Scam Watch: JustAnswer.com Is It A Scam ? Or Is It Just A Really Bad Investment ?

Dear Readers,

(Last Updated April 16th, 2015 @ 6:35 pm EST) RC 7.0 MO

For this week’s “Scam Watch” feature. I thought I would tell you a little about the Internet service called JustAnswer.com JustAnswer.com is a Question/Answer site where you can go to ask any kind of question to a so called “Expert” Which is supposed to answer your question.On their homepage they claim their service works this way:

But for most users it is more like this: Ask a question, Make a user account, write a bit more about your problem, contact with the “Expert” then you choose what you want to pay him for his services. Like $10, $20 or $30 dollars USD, and they claim you will get much faster and better help if you pay more. Anyways, the next step, you pay, you wait, you wait more and then you wait a little more. Then you check your bank account and you might see that they have “taken out more money” than you actually agreed to pay for a service you never even received. On their site there is a complaint section, I have copied some of the post from the section (This complaint section has since been removed): “I needed some advice on a wound my cat received by a raccoon. I needed the information immediately and this seemed like a good option. I asked the question and was asked how much I would pay- I chose 13.00. It directed me immediately to Paypal where I paid the amount. in full using my bank acct. Received the receipt and waited. About an hour later I got an email that I had a response. I went to retrieve and it asked me to pay… I contacted customer service and they said I had not paid. Checked Paypal and it was received by them- also deducted from my bank acct. I sent them the receipt and went back and forth with about 20 emails. Got no where but the run around. I asked for a phone number – I called, no one answers… so left a message. 2 days later and have gotten nowhere. I am really ticked off- not even just the money- but the principal and the time I have taken on this! Ridiculous… DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY- YOU WILL BE SORRY!” “I clicked the $10.00 box that I am willing to pay for recommendation of a simple drawing software program. They charged me for $175.00. I sent them an email and claimed a refund. No response yet. I was in touch with their ‘Expert’ waiting for further advice because the first was not fully usable. I am waiting for both responses. 08 / May/ 2009″ “i did not accept any answer’s i received so they told me i would receive all my money back in my account in four days but instead the took twice as much more out and made my account over drawn by $148.00.” “I submitted a question to Justanswer and paid £6.30. I was told the money would only be taken from me if I accepted an answer. I haven’t had any answers at all but the money has been taken.” Also important to note that if you decide you want to exit their site. You end up getting this message:

WAIT! Your question has not been posted yet. This is what you get by placing a fully refundable deposit into your JustAnswer account:

* Experts are reassured that you are serious and are willing to reward them for a helpful answer.

* You will be able to preview and “Accept” your answer before deciding to pay for it.

* Deposits are fully refundable for any reason until you are happy. Satisfaction guaranteed!

Thank you,

JustAnswer

JustAnswer also tells you that if you are not satisfied with your experts answer. You do not need to pay, but how can this be when you need to pay to get in contact with the said “expert” ? I would highly recommend you stay away from this site. Now I am not saying that they only scam people. JustAnswer.com may help around 25% or so of people. But when someone loose $100 USD when they only choose to pay $6 USD something is very wrong ! From the comments I have read throughout the net it seems like around 50% actually get what they are told to they will get. It also seems like they have had some inside scamming themselves, people who claimed to be experts and were noting of the sort. ———————————————————————————————–

Now the link I am about to share with you all is 100% legit and is in fact on the JustAnswer.com website. Via the link we have provided for you. So you all can see how counter productive and really silly it seems. HELL…..I maybe DEAD wrong but you just need to click on the link and read the proceeding text to DECIDE FOR YOURSELF…… ———————————————————————————————–

One Of JustAnswers.com Claims: every ninth sec **Image directly taken from JustAnswer.com website ———————————————————————————————–

JustAnswer.com Wikipedia Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justanswer.com **Link Provided By (CSW) -Moderator- Erin ———————————————————————————————–

JustAnswer.com Better Business Bureau (BBB) Profile: http://www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/url/justanswer_com/ ———————————————————————————————–

JustAnswer.com Promo Link The Shockingly Simple JustAnswer® Promise” – http://ww2.justanswer.com/shockingly-simple-justanswer-promise **Link Discovered By Nico ———————————————————————————————–

JustAnswer.com HELP And REFUND Section “Blackbelt Support” Quality. Access. Compassion – http://ww2.justanswer.com/help/topics/143 **Link Discovered By Nico ———————————————————————————————–

JustAnswer.com How Can I Request A REFUND ? Linkhttp://ww2.justanswer.com/help/how-can-i-request-refund Verification Status: Confirmed as a SAFE LINK. Confirmed via (CSW) readership as useful. But you must be registered to see page. JustAnswer.com REFUND Linkhttp://www.justanswer.com/refund/refund.aspx Verification Status: Confirmed as a SAFE LINK. Confirmed via (CSW) readership as useful. But you must be registered to see page. **Both JustAnswer REFUND LINKS Were Provided By Commenter Ethan ———————————————————————————————–

JustAnswer.com Customer Service E-Mail Addresscs@justanswer.com Verification Status: E-mail Address is Confirmed via (CSW) readership. **E-mail Address Provided By Commenter Ethan ———————————————————————————————–

JustAnswer.com Non-Corporate Customer Service Phone Numbers

Toll-Free: 888-587-8220,  888-567-8220, 1-888-862-9212

Canadian Toll-Free Number: 1-888-587-8220

UK Toll-Free Number: 0-800-452-621

Australian Toll-Free Number: 1-800-679-634

New Zealand Toll-Free Number: 0-800-452-621

Intl: 650-385-2899 and 1-650-985-2899

From The Rest Of The World: 1-650-385-2899

Verification Status Of Non-Highlighted JustAnswer.com Customer Service Numbers: Confirmed by (CSW) readership.

