PrestoExperts is owned by LivePerson and was launched in 1999. PrestoExperts is a platform that connects individuals with experts in various fields. At the time of this review, they have over 30,000 professionals and experts in roughly 600 or so categories.
In the online counseling section, there are roughly 1,500 professional (and licensed) counselors available to answer questions via live chat, email or on the telephone.
PrestoExperts works a bit differently than a traditional counseling service. While other sites charge a weekly or monthly fee, PrestoExperts charges you for each minute you talk to an expert. Every counselor clearly displays their per-minute pricing on their profile page.
The way it works, in a nutshell, is you browse the directory for a counselor that has experience with what you are seeking help for. When you find a counselor that meets your qualifications (and is within your price range), you will them contact them using PrestoExpert's built in real-time chat system.
The first three minutes of every session is free. This gives you time to see if you and the counselor jive. After this time elapses, you can either hire the counselor and continue the discussion or continue browsing.
If you decide to continue, there will be a timer displayed that tracks the duration of your chat session. You can end the session anytime. When the session ends, you will be responsible for paying the duration (in minutes) multiplied by the counselors per-minute fee. There are no hidden or additional fees.
If you are not satisfied with your session, you can file a request for a refund within 72 hours. PrestoExperts offers 24/7 customer support via their online support helpdesk system.
An overview of how PrestoExperts works
With so many qualified experts available, it may be daunting to know where to begin in finding a qualified and experienced professional counselor. For that reason, PrestoExperts makes it easy for you to browse, search and locate counselors on their platform.
Filter and search for counselors
To quickly drill-down counselors meeting a specific criteria, you can utilize any one of the following search filters provided:
Most recently joined
This will display only the newest professionals that have joined the PrestoExperts platform. These counselors most likely will not have any reviews from other users (as they are new), so it's best to take your time to carefully read through each profile to confirm the expert holds the proper qualifications and experience relevant to what you're seeking help for.
This will display experts with the highest rank in a given category. Because these experts are the highest rated by users of the platform, they will most likely charge a higher price per minute. On the other hand, these are the most experienced counselors, so you will certainly get what you pay for.
Active and available
This filter will only show counselors and professionals that are currently online. This means they could be available for live chat or they could be available for phone calls. If used, this filter will completely omit any and all counselors that are not signed in or not available.
Available by telephone
If you want to talk to a counselor on the telephone, this filter will display only those counselors who are currently available to talk right now over the phone. This will omit counselors who may also be available for live chat.
This will filter counselors with the lowest prices. You can find a lot of good deals by using this search filter. Reason being, counselors with high ratings and established profiles will from time to time temporarily drop their prices to attract new clients. You can find those price drops by using this filter.
Specific price range
Given PrestoExperts is a pay-per-minute service, you may have a maximum price that you are willing to pay. In using this search filter, you can search for counselors that charge a price that falls within your price range.
Browse the directory by specific category
PrestoExperts categorizes all of their online counselors into the following main-level categories (they are further organized into more specific subcategories):
- Coping with Crisis & Physical Conditions
- Counseling for Students
- Eating Disorders
- Pastoral & Religious Counseling
- Personal Development
- Personality & Emotional Disorders
- Relationship Issues
- Supervision for Professional Counselors
Viewing a counselors detailed profile page
Every counselor maintains a page which includes information about themselves, their certifications and licenses, their pricing and reviews posted by people they have helped.
Third party verification of identity and licenses
PrestoExperts utilizes a third party company to verify the identity of each counselor that applies to join the platform. This ensures the counselor is actually who she/he claims to be and that all education, certifications and licenses listed by the counselor are accurate.
Plethora of customer reviews and ratings
At the conclusion of every chat, phone or email session, PrestoExperts recommends that the user rates their experience with the expert that they communicated with. As a result, there is an extensive amount of user-contributed reviews written. It is not unusual to see a counselor on the platform that has thousands of reviews posted on their profile.
PrestoExperts makes it clear that they do not allow feedback to be deleted by either administrators or by experts themselves (for example, in the case a negative review is posted). This ensures an expert's rating truly reflects the experiences of the people they have helped and has not been tampered with.
Creating a new account at PrestoExperts
In order to use the PrestoExperts service, you will first need to create an account on their website. If you don't create an account, you will not be able to communicate with any of the counselors on their platform.
You can join for free (credit card not needed)
It does not cost anything to sign up and join PrestoExperts. You are not asked for any payment details when you sign up. You are free to browse the directory, read profiles and engage with experts.
The only time you will be required to input your payment details is if you decide to initiate a paid session with a counselor.
You can remain completely anonymous
PrestoExperts allows you to remain totally anonymous if desired. When you create an account, none of the information you provide will ever be shared the counselors (including your name).
