Carol Ostrow Mar. 20, 2015, 12:59pm


A Pennsylvania woman has sued Angie's List, alleging fraudulent and deceptive practices for monetary gain.

Janell Moore filed a lawsuit March 11 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Angie’s List Inc., alleging breach of contract and fraud.

Angie's List operates a review service of local service providers via paid memberships wherein consumers share reviews of businesses such as medical professionals, contractors and tradesmen.

According to the complaint, Angie’s List says service providers cannot influence their profiles and it places the consumer’s interests first. The suit states potential and existing members are actually manipulated into believing they have honest feedback when, in fact, service providers actually can and do pay to influence “the List”.

Moore, a paying member of Angie’s List since 2012, hired a contractor to remodel her kitchen, having seen no reviews about him on the list, the suit states. After he failed to complete the job, she submitted a negative review to Angie’s List when she then saw other previously submitted negative reviews on the site, according to the complaint.

Moore confronted the defendant, and a representative verified the suppression of the negative views was directly due to the contractor having paid extra fees, the suit states, and, moreover, an electrician Moore knew said he pays extra to be high up in Angie’s List search results.

The suit says Angie's List influences providers to alter their profiles: by paying to appear more prominently in search results to create artificially higher rankings; to suppress negative reviews; and/or to avoid suppression of positive reviews.

Moore alleges that by wrongfully manipulating consumer feedback and search result rankings, Angie’s List deceives the public and secretly ranks providers according to extra payment rather than public perception and feedback and that the business falsifies its results.

The plaintiff cites consumer protection law violation and unjust enrichment.

Moore seeks corrective action in declarative judgment, injunctive action, restitution of membership fees, punitive, actual and exemplary damages, attorney fees and court costs. She is represented by attorneys Richard Golomb, Ruben Honik, Kenneth Grunfeld, and David Stanoch of Golmb & Honik in Philadelphia. 

U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number: 2:15-cv-01243-SD.

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