Trulia deletes unauthorized rental service ads, blocks user accounts

by Joe Zekas on 1/4/13

We’ve previously criticized Trulia for what we deemed a misleading description of contacts in its rental ads, so it’s only appropriate that we compliment Trulia on something that it’s done well – and done far better than expected.

Trulia’s flagging system for reporting problems with rental ads generates an individual trouble-ticket for each report, and sends an auto-response email that promises “a personal reply by email within two business days.” Trulia delivered within the promised time-frame, and mercifully consolidated a number of responses into one email:

Hi,

Thank you for contacting Trulia and notifying us of these fraudulent [sic] listings. We have removed all 76 listings you flagged from our display.

We are actively working to filter out fraudulent listings from our site and appreciate your patience as we continually refine our process. If you continue to find similar properties or have additional questions, please contact

http://www.trulia.com/help/ask/.

If you would like to pursue this matter further, we encourage you to report this issue to the FBI using their online form (link below):

http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

Regards,

[Name redacted]
Customer Service Representative – Trulia, Inc.

I also received separate emails from Trulia notifying me that user accounts have been blocked for some of the rental services that ran unauthorized ads. That’s exactly the action that should have been taken, and an encouraging sign that Trulia is serious about insulating its visitors from spam and fraudulent ads.

Trulia’s email auto-response to flagging a listing also lists a toll-free number staffed from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST Monday through Friday. That’s a level of service that you rarely see at a large website of any sort.

How landlords can eliminate unauthorized ads
If you’re a landlord or property manager and you see an unauthorized ad for one of your properties on Trulia, click the Flag link at the upper left of the ad and fill in the simple form. It appears that Trulia will follow through and remove the ad. Zillow has also purged ads in response to messages sent via clicking the Report Listing button at Zillow.

If you like what we’re doing, Like our Craigslist Apartment Cleanup page at Facebook to show your support, and spread the word among your friends.

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