Questions about our Terms of Use Updates

Thumbtack Writer
Thumbtack Writer
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We appreciate the questions about how and why we track communications between you and your customers. We care deeply about your privacy and recognize that we may not have been as clear as we could have been in explaining why our Terms of Use say what they do.

To start, it’s important to remember how you pay Thumbtack for leads. You don’t pay us until a customer contacts you--for instance, when a customer messages you on Thumbtack, sends you a text, or calls you. In order to accurately charge you for those leads, we therefore have to know when a customer contacts you. So here’s how that works across different kinds of communication methods:

  • Contacts on Thumbtack: If a customer contacts you through our own platform, that’s easy--we know that occurs.
  • Phone calls: We know you want customers to be able to call you, and we do too. So we use a company called Twilio--which is used by organizations ranging from Airbnb to the Red Cross--to mask the phone number you enter on your profile, track the occurrence of the call, and forward the call to your number. We do not listen to or record those phone calls, and we would never do so unless you gave us explicit permission for a specific circumstance. Our terms of use do not give us that permission.
  • Text Messages: We are considering functionality where a customer could text you through the masked phone number on your profile, and we would, deliver the message to you through Thumbtack. We therefore would know the contact occurred and have its contents on our platform. If, however, a customer later gets your actual phone number and texts it, we won’t know anything about it.

Please keep your questions coming. We care about your privacy and do not want to misuse the trust you put in us.

15 responses
Active Community Member
Can I have a show of hands of everyone out there that is upset about the new terms and does not know what they are going to do? Does anyone have any ideas?
Active Community Member
Seems like a whole lot of wasted effort and cost. You wouldn’t have to do this if you went back to the credit and pay per bid system. Which 99% of your pros would prefer.

And won’t this cause confusion for customers if they need to contact us later if they are seeing a false phone number?
Community Newcomer

Hi Design4life,

If by "new terms" you are referring to the new process by which pros are connected with leads, YES, I am SO upset! I was thriving with the old system, and I've yet to get 1 lead with the new way that things work...

Community Regular

I'm getting charged though I have not accepted the terms and use and cannot even get into my account. Today I wanted to even remove my payment method so I can't be charged again. I do not accept these terms and do not want to be charged anymore. I don't even know what to do if I want to cancel. I was going to hold off on doing so until I saw where this was going, but I can't even push the pause button.

Active Community Member

@techlab from what I've determined, your best bet of to accept the terms, go to your settings and delete your account.  You have no access toyour account without accepting the terms

Community Expert

@techlab I took a look into your account and found that it's accessible. Did you possibly accept the terms after posting this? I'm sorry to hear that you've considered closing your account. Is there something in particular that we could help you with in order to reconsider? If so please feel free to send me a direct message and I'll do my best to help. If you truly would like to close your account you'll need to log in, go to settings, click account, and then deactivate account. 

Active Community Member

This is a question that I have had as well... If you mask the phone numbers, and the client sees phone calls coming in from across the country, even though I am right in their county, they likely wont answer.  I know i rarely answer calls from BFE.  This is a huge slap in the face to the pros that offer quality services, quality profiles, and quality follow up.  Why would I want to wear a mask when I call the client??? I'm not a protester standing on a corner who needs a mask... But to keep it relevant... how about them Mets... still in first place.

Community Veteran

@Meckell @Kameron 

Wow - this explains the wrong number issue I raised the other day.

Unfortunately as a law firm I must carefully consider the ethical and confidentiality issues of this as passing client confidential calls through a third party mask number is quite likely a violation of confidentiality and an ethical issue.

As I said, I need to consider this closely, but I may be forced to terminate my use of Thumbtack. 

(Please do not delete this post - its not a threat - just a real situation that is specific to my and a few other areas of work on here.)

Any other lawyers out there? I would love to have a conversation regarding the ethical issues here for our line of work.


Community Veteran

As per my previous post, I have removed the phone number from my profile in order to protect confidentiality of a potential calling client. Right now this seems to be of little disadvantage because the leads generated by TT are few and far in between and even less actually call as far as I can tell. 

Obviously I am easy to find on Google so a lead could simply google me and they will get my direct contact information. 

For now this is my only choice as I need to further investigate this and potentially discusss with my local bar association.

Thumbtack - this is a BIG deal. I know you may say that lawyers make up a tiny amount of TT's overall revenue, but there are ethical and confidentiality considerations in many of the job descriptions that you support. Many will not be able to work in a platform that "could" monitor calls... you said you "don't", you did not say that you "can't"... the mere fact that the ability exists is a breach of trust and confidentiality that many of us simply, because of our trade, cannot accept. I can't speak for other states, but I know for a fact that the Illinois Rules of Professional Responsibility prohibit this sort of risk. I am sure our fellow cpas, financial advisors, therapists, life coaches etc etc. have similar rules that they MUST follow. Nobody will be willing to put their license or reputation at risk for a lead generation company.

If you wish to have your counsel contact me, I am happy to discuss further and compare notes.

(again, please do not delete this post - it may seem as a violation of posting rules, but it truly an issue needing re-thinking.)




Community Expert

@GeorgeH @MR to clarify, the numbers being masked only happens on your profile when a customer is clicking on it to call you and not the other way around. As Lydia said, "to mask the phone number you enter on your profile, track the occurrence of the call, and forward the call to your number." @MR yes, it is possible that this could be what you were experiencing the other day, however, it's hard for us to say as we weren't able to replicate what you were seeing

Community Veteran

@Kameron No need for clarification. I had it right the first time. 

What you state here is exactly the issue that I am referring to. The customer clicks on a mask number to call me, the call routes through Twillio before it gets to my phone number. In other words, a third party is in the middle of a call in which the potential client has no knowledge of and would not expect to be present.


Active Community Member

@Kameron... so when I call a client through the Thumbtack portal, the number they see is my real number?  if that's true, then that's ok.. The number you are masking is theirs... I have no problem with that.

Community Veteran

@GeorgeH  Also though, just so things are clear and I am correct, when a client views your profile, they may see a masked phone number and not your real number. This is because TT wants to know the client called you so when they call that number, it is logged as a call by TT and then the call is forwarded to your regulr number. 

In that way, lets say someone writes down that number and gives out your number to 10 friends at a cocktail party. All 10 friends call you from their cell phones. I believe at that point you will be charged 10 times for a lead.

Now here is the issue... lets say the client calls you 12 times over a few weeks as the project is being worked on by you and you never gave the client your real number. All he has is the masked number in his speeddial. Does the pro get hit with 12 lead charges??

Community Expert

@GeorgeH the number masked will be yours when the customer views your profile. 

@MR the first point you’ve made is correct, however, the 10 friends theory is untrue. The customer has to actually click or touch on the phone number shown in the app in order to activate the link so that we can know a call occurred. If the same customer calls you 12 times you’ll only be charged for the first call just as you would for the first message they send in the app.

Community Veteran

@Kameron Thank you for that clarification. Much appreciated.