How the transaction works

Pulling people in

The first challenge is to get people to phone up Premium Home Service. To widen the net, multiple business listings have been set up on Google with a local phone number and address, but no website. If you look into the addresses, you find that there is no business of that name at the location. They are vacant premises, or other businesses which know nothing about the home services business listed at their address.

You can read more in detail about the companies on this page.

When a potential customer calls the local number of what they think is a local contractor, they are diverted to the Premium Home Service phone desk in the Philippines (although it does seem that the occasional call is answered by someone in the US, or at least with a strong American accent). One lady, even when questioned directly about whether she was connected to PHS, denied knowing them. A later call to the same number was answered by a gentleman who didn’t take long to offer a PHS subscription.

The sale

PHS identify themselves as the contractor, and offer two option. Firstly, they offer a single “appointment” payment to send out a technician. They then offer a second option, which they state is “Just for our local customers”. This is a subscription to Premium Home Service, and is usually for the same price as the single appointment, or a little more. They state that this will waive all appointment fees for a year, give the customer “priority” booking, and provide a 10% discount on any work done during that year.

The benefits that PHS claim to offer

The electronic agreement

If you agree to the subscription, then the agent will send over an electronic agreement using a service called “Readysign”. The Readysign account is under the name of Travis Stone.

The email from Readysign

The agreement states that the customer is signing up for a 7 day free trial, which can be cancelled at any time before the 7 days is up, as long as no benefit has been received from the membership by then. This seems reasonable.

The trial period language

Despite the claim of “Unlimited Service Fee Waivers”, the agreement states that a “deposit” will be taken for any appointment that is refunded if the appointment is “successful”. They do not specify what counts as successful.

This reads a lot like service fees to us

The fraudulent charge

Contrary to the language in the agreement, PHS immediately charges the customer’s credit card.

The electronic agreement includes some highly dubious language around waiving the right to dispute any credit card charges, and giving PHS the right to keep the customer’s card details and make further charges with no authorization. If they do perform a fraudulent charge, and you dispute it, they want the right to charge you another $49 for doing so!

Legally meaningless language which tries to scare you out of disputing the fraudulent charge

The lawyer who reviewed this for us confirmed that it is legally meaningless; a company cannot have a customer sign away rights which they hold under law, such as the right to dispute a charge.

The no-show

In the experience of our team, and of the majority of customers spoken to, nobody shows up to the appointment. No call is given to explain this, and if the member calls back they are rescheduled, which results in another no-show.

The refusal to refund

A customer will typically contact PHS and request a refund under the trial period language in the agreement, as no technician has turned up and no work has been performed. PHS will refuse the refund, claiming that the agreement says no refunds. When directed to the language in the agreement around the trial period, they ignore the question and simply continue to insist that there are no refunds, even going so far as to state that they have legal council on hand in case the customer attempts to obtain recompense.

If a customer tries to talk to someone about a refund by phone, they are informed that it is not possible to talk to the refund department. A call from a manager is promised, but never comes.

The PHS support emails come through a customer service software platform called “Zoho“. We contacted this company to present them with evidence of what Premium Home Service was up to. Their reply is below; however, there are doubts as to whether they have genuinely deactivated the account.

Email from Zoho