Angie's List Inc. has agreed to pay $1.4 million in settlement from a class action lawsuit that was filed last year.
The original complaint accuses Angie's List of manipulating search results and reviews.
Janell Moore, who is listed as a plaintiff in the lawsuit, claims she hired a contractor based off his reviews on Angie's List.
However, it wasn't until Moore left a bad review for the contractor that she was able to see other negative reviews. She claims that had she known about the contractor's background she never would have hired him.
Angie's List is supposed to rank providers based off their performance. Aside from hiding reviews, the lawsuit claims the site ranks providers based off who pays Angie's List the most for advertisements.
The attorney for the plaintiff's told 41 Action News that as part of the agreement, Angie's List will expand upon the disclosures about provider advertising in its frequently asked questions section and in its membership agreement.
As of June, Angie's List stopped charging for its basic membership. It's not clear if the decision to make the memberships free has anything to do with the lawsuit.
For some people who had a membership to Angie's List between 2009 and 2016, they can submit a claim form to receive a $5 or $10 refund. They also have the option of receiving a free membership.
For those who want to opt out of the settlement, they have the option of filing their own claim, but must do so before October 24, 2016.
A spokesperson for Angie's List issued the following statement:
Our mission is to connect consumers with high quality service providers, while striving for transparency and awareness. We believe we have done this, and the proposed settlement is not an admission of any wrongdoing. We would rather pursue a settlement at this time in a manner that provides a benefit to our members instead of incur the costs associated with continued litigation. The Court has preliminarily approved the settlement, and final resolution is subject to the Court’s final approval. Angie’s List cannot make any further comment on the litigation at this time.
Jessica McMaster can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.