Welcome To The Dollhouse

Care.com Doesn’t Care at All

CareEveryone,

I cannot tell you how stunned and disappointed I am with Care.com. If someone had told me that I would be so mistreated by an organization with “care” in its name, I wouldn’t have believed it. Let me tell you what happened.

In May, my husband and I hired a Care.com housekeeper with high hopes, though she proved herself to be terribly incompetent. Despite her glowing recommendations, during her 3 hours of work, she tried to wash clothes using fabric softener, put non-dishwasher safe pans in the dishwasher after being told that they needed to be washed by hand, and was terribly, terribly slow. After 3 hours, not one room had been cleaned. There was no way that she was going to be able to clean the entire house in the allotted 5 hours. Abruptly at the 3 hour mark, she said she was ill and was going to leave. On her way out she demanded payment in cash for the full 5 hours. We normally paid our previous housekeeper with a check, so her wanting cash was unexpected. She lied and said that she had talked to me about only accepting cash and then tried to add a 10% surcharge to the 5 hour wages. Right after she left, my husband found my daughter’s hand made sweater knit by Auntie Lisa in the dryer! She had been told that this, and many other items, needed to be hung to dry. That was the last straw for my husband who was there that day. He called and texted her to return the key to our house as we would not require her services any longer. She told him that she would get it to us later. She had to be pressured into returning the key that day. The whole experience was a disaster. Luckily we were able to find a wonderful housekeeper through word of mouth and we have been very pleased.

Yet, I returned to care.com earlier this week in order to post another position as I needed in-home after school care for my daughter. The same housekeeper from May came up in the childcare list. She had one 2-star review (out of 5) posted by another client who wasn’t too happy. At that point I decided to add a review of our experience with her. It was accurate but fair. I wrote a scaled down version of what I described above. The next day after reading the review, she used the Care system to send an abusive and insulting message to my husband (who she thought had authored the review). She then blocked our account from being able to reply to her through Care. In going through my old e-mails, I found the email address she used when she was hired in May. I replied, calling her on her unprofessional behavior. What followed was a long exchange where she said we were pigs, called my husband “special needs” and “gay,” commented on why we adopted our daughter, and then became racist, talking about “you black people.” She also threatened to call the police on me (I told her to please go ahead) and found some number for me through Vitals.com and said she was going to call my manager (I gave her their names and asked her if she needed their numbers as well.) Another threat she made was that she was going to get me banned from Care because of my manipulative lies.

As soon as Care.com opened yesterday, I called and spoke to a rep, telling him everything that had transpired. He was shocked. “This is beyond unprofessional,” he said, “it’s just WRONG!” He made copious notes and said that he would pass it all on to security. I asked if he wanted me to send the collected e-mails as evidence, but he said that security would contact me if they needed this information. He apologized to me on behalf of the company. I also warned him that she had threatened to get me banned. He told me that there was enough here for the security team to work on.

I hung up the phone and felt very satisfied that the matter would be handled appropriately. And then I received the following email from care.com yesterday evening:

Dear Liana, We are writing to inform you that we have terminated your Care.com membership. Under our terms of service, Care.com has the right, among other things and in its sole discretion, to terminate your membership for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. In addition, Care.com is authorized by the terms of service to notify other members with whom you have corresponded of this action. As indicated, Care.com may terminate a member for any reason or no reason. Accordingly, we have notified members that our decision to terminate your Care.com membership does not constitute and should not be interpreted or used as information bearing on your character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living.

I was dumbfounded! I was the victim here of retaliation for an unfavorable review. How could they terminate my membership? I still was looking for after school child care. And I had done nothing wrong!

I wrote asking for the reason that my membership was terminated. And this is what I was told:

Dear Liana, Pursuant to the Care.com Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, Care.com is not required to release the specific details as to why an account has been closed. However, below is a list of common reasons why an account may be terminated. As a membership-based online community, Care.com reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to remove a member’s Care.com membership for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. If we terminate your registration, we have no obligation to notify you of the reason, if any, for your termination. Reasons why we may remove a member from the Care.com community include, but are not limited to:

  • The individual does not meet membership criteria (e.g., is underage)
  • Care.com does not offer its services where the member is located
  • The member is not active in the service
  • Care.com determines that the services offered by the member are not being sufficiently utilized
  • The member has misrepresented himself or herself and/or has provided false information to Care.com
  • We were unable to verify the information the member provided when he/she registered
  • The member has posted or searched for inappropriate words/phrases and/or content on Care.com
  • The member has been alleged to have harassed other member(s) of Care.com
  • The member has been accused of, arrested for, or convicted of a crime
  • Allegations of theft, abuse, or neglect have been brought against the member

As stated above, Care.com may remove a member for any reason or no reason. Accordingly, any decision by Care.com to remove a member’s Care.com membership does not constitute and should not be interpreted or used as information bearing on the member’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, or mode of living. I have refunded your last charge of $40 and your card will no longer be billed. Please note that the refund may take up to a week to show on bank or credit card statements.

