Sept. 17, 2013 - Online ratings and review sites are popular resources for those looking for a good plumber, auto mechanic or hair salon? While it's helpful to find out what others think of a handyman's skills before hiring him for your own job, it's hard to tell just how trustworthy the opinions really are. Quality controls are necessary to ensure accuracy and reliability because the scores can be manipulated by self-interested parties. Consumer Reports decided to examine the methods of five leading rating providers serving the San Francisco Bay area: Angie's List, Consumer's Checkbook, Google+ Local, Porch, and Yelp, as well as the Better Business Bureau. (None of these services offers ratings everywhere) and found that unsettling surprises came fast and frequently.
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