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:

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.

Mover Spotlight: AMJ Campbell International- Canada

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Moving overseas, or to The U.S., from Canada can be a tough decision. It’s never easy to leave the comforts of your home country whether it be for work or maybe retirement. We at GoodMigrations have partnered with the best, most trusted movers in the industry to help take the stress out of your move. One such companies in our trusted network is AMJ Campbell International. A professional, full-service, international moving company based in Ontario but serving all of Canada. We took some time to sit down with Danielle Oaks, Director of Business Development and Client Services, to ask a few questions so that you, the expat, can get to know them the way we do!

AMJ Campbell International - Canada - Relocation
We found this interview very interesting and could not agree more with Danielle on question number 7. This is a mistake too many people make time and time again.

What’s something you would like to share about AMJ Campbell International? Read more…

Insider Mover Interviews – Ace Relocation

Sharon  @GoodMigrations

Looking back I can still remember the frustration I felt when I was getting ready to move overseas (twice) and trying to find a reputable international mover. I doubt moving houses will ever be considered fun, but what’s important is that your stuff arrives safe and sound to your new home.

You know you want to move, you know where you want to move to but researching removal companies while trying to understand their different quotes and paperwork can be quite disheartening. That’s why GoodMigrations has partnered with amazing moving companies around the globe. These international moving companies ensure your most cherished possessions get where they need to go safely.

Our new blog series “Insider Mover Interviews,” we will be bringing each one of them under the spotlight so you, the expat, can get to know them even better!
Read more…


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