Why We Ignore Yelp Reviews
To preface this post, let’s explain a bit about who we are.
American Auto Shipping was founded in 1999 and we have been helping customers ship their vehicles for over 20 years. In that time, we have received thousands of reviews across multiple review websites and have long been a five-star rated company on all of them.
However, Yelp! is a website we have struggled to maintain our stellar reputation on. But this is not because we are not a stellar shipping company. Rather, it is because Yelp! has a long history of review manipulation and shady, predatory tactics. They use manipulative language, bait-and-switch advertising pricing tactics, and give no oversight on who is actually posting reviews for companies that are featured on their website.
Not only that but Yelp! is also in the habit of retaliatory practices against businesses that decide to opt out of their advertising campaigns, and refuses to acknowledge when they are wrong about something, to the detriment of many small businesses just like ours.
The Case Against Yelp!
Yelp!, as a company, has been sued numerous times for “extorting advertising payments from them in exchange for manipulating online reviews.” In perhaps the most famous case, the California Supreme Court actually ruled for Yelp! against defendants claiming that certain reviews were libelous in nature. The decision was based primarily on the potential for an opposite ruling to result in further silencing of online speech.
In other words, the California Supreme Court ruled that Yelp! cannot be ordered to remove libelous or defamatory reviews.
Because of this, Yelp! has taken their extortion racket to the next level by actively using libelous or defamatory reviews almost as blackmail material to force companies to buy into their advertising programs…and then they switch the price. But we’ll get to that soon enough.
How the Extortion Racket Works
Yelp! is accused – by numerous people, including the lawsuit linked to above – of trying to extort advertising money from businesses in exchange for positive ratings – or, at least, featuring them. Yelp! has the ability to hide reviews that it deems unhelpful. Case in point: Yelp! has hidden almost 100 reviews for our company across our two locations and has decided to tell potential customers of ours that we “[might participate] in a deceptive review ring.”
This is of course completely untrue. We do solicit reviews from our customers, as almost every other business in the world does, as we are always looking for feedback to improve our company. However, customers are under no obligation to leave one; we offer no compensation for customers to leave reviews, be it monetary or otherwise.
When you click on our Yelp! page, you can see the warning right there, front and center.
But here’s the real kicker: Yelp! says we only have 12 reviews. Of those, seven are 1-star reviews, 1 is a 4-star, and 4 are 5-stars.
But if you scroll down to the very bottom, you’ll see that there are 86 reviews that are not recommended. Of those, 83 are four-or-five-star reviews, and only 3 are 1-star, dating back to 2018.
In a nutshell, Yelp! hides almost all of our good reviews as retaliation for not purchasing advertising.
How That is Extortion
Yelp! is choosing to only showcase reviews from either fake or disgruntled customers (and we’ll talk more about fake Yelp! reviews in just a bit) because we do not participate in their advertising campaigns. Their advertising campaign charges for numerous services, including clicks to business websites, targeted local advertising, premium placement on Yelp! searches, and better presence on desktop and mobile sites, among others.
That’s all well and good. Those are all fairly common advertising campaign tactics.
But what Yelp! will do is make sure that you sign up for their advertising campaigns by hiding quality reviews from real customers. Not only that, but there is also evidence that Yelp! participates in bait-and-switch pricing tactics. Here is a statement from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) regarding Yelp!:
Yelp came to BBB’s attention in January 2013. A review of the company was done in April 2019. Based on BBB files this company has a pattern of complaints.
Businesses state that when speaking to sales representatives, they are sold ad campaigns for one price, but when they receive the invoice the amount changes.
Complaints also state, positive reviews are filtered off profiles and are no longer visible.
In some cases, businesses state that after refusing to purchase advertising, positive reviews are filtered off their profiles.
All of those complaints are ones that we also alleging in this post. While we did not opt for advertising on Yelp!, we have seen a visible pattern of positive reviews filtered off our profile that are no longer visible, and we believe firmly that this is due to us refusing to purchase advertising.
We also believe that the warning that customers see when they look at our reviews is due to our refusal to purchase advertising from Yelp!.
The Curious Case of Morris P.
In January of 2020, we received a 1-star review from a certain Morris P. Morris has never been a customer of American Auto Shipping. We have never shipped his vehicle, nor have even given him a quote. Here is his full review:
“I have not and will not use American Auto Shipping for a simple reason:
The company claims to be an “A+ BBB Accredited Business, but in fact, they are NOT accredited by the Better Business Bureau, which has somehow assigned an “A+ BBB Rating.” There is a single one-star customer review, reporting a very negative experience.
Avoid this company!”
The truth is – as we said in the Yelp reply to Morris P – that the BBB only accredits brick and mortar locations, and as we have employees in the Pacific Northwest who work remotely, we cannot accredit a non-brick-and-mortar location. You can easily see that our Las Vegas office is indeed accredited and we are a five-star company.
How is it that a person who has never been a customer of ours – or even inquired about our services – would be allowed to post that review (which is libelous or, at the very, very least, incredibly misleading) and also have it stay up? There is only one answer: Yelp! is mad at us for not giving them money, and this is how they retaliate.
We are far from the only company that has dealt with this. There are horror stories all over the internet.
We do not respond to Yelp! reviews any longer for all of those reasons above, and then some. Yelp! is nothing more than an extortion racket that preys on small businesses for profit. Due to this, their continual dismissal of clearly libelous reviews, and their inaction and overall predatory business practices make us steer clear of Yelp!. We will no longer be responding to Yelp! reviews from any of our customers.
If you are a customer of ours and would like to leave feedback on how we helped you, please choose a website that does not extort the businesses that use their platform. There are many others out there to choose from, including Transport Reviews (perhaps the best for car transport-specific companies)and Google.
If you would like to ship a car, give us a call any time at 800-930-7417 to speak to a representative, get a quote, and get started on your shipment today.