I made clear that I had committed none of the listed violations, so there must be some reason that I was kicked out of the site. I called and spoke to a rep who basically said that they can kick me off the site without giving me any reason and there is nothing I can do about it. I am banned for life. I asked to speak to a manager. She said that one would contact me before the end of the day. I later found this in my inbox:

Dear Liana, As per your request I have reviewed your case and unfortunately the decision to close you account is irreversible. Furthermore, when we terminate an account we are not required to disclose the specific reasons as to why the account was removed. Per our Terms of Use, Care.com reserves the right, among other things and in its sole discretion, to terminate your membership for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. I apologize, but you will not be able to re-enroll on Care.com. If you have any further questions or concerns please refer to our Terms of Use. Section 5, which I have included below, provides the exact information pertaining to your concern. 5. Termination of Registration In any event, Care.com reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate your access to all or part of the Care.com Site, to remove your profile and/or any content posted by or about you from the Site, and/or to terminate your registration in Care.com, for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. If we terminate your registration, we have no obligation to notify you of the reason, if any, for your termination. Best Regards, Benjamin Care.com Member Care Supervisor

This was just madness.

I tried reaching out to Sheila Mercalo ([email protected]; @smercalo), the president of the company, hoping that there could be some reason applied to my situation. Alas no, I received this last e-mail:

Dear Liana, We have received your concerns addressed to Sheila Marcelo, and unfortunately, the decision to close you account is irreversible. Furthermore, when we terminate an account we are not required to disclose the specific reasons as to why the account was removed. Per our Terms of Use, Care.com reserves the right, among other things and in its sole discretion, to terminate your membership for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. I apologize, but you will not be able to re-enroll on Care.com. If you have any further questions or concerns please refer to our Terms of Use. Section 5, which I have included below, provides the exact information pertaining to your concern. 5. Termination of Registration In any event, Care.com reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate your access to all or part of the Care.com Site, to remove your profile and/or any content posted by or about you from the Site, and/or to terminate your registration in Care.com, for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. If we terminate your registration, we have no obligation to notify you of the reason, if any, for your termination. This e-mail serves as our final communication on this matter. Best Regards, Janice Care.com Member Care Supervisor

So there you have it, my friends. I give an accurate but fair review, get harassed and threatened by the reviewee, and Care.com bounces me from its site, without cause. Please tell me that you think this is as ridiculous as I do. I guess no honest review goes unpunished.

Update: September 4, 2013

They banned my husband!

In the latest development from Caredotcom, they have proven themselves to be liars. I asked the customer service person that I spoke to on August 29, 2013 whether there was any issue with my husband’s creating a membership on Caredotcom. The representative said that my husband was indeed free to create an account. My husband then created an account on September 3rd. Today, September 4th, he receives a notice indicating that his account has been terminated from Caredotcom. Again they refuse to give an explanation for this termination. This is just not OK! They have gone from ridiculous to absurd. Will they next ban my sister or brother? My friends? We cannot let this stand.

Update: September 4, 2013

The Caredotcom petition just received an unbelievable response from Martha Fan, Co-Founder and VP Service Delivery and Operations at Care.com. She writes:

“We understand that Ms. Clark is upset by, and disagrees with, the decision that was made to remove her from the Care.com website. The removal of her membership is, however, in no way, a result of the caregiver feedback that she provided. Ms. Clark’s concerns regarding the caregiver in question were shared with the appropriate department and necessary actions pertaining to that caregiver were taken. We remove users from our site for a variety of reasons, and while we can’t share the details surrounding this particular account, we can say that we don’t make these decisions lightly. Upon enrollment, Ms. Clark acknowledged and agreed to our Terms of Use, which clearly state that Care.com reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate members access to all or part of the Care.com Site, to remove their profile and/or any content posted by or about them from the Site, and/or to terminate their registration in Care.com, for any reason or no reason, with or without notice. If we terminate their registration, we have no obligation to notify them of the reason, if any, for their termination. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause Ms. Clark and do hope that she is able to find the care that she is searching for. Regards, Martha Fan”

Ms Fan wants us to believe that my membership termination OCCURRING ON THE SAME DAY that I reported the horrible harassment from the housekeeper I had just reviewed is simple coincidence. They *just happened* to decide to terminate my membership for a reason *completely unrelated* to my having let them know THAT VERY DAY about the vicious retaliative harassment I suffered from the housekeeper I hired from their service! The woman who threatened me with the police, threatened to call my job, and said she would have me banned from caredotcom. No, the membership termination on that very day was just coincidence. Right…

The more I read about Caredotcom on the web, the more I see that this is their pattern of behavior. I mistakenly thought that my situation was a one-off, but now see that they terminate memberships at will. One can only surmise that they are seeking to suppress negative reviews of their caregivers especially after cases like this one from Denver (http://denver.cbslocal.com/2013/06/22/babysitter-convicted-of-sexual-assault-on-child-hired-from-website/)

Caredotcom executives need to work a little harder to make us believe that my termination was just “a coincidence.” Let us keep up the pressure! They cannot suppress negative reviews!