The only piece of information that is seen by others is your screenname which you can leave empty (if desired).
Use your Facebook account to sign up
The quickest way to sign up is to use your Facebook account. If you use this method, you won't need to create a new password as your Facebook password will be used.
PrestoExperts states clearly that they will never post anything onto your Facebook account.
Sign up using your e-mail address
If you would rather not use your Facebook account to sign up with PrestoExperts, you can create your account using your email address and a custom password.
Minimum age requirement to join is 18
It should be noted that as per the Terms of Service agreement, you must be at least 18 years of age to use the PrestoExperts service. Anyone under this age is not permitted to use the service in any capacity.
How you will communicate with a counselor
After you have found a counselor that meets your desired credentials and certifications, you will have to decide how you want to communicate with her/him. PrestoExperts offers three ways to communicate with experts on their platform:
Send messages in real time using live chat
This is a classic instant messenger style real-time chat. To initiate a chat with a counselor, you will have to click the “Chat Now” button located on the left hand side of the counselor's profile page.
Once the chat has begun, you will have a few moments to talk and decide if the counselor is a good fit for you. When you are ready to begin, you will click the “Hire Expert” button.
There is a timer on the chat window (located at the bottom of the screen) that tells you the exact duration of the chat. This is the exact amount of time that has passed since you clicked the “Hire” button. You can end the chat anytime by clicking the “Quit Session” button. You will be billed for this amount of time when you end the chat.
When you end a live chat, PrestoExperts will automatically save a copy of the chat transcript for you. This way, you can pull it up at a later time to review the contents of the discussion. You can access all of your transcripts by clicking the ‘View Session Transcript' button from within your account.
Communicate using secure e-mail
E-mail works a bit differently than the live chat feature. If the counselor supports e-mail as a method communication (not every counselor does), then you will see a “Send Email” button on the counselor's page.
If you click this button, you will be prompted to enter the question you wish to ask the counselor. The counselor will receive your inquiry and will then send you back an offer containing how many minutes it will take for them to answer and address your question (ie a time estimate).
Upon receiving this offer from the counselor, you have the option to either accept the offer or to decline the offer. If you accept the offer, you will pay for the amount of time specified by the counselor in your offer.
If you decline the offer sent by the counselor, you will not be charged and you will not receive any further communication from the counselor.
Talk over the telephone
If a counselor accepts phone calls as a method of communication, a “Call Now” button will be present on the counselors profile page. Subsequently, this button will only be revealed when the counselor is active and currently accepting calls.
If you see this button, you can be certain that the counselor is available to talk on the phone. To initiate a phone call, you will click the “Call Now” button. If you have not previously configured your phone number with PrestoExperts, you will need to type in your number.
After entering your number, you will immediately receive a telephone call notifying you that you are being connected to the counselor. Within a few seconds to a minute, the counselor will come on the line. You will be responsible for paying the cost of the call from the time the counselor joins the call to when you hang up.
PrestoExperts logs the duration of every call. In some cases, your call may also be recorded. This information can be accessed from within your secure account.
Phone calls are only available in certain countries
At the time of this review, talking to counselors on the phone is only available to telephone numbers belonging to the following countries:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States of America (excluding Alaska)
If you do not live in on of the countries in the list above, one thing to consider is you could buy a number (in a supported country) from Skype and use that when prompted for your number by PrestoExperts.
Top 10 best counselors on the PrestoExperts platform
There are thousands of professional counselors (fully licensed) that you can talk to on the PrestoExperts platform. Below is a list of ten that stand out and have positive community feedback:
Rafael Morales – Life coach and mental health specialist
Holding a degree in psychology and MA in Integral-Transpersonal psychology, Rafael's education is bolstered by his equally extensive experience. Having worked as a psychotherapist and life coach in South America since 1996, as well as a mental health specialist in the states of California, Nevada, and Arizona since 2002, Rafael brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding to his profession. With an approach that is rooted in client intuition and reaching one's higher self and thus, full potential, Rafael continues to garner praise for his empathetic and enlightened practice.
Carol Cohen – Author and Licensed Counselor
Holding MSW,ACSW,and LMSW degrees, Carol brings over 25 years of experience to her client relationships, working with individuals of all walks of life. The author of “Relationship Roulette: Improve Your Odds At Lasting Love,” Carol believes in encouraging her clients to ask themselves the tough questions and with her gentle guidance, come to their own proactive conclusions. Whether it's a damaging repetition of thought patterns or overtly destructive behavior, Carol approaches each and every client with respect, empathy, and patience.
Miriam Landau – Solution-based therapy treatment expert
A licensed psychotherapist and registered DIETITIAN/Nutritionist with over 30 years of experience, Miriam specializes in solution-based therapy regarding all topics of wellness, from eating disorders to sexual trauma. Renowned for her mind-body and integrative approaches, Miriam practices with an open mind and dedication to helping her clients heal and overcome any obstacle to live their most best life yet.
