Why you shouldn’t use Yelp to find an international mover

Adam  @goodmigrations

If you’re like me, then when you need some sort of service you haven’t used before you go online and look for reviews.

Many people turn to Yelp for help, which is perhaps the biggest review site in the world: it’s in 31 countries; it’s got nearly 150 million monthly unique users; and it’s got nearly 130 million reviews.

But a 2015 Harvard Business School study found that 16% of reviews on Yelp are fake. That’s about 1 in 6 reviews. However, this 16% just covers the reviews that are caught by Yelp’s algorithms and filtered out, so you don’t see them.

There are a lot more reviews that aren’t caught. Despite Yelp’s attempts to stop fakes, the fact remains that people who want to submit fake reviews are often successful. 

Today we’re going to look at some of Yelp’s top results for major cities in the United States when you search for an international mover. The companies below are all actively circumventing Yelp’s review rules and submitting glowing reviews of themselves.  

My International Mover  

My International Mover has 15 five-star reviews. That would be stellar for any business, but exceedingly unlikely for a moving company. I can pretty much guarantee that there is no such thing as a 5-star international moving company. Moving abroad is complex and things will eventually go wrong for someone.

Let’s look at some of the reviewers: Winston T. has 8 reviews. Six of them are in the Chicago area. The two that aren’t are for two different international moving companies: I Love International Moving (we’ve already written about these guys) and My International Mover.

Winston apparently moved abroad in April 2016 and then moved abroad again in June 2016. Nobody does that unless they’re some highly paid travel blogger, and if that’s the case they don’t move their stuff.

My International Moving Company Fake Reviews

Here’s another fake one.  K M.‘s fake review shows why it’s so hard for Yelp’s filters to catch things. She’s only added one review for an international mover, so it’s not as obvious as Winston.

My International Mover Fake Reviews

What’s wrong with her review then? In December 2015 she added a review saying what a great job My International Movers did relocating all her precious things to London, where she was apparently moving for a job. Yet every review submitted after that, starting in April 2016, was for Chicago region businesses. She never actually moved. Fake review.

Let’s do one more for My International Mover. Mihir P. is just lazy. He submitted two reviews within the same week and used literally the same language:

My International Mover Fake Review 3

My International Mover also displays a bunch of logos at the bottom of their website, including the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) logo. I’m guessing this is to convince you they’re a reputable company by flashing a government agency logo, but here’s the thing: they’re not an FMC member.

Okay, on to the next mover. 

Sunset International Shipping

Yelp, to their credit, is filtering a number of reviews for this business. But at some point they need to take stronger action because it obviously hasn’t stopped the fake reviews.

Let’s look at a review that may be surprising. The below review is from Sara D., who has written 102 reviews and was awarded Yelp Elite status in 2015 and 2016.

So what’s suspicious about this review? Except for this review, all of her reviews are for businesses in the Chicago area. So she just happened to be moving from Hoboken while she was apparently living her life in Chicago. Yeah, right.

Sunset International Shipping Fake Review

If you’re surprised that a Yelp Elite is committing fraud, well, apparently it’s a thing. Plus, I suppose when you’re submitting dozens of fake reviews for your job, eventually you’re going to earn that ‘Elite’ status.

Sunset International Shipping, like the other movers in this post, play a game on Yelp with different locations and names. For example, searching for an international mover in San Francisco on Yelp results in seeing a 5-star result called “International Shipping Company“.

But when you click on the link to see the profile, you’ll see that this is actually Sunset International Shipping. They’re using a second, generic name since someone on Google is more like to search for an international shipping company than a brand name, see this result, and click on it.

The below fake review for Sunset is just funny — it’s like the reviewer knows no one is actually going to read this. I mean, the review says “Her best friend and husband had moved to the U.K. 8 years before and convinced her it was the ideal place for her to spend her golden years.” They lived apart for 8 years even though they were best friends and spouses? Nope, don’t buy it.

Sunset International Shipping Fake Review

Here’s an easy fake to spot. The reviewer, who goes by the trustworthy sounding name Anonymous P., reviewed several movers over a couple years. First, he moved to Italy, then he apparently teleported to Houston and moved to Los Angeles, and then from there he moved again. That destination wasn’t disclosed but I’m sure you won’t be surprised that all the reviews since that international move were in Los Angeles.

Sunset International Shipping Fake Review 2

(Side note: I Love International Moving, I Love Moving, Sunset International Shipping, International Shipping Company, and others you’ll find on Yelp are actually all the same company. They just play a sophisticated Yelp game…and play it well, obviously.)

And here’s yet another user who moves a ton. This person apparently moved five times within two years…. Must be exhausing.

International Shipping Company Fake Review

Alright, let’s do one more mover.

