Monday, November 17, 2008

Matchmaking Services with Prescreened Service Providers; Beware of Risks Involved

Matchmaking Services with Prescreened Service Providers; Beware of Risks Involved

This popular contractor matching service maintains an extensive database of prescreened contractors.”

"Our free contractor referral service provides verified US insured and licensed contractors.”

“We prescreen all contractors before we choose to partner with them…a contractor must provide proof of insurance and licensing…and must also submit a solid list of previous customer references.”

Such are the assertions made by 3 different consumer-to-contractor matchmaking services that prescreen member service providers.

Sounds good; until one begins considering possible drawbacks. Or what dangers could be lurking behind such carefully worded sales pitches.

The first area of concern is that consumers can be lulled into a false sense of security by this type matchmaking service. Putting them at risk for hiring a contractor based upon old, outdated information.

Contractor proof of insurance, licensing, and other credentials that checked out even just a few short weeks prior could no longer be valid. And references offered at the time of membership, obsolete and no longer reflective of the contractor’s workmanship. In addition, any number of personal problems or health complications might have arisen that could affect the work quality or integrity of services.

The second area of concern is the screening process itself:

• how extensive is it

• “who” implements it

• what resources are used

Each of these aspects directly affect whether or not information gleaned is truly a reliable gauge as to the contractor’s professionalism, credibility, and reliability as a service provider – even at the time of membership.

Combine these concerns with the fact consumer-to-contractor prescreening service providers offer no written guarantee that contractor members will perform as expected. Or that licensing, insurance coverage and good standing as a service provider are still in tact at the time of hiring.

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