Sign my petition on Change.org to get my account reinstated: Petition


8 Responses to “Care.com Doesn’t Care at All”

  1. Michele says:

    Definitely don’t buy the coincidence story. I will be sure to avoid Care.com completely.

  2. Katrina says:

    My personal experience with care.com was negative too, but I was seeking a job as housekeeper. I had just recently graduated and had a baby who was about 4 months. I couldn’t find a job in my graduate field.. So I decided to open up my own housekeeping business! So I created my care profile and so on I landed many jobs… And was quite happy until I started working for this lady who was so rude and picky. I ended up quitting “I told her I broke my arm” she ended up writing a horrible review…week before she said I was the best cleaning company she ver hired and she looked how her home look! So I ended giving up on care knowing people like her didn’t think twice before ruining my reputation even!! I’m just a single mom trying to work honestly to support my son…

  3. annabelle says:

    I’m finding their customer service is horrid. For example, they insist I use my legal name (understandable that any EMPLOYER, not a website deserves to have my legal name) however, my professional name is not that. I don’t want every stranger on there seeing my legal name and my picture. I want to be able to go by the name that I use every single day of my life, and do business with. And I always inform potential employers of my legal name so they know that I am not hiding anything, but that I just choose to do business by another name. When I emailed them about continually rejecting my account due to this name (my middle name) which I have used since I was a kid, and even sign my license with, they were not at all understanding. I deleted my account. In 2009-2010 they were good, but the past few year they have been wanting too much information. I don’t necessarily trust them with my address, full legal name, phone number, etc. If they required my legal name but then let me choose to display a different name to users, that would be fine, but I NEVER go by my legal name and I don’t want thousands of people in my area seeing my name and picture. I don’t do it on Facebook either.

  4. Jeanne Ann says:

    This company is obviously not a good resource. I am very grateful that you posted your story. I hope you are able to submit a bill to congress stopping this practice on the internet.

  5. LD1206 says:

    You are not alone and they are not just protecting caregivers. I am a nanny and your exact story just happened to me! It’s just the other way around. I decided to leave a family that I worked for because of the appalling behavior of their child. After trying to deal with it and sit down to discuss resolutions to the behavior, they made it look like they wanted to work on it and they loved me, didn’t want me to go. However, days later they terminated me on the spot which violated our written contract staring that either party was required to give 30 days notice. Then magically, I get an email from Care stating that my membership has been terminated, no reason given. This is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!! And perhaps won’t change unless people like us start making some noise.

    • Monica says:

      I, too have been “banned” from the care.com community. My experience was, as best i can figure out, telling an applicant who canceled her second interview, which had been scheduled at an inconvenient time in order to accommodate her.

      It was on a Sunday evening, basically a “no-show” asking if she could reschedule for the next day. I’d been pretty uncertain about her, which was why I had scheduled her to meet my husband. I said something to the effect of “no thank you”. This wasn’t going to work out.

      Same deal, I got the nix the next day. She was a bit of a fruitcake, so I can only imagine the distortion.

      I wrote many emails after the “automatic” ones were shot out to me. The worst part was that I was in communication with some very high functioning women.

      I told them that I live in a small town and that by my description, even if I hadn’t given my name, I was identifiable. Not too many child psychiatrists married to THE headache specialist in town.

      That their behavior actually slandered my name (I’m suddenly non communicative ?). They don’t care.

      They should be nocare.com. When I have gotten them on the phone, they were very young, unprofessional kids reading from a script. Too bad, that apart from going through expensive agencies they are the only game in town.

      Not really. There is Craigslist. You just have to be very careful and screen out most responders.

      Maybe reporting care.com to the BBB is a good idea.

      It was pretty humiliating. I told them I get yearly invitations to be in th AMA, the APA, Who’s Who in America? But I’m not fit for their care.com family???

      Yours truly,
      Monica

      • teendoc says:

        Monica,

        Thanks for sharing your experience. It is horrible that they can get away with this. Luckily I was able to find a great nanny on Sittercity. Good luck to you.

        Liana

    • teendoc says:

      I totally agree. Care.com needs to be held accountable.

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