Inter Movers LLC   

Again, always be skeptical of a mover with a perfect score on Yelp. This company has fourteen 5-star reviews. And again, be skeptical of a mover that has a lot of filtered reviews since these are reviews that Yelp has flagged as suspect. Inter Movers has 16 hidden reviews.

Gary F. has just one mover review between October 2015 and December 2016, for Inter Movers. Two things make his review suspicious. One, undergrads almost never have any decent furniture and unless they have rich parents, certainly don’t have the money to move things abroad. Second, all of Gary’s reviews after this are also for New York City businesses. 

Inter Movers Fake Review

Gary S. makes it easier for us by posting several mover reviews within a two year period. In June 2014 he apparently moved to Canada, then to Germany in January 2015, then to New Jersey in August 2016. That’s a lot of moving in two years.

Inter Movers Fake Review 2

(We’ve talked about ‘cross-contamination’ in previous posts, and Yelp user Marina F. gave 5 star reviews to Inter Movers and Vella Wine Bar + Kitchen as well). Other reviews have the same fatal flaw: the person allegedly moved to a new country, yet continued posting reviews of the ‘origin’ city. 

Stick with trusted organizations  

So what lesson should you take from this? Do NOT use Yelp to find an international mover. There’s really no way of telling whether any of these companies are good or not, but it’s obvious they’re all willing to pay to have fraudulent reviews created and that doesn’t exactly suggest a reputable business. This warning applies to other review sites as well, such as MyMovingReviews and TrustPilot; the reality is that any review site can be gamed.

At GoodMigrations we’ve built up a network of reputable moving companies around the world, so you don’t have to worry about finding a good one. But if you don’t use us, make sure you find your mover through one of the many moving organizations around the world.  While only FIDI does an actual audit of an international mover’s business practices, the other groups at least provide some indication that the movers are legitimate. 

Here are several different moving organizations:

Nanny Costs For 12 Cities Around the World

Adam  @goodmigrations

Raising a family can be hard enough in your home country with family and friends nearby. Want to make it even more complicated? Try it as an expat in some foreign country without those helping hands.

One way to make your life much easier is hiring a nanny or au pair.  Unfortunately for many of us, this is prohibitively expensive. In Los Angeles, a full time nanny would cost upwards of $30,000 a year.

We wondered, what are childcare costs and where could we afford a full time nanny? To see what kinds of places it would be possible, we’ve pulled together a list of 12 cities around the world and a range of typical weekly costs for a full-time, live out nanny. A few of these cities offer extremely affordable childcare and may just motivate you to take the plunge to move overseas…or at least do some fun daydreaming.

So join us on a trip through the tropics, global cities, and the great white north as we explore what a full-time nanny costs around the world.

Global Childcare Cost Infographic

 

Read more…

Slideshow: The 15 best countries to have a baby in

Adam  @goodmigrations

Our blog post on Best Countries to Have a Baby In was so successful that we’ve made it bigger and better. We expanded it to 15 countries offering the most generous paid parental leave packages (and other goodies, like the famous Baby Box in Finland). So if you’re thinking about having a baby or just curious to learn which country gives the most lavish parental time off, then definitely read on.

15. Belgium
Moms get 15 weeks of paid leave at 80% pay for first 30 days and 75% thereafter. Moms are also eligible to take 8 months part-time leave instead of the full-time 15 weeks. Dads get 10 days of paid leave; three of those days are at 100% pay and the remaining seven are at 82%.

14. Netherlands
Moms get 16 weeks of paid leave at 100%. And they’re entitled to nursing breaks upon returning to work for up to 9 months. Dads get five days of paid paternity leave. 

13. Australia
Moms receive 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. Dads get two weeks of paid paternity leave. 

12. Spain
Moms get 16 weeks of paid leave. Dads also get 16 weeks of paid leave.Moms are also entitled to paid nursing breaks during work for up to 9 months. 

11. Iceland
Parents get a total 9 months of leave at 80% pay. Three months go to mom, three to dad, and three are split as desired.

10. Norway
Parents choose between 100% of their salary for 49 weeks or 80% for 59 weeks. Dads can use up to 14 weeks of this allowance. Moms can take nursing or pumping breaks after returning to work for as long as needed. Additionally, daycare is universal and 90% of costs are subsidized for children between the ages of 1-5. 

9. Hungary 
Moms receive 24 weeks of paid leave at 70% of their pay. Fathers get one week of leave paid in full. Parents can opt for an additional 156 days to split between them at 70% pay. 

8. Canada
Moms get 15 weeks of paid leave. Parents receive an additional 35 weeks of paid leave to be split as desired.

7. Denmark
Moms get 18 weeks of leave and dads get 2 weeks of leave. Plus, they get an additional 32 weeks to split at 100% pay. 

