Rip-off Britain… but who’s being ripped off?

I don’t like being ripped off, taken for a ride or simply overcharged.

No one does, do they?

Yet increasing numbers of us are being ripped off, and worse still, we’re blind to it.

You see, for years there have been services (now apps) that offer to find you the right business depending on what job you want doing.

They have many different names: Bark, TaskRabbit, Thumbtack, Plentific, Local Heroes, even the good old Yellow Pages. But do customers actually get good value for money from the services they suggest?

More intriguingly, are the trades that use these tools to advertise getting good value for money?

Trades get ripped off too

Why should you care?

Well, if the trade is paying over the odds to get a ‘lead’ then the cost is passed on to the customer.

Let me explain how these helpful services work. (Please note this is a generalisation not specific to one company or platform)

In the old days, Yellow Pages were the medium of choice, but now everything is online.

  1. I (the customer) need something doing. Let’s assume it’s a plumbing job.
  2. I sign up to a service that will find me a trusted or checked plumber.
  3. I enter the details about what I need done.
  4. The site or app will contact all the plumbers (either in my area or those that ‘service’ my area).
  5. These plumbers will have been charged a fee to receive my details or will be invited to quote for my work.
  6. If invited to quote, they will have to pay for the privilege. This may be in the form of credits or just cold hard cash.
  7. I am then contacted by several plumbers or given a number of quotes to choose from.

Paying to quote – really?

Either way, if 10 plumbers all buy credits (let’s say it costs £75 for 100 credits), only one of them is going to get my work.

So who’s making the money here? The service finder app! They’ve just had the 10 plumbers spend £750 between them.

What could also happen is that I could use a site that has a list of ‘local’ trades on hand for me to choose from. However, these trades might pay a one-off yearly fee to receive leads. That might not be too expensive, but the trades may also have to pay a percentage or a ‘service’ fee per job they do. Some of these sites charge all three!

So, if trades are paying to quote, having to increase their costs just to cover ‘management’ fees or are paying a percentage of what they earn to someone else, then it’s obvious that the bill ends up with the customer.

And it’s not just the customer who used that particular site who’s impacted, but all customers.

There’s nothing new…

It’s been this way for years. Ultimately, customers are the ones that end up paying for it when Yellow Pages charges a business £800 a month to be the first choice in a particular area.

…or is there?

me:now only advertises businesses that are available.

We charge a basic flat fee because we want to see an end to businesses being ripped off, and customers getting those unfair costs passed onto them.

Making life easier and saving money for trades and customers… it’s the me:now way!


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