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Why doesn't Zillow show the loan request ID with the "phone contact ID" in the transaction history?

Today I see a my first bill for a phone contact (X1-CC1qz3103ex9y96c_mfop1). The call registered on Zillow at 4:56AM although my caller ID shows a call at 11:56 PM. (I'm already suspicious...who makes a serious call at midnight looking for a mortgage?) To top it off--there was no message left on my VM, although Zillow says the call lasted almost 2 minutes. And since Zillow does not link the call to the loan request, there is no assurance---for me as a Zillow customer---to verify the call was legitimate and came from a quote. I called the number showing on my caller ID (516-453-2046) and eventually get an automated message that the caller's mailbox is full and can't accept more messages.
This little episode of checking my account history, writing a quick dispute that might take three days to resolve, calling the number twice this morning, and writing this post--has wasted the first 15 minutes of my day.
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January 26 2010 - US
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Answers (16)

 
C'mon, just feed the Zillow Machine - Your Winning Numbers will come up sooner or later. ... Happy funding, Rudi
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January 26 2010
Jim,
I Googled the number that called me (516-453-2046---almost the same number that called you) and it appears it's some auto-dialer BS.
David/Zillow credited the call and said they had multiple calls from the same number to Zillow.

So while I was credited my $30, I'm left wondering---

What if I was too busy to check my billing history and overlooked a $30 call? Do I get the automatic credit without having to ask?

What if I was a nat'l player blasting out 1000's of quotes a day and incurring dozens of $5, $10, $30 etc charges...some of which are total bogus charges....
Does Nat Bank of KFC have enough staff to do this?
I don't!
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January 26 2010
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Zillow has already stated they reversed all the charges from that number, and that they have blocked that number from using their 888 number system.

Obviously it is a gamer thinking it is "fun" to cause others problems.  That person may even have a software "robot" generating quote requests.

It won't stop the gamer to just block the number; they will just call from another phone.  It doesn't cost them to call an 888 number, except standard minute charges if it is a cell phone.

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January 26 2010
Doug, I got a call, which I my acct was billed for & I've disputed... Get this the number was 516-453-2040 When I called the number there was no mssg saying who it was & their voice mail was full & so couldn't leave them a messg also.

Doug, we are in different parts of the country service clients from different states.

The only way ONLY way it I/we could have been billed is if someone created a quote request.

Something is more than fishy is occuring.

What say you Zillow????
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January 26 2010
Great answer Ken!

...would like to report that both my recent bogus contacts have been removed, thanks Zillow gods
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January 26 2010
Profile picture for Ken Kopper
Hence, why an annual fee would make much more sense instead of watching yourself get nickled and dimed over BS contacts
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January 26 2010
Thank you David, I saw the credit. I'm just hoping this is not going to be a regular time-devouring event to dispute these fees. In some cases a lender may just be too busy to notice/dispute a $5 or $10 or even $30 amount, which is your gain and our loss, but unless there's really a way that this is iron clad both parties will be spending lots of time working for absolutely nothing.
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January 26 2010
Profile picture for Pasadenan
And I don't know if you noticed, but Zillow tracks every page loaded by a user, and what page they went from, by using a fake image reference that has all those parameters attached.  It even records other clicks.

For your "ad blocker" it is: http://metrics.zillow.com/b/ss/zillow/...

But I don't even think blocking this address prevents the parameters from being passed to the referenced page.
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January 26 2010
Doug - 

Your account has been credited; thank you for disputing this contact. I'm sorry that your experience with your first paid CIC wasn't a better one.

This number called multiple lenders. We were able to listen to the calls and confirm that they were spam/junk. The number has been added to our system's blacklist; in future no future calls from this number will be connected to Zillow lenders.
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January 26 2010
Profile picture for Pasadenan
No charge for that; but most of those searching for loans are not that knowledgeable of the internal process to try that.  Besides, it is more time consuming than just posting the info for the desired loan and seeing what the response is.  Besides, to prevent the charge, all the person requesting the loan quote has to do is:
1) Read the quote; find the loan officer's name.
2) Visit the loan officer's profile.
3) Clear the browser cookies.
4) Use the browser history to load the loan officer's profile again; this time the 888 number will be the no-cost number.

(Zillow won't write a "fix" around that procedure as there won't be enough people doing it to make it worth their programmers' time.  Technically, Zillow should also be checking the IP address to find out if it is the same person regardless of the cookies).

Zillow may also be using some URL parameters that are passed in the web-page address, so a savvy user will also delete the parameters from the address before loading the page.
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January 26 2010
As a consumer, I could read through the threads and find a lender who sounds like he's an honest guy, and click on his profile. Then...maybe I decide to look at some of the quotes he's given to see if he's offering some decent rates. I could click on one of his quotes and see his phone number listed and call him.

Is the lender getting charged for that?
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January 26 2010
Profile picture for Pasadenan
Supposedly Zillow does have the quote number, based on the page viewed when the phone number was copied down; but if someone doesn't call until later??  Apparently the contract number is not with the phone number, only the contact price.

And we all know those voice recognition things don't work, and that people are lousy at typing letters on their phone keypad, and that some still use rotary dial phones, and that most people can't even type 10 digits without making an error.

The only real solution is to charge the user to post a request, thus getting their phone number and real name and credit card, thus being able to track the loan quote by the phone number they are calling from.  Still won't work if they call from "work".  SO Zillow should add an "extension" number to the 888 number that would represent a count of "quotes" that any loan officer agreed to pay for contact.  It would still be "misused" by gamers, but the gamers would quickly diminish if they had to pay for each quote request they made.
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January 26 2010
Pasadenan,

Caller ID shows 11:56 PM last night. Zillow records show 4:56 AM tis morning....so a 5 hour difference. But beyond that, Why doesn't Zillow show a quote request ID with "contact ID"?

The call routes thru Zillow. They should get a quote request ID "live" from the caller along with their name before transferring the call.

At this point it seems Zillow just wants to be a call forwarding center and charge it's customers for the chance to do business with some unknown entity. That is not a "customer Initiated CONTACT" as no CONTACT was made.
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January 26 2010
Profile picture for Pasadenan
So, is that a 5 hour discrepancy, or an 19 hour discrepancy?  From what David G posted, Zillow knows about the time discrepancy and is working on it, but I thought it was a 4 hour discrepancy.  Someone posted they had no calls on the day Zillow claimed, but if it is a 19 hour discrepancy, it would be easy to see why.

I still say Zillow needs to charge a nominal amount for a person to request a quote, thus providing some way for Zillow to reduce abuse and to block problem users.

As for the call; Zillow claims they record the conversation; so if there was nothing on the voice mail, it seems clear that Zillow needs to listen to the call recorded to reverse the charges.  But what a waste of Zillow staff time.

Until Zillow charges those requesting a quote, it appears this "market rate for contacts" is going to cost Zillow more than they are charging in personnel time.

I checked my 11 year old electronic phone book; and only one number for that prefix showed up.  Apparently a newer number.
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January 26 2010

2 Contacts = $60. One hang up call, and a nice lady name Lucy who was given my zillow toll free number by "someone" to call and follow up on a rebate she was expecting for a refrigerator purchase.
Let's see if these get refunded. (there was NO quote connected Lucy's call)
Bringing back bad memories, of lower my bills, nexttag, loanbull, etc.

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January 26 2010

I Googled 516-453-2046 and found this link

Is this the future for Zillow customers (lenders) ????
Chasing down BS info to save ourselves $30 hits?
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January 26 2010
 
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