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How to recognize legitimate company reviews

Nowadays, we buy almost everything online. We'll even browse for our grandma’s recipe because we can’t remember where we've stored her old cookbook. People search and buy items either for themselves or their business. We read the pros of cons of whether we should use air freight transport. And many times reviews have a big part in our decision making. You probably always scroll down to see other buyers' opinions on any shopping site. And you will most likely choose the five-star rated store instead of the one with only four and a half. But we know as well that these reviews can be fake - either paid sponsorship by the seller or cunningly placed by the competition. But most of us think we're pretty good at recognizing legitimate company reviews. One research conducted at Cornwell University suggests we are wrong.

Can you really identify legitimate company reviews

  • A team of Cornell University researchers wanted to build a computer program that could identify fake reviews, but they first needed to test how well humans will do at this task. So they called for volunteers and showed them known fake reviews. They also showed them some proven real ones.
  • Could humans recognize legitimate company reviews? In a word, they absolutely failed. The students have given the correct answer of less than 50 percent of the time. The results of the study suggest that it is not so strange that we end up booking terrible hotels or buying bad products. We get seduced by illegitimate 'opinion spam' more easily than we want to admit.
  • On the other hand, the algorithm didn’t take too long to get the hang of identifying fakes. It soon surpassed the human competition by correctly identifying fraudulent vs. legitimate moving reviews 90 percent of the time.
Credit cards in the back pocket of jeans
Be wary of large deposit requirements. A moving company shouldn't require a deposit of more than 20 percent the estimated cost of the move.

One day that algorithm may become a household item

Someday you could buy an app that will immediately tell you if your "five-star" hotel room might end up being dirty or already booked.  Or you'll have a better idea whether you should move to Hawaii for work or not. So what are the tells that could help you now with recognizing legitimate moving reviews? Beware if a review:
  1. Skips the details. It's difficult to be specific about an experience you haven't actually been a part of. That is why fake reviews often sound as general praise and avoid the details.
  2. Contains more first-person pronouns. If someone really wants to sound sincere when they’re lying, they will talk about themselves more than about what they are reviewing. That's when words like 'I' and 'me' appear more often an that’s how you spot a fake comment.
  3. If it includes more verbs than nouns. Genuine stories have more nouns because people like to describe the experience with pleasant or unpleasant sounding words. 

Do thorough research

People tend to opt for the most affordable estimate on the market after some light searching on the web. If you want to hire reputable Hawaii moving services, besides finding legitimate moving reviews you should do some extra research. Let’s say you need to move from the mainland to the islands and a company offers you $1,900. Amazing, and you take it! After wiring a 50 percent deposit to the company, the moving day arrives, you pay your movers another $500. Only then you discover that the company simply moved your belongings to a storage unit near your home. Then you have to pay an extra $500 to the company to pick up your possession.

All of this without even getting to the moving truck. The moving costs can add up to $4000 or $5000.

Such experiences aren’t all that rare, unfortunately. Some moving companies will give you an extremely low quote price. But then, once your move is already in progress, they hold your property hostage until you pay ‘additional fees’. Cases of companies demanding substantial deposits and then not showing up have also been reported.
View from above of a man holding his head in front of a computer trying to figure out which comments are legitimate moving reviews
If a mover holds your possessions hostage in an effort to force you to pay more, try contacting the police, who may be able to help.

To make sure you have found some legitimate moving reviews, consider taking these steps.

  1. Hiring a local mover means you have a higher possibility of avoiding being tricked. There are fraudulent moving companies operating only over the Internet. If you can visit the Hawaii moving companiesoffices and see their equipment you can make good business for yourself.
  2. Get at least three written on-site estimates. Be wary of unusually low estimates. Also, be suspicious of over the phone or online estimates that companies provide without sending a representative to examine the job. This can be a sign of a scam, but not always.
  3. Verify the company’s credentials. For interstate moves, a company must have a license number issued by the Department of Transportation. It identifies commercial vehicles. The mover’s DOT number should be visible on their website and trucks. The company also must have a carrier number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

For moving within a state, each state has its jurisdiction and the requirements may vary.

Some states stand on unstable grounds of unregulated intrastate moves. Also, if a moving company is certified by the American Moving & Storage Association's ProMover program, this is a sure sign of legitimacy, since it requires a background check for every company and demands them to align with the association's standards.
Man in front of a computer smiling and has a yellow post it on his forehead
Doing thorough research takes some time, but the end result will be worthwhile.

Check out the complaints that contradict your search for legitimate company reviews

You can also see the mover's complaint history by using the mover search tool on the Department of Transportation’s website. Investigate if the reputation of legitimate company reviews is true by checking if the business was reported to the Better Business Bureau. If this bureau doesn’t have legitimate moving reviews, no one does. They have reviewed more than 20,000 moving-related companies. You can see what letter grade the BBB has assigned your preferred mover and read if they had any complaints, or government actions.
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