6. Serbia
Moms receive 52 weeks of paid leave at 100% of their salaries. Dads receive one week. 

5. Finland 
Moms receive 18 weeks. Dads get nine weeks. They get an additional 26 weeks to split, all at 70-90% pay. Every parent receives a Baby Box which includes everything they will need for the first year. This box also comes with a mattress inside to convert the box to a bed.

4. Bulgaria
Mothers get 410 days of leave with 90% pay. Fathers get 15 days with 90% pay.

3. Germany
Moms get six weeks of leave prior to birth to ensure they’re comfortable. Parents receive 14 months of leave to share at 65% pay. Moms can use up to 12 months of this allowance. Bonus: in many cases, daycare is completely free.

2. Sweden
Moms get 55 weeks of maternity leave! Dads get 90 days of paternity leave, which is one of the best in the world. Parents receive 80% of pay for the first 390 days.

1. Estonia 
Moms receive 85 weeks of maternity leave with full pay! That’s nearly one and half years! Dads get two weeks of paid leave. 

Keep exploring! Check out the 10 easiest countries to get residency.

Oh! And Happy Cinco de Mayo! 

Mover Spotlight: Nuss Relocation – Australia

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Partnering with trusted international movers around the world is a key cornerstone of GoodMigrations’ mission and we are really excited to have a great company like Nuss within our network. Based out of Australia, they have offices in both Sydney and Melbourne and have been a great partner to us and our clients. Want to learn more about the people behind the company? Here is an interview we did with Ray Beard, the state manager for Victoria. Nuss Relocation- Australia

  1. What’s something you’d like to share about your company?
    Nuss is an Australian privately owned fourth generation removal and relocation company. We have offices and warehouse facilities in Melbourne and Sydney and world class partners globally. Our Removals division provides both international and domestic door to door removals and our Relocation Services division provides Home search, School search, City familiarisation, Settling-in services and much more.
    .
  2. How long have you been with the company? 
    Personally for 15 years which is not unusual for Nuss. We have a great staff retention rate.
    .
  3. How many international moves a year does your company do? 
    Nuss moves “thousands” of families each worldwide.
    .
  4. What credentials do you think every moving company should have? 
    Most quality orientated international moving companies are members of FIDI, the international moving community regulatory board.  The FIDI Accredited International Mover (FAIM) Quality Management Program is the most rigorous and the only quality certification program dedicated exclusively to the international moving industry. Nuss is of course a FIDI accredited mover.
    .
  5. Have you ever lived outside of your native country?
    Many Nuss employees have previously lived overseas and so have the benefit of real life relocation experience. This is an unbeatable benefit in that it creates a great empathy between us and our clients. We know the problems but we also have the solutions.
    .
  6. What motivated you to get into the international moving industry?
    International moving is a fast paced and constantly changing industry offering new challenges every day. No two moves are the same. It comprises like-minded experts from every country in the world who work together to deliver door to door moving service programs to people that make the world go round. We are a global community; one minute we are speaking with someone in Rio, the next minute to someone in Tokyo. How exciting is that!
    .
  7. What are some of the most common mistakes made by individuals moving overseas for the first time? 
    We hear stories from time to time of people attempting to move themselves which can often ends in tears. An international move is complex. Local Customs regulations, ever increasing security arrangements and, just recently, the introduction of new maritime weight declaration laws make such an undertaking almost impossible to manage without expert assistance.
    .
  8. What is the biggest tip you can offer someone moving overseas for the first time? 
    Plan way ahead of time; start getting your moving quotes a couple of months before your departure date. This is particularly important if you intend moving in the summer months as this is peak season for most movers. Have a real good de-clutter (why pay to ship things you really don’t need).
    .
  9. Which countries do you move the most people to?
    This tends to change each year as moving seems to be in trends depending on global talent supply and demand requirements but Asia, North America and Europe are consistently our top destinations.
    .
  10. What is the strangest item you’ve been asked to ship? 
    Cat hormones!
    .

Thinking about moving to Australia? Check out our Sydney and Melbourne City Guides to help you find your perfect neighborhood. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get all the latest news.

International Moving Insurance Questions Answered

Admin  @GoodMigrations

You’ve decided to move to another country. It’s a huge change, but you’re confident it’s the right decision. Now it’s time to figure out the details, including how to move all your stuff, and how to get the best international moving insurance. You don’t want to risk losing everything you own, after all.

But you have questions—so many questions. Don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place.

international moving insurance
Here are the answers to your top five international moving insurance quandaries.

Q: Why can’t I use my homeowners insurance?

A: Some homeowners insurance policies cover damage to belongings during a move. However, this is not something that should be assumed. Many policies exclude or limit damage for valuables while they are in transit and away from your home. When you’re moving to another country, the situation is even more complicated. Homeowners insurance rarely covers valuables outside of the country. You can double check your policy, but most likely, you’ll need to get moving insurance from your mover or a third-party moving insurance provider. Read more…

 

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