Milton Mankoff – Specializes in relation issues
A Ph.D holder with over 26 years over experience in both life coaching and psychotherapy, Milton has helped over 1100 online clients since 2010. Specializing in relationship issues of all kinds, from marriages to friendships to working relationships, Milton provides his clients with the necessary tools to commit to their chosen path ahead. Applying his training to those with sexual and social anxieties, Milton's patient but goal-oriented approach ensures a lasting recovering.
Arundhati Dutta – Expert in dealing with addiction and trauma
Carrying multiple degrees in social work and Reiki healing, published author and therapist Arundhati has helped countless clients overcome life's difficulties in pursuit of a higher, healthier sense of being. Whether a client is grappling with a divorce, previous trauma, addiction, or spiritual dilemma, Arundhati has made it her mission to apply the 3 E's (empathy, experience, and education) to the pursuit of a lasting solution.
Marwan Stanford – Offers anger management guidance
Solution-focused counselor Marwan builds his foundation on a trusting client-counselor relationship, resulting in the kind of praise most work a lifetime to achieve. Marwan specialized in anger management and coping skills, helping his clients overcome self-imposed limitations as well as outside factors that may be out of their control. Success in life depends on a healthy approach to all situations, and Marwan's has proven effective time and again.
Corinne Laird – State licensed psychotherapist specializing in depression
Noted for her warm and sincere approach, licensed psychotherapist Corinne takes every client's personal factors into account, pursuing a solution that will provide both peace and productiveness. Noted for her collaborative approach, Corinne specializes in helping patients grappling with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, as well as relationship and identity issues. Whatever is limiting your personal growth, Corinne's experience and dedication can see you through to a triumphant end.
Charles Allen – 15 years experience in Public Mental Health
Licensed in counseling psychology, Charles specializes in helping couples overcome a troubled past or better secure their future. With over 15 years of experience in Public Mental Health and nearly 30 in community-based support, Charles firmly believes in not imposing his own personal values on the client, but working in accordance to their individual needs. Whether it's helping a couple through a troubled time or assisting an individual in overcoming grief, anxiety, or low self-esteem, Charles's kind and patient approach has won him a staggering client base.
June Thornton-Marsh – Life coach and couples counselor
Holding a degree and over 20 years of experience in social work, June specializes in strategic intervention, life coaching, and couples counseling. June believes that the primary goal of counseling is to awaken and strengthen one's self-awareness, which in turn empowers the client to pursue their path on their own terms. We all carry unconscious parts that may be hindering our progress in life, and June has dedicated herself to helping her clients uncover all aspects of their true selves in order to overcome any obstacle.
Monique Wilson – Holds MSW, LCSW-C and LCSW degrees
Monique believes in providing her clients with a safe and encouraging space to confront whatever issues may be hindering their health and happiness. Holding MSW, LCSW-C, and LCSW degrees, Monique applies a time-honored combination of experience, education, and non-judgmental demeanor. Helping clients develop the right coping skills to take on any internal or external obstacle, Monique works with couples, families, and individuals alike.
How to use and access PrestoExperts
All communications will take place within your secure account using their proprietary technology (except phone calls which are routed to your telephone number).
PrestoExperts does not require you to download and install any special software onto your computer in order to use their service.
All that is required is a computer (both PCs and Macs are supported) or mobile device (including tablets) with a working internet connection and modern web browser such as:
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Internet Explorer
- Apple Safari
- Mozilla Firefox
Mobile app support and compatibility
At this time, PrestoExperts does not offer any mobile apps for their service. You can still access your account and communicate with counselors on your mobile device – the only difference is you will use your web browser and not a specific app from the app store.
Customer support options and availability
PrestoExperts offers 24/7 customer support. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to them day or night. Currently, they only accept support questions via their online ticketing system.
How much does PrestoExperts cost?
PrestoExperts charges only the per-minute fee listed on an counselor's profile multiplied by the total number of minutes you talked to the counselor (except in the case of email sessions where the price is precalculated and agreed upon).
Prices vary, but are generally between $1.50-$3.00 per minute for experienced and licensed counselors. There are no hidden fees or extra charges.
What is the refund policy?
PrestoExperts offers a generous refund policy. If you aren't happy with the time spent with a counselor, regardless of the reason, you can file a refund request a refund within 72 hours. PrestoExperts responds to all refund requests within a few hours hours.
Methods of payment accepted
PrestoExperts accepts all major credit cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. PayPal is also an accepted method of payment.
- Ease Of Use
- Counselor Selection
- Mobile Support
- Customer Support