Have you ever wished you could get real answers from an expert without having to go through the hassle, time cost and stress of hiring them in a traditional sense?
Maybe you have a leak in your roof and think you could fix it yourself (and save a ton of money), but worry you actually need professional guidance (which usually costs a lot). Or, perhaps you are thinking of divorce and wish you could ask a lawyer a few questions before you commit — but worry you will have to pay thousands of dollars, and aren't yet sure you like or trust the attorney.
Maybe you’ve had a nagging cough and want to make sure it’s nothing serious without a visit to the doctor.
Or, you are having a problem with your iPhone that you cannot fix on your own.
Or, you want to file your divorce papers yourself without hiring an attorney (which makes sense, since the average divorce costs $15,000, while there are many quality ways to file your divorce yourself).
In any of these situations — and others — you could potentially get help without too much hassle or expense. All you have to do is reach out to JustAnswer.com.
What is JustAnswer.com?
JustAnswer.com is a website that connects individuals like you with experts ready and willing to answer important questions on nearly any topic.
While the website claims to have 11,990 verified experts available, the most common experts called upon include doctors, lawyers, immigration specialists, mechanics, veterinarians, electricians, plumbers, and computer experts.
In addition to these topics, you can also get more personal questions answered in areas like relationships, etiquettes, weddings, genealogy, clock repair, parenting, and even dream interpretation.
Nearly any question you have could be answered through this website by an expert in that field.
How does it work?
Asking a question on JustAnswer.com is simple.
The first step is open an account and post your question.
From there, you will be asked how much you want to pay and told you can “name your price.”
While most people seem to offer $10, $20, or $30 to get their questions answered, the website informs you that you may get better answers if you offer up more cash.
Like most things, Just Answer.com is a website where you get what you pay for.
If you offer more money for a qualified response, you may receive expert advice from an expert with better credentials and more experience.
Once you post your question, you will be prompted to pay the amount of cash you offer via Paypal or a credit card.
From there, your question will be farmed out to experts in an appropriate field. Usually, within a day, you will get a response to the question you posed via email.
JustAnswer.com says they offer a 100% money-back guarantee.
However, you have to apply for a refund after you have already paid. Fortunately, you can do this through the website after logging into your account.
JustAnswer.com also offers a seven-day free trial that lets you try out the service for a while without payment (which may be all you need if you have just one, nagging question).
After the trial membership, you have the option to pay monthly for a membership to the program. The weird thing is, the price of membership is not listed anywhere on the JustAnswer.com website.
However, we dug through some complaint boards to see if we could find anyone list how much they paid for a membership.
Ultimately, we found users who claimed to have paid approximately $38 per month.
How does JustAnswer.com vet its experts?
While paying whatever you want for expert responses to important questions may seem ideal, this service is only valuable if you’re getting real responses from experts in their respective fields. With that being said, it’s smart to wonder where the website gets their experts and how they determine whether they are qualified to give advice.
According to JustAnswer.com, all applicants must pass an eight-step expert verification process that includes licensing and credential verification, expert tests, ongoing performance reviews, and more. The website also uses “secret shoppers” who verify the answers being given are of the highest quality and, most importantly, accurate.
Finally, JustAnswer.com boasts its own advisory board that is made up of first-class scholars in a variety of fields. The experts provide additional guidance on credentialing requirements, subject matter tests, and ways to improve the process.
If you have important legal questions or inquiries to make regarding your health or other matters, you may be inclined to hire a professional in your local area in lieu of online help. There’s nothing wrong with that strategy, but there are some unique benefits that come with using JustAnswer.com instead. Some of the biggest upsides of using this service include:
- Get real expert responses. Experts available through JustAnswer.com are thoroughly vetted through an eight-step process.
- It’s totally anonymous. If you have sensitive questions and don’t want people in your area to know about them, getting an answer through an anonymous platform is the way to go. You never have to reveal exactly who you are throughout the process, which makes this website ideal if you want to maintain your privacy.
- Get one-on-one attention. You don’t have to post your question in a message board where you may get inaccurate or overwhelming advice. With JustAnswer.com, you will get the one-on-one help you need.
- Save money. If you have a question that can be answered within a day, you can save a lot of money through this platform.
- Get a speedy response. JustAnswer.com says their experts answer questions any time of the day or night in as little as eight minutes. If you need an answer now and don’t want to wait weeks for an appointment with a professional in your area, this service could be ideal.
- Pay whatever you want. Since this service lets you name your own price, you may not need to pay a lot to get the answers you need.
Downsides of JustAnswer.com
While it’s hard to quantify the downsides of a service that offers legal advice and more for any price you want, there are some negatives that come with using this service. The first one arises out of the fact that JustAnswer.com has terrible reviews.
If you google around to read them, you will likely be shocked at what you find. On ConsumerAffairs.com, for example, dozens of users complain about being overcharged or being unable to cancel their membership. Some people who have left reviews claim that JustAnswer.com withdraws more money out of their account than they agreed to, and that they refused to refund the money upon request.
The company also has over 400 reviews on their Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile, nearly 100 of their reviews are negative as well, with complaints that accuse the company of overcharging and other deceptive practices.
If you choose to use JustAnswer.com, we recommend that you pay with a credit card. That way, you can file a complaint with your credit card issuer if you are overcharged and potentially get your money back.
Who is JustAnswer.com good for?
No service is perfect, and that is especially true when it comes to online services with no definitive price point. You may very well get what you pay for if you offer only $10 to get a serious question answered by an expert, but hopefully, you won’t be charged any more than you agree to ahead of time.
This service is best for a specific type of customer. Here are some signs JustAnswer.com could be exactly what you need:
- You have a private question to ask and don’t want anyone to know about it. Whether you’re thinking of divorce or have a sensitive medical issue, JustAnswer.com may help you get basic questions answered without putting your privacy at risk.
- You have a legal question that’s fairly basic. Since lawyers and attorney often charge retainer fees and hourly rates, you can save a lot of money if you have a basic legal question that can be answered online.
- You are willing to spend a nominal amount of money to get your question answered without hiring an expert. If you think you can get the advice you need without hiring someone in your area and want to save money, giving JustAnswer.com a shot could be worth it.
While the many bad reviews this company has are a huge red flag, there are some satisfied customers as well. Out of the 400+ reviews of JustAnswer.com on the BBB, for example, only around 100 were completely negative.
With that in mind, JustAnswer.com is a website you may want to use if you have a question you need an answer to and don’t mind paying for expert advice. Still, buyer beware. With so many customers claiming that JustAnswer.com overcharged them, you’ll want to make sure to watch the transaction closely to ensure you’re charged what you agreed to — and not a penny more.
With that said, there may be alternatives to consider. If you have a legal question, for example, you can also consider using RocketLawyer or LegalZoom. If you have a medical question, there are myriad online clinics that can connect you with a doctor willing to listen to your symptoms and offer tailored advice.
At the end of the day, only you can decide whether the answers you need are worth paying for — and if you can get what you need online. JustAnswer.com will be there if you decide to give it a try.
Holly Johnson is a financial expert, award-winning writer, and Indiana mother of two who is obsessed with frugality, budgeting and travel. Her personal finance articles have been published in the U. S. News, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, and Life Hacker. Holly is founder of of the family finance resource, ClubThrifty.com, and is the co-author of Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love. Learn more about Holly here.