Verification Status Of RED Highlighted JustAnswer.com Toll Free Customer Service Number: Confirmed via (CSW) readership and Scam Watch Team.

Verification Status Of Orange Highlighted JustAnswer.com Canadian Toll-Free Service Number: Confirmed via (CSW) readership and Scam Watch Team.

Verification Status Of Brown Highlighted JustAnswer.com Canadian Toll-Free Service Number: Are not confirmed via (CSW) readership and or Scam Watch Team.

Verification Status Of Blue Highlighted JustAnswer.com Toll-Free Service Number: Are not confirmed via (CSW) readership and or Scam Watch Team.

*Non-Corporate Customer Service Numbers Provided By Commenter Ethan

**Second Toll Free Number Customer Service Number Provided By Commenter Plain Jane

***Canadian Toll-Free Number Provided By Commenter Daniel

****All Numbers In Brown Were Provided By Commenter Mike H.

*****All Numbers In Blue Were Provided By Commenter Alan

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JustAnswer.com Direct Corporate Phone Numbers: 1-415-929-9923 Verification Status: Confirmed via (CSW) readership and Scam Watch Team. The 1-415-929-9923 corporate phone numbers above have been confirmed by both our “Scam Watch Team” and (CSW’s) readership. On a number of occasions. But please feel free to comment below if you have indeed called one or both of the above numbers and let us know if they are indeed helpful. In solving any issues you came across. *Phone Numbers Provided By Commenter James Fox ———————————————————————————————–

If you guys have any question regarding this or any other similar subject. Please don’t hesitate to comment or e-mail us @ computer.savvy@hotmail.com

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Important Side Note: Please guys could you speak English in the comments section. If you can’t speak English please use the following embedded link to GOOGLE TRANSLATOR. It’s 100% free and very easy to use. ———————————————————————————————–

DISCLAIMER: The Computer Savvy Weblog has no control over the ads Google decides to display on our blog/site. Due to the fact The Computer Savvy Weblog is using the free version of WordPress. Sorry for any inconvenience or possible misunderstandings this may of caused.

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Return To The Main Features Page

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Post Written By Nico And Scam Watch Feature Was Created By Remy “Se7en”

1,867 Responses to Scam Watch: JustAnswer.com Is It A Scam ? Or Is It Just A Really Bad Investment ?

  1. Brian McDougall says:

    I used them, wont again experts my foot, I ok’d 5 bucks they took 38. two seconds to take your money no refund yet, pissed, this just answer is a total scam – going to have my web guy build a site so people can see my question and see their expert advice and how they take your money without helping you except to say it cant be fixed – it can be you just need to get someone that really is in the field. By the way I know it is hard to problem solve over text or phone But you need to have enough brains to ask proper questions. They said they processed refund but hey still dont have it.

    • L. R. Yaffe says:

      In most cases, the problem is not with the actual fee charged — it is (A) the poor explanation of how the website works that is given by Just Answer to the customers; (b) expectations of the customer who expects miracles for 5 or 10 dollars. A good friend was an expert (attorney) for several years and I can assure you that he really is an attorney and the website is very strict and secure regarding background checks and credentials when it comes to the lawyers, doctors, nurses, veterinarians, etc.

      So, Just Answer does make the effort to get really qualified and educated experts in their fields and they usually manage to succeed in attracting such experts. All experts are independent contractors and are paid by Just Answer for answering the question ONLY if and when the customer presses a positive rating on the question box before leaving the website. The questions appear to the experts on an OPEN LIST with the PAYOUT OFFER clearly shown to the experts before opening the question. This is the amount that Just Answer will pay to the expert for answering the question and IF the customer presses a positive rating. The Payout Offer presented to the expert is based on the amount the customer is willing to pay for receiving an answer to the question. First, the expert can open the question and read it and decide whether or not he or she wants to answer the question (if the expert believes that the question is too lengthy or is multi-layered (meaning there are several questions rolled into it) or the customer is seeking document review assistance or it is simply too much to answer for the price offered, or for any reason at all — the expert can decline to answer the question and put it back on the list. Originally, the customer would make on offer to Just Answer for the expert access and the expert’s time — the customer was asked to evaluate their own question and offer a fair price based upon the expert category they want the question asked by. Then, if the customer accepted the answer, the expert would be paid one half of the total price offered to Just Answer by the customer for the answer to the question. (For example, if you offered $38 — the expert would receive $19 dollars of that).

