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NotBarter.com
The Los Angeles Skills Pool
Frequently Asked Questions
REVISED January 2011
  • I'm not sure what I could offer to become a member. ANSWER
  • Who pays the expenses incurred in providing a service? ANSWER
  • What kinds of services do members offer? ANSWER
  • How can you afford to offer ongoing services like art and music lessons, acupuncture, massage, and tutoring, for what you charge? ANSWER
  • Is there a guarantee? ANSWER
  • Can I see what members and the press have said? ANSWER
  • Can I safely give you my personal information? ANSWER
  • Where are the services located? ANSWER
  • How many services should I offer? ANSWER
  • How much time do I have to put in? What's the average? ANSWER
  • If nobody wants my service, can I still get service? ANSWER
  • Is NotBarter.com a barter club? ANSWER
  • Can I be sure the other members are qualified? ANSWER
  • What if a requested service interferes with a paid gig? ANSWER
  • Can I offer services or products at a discount? ANSWER
  • Can NotBarter.com membership help my business? ANSWER
  • Won't a lot of services be like free samples--so that if I want more I'd have to pay? ANSWER
  • What other benefits accrue to members? ANSWER
  • What kind of customer service can I expect? ANSWER
  • I'm very busy. What if I don't have time to meet my membership responsibilities? ANSWER
  • NotBarter.com sounds pretty free-form. How do I know I can obtain service when the need arises? ANSWER
  • Can I join if I don't live in Los Angeles? ANSWER 
  • What more can you tell me about the organization? ANSWER
  • What is your privacy policy? ANSWER
  • What is the membership fee? ANSWER
  • Is there a family rate? ANSWER
  • Is there a more cost-effective way of joining? ANSWER
  • Can I pay in installments? ANSWER
  • Is there a refund policy with installment payments? ANSWER
  • Is there a trial membership? ANSWER
  • So how do I join? ANSWER
  • Will my wife and kids be covered? ANSWER
  • Can I join if I'm under 18? ANSWER
  • On your Services array, why are some of the entries boldfaced? ANSWER
  • I'd like to join but I just can't afford even your small fee. Are there provisions for folks of very modest means? ANSWER

 
Any useful service is acceptable. It could stem from a job, hobby, interest, or talent--or just from special knowledge you may have. Some members offer merchandise, at cost, as their service (or one of their services). You might offer access to a Jacuzzi or sauna, or to a private tennis court or golf course. Instructional services are also welcome.
 
Some ideas for services you might not have thought of are here.
 
If you still can't think of a service to offer, feel free to phone us at (310) 909-SAVE, between 8 am and 6:30 pm, and we'll brainstorm with you. Our considered view is that everyone has something to offer in NotBarter.com.
 
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Who pays the expenses incurred in providing a service?
 
The receiver of a service pays all direct (out-of-pocket) costs of providing the service. A photographer, for example, would charge for the film used, but not for the depreciation of the camera, studio rental, or any other overhead. The receiver of the service must also pay any necessary postage expenses and gasoline costs. (Providing members, however, are not ordinarily obligated to travel unless the nature of the task demands it.)
 
 

 
What kinds of services do members offer?
 
To see a sampling of our current services, go to this page. Some members have their own webpages, links to which may be viewed here.
 
 

 
How can you afford to offer ongoing services like art and music lessons, acupuncture, massage, and tutoring, for what you charge?
 
All our services are provided by members to each other. Members provide services so they in turn can use others' services.
 
 

 
Is there a guarantee?
 
Yes, indeed, for thirty days (view it here). Note that in our long history we've had zero complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.
 
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Can I see what members and the press have said?
 
Yes. Go to this page. (The press quotes are in a pop-up window. You might have to disable your pop-up blocker to see them.) A link on the page will even give you the opportunity to talk by phone to a member near you.

You can also see all the reviews submitted in response to the feedback requests of our payment processor, Google Checkout, at this Google Checkout page.

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There's no cause for concern. We have a 35-year history in the community, with a complaint-free record (and an A plus rating) from the Better Business Bureau.

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Services are provided by members spread throughout Greater Los Angeles, and beyond. A great many members reside on LA's west side and in the San Fernando Valley, but we have members from other areas of the country and the world. Non-local members receive services by email, phone, fax, and snailmail.
 
 

 
How many services should I offer?
 
Every member offers at least one service. Some members list as many as eight or more. However many services you offer, you're protected by the weekly maximum number of hours that you stipulate when you join. That maximum applies to services you give but not to services you receive.
 
 

 
How much time do I have to put in? What's the average?
 
You set your own weekly maximum. (See the previous question.) We have no guidelines for setting that maximum, and averages are not meaningful, since there are too many variables (nature of the service, demand for the service, etc.). Choose a number with which you're comfortable. Although your maximum can be changed if necessary, most members rarely meet their maximums.
 
 

 
If nobody wants my service, can I still get service?
 
Yes. 
 
 

 
Is NotBarter.com a barter club?
 
No. For details, go here.
 
 

 
Can I be sure the other members are qualified?
 
Membership applications are carefully screened. We pride ourselves in having the highest standards for competence, which are rigorously enforced. Members are encouraged to call us with the slightest question in this area.
 
 

 
What if a requested service interferes with a paid gig?
 
The paid gig always takes precedence. Please let the requesting member know of that possibility when the request is made.
 
 

 
Can I offer services or products at a discount?
 
NotBarter.com is a pool of services offered free by the members to each other. Some members offer products at their cost; their doing so is considered a (free) service. No matter what you offer, out-of-pocket costs are paid by the receiving member. "Discount" services or goods, as such, are not allowed.
 
