Thanks for checking out my Care.com review. My daughter recently completed her babysitting certification so we thought we'd check them out. From the moment I started reading the Care.com reviews though, it seemed everyone was calling them a scam.
In this review I'll dig into what's really going on, and find out if what people are saying is true.
Please note, I am not affiliated with Care.com in any way. This review has been researched with information and testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.
What Is Care.com?
Before we get into the reviews and complaints I'll quickly go over who they are and how it works.
Care.com is an online marketplace where families and caregivers can meet and interact with each other. Started in 2006 and based out of North Waltham, Massachusetts, they claim to be the largest online resource of their kind… currently with 22 million members across 19 countries.
It’s easy to see why…
While similar sites usually focus on one area (babysitting for example)… Care.com connects families with nannies, tutors, housekeepers, babysitters, as well as trained caregivers for the elderly and special needs.
You can also find caregivers to look after your furry friends… pet-sitters, dog walkers, trainers, and even boarding.
How Does It Work?
Similar to other job boards and marketplaces like Indeed and Craigslist, employers looking for caregivers post their jobs at Care.com and search through a list of local care providers.
If you're a caregiver, you can publish your public profile and browse through a list of jobs.
Educational Requirements for Caregivers
There are no specific requirements to join, but you should be qualified for the position you’re applying for.
When setting up your profile you’ll want to list your qualifications, experience, and provide images of certifications, background checks, and any other related documents. Care.com’s customer care team will need to approve some of your documents.
It’s also important to include a recent photograph, as well as references and reviews from past employers.
How Much Can Care Providers Earn?
As a care provider, you set your own hourly rates which are based on market prices for your particular skill and location.
Families and Individuals Posting Jobs
One-month membership - $39.00
Three-month membership - $78.00 ($26.00/month)
Twelve-month membership - $156.00 ($13/month)
It’s free to join and set up your profile. You can even search for jobs and have employers notify you that they’re interested.
However… to respond to those employers directly, you must upgrade to a premium account which is $20/month.
And, since finding work can be competitive, Care.com has set up a credit system where you can buy your way to the front of the line.
10 credits - $9.00
25 credits - $25.00
50 credits - $29.00
Like buying ride tickets at a carnival, you must plan ahead and calculate how many you think you’ll need, because they expire in 90-days.
I get that Care.com needs to earn a profit… but when it comes to job boards (which Care.com is), revenue is usually generated when employers post jobs and advertise.
It doesn’t come from people who need a job.
Creating an elaborate credit system with arbitrary expiration dates, not to mention charging jobseekers for premium accounts to communicate with potential employers, in my opinion, speaks to the kind of company Care.com might be.
For a company called Care.com, it seems to me (although I could be wrong) that the thing they “care” about most is money.
From the outside looking in, this assumption gains a little more traction when you find out that there are 600 plus complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau and more than 300 of those are related to questionable billing and refund practices.
Care.com Reviews and Complaints
As I mentioned earlier, my daughter recently completed her babysitting certification and although I was somewhat familiar with Care.com, I began researching them further thinking they could be an option for her to find work.
I was hoping to find some positive reviews but unfortunately, after going through hundreds of them... there's not many people with good things to say.
On sitejabber alone there are over 1200 reviews… and more than 1000 have given them the lowest rating of one star.
There are those 600+ complaints at the Better Business Bureau, and another 220 negative reviews with only one that’s positive (at the time of this writing).
I’m highly skeptical of scam accusations and negative reviews, generally giving the benefit of the doubt to the company. I’m certain there are many great people who work for Care.com and quite often these issues persist simply because of poor communication.
So let's look into the common problems people are talking about.
Recurring Payment Complaints
To be clear… this is NOT my personal experience with Care.com, these are complaints filed by members with the Better Business Bureau and other review sites.
The issue here is that when you purchase a Care.com membership, you are purchasing a “subscription” and your credit card will be charged automatically at each billing period.