      Then, the website is bought out by a larger company and they only care about making money for their investors and their own bottom line after that point — and they did not care if the customers were no longer happy and the experts were no longer happy — they basically told customers and experts “If you don’t like it, leave”). The company now (A) offers subscription plans to customers for several hundred dollars a year and the customer can ask unlimited questions. Customers think it is a great bargain but what the customer does NOT realize is that their question is posted on the open list with Payout Offers of 7 dollars or 9 dollars.That is perfectly fine if it truly takes 5 minutes to answer a question — but almost 100 percent of the questions take at least 15-20 minutes to answer and in many cases, up to a full hour — and that does not include the customer’s follow up questions to the expert (which are also part of the original payout offer to the expert. (B) Just Answer stopped using the relatively simple and customer/user friendly “ACCEPT” button for the customer to signal that the customer was finished with the question and to signal/trigger Just Answer to pay the expert the payout offer amount for the expert’s time spent answering the question (experts do not get a paycheck). Now, the expert who spent so much time assisting the customer is paid NOTHING unless the customer presses a positive rating on the performance of the expert before leaving the website. You probably think that any payment to the expert should only be made if the customer gives a positive rating. However, this is a bad idea for the experts (and good for Just Answer profits) for the following reasons: (1) In many instances, the customer will simply forget to go to the ratings section and leave a positive rating (it happens on almost every website and we ALL do it — we leave the website before having to take the survey on many different websites because surveys are a pain to complete). By tying payment to the expert to whether or not the customer leaves a positive rating and takes the short survey is unfair. On average, my friend has lost payment for two to three of every ten questions since this program started because the customer will finish up the question and say Thank You and then just leave the website. And, if the customer leaves a negative rating or simply does not rate the question and answer session at all before leaving, then Just Answer will retain the amount paid by the customer for the FULL amount offered (including what was supposed to be the experts one half payment). Finally, Just Answer has sewed this up nicely by making a website rule that experts are NOT permitted to add an additional post to the question stating something like “It seems that you do not have any further questions for me. If you do not, can you please press a positive rating so that I will be paid for assisting you today….” THe expert can be suspended and then dismissed from the website if the expert is caught making such a posting to any customer (question and answer sessions are not private and are regularly reviewed by moderators and management). and (C) Just Answer has started using “teasers” like offering one dollar or five dollar deposits and this is simply to get people to the website. Just Answer will then post your question for the deposit amount — but there is no payout offer to the expert in the PAYOUT OFFER section of the question posting list. As the customer, you are then offered a choice: (a) the question can be posted at $ 0 payout offer to the expert and an attorney (or doctor, or other expert) might answer your question, or (b) the customer is then given the sales pitch and Just Answer then tells the customer that most experts will not answer “FREE” questions and that the “average price” offered in the category is $38 and they will ask the customer if they want to continue and the customer then enters their credit card info and the price is posted at $19 on the open question offer list at which point experts will then open the question and review it and decide whether or not they want to answer to question.

      So, Brian McDougall, in response to your frustration with Just Answer, my friend feels your pain also. For the sake of a few dollars, the new owners have taken a very stable up and coming website and turned it into a money grubbing operation. Five years ago, there were over 100 attorney experts as independent contractors on the website and the least experienced was about 8 years out of law school. It also took almost 2 years for an expert to be “hired” by Just Answer because they would have to wait for a slot to open up. Many customers were established with Just Answer and would keep coming back because they received good, solid answers from experienced, knowledgeable attorneys and other experts in their fields. However, when the pricing changed to favor Just Answer, many of those more experienced experts stopped going to the website and taking questions (it is not worth the time and effort for an attorney to answer a question and then answer all follow up questions for an offer to answer that is 0 or 7 or 9 dollars and THEN if the customer does not give a positive rating in a follow up survey section, the expert is not paid at all. NOTHING — and if the expert attorney or doctor or vet, etc points out to the customer that he/she will be paid NOTHING unless the customer presses a positive rating or even mentions to the customer that they are not paid for every question, the expert can be suspended or dismissed from the website. So many of the really good experts have simply dropped out or dropped down on their participation and Just Answer is “hiring” law school graduates or medical school graduates, or ITT graduates — with no actual experience at all in the field — to answer questions.

      So, you may have gotten an “expert” who was not that great with your question or issues. That DOES happen occasionally. However, it is more likely that your request /question was simply too large of a task to be handled efficiently in 20 minutes or so (for the price offered by you or the price offered by Just Answer to the expert in the Payout Offer section on the question list). So, more experienced experts in that category probably opened it up and passed it over until one of the more junior experts or less experienced experts picked it up and tried to answer it for you. Then that expert probably realized that the question was too comprehensive to be answered for the price offered and sought a way to extricate himself from the question without telling you the reason why (because the expert is not allowed to tell you why or to discuss pricing points with customers). The expert may have even told the moderator for that subject category that the question was under priced (experts can report it to the moderators) — but the moderators very rarely communicate that to a customer and usually only after your question had been up on the open list for a few days and perhaps had a few experts look at it and refuse to answer it in addition to the expert who actually contacted you (as a customer, you do not see the number of experts who reviewed your question and then put it back on the open list (declined to answer) — but experts can also see that and it helps the next expert who reviews the question to determine whether or not he/she wants to pick up the question after that.

