Hire a Handyman- Risk Identity Theft- The Pay Per Lead Industry you don't know exists

Baltimore, MD: You've seen the ads on TV. By using that service the trusted home repair advisor who has made the "list" is only a click away. Your home improvement/ handyman fears are now diminished and the smiling (sometimes made up) personality is assuring your comfort.

However, there is a glaring problem and it has to do with profits and the security of your personal information. 

*The "Before We Start Disclaimer": Not every online home improvement company does what I am about to describe but, it is prevailant. It generates fast and easy income and even us at EFynch had once been heavily advised to participate. But in truth, it is simply sleazy (IMO)- we are not participating in this practice.

Pay Per Lead is the horrible and deceptive practice that even the well-known brands in home improvement use.

They collect your information (often without your knowledge) and then sell it to local contractors. Sometimes for a hefty fee and without your knowledge. *It is rumored that one large group has a 300 person, off-shore call center focused just on this task.

The idea is simple- you go to a website or even answer an add for a local handyman service such as the one below.  Your information is collected, pooled, advertised and then sold to anyone willing to pay the fee ($5 per lead up to $600!)

I have personally called these numbers and spoke with an "answering service" (like it is 1995!) who said someone would call me back. My information was taken and within 20 minutes I began to receive calls from 3 to 5 different contractors. Through discussion with one of the salesman, I found out they actual paid a service $60 for my information. By my calculations, when I placed the phone call to the (not) local company, I netted that group at least $200 in fees.

The problem with this is two-fold. 

1. I did not know my information was being "sold". In fact, I was specifically told that I called a local company and that I was speaking to their answering service. There was no privacy policy given or respect for my data (which is now on several lists I am sure).

2. The local contractor I spoke with told me they close 1 in 5 of the leads they receive (20%). Calculating these numbers, it translates to $300 in acquisition costs which he must then pass onto the owner (myself in this case). The project I was calling for would have been approximately $1,500 therefore 20% of what I pay my local professional is actually going into the pocket of a middle man!

This was sent to EFynch.
So, you unsuspectingly provided you name/ phone number/ etc. and it is sold off. You are now paying  many of these groups DO NOT CARE WHO PURCHASED YOUR INFORMATION and they are not vetted. In fact, even EFynch was solicited by a competitor because these guys use special tools to "scrape" the internet for data then offer it to the "highest bidder" Let that sink in- my competitor contacted me to sell a "lead"!
higher rates for home improvement services and the most dangerous aspect

EFynch has adds but always clearly states how we work, they approached us because their simplified system thought we were a contractor.

Pay Per Lead is a gross violation of trust and in my opinion tarneshes the experience for both homeowners and contractors alike. As long as I run EFynch I will make sure to work hard and rid the Home Improvement Industry of this practice- it serves no one but the salesman on the other end of the phone.

Please share. . .

Pay Per Lead Examples: Ads taken from Craigslist, only a small mention of "referred by" in the bottom of the ad. Same ads, different cities.

*Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely the views of the author, Teris Pantazes and are meant to be made for discussion purposes and not home improvement work advice. EFynch is a communication system and this article does not represent the thoughts or opinions of EFynch or neccessarily any of the employees or owners of EFynch.  The information presented including images and references to phone calls and discussions were personally made by the author and can be provided upon valid request.

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