There’s nothing unusual about subscriptions and people generally understand how they work… but Care.com has some unique policies that have led to all kinds of complaints…
Here’s one example of a someone who purchased a one-month membership and even after he cancelled his subscription, was charged for two more years.
“If you sign up for a payment plan that allows you to be charged monthly over the subscription period and you decide to cancel your subscription during the subscription period, you acknowledge and agree that you will continue to be billed for the subscription on a monthly basis until its originally scheduled expiration date.”
In their defense, Care.com does state on their plans and pricing page that subscriptions will be renewed automatically, with a second reminder on the payment page.
But, to find this fun fact... you’ll need to dig through 13,000 plus words of difficult to read legal text.
The other complaint about recurring payments is that it’s not clear you’re signing up for a “subscription”.
As I mentioned above, it's stated on the plans and pricing page that subscriptions are renewed automatically, as well as some finer print on the page that follows when you enter your payment details.
What’s not so clear though, is that the single month option is not just a single month... it's a "subscription".
And you can see why customers might make that mistake. It says $39 for 1 month. It does not say per month, or every month.
When I first saw this page my assumption was that the subscription information shown in the above image only applies to the 3-month and 12-month options…
Maybe it's just me, but when I read "1 month"... I assume I'm only paying for "1 month"... not a "subscription".
And, I'm not sure why anyone would buy a one month “subscription” at $39?
In some circumstances, someone's “intent” might be to use the service for just 2 months, because any more than that and they'd choose the 3-month option.
But that doesn’t really make sense… because 2 months at $39 ($78) is the exact same price as 3 months at $26 ($78).
So… in my opinion, I think it’s a fair assumption that the “intent” of someone purchasing a 1-month membership is not to purchase a recurring subscription… but just a single month.
This probably wouldn't be an issue if you could contact Care.com and explain the misunderstanding... but according to their policy, they don't provide refunds beyond the most recent charge.
So, it's easy to see why there are hundreds of complaints about recurring payments...
Is Care.com a Scam?
If you've read through any of the reviews and comments on various blogs, social media and forums… it's likely you've seen people calling Care.com a scam.
I can’t validate those complaints, but it should be noted that Care.com is a public company with 500+ employees and revenue in the hundreds of millions. So, they are definitely not an absolute scam (the fake website kind that empties your bank account and disappears into the night).
However… Care.com is an unregulated marketplace and like most job boards you can run into people posting scam ads to trick people into things like exchanging bank account information or cashing stolen checks.
On the other side, some employers have said they've hired caregivers who turned out to be thieves.
There are pages and pages on the web of people discussing Care.com scams... but those don't indicate that Care.com itself is a scam.
Care.com is a legit company.
On the topic of thieves, one thing you'll need when setting up your profile (as a care provider), is a criminal record check.
Obtaining one was a service that Care.com sold.
In early 2018 however, Care.com agreed to pay $480,000 in restitution for misrepresenting the background check product they were selling. In this case... customer complaints turned into a lawsuit.
I wouldn’t personally call Care.com a scam and being a public company that’s been operating for more than 10 years… it would be an unfair representation.
With the all the complaints though, the recent lawsuit, and the recurring payment issues, an argument could be made that some deceptive tactics are being used. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that’s true or not.
What I Like
- I like the “concept” of providing a forum in which families and caregivers can come together… but clearly, it’s a more difficult in practice than theory.
- The Care.com website is clean and easy to navigate.
What I Don’t Like
- I can’t get past the number of negative reviews and complaints.
- Charging people who are looking for work.
- Potential scammers and thieves within the marketplace… Care.com clearly states that they do not employ, endorse, or recommend any caregiver or care seeker.
In my opinion, charging jobseekers to find work suggests there could be a company culture that’s not entirely customer friendly.
It’s an assumption that’s reinforced by the many complaints and a lawsuit for misrepresenting the background checks they were selling.
I’m all about making money, but I think the way a company treats people... staff and customers, should also be a priority.
I hope this review was helpful, and if you have any comments, questions or would like to leave a review of your own… please share in the comments section below.