      I know that it was lengthy, but I hope it helps you to understand what they are about and why they operate the way they operate.

    • L. R. Yaffe says:

      Just Answer used to be a great place to get answers from doctors, veterinarians and lawyers for a reasonable price and they were at it long before any of the newer websites that are coming up today. Up until about 4 years ago, if you had a question you would set a price for your own question and you were asked to be reasonable in setting the price considering what a local doctor or vet or lawyer would charge for a quick consult. I used the legal section many times and checked credentials on every lawyer who answered a question for me — they were ALL licensed attorneys with at least 5+ years experience (you can check with the atty licensing board in their state where they claim they are licensed). I posted most of my legal questions for around 40 to 50 dollars, knowing that once I accepted the answer, the lawyer would get 50 percent of the amount I offered to pay for an answer. However, if I was not happy with the answer then I could simply refuse to press the accept button and request a refund. I did request a refund on one occasion and I got the money returned to my Paypal account within 5 days.

      I am not sure what happened to them but I did not use them for a few years and now I come back in 2016 and find that there are a lot of complaints online about them and I tried to use them recently and find that they are asking for people to sign up for subscriptions and one of the doctors told me that the website was bought out by a larger company a few years ago and the only concern for them is making more and more profits before they run it into the ground.

      • The Prince says:

        Yaffee: Your (rather lengthy) description of JA’s loss of legal experts over the years is incorrect. I Have been a Just Answer Expert for over seven years. Many of us have been on the legal panel for at least that long, or longer. Some legal experts are better and more experienced than others, but overall, we are good, very good. There is a great deal of concern about promoting good customer relations on the part of JA staff. I see no change in that between seven years ago and four years ago to the present. I can make no comment regarding actual ownership of the website or to the financial aspects, since we are not involved in that and are not privy to any of that information. I do not know how the medical expert could know of the change of ownership that he told you about. The marketing approach has been modified from time to time, sometimes not for the better, but what business can claim otherwise in this computer driven economy? I’ll reply a little further to what “jon” says below.

  2. jon says:

    Concerning legal experts at Justanswer:

    1. The term, “expert,” is expressly defined by the Justanswer Terms of Service as a user who answers questions. This is unfortunate, and misleading, for obvious reasons — but the definition has remained consistent since the website’s inception.

    2. As recent as two years ago, legal experts could earn a reasonable middle-class living exclusively answering questions. Today, experts can’t earn minimum wage, because as the previous comments from “Yaffe” suggests, the economics have radically changed.

    3. Customers are generally unaware that answers about the law are largely a question of whether or not the person who answers has access to a proprietary legal research system (e.g., Thomson Reuters Westlaw, or LexisNexis Advanced). Without such access, practically every legal answer is an educated guess. But, since a person earning minimum wage cannot possible afford the subscription cost of one of the above-referenced research systems, it’s an impossible conundrum for the expert, and a sad deception for the customer.

    4. Moreover, since lawyers are not provided much training in law school as to how to research complicated legal issues, most lawyers can’t utilize the legal research systems, even if they do have access. In the real world of law, paralegals do the research and the lawyers argue in court — because real world clients won’t pay for research, since it seems like the lawyer isn’t doing anything. Clients want to see their lawyer doing something in a courtroom, because it “feels” like the client’s money is being spent on meaningful effort. In truth, it’s the research that makes the case, except where there is a jury trial — that’s when a lawyer’s ability to be convincing to an audience matters. But, since the lawyer’s ability to convince at Justanswer is largely confined to convincing customers that a particular answer is what the customer needs and wants, vis-a-vis an legally competent and accurate answer — Justanswer legal experts are mostly baby sitters who tell customers what they want to read, in the hope that the validation of the customer’s predisposed belief about a legal issue is correct. And, after all, no one wants to pay to be told that they are wrong, or that they don’t have a case. So, it’s no surprise that most Justanswer customers don’t pay — and when they do pay, it’s as likely for a wrong answer as it is for a correct answer.

    5. The old saying, “you get what you pay for,” is on steroids at Justanswer. In the legal profession, generally, the number of lawyers who are on the top of the intellectual heap, are vastly outnumbered by lawyers who are “as dumb as a box of rocks” (to use another old saying). So, if you, as a customer, think you’re getting ripped off at Justanswer, it may actually be that you’re ripping yourself off, because you’re simply not willing to pay for value, and so the market is giving you exactly what you are paying for: an answer from someone who is being paid minimum wage or less to answer your question. That’s not much of an incentive to do good work — unless the job is bagging groceries (not that grocery baggers should be looked down upon, but you probably don’t want a grocery bagger giving you legal advice, either).

    6. There are a few competent legal experts at Justanswer. I’ve written about this before, and I’m updating my opinion, now, based upon my more recent ad hoc review of recent randomly chosen Justanswer lawyer-customer Q&A sessions. The Justanswer experts that I recommend (in no particular order) are:

    Judith (userid: askimmigrationlaw). An objective review of her answers shows that Judith knows the specifics of her narrowly focused practice of immigration law. She doesn’t pretend to know all about everything — she sticks to what she knows, and she won’t sugarcoat answers to please customers.

