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Paying for a lead after a customer has requested my availability

Community Regular
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I may be missing something here but didn't we use to only pay for a lead if the customer responds? Now...or maybe it's always been, I'm paying for a lead just because the customer has read it or so I'm supposed to believe that the customer "read" it. An example just now: Customer requests my availability and also throws out some preferred dates. Adds, "Allow pro to suggest other dates." My calendar is up to date and shows no availability within the requested days. I respond within 2 minutes with an explanation of my availability, an offer of alternative dates as well as an offer to schedule a quick phone call to discuss. The customer reads my reply within 10 minutes and now they are a ghost. They have also reached out to one other competitor. I have just paid for this lead without really any opportunity to satisfy their request or the chance to further discuss with them any options. 

I could have sworn that I use to only pay for the lead if the customer responded to my reply/quote within a certain amount of time. If there wasn't any form of response...I didn't pay! Am I imagining this? If so...then may I make a suggestion that this is the rule of thumb. I was told by an agent yesterday that my calendar is not visible to the customer. Why not? They would then know better than to ask about my availability on certain days that I have blocked. I will now wait and dispute the charge like I do every month. I highly recommend all pro's do within the 30 day period. I print out all of my charges and review them if there were missed refunds. I average $50 a month in corrected charges by doing this.

I plan on being more vocal on this site since Thumbtack is 80% of my job source but is becoming more and more not a good ROI! Thanks for listening...Bill

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Re: Paying for a lead after a customer has requested my availability

Community Newcomer
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This is a problem 100%. I have my calendar blocked off and I still receive leads that clearly only want the specific dates they asked for, and the "allow pros to suggest other dates" box is AUTOMATICALLY CHECKED and the customer doesn't think to uncheck it cause to them, it's not a big deal.

This should be the complete inverse of how it should be. The box should be unchecked and the customer should have to select it and have a warning box pop up that says something like "Please only check this box if you can accomodate the pros schedule."

I'm going to do a thorough write-up of this issue too in another post as I'm extremely frustrated with this.

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Re: Paying for a lead after a customer has requested my availability

Community Expert
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@BVDBILL, when you pay, will depend on the type of lead that you're working with; exact matches, partial matches, and Opportunities. You can learn more about when you pay for each in these two articles here: Pay for leads, and here: Opportunities.

Our Price Assurance policy does include unread refunds. This means if you respond to an exact match quickly (in 4 business hours) and the customer doesn't read your response within 48 hours then we'll refund the lead. 

Give me a 'Kudo' if you find this post helpful or mark 'Best Answer' if it answers your question.
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Re: Paying for a lead after a customer has requested my availability

Active Community Member
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I've got to say, those are pretty narrow circumstances for a refund.

Ghosting/tire kicking has always been an issue, but seems to have become rampant recently.

 

Could TT have some something that shows the customer what the general range is for the particular request?

And I don't mean the 'what's your budget' that I see.

OR give us a chance to ASK for more information before charging us for quotes?

Most of what Pro's do is NOT a commodity but rather custom designed services.

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Re: Paying for a lead after a customer has requested my availability

Community Regular
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I just experienced this same deal this past week. First, the request would come as a request and then soon after would come to as a "lead" as one of the pros they picked to get an estimate. To my surprise the second one is a "lead" that I would have to pay for up front in hopes of getting some kind of opportunity from a customer. I will be damned if almost every request started to come the same way and I fell for it. All requests I payed for this last week were partial "leads" that a customer hand picked from their choices, and all with no responses. One even came as the only pro they requested an estimate from. Nothing! I fell for it and as I have experienced in the past so called "match" or partial "lead" has done nothing but drain money from my pockets. I do better with sending in on a request without paying up front for the "lead" unless they email me back. I typically don't get the "what is your next availability?" response. I have learned people interested in my work respond without a quick response. I have been with Thumbtack for some time now. A Top Pro for most of those years. It's a source I continue to use but when changes come they typically come unannounced in my experience. Hopefully this does not continue or else every time I get someone with a partial "lead" I will end up passing on it because my past experience will dictate me not paying for something that in the end doesn't work for me.