Website Lets Businesses Share Notes on Bad Customers

(Image credit: Matt Stachel)

Customers can rate businesses on sites like the hyper-local Yelp, but when do the businesses get to share about bad customers?

Matt Stachel, a landscape contractor in Feasterville, Pa., created just the website:

" is the consequence of a bad customer," Stachel, 33, said.

Stachel said he has been a contractor "my whole life."

"I have worked for plenty of bad customers. It really was just frustrating always seeing the one-sided story in the media or on Angie's List or Yelp: the poor customer who gave a contractor a deposit and the contractor left. Or a restaurant go-er will write, 'My fork was smudged and I'll never go back. They stink'."

For $15.99 a year, business owners can do likewise about negative customer experiences. Business owners can write about customers anonymously, sharing details about customers who, for example, reneged on a contract, warning other businesses to stay away.

"I get there are some bad business owners," Stachel said. "I'm not saying there are not. But where's my story of customers that my friends and I deal with?"

He likens the site to a reverse Better Business Bureau.

"We are just a resource for the service provider or business owner to rate and review their customer. We give you the ability to know about your customer before you do an estimate and we empower you with the resource to help get money owed to you when you've worked for that customer," Stachel said.

Stachel reviews every post before it goes on the site, making sure there aren't profanities and that the member sticks to the facts.

He said many people ask him if there are concerns about slander.

"I always clear up for people that we're no different than Angie's list or the Better Business Bureau, or than the food critic that works at the newspaper judging an outlet," he said.

A typical posting on the site from a contractor about a customer reads: "He got me to drop my guard by being extremely nice and polite in the beginning, only to change once additional work was done without a contract. He was very careful not to sign things and be conveniently absent or very busy when asked. We are out tens of thousands of dollars along with other contractors totaling approximately $80,000.00 or more."

Stachel said he started working on the site in 2009 and it launched in October 2010. Membership recently started ballooning after the Philadelphia Metro newspaper and Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about him earlier this month.

He said membership is around 2,500 and growing, with over 11,000 page views on Monday alone. He tries to work on the website every night from 6 p.m. to about midnight, plus weekends.

Stachel still tries to personally welcome every new member who signs up, but he has some help for now.

"I have an intern," he said. "This is getting so overwhelmingly crazy."