    Guillermo J. Senmartin (userid: guillermosenmartin). The same that applies to Judith, generally applies to Guillermo.

    Gerald, Esq (userid: gerald-law). Gerald is a relatively recent addition to the Justanswer stable. When he first started answering questions, he relied heavily upon citations to legal authority, which demonstrated his ability to objectively analyze a legal question, and an understanding that a legal answer without proof is simply a guess. Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, Gerald has now largely abandoned these efforts — so, unless you ask him for legal authority, you won’t get it — because, as I’ve previously explained — when you’re getting paid minimum wage or less, there isn’t much of an incentive to provide a fully cited competent legal answer. Regardless, Gerald knows his stuff — if only Justanswer would permit him to show that stuff to the world.

    N Cal. Attorney (userid: ncalatty). This attorney is an old-timer at Justanswer. He has always provided competent answers and he/she can find and cite the correct legal principles for the answers he/she provides.

    Socrateaser (userid: socrateaser). Another Justanswer old-timer. Socrateaser heavily cites the law for practically every answer. Anyone can independently verify that an answer is correct, because the proof can be found directly from the answer. Socrateaser has zero bedside manner, many customers (and other Justanswer attorneys) find him/her abrasive, arrogant, etc. — but the reality is that if he/she answers your question, then it is practically always correct. How he/she manages to research his/her answers as quickly as he/she does is a mystery.

    There are a few other attorneys, not mentioned here, who are reasonably competent. However, in this reviewers opinion, they are either inconsistent, or they answer questions outside of their competency — so, if you happen to catch one of these attorneys on a subject matter that they know, then you’re in good shape. Otherwise, you may get a wrong answer, and you won’t know it, until you try to use it in the real world (which could be bad, if you’re actually trying to use the answer in a courtroom).

    In conclusion, those persons who disparage Justanswer as a scam, are uninformed. Justanswer is simply responding to what the market is willing to bear. And, in general, what the market will bear is a relatively low standard of performance, in exchange for a relatively low cost. If you want a serious legal answer, then you can hire a lawyer, “the old fashioned way,” pay $250-$600 per hour, and if you don’t get what you expect, you can complain to the state disciplinary authorities.

    Whereas at Justanswer, you can pay $18-$60, and take pot luck. If you’re a smart consumer, then you will carefully consider the answers you receive, and pay fair value for anyone who provides you with the value you are paying for — so, that if you need an answer in the future, there may remain a half dozen lawyers at Justanswer who can provide the information you need.

    Conversely, if you simply jump into the Justanswer waters and try to get something for nothing, then that is exactly what you will get — because there are no shortage of people at Justanswer, and everywhere else on and off the internet who will be just delighted to trade you five “magic” beans for your dairy cow. Only, unlike with Jack in the Beanstalk, in the real world, the magic beans won’t grow anything but a regular beanstalk, while the dairy cow would have provided a lot more protein, calves, and fertilizer!

    Happy days.

    • L. R. Yaffe says:

      While I agree with you on the dynamics of Just Answers current compensation system I must disagree with your overall opinion of lawyers in general. It seems that you do not care for lawyers, do you? First, every state has a website where a lawyer or any member of the general public for that matter can connect to all statutes and case law in that state. Such portions of the state websites can be found very easily and thus paying for such legal research resources such as Lexis and Westlaw is not needed. The only time that the LExis and Westlaw websites provide value is when you need to see the absolutely latest case on a legal matter because the state websites are not that quick. However, the statutory changes in every state are made several times a year.

      I have known many dumb lawyers and dumb paralegals as well. Stupid doctors, etc. etc. Every profession has their winners. But most lawyers I know are competent attorneys trying to make a living in a public opinion climate that embraces recent law school graduates on Just Answer or, when an invoice for work is sent to them after being cut to 75 or 100 dollars an hour because they simply “do not have it” they still do not want to pay it, then those types of people deserve to pay small money and deserve every problem that they get because of it.

      And I stand by what I said earlier — the Just Answer from several years ago had a lot of good, experienced attorneys who cared about the site, etc. Now, it seems they are all young ones with a few of the older ones still coming in now and then. And the customers are sucked into the 10 dollar answer – believe it or not, five years ago most legal customers offered more money for legal answers and gave better bonuses to attorneys than they do today. THat is one of the reasons why good attorneys were on the site and continued to work for them.

      • jon says:

        I won’t pick your response post apart. I’ll merely say that you’re correct: I don’t think much of attorneys. But, as I “am” an attorney, I think my opinion carries some additional weight.

        That said, none of this helps the average person who may chance upon this forum thread. For those of you who do read this, I strongly suggest that you demand that the attorney who answers provide a dispositive citation to legal authority to support his or her answer, and that you pay for that service, and for nothing else. That will improve the quality of answers and attorneys at justanswer.com, because those attorneys who cannot cite the law, will not get paid, and they will continue to be replaced by those attorneys who can competently cite the law.

        But, to get that sort of quality, customers must commit to paying for the answers, rather than getting an answer and then fading into the sunset without paying. Because, the bottom line is that if you want an answer that is actually valuable, then you have to pay for it. Otherwise, you will get exactly what you pay for: nothing!