 

 
Can NotBarter.com membership help my business?
 
You're not obliged to offer your entire range of services in NotBarter.com. So if a member wants a service not included in your listing, that service will not be free. You can charge your regular price, or offer a discount, as you choose.
 
 
 

 
Won't a lot of services be like free samples--so that if I want more I'd have to pay?
 
As a matter of policy, we do not permit this kind of restriction on services. This means you cannot be limited to seven therapy sessions, say, or ten massages per year. And any member who on her own imposes any limitations is subject to expulsion.
 
 

 
What other benefits accrue to members?
 
The NotBarter.com Administrator continually scours the Net for ways to save money and ways to better use the Internet, plus low-cost or free entertainment options that may not be open to the general public. These are conveyed in our Member Advisories, issued every two to three weeks. Many find these alone worth the cost of membership! For a sample, check the appropriate box on this form.
 
We also hold membership parties and outings, at which members can interact personally.
 
 

 
What kind of customer service can I expect?
 
Before or after you join, you can phone us at (310) 909-SAVE. If you call between 8 am and 6:30 pm, you'll most likely reach us in person. If you have to leave a message, we'll return the call promptly.
 
 

 
 
You'll find that's not a problem. You control in advance the amount of time you'll devote, when you fill out the registration form. (You can even change your limit during the course of your membership.) Most new members are surprised they aren't called for service a lot more! If you find that for a brief period you can't devote any time to the organization, you're free to withdraw temporarily from membership.
 
 

 
NotBarter.com sounds pretty free-form. How do I know I can obtain service when the need arises?
 
Members are required to follow the membership rules. In summary, these rules obligate the members to provide service within a week of a request, except in clearly defined circumstances. Members who don't take the rules seriously are subject to various sanctions, up to (and including) removal from the organization.
 
 

 
Can I join if I don't live in Los Angeles?
 
Yes. Although most members are in the greater Los Angeles area, we've always had members outside California, as far away as Malaysia. These folks obtain services by phone, email, fax, and snailmail.
 
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What more can you tell me about the organization?
 
Our "About Us" page is here. You can read a brief history here. We subscribe to the Seven Principles of Business Integrity and have zero complaints (and an A+ rating) from the Better Business Bureau.
 
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What is your privacy policy?
 
We don't share any information about members or prospective members. Our complete policy is laid out here.
 
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What is the membership fee?
 
Membership is a modest $59 per year--under five dollars a month. There's also a one-time registration fee per household of $66. You can easily make up the total first-year cost of $125 with the use of a couple of services.
 
Note that we do not automatically renew your membership. (In fact, we disparage others' use of this device, which is in our view an unfair imposition on the consumer.)
 
We've instituted on a trial basis a very special rate for additional household members.* For now, each additional adult in the same household pays just $49 per year, and that $49 rate is guaranteed to stay the same as long as both adults remain active members, with the same living arrangement.
 
*Proof of the shared address may be required. An adjustment may be needed to coordinate the two membership years, and this may necessitate a paid extension of one membership.
 
There's no charge for kids under 18 in the home.
 
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Is there a family rate?
 
Yes, covering both children and additional adults. See the answer to the "membership fee" question, just above.
 
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Is there a more cost-effective way of joining?
 
Yes, you can actually save a great deal by taking advantage of our risk-free life membership (which can be paid in installments). You can do that at any time; but of course the sooner you become a life member, the more you'll save.
 
See also this question.
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Can I pay in installments?
 
Yes. Use this special registration form. Feel free to phone us at (310) 909-SAVE for details. Time-paid memberships are not discountable.
 

 
Is there a refund policy with installment payments?
 
You'll get an immediate refund if you ask for it as late as 72 hours after the start of your membership. And you can cancel future payments at any time. The refund policy for these time-payment memberships is less liberal because of the additional time required to set up and administer them.
 

 
Is there a trial membership?
 
Not at present.
 
 

 
 
To register, just go to this form. Upon submitting the form, you'll be presented with the payment options.
 
 

 
 
Your children under 18 are covered, if you live with them. Your wife (or husband) must join separately, but may do so at a special rate: $49 for each additional adult in the household. This reduced rate is non-discountable but it's guaranteed never to go up as long as both adults remain members, under the same living arrangement. It must be claimed at the time of payment, and may be withdrawn without notice. Documentation of the shared address may be required.
 
 

 
 
Teenagers may in most cases join on their own. However, anyone not yet 18 will be included without charge in the membership of an adult in the same household.
 


 
 
On your Services array, why are some of the entries boldfaced?

The boldfacing is arbitrary, to make the page a little less boring. The boldfaced entries may be of more interest than the others.
 
 

 
I'd like to join but I just can't afford even your small fee. Are there provisions for folks of very modest means?
 
Yes. Full-time students and the temporarily unemployed qualify for a $15.00 discount off the registration fee, if claimed in the Comments section of the online registration form. Students must there identify the school and state the number of units, and may later have to verify their student status. Unemployed applies to those who are totally unemployed and seeking work, and you'll need to use that wording on the registration form. If you've fulfilled the applicable requirements, just take the discount at checkout.
 
These discounts are not available retroactively. Only one discount of any kind may be applied to one person's membership fee. A substantially lower fee schedule applies to additional family members.
 
If you don't claim a discount, you have the option of paying for your membership in installments. Use this special registration form. If this is of interest, or for more fee information, you may phone us at (310) 909-SAVE.
 


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