Hi there -- We are a junk removal company operating in Los Angeles.
Due to the way Thumbtack shows companies in the search result, we realized that by not offering instant booking, we'd show up towards the bottom of the list, regardless of whether we're a Top Pro, in high demand, etc.
We've turned on instant booking a number of times, only to have ~90% of the customers cancel, and nearly 100% of the customers ending up upset.
The way instant booking works for junk removal is that the customer will select how many "pick up truck beds" they think they can fill with their items. Often times, customers have NO idea how much a pick up truck can hold, OR they just want a lower price, so they'll put the minimum amount (for example, we've had a customer say they could fit an entire pool in 1 pick up truck).
Anytime we get an instant booking, we reach out immediately to get a photo so we can confirm the estimate. Often times, this results in increased scope (like I referenced above) and the customer gets upset and cancels their booking. This has NEVER been covered under Thumbtack's refund policy, so we get charged.
Similarly, we have also had cases where the customer goes through instant booking and then never replies to any of our inquiries. We show up, and they aren't there. Or, even worse, they do an instant booking but do not enter their location or phone number, so we have no way of actually completing the job. Again, situations like these do not end up getting refunded by Thumbtack.
So I'll pose this question: are these instant bookings REAL customers, or is Thumbtack generating them so they can increase their revenue? Doubtful, but I cannot come up with any other reason why Thumbtack would be NOT refunding these sorts of leads to their pros who already spend thousands of dollars each month on advertising through Thumbtack.
*Title edited by moderator on 04/30/2020 for violation of Code of Conduct