        Happy Days.

        • jludwic says:

          I read and appreciate your peer review of my answers.
          Thank you.
          Judith

        • The Prince says:

          Jon: I’ll be brief, (as no one else who writes here seems to be able to be.) You miss the point of what JA legal is. It is not a legal research, writing or problem solving service. I have a busy private practice and when a client asks for a written opinion with case citations, he’ll pay a minimum of $500, not $18 or $38. It’s the old adage: “You get what you pay for”, and what the JA legal customer is paying for is an analysis of his legal situation by an experienced lawyer who has probably handled matters similar to his many times, whereas he has zero experience to draw on. There is hardly a question that I cannot answer off the top of my head and not be 90% correct. My educated guess, at an obscure fact situation is worth more than they’ve paid for it. I will often supplement that using lawyer blogs. I am surprised that anyone would suggest that we provide opinions backed up with case law. In addition to (very likely) constituting the unauthorized practice of law, what can a layman do with case citations? Do you know of any non–lawyer who has ever settled an argument by presenting his adversary with a printed copy of a case. Even in a lawsuit, lower court judges are disinclined to listen to pro se litigants spouting case law, which in most cases will be inapplicable to their facts. Except at the appellate level, or to convince the customer that his own legal position is all wrong (hello negative feed back), case law research (by us) is virtually useless to non-lawyers.
          As a JA expert my motto is: ” While I can quickly give you the benefit of my considerable legal experience and knowledge, I can’t put you through law school for $50. ENJOY THE DAY!

  3. mike wood says:

    How do I get out of this. Getting desparate.

  4. The Prince says:

    I posted Replies to both Yaffee and Jon, but I don’t see them anywhere.

    • jon says:

      I see your reply to me — though not to Yaffe. Regardless, you wrote:

      “While I can quickly give you the benefit of my considerable legal experience and knowledge, I can’t put you through law school for $50.”

      The problem with your assertion is that, as I’ve previously mentioned, a review of any randomly chosen 100 Justanswer Q&A sessions demonstrates that a majority (and in my experience, an overwhelming majority) of the answers are legally incorrect.

      A legally incorrect answer is not worth $500, $50, or even $0! A licensed attorney who accepts compensation in any amount, and who misrepresents the law, whether intentionally, or carelessly, is liable for the reasonably foreseeable damages that flow from that misrepresentation. “ ‘[F]alse representations made recklessly and without regard for their truth in order to induce action by another are the equivalent of misrepresentations knowingly and intentionally uttered.’ ” (Engalla, supra, 15 Cal.4th at p. 974,
      quoting Yellow Creek Logging Corp. v. Dare (1963) 216 Cal.App.2d 50, 55 [30 Cal.Rptr. 629].)

      Of course, I don’t know who you are, so, I can’t review any of your answers at random. Maybe your abilities are far outside the normal distribution curve of Justanswer “experts” (a term, which in and of itself is a gross misrepresentation, given the impression that it projects to the general public).

      But, to suggest that $50 is chump change for an answer that requires all of 30 seconds to draft, and which is supported by nothing other than the personal authority of an anonymous expert, is, in my opinion, absurd.

      Any customer who comes to Justanswer for an answer should receive some independent ly verifiable proof of the “expert’s” assertions. Otherwise, the answer isn’t worth paying for.

      Now, there’s no doubt that the system would be better if the customers were required to pay, because then the “experts” would have some assurance that if they do the work, then they will be fairly compensated. But, that’s not how the system works, and unless and until the system is changed by Justanswer management, Justanswer expert’s have an obligation to the public to not engage in “educated guesses,” which, and I’ll say it again, can be shown to be mostly incorrect (based upon my ad hoc review).

      • The Prince says:

        Jon: Response to Yaffee is there now. You misconstrued my statement about educated guessing. What I mean is that, since most legal questions lack 50% or more of the necessary facts even after fact requests, I may only be able to give the person an educated guess. Even at that it will be worth the money that is being paid for it. Our customers want quick, easy to understand answers, not law journal notes. I do far more for them than the idiot on the next bar stool at the corner tavern. I have steered away many customers from “free” curbstone legal advice that was about to send them over a cliff. My Answers are not written in 30 seconds. They often require lengthy back and forth Q & A to get at the necessary facts. I cannot of course comment on the questions that you have judged as incorrect. While it used to be easy for experts to read and pass upon answers submitted by other experts, that is no longer the case. It’s not impossible to do, but who has the time? A customer can always post a negative rating and ask for a change in experts. You don’t see much of that though. So I think that most customers are going away somewhat satisfied. That is, with the exception of those who have consulted with every lawyer in the county before coming to us looking for a magic pill (or is that a silver bullet?) for the legal entanglements they find themselves in. (BTW Jon, $50 in today’s legal world is “chump change”). Regards,

        • jon says:

          JON’s reply to Prince’s response, above…

          PRINCE: You misconstrued my statement about educated guessing.

          JON: In your opinion.

          PRINCE: What I mean is that, since most legal questions lack 50% or more of the necessary facts even after fact requests, I may only be able to give the person an educated guess.

