustworthy and I am bulling the client ( both is not true ). Anybody who reads this comments would stay away from my company.
    Two times I contacted HS asking for explanations with no responses.It looks like instead of helping to good contractors to run there business the HS in certain situations is ruining there reputation.

  6. gary leatherdale says:

    601 aspen road