          JON: So, now it’s the customer’s fault that they receive an incorrect answer? When I review a Q&A session, I view the customer’s assertions as true, and then research and answer based upon that premise. Thus, the answer is correct, if the facts are correct. But, when I review a Q&A session and an attorney’s answer is incorrect based upon the facts presented, that’s the attorney’s fault. There’s no excuse for an incorrect answer. An attorney has an obligation to the public, not just to clients. Attorneys are supposed to be the zenith of veracity in society. That’s what laypersons pay for, and anything less denigrates the entire profession.

          And, I won’t limit my comments to Justanswer, either. I routinely hear and read attorneys, in the traditional news media, and on commercial websites, make statements based upon personal authority which are misrepresentations of law. This is understandable, when an attorney is being interviewed on TV, and is expected to instantly “know” the answers to questions posted by the program host. But, that doesn’t make it right. Because at the instant the attorney makes a misrepresentation of law, the viewers, perhaps hundreds of thousands of persons, just as quickly form an opinion about the correctness of some political or legal issue. And, if that opinion is based upon a misrepresentation of the law, then the entirety of public opinion is skewed by the error. This can have a substantial negative effect on the entire nation’s ability to select leaders, decide important political issues, and it may pollute the jury pool in an important case, where there is a real victim and defendant whose very lives are in the balance.

          There is no excuse for an incorrect answer, by an attorney at Justanswer, because the attorney has time to do the research, and if that attorney is too slow at research, then he or she has no business answering customer questions.

          PRINCE: Even at that it will be worth the money that is being paid for it. Our customers want quick, easy to understand answers, not law journal notes.

          JON: An incorrect answer is less than worthless. It’s a potential injury to the customer. I’ll give you an example from yesterday (March 3, 2016):

          A customer who is a landlord asked about how to recover $8,000 in unpaid rent from the San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA). The attorney’s answer was for the customer to send a demand letter to the SFHA, and if there was no response in 30 days, then the customer could sue in small claims court.

          Sounds pretty reasonable, doesn’t it? But, it’s absolutely incorrect. In order to make the asserted claim the customer must send a demand for claim containing certain specifics as required by Cal. Govt. Code 900 et seq., there is an official SFHA form to be used in submitting the claim, and the SFHA has 60 days to respond. SFHA Procurement Policy XIII C.

          So, if the customer follows the attorney “expert’s” advice, and sues after 30 days, the small claims judge (assuming the he/she knows the law, which he/she may not), will be forced to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, because the customer did not wait the required 60 days for SFHA’s response.

          Moreover, there is a collateral argument that 42 U.S.C. 1437 et seq. (federal public housing agency law) provides no private right of action, and that small claims court has no subject matter jurisdiction, regardless of SFHA’s policy, because it may be preempted by federal law. In which case, the only option for the landlord is to file a complaint with U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

          Thus, the customer in this example may, at a minimum, waste a day in court, and lose his or her $75 small claims filing fee.

          But wait…there’s more. If the landlord is a corporation or other legal entity, then the maximum recovery will be $5,000 (Cal. Code Civ. Proc. Sec. 116.220-221), which means that the landlord may have to give up the right to $3,000 of the alleged rent owed from SFHA. So, now the Justanswer attorney’s answer may very well cost the landlord $3,075.00!!!

          So, while a customer question may look simple, the reality is that the law is a very hard taskmaster, and attorneys at Justanswer who provide off-the-cuff answers without engaging in sufficient research, may be a substantial danger to the general public.

          PRINCE I do far more for them than the idiot on the next bar stool at the corner tavern. I have steered away many customers from “free” curbstone legal advice that was about to send them over a cliff.

          JON: The “idiot on the next bar stool” at the corner tavern doesn’t charge $50 for his answers, doesn’t hide behind the anonymity of the Justanswer website, and doesn’t profess to be a licensed lawyer. The distinction is self evident.

          PRINCE: My Answers are not written in 30 seconds. They often require lengthy back and forth Q & A to get at the necessary facts. I cannot of course comment on the questions that you have judged as incorrect. While it used to be easy for experts to read and pass upon answers submitted by other experts, that is no longer the case. It’s not impossible to do, but who has the time?

          JON: No one has the time, and I’m a glutton for punishment for spending any time at all. But, I do it, occasionally, because it helps me evaluate my own performance — so that if it ever happens that the government decides to go after Justanswer for engaging in a deceptive business practice, I will have the ability to show that my answers are nearly always correct, and that I have provided the customer with the identical quality of service that a competent lawyer in similar circumstances would have provided in a traditional consultation.

          None of which may provide me with any protection. But, at least I will be able to look in the mirror and know that I did the right thing, and that no one was injured by my attempts to help the public with what is indisputably a problem with “access to justice” in an environment where if you’re wealthy, you can get due process of law in the USA — but, otherwise — fagetaboutit!

          PRINCE: A customer can always post a negative rating and ask for a change in experts. You don’t see much of that though. So I think that most customers are going away somewhat satisfied.

          JON: “Ignorance is bliss.” Until you get in a courtroom — but, by then, it’s too late.

          PRINCE: That is, with the exception of those who have consulted with every lawyer in the county before coming to us looking for a magic pill (or is that a silver bullet?) for the legal entanglements they find themselves in.

          JON: I agree with your characterization, here — though I think that the hyperbole is unnecessary.

          PRINCE: (BTW Jon, $50 in today’s legal world is “chump change”).

          JON: Lawyers in the USA charge between $200-$600 per hour, in my experience. If we accept that range, arguendo, then the average is $400 per hour. That means $50 buys the customer 7.5 minutes of the Justanswer attorney’s time. Which is probably a pretty good measure of the amount of time that the average Justanswer lawyer spends answering a customer question. So, in fact, the customer is actually paying $400 per hour for these off-the-cuff general answers that are as often wrong as they are right.

          And, that is “not” chump change.

          JON’S SUMMARY:

          1. The Justanswer business model is badly flawed and needs substantial amendment, so that the attorneys who answer questions are compensated fairly for their time. I decline to offer any specifics here, because, frankly, if Justanswer wants to fix its business model, then that’s worth at least seven figures ($1 million USD) to anyone who provides a credible and specific business plan.

          2. The attorneys who answer questions should be held to a high standard of accuracy. No exceptions, and no excuses.

          3. I stand by my previous review of the attorneys at the website who I believe provide competent answers. I apologize if I have missed anyone in that review, but no one is paying me for my efforts. It’s my personal opinion, alone, and accomplished in the limited time that I have available to perform a review.

          The End (for now).

  5. asecondchance527 says:

    Wow – way to get of subject and high-jack a complaint/review panel for JustAnswer.com This should be about personal interactions and feedback regarding customer interactions with JustAnswer.com’s services but you all have managed to turn it into a – who is the better lawyer and who knows more rant! Talented little buggers, aren’t you??

    • jon says:

      The title of the thread is: “JustAnswer.com Is It A Scam ? Or Is It Just A Really Bad Investment ?”

      My comments are entirely within the scope of the thread title.

      P.S.: Thanks for the back-handed compliment. ;->

      • Remy "Se7en" says:

        Dear jon,

        Your right, your well with in the scope of our post/feature.

        Later Dayz,

        Remy “Se7en” (Editor-In-Chief -CSW-)

      • Erin says:

        Dear jon,

        As Moderator for this Post/Feature. You are indeed well with in the scope of this Post/Feature.

        Keep the comments coming………

        Erin (-CSW- Comment Moderator)

  6. charles says:

    All they care about is money. The individual who was meant to answer my question choose to ask me irrelevant questions instead (this to me showed he was inexperienced in the field and at one point felt like he was taking the piss). Asked for a refund and its been 3 weeks, no sign of my money. Had to go through paypal. Received an email from them saying they have refunded but still no sign of it. I will advise to be careful using this website.

    • jon says:

      I agree that all Justanswer cares about is money. However, the contributors who answer questions don’t work for Justanswer, and each one has a different ethical bent. You’ll get good service if you find someone who cares, and you compensate them accordingly. But, there’s no way to know in advance. You have to try the service and see if it works for you.

      Apparently, for you, it does not. And, that’s a fair comment.

  7. Dabeer Mallik says:

    Justanswers.com are crooks, I needed a immigration law answer; nobody answered but they charged me $5.00 + $15.00 + $30 in a matter of two days. I had to dispute the charge and cancel my credit card; they are crooks, do not give them your credit card – it is a scam to charge your account.

    Dabeer Mallik

    • jon says:

      Yes, of course, it’s a scam. That’s why literally hundreds of thousands of customers are completely satisfied with Justanswer, and the business has successfully operated since 2006 without a single lawsuit filed against them.

      This doesn’t mean that the quality of service is the same as what you will get if you actually hire a lawyer and pay customer legal fees (n.b.: you will if I happen to answer your question). But, customers such as you won’t pay customary legal fees. You want “free” services, and you’ll do whatever is required to avoid paying, even after you promise to do so.

      Isn’t that right?

      Yes, of course it is!

  8. Sergio says:

    I LITERALLY said A into the “Expert” chat bar, and the “person” asked me for more info. They are bots. And Jon, you can shut the f**k up.

    • jon says:

      Why Sergio! I’m touched by your concern for my sexual activity. You needn’t worry, however. All is well in that department.

  9. Prince says:

    Sergio: you are correct that the intro to some legal questions is a bot. Legal, as I’m sure you appreciate is a very broad area for discussion. The purpose of the bot is to get some idea of what the customers question is about so that it can be correctly directed within the system. In most cases, it seems to work very well. Of course as you found out if you enter junk deliberately, the automated replies will make no sense.

  10. David Kallenbach says:

    Just answer may or may not be a scam. It is a misleading website and online service in that it does not inform the prospective client that what it is doing is taking money as a first up payment for an on going service for which it proposes to continually debit your card (credit) every month.

    One gets the impression (and that impression is deliberately conveyed to the customer, that question of a professional nature will be answered (within 30 minutes) by an “expert”. All they do is to ask you to confirm your membership and subscription to their service and you do not receive a valid actionable answer which in my case would have been a response from a lawyer.

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