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Stay away from International Living

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Initial post: Sep 13, 2008 4:50:47 PM PDT
D. Moore says:
This magazine is a total scam. It is filled with commonly known information, scattered amongst a ton of ads for other services they offer. You will receive daily emails/spam from them trying to sell you more worthless information at exorbitant prices.

I think someone has found a way to live abroad by profiting on others dreams by a very excessive amount.

Google and the internet will garner you far more valid information without all the daily spam and incredibly excessive costs.


Posted on Jun 18, 2009 9:41:02 AM PDT
My order for one of their guides was paid for but never acknowledged or delivered. No reply to my email inquiries! Do not buy anything from these folks.

Posted on May 15, 2010 9:47:43 AM PDT
BrenChris says:
I've had the same experience with buying guides. 2 books I ordered were never delivered; I thought this might be due to postal problems here, so I ordered 2 downloadable guides and am still waiting for the downloadable instructions 6 months later, despite a number of e-mails.

Posted on May 26, 2010 3:39:04 AM PDT
drsolution says:
I must disagree...I have ordered MANY items from IL and all were as promised. The staff is VERY helpful and the information of top quality! The magazine has a plethora of information all in one place. I am sure one could obtain this info with a LOT of searching but I have found IL to be a trusted source.

Posted on Jul 15, 2010 12:04:59 PM PDT
I agree with Mr. Tucker. I have been reading and utilizing information from IL for maybe ten years and it has led me to several memorable and exciting overseas adventures. The staff has been fairly responsive to inquiries and requests and I consider them a valuable resource in my decision-making process concerning travel, investment and retirement plans.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2010 7:58:45 AM PDT
Video Hound says:
Hi Baily,

I came across your post regarding the International Living magazine. I'm preparing for retirement in a couple of years, and was intrigued by their proposals, that one can live a life of relative luxury and leisure, complete with maid service, a cook and a gardener on what a "normal" (?) North American might retire on.

I have never actually seen the magazine, although I am now receiving their "postcards". In your experiences in following their recommendations, do you feel the lifestyle I mentioned above is attainable? And which countries have you visited that you felt most secure, where living would be most comparable to that of a middle-class North American?

I would appreciate any insight you can offer.

Kindest regards,
Larry Scheer

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2010 4:37:05 PM PDT
Einkaeufer says:
Dear Sherwood S. Tucker: It's nice to hear a positve comment about this magazine and their staff. Although I just had to send an e-mail to Dan Prescher, because we have found that, indeed, the information their staff/reporters is giving to us, the public, if NOT based on reality. I copy for you below the content of my e-mail:
From: C.......... <>
Date: Sunday, August 22, 2010 10:48 PM
Subject: Moving to Costa Rica

Ladies and Gentlemen:
For the past half year we have been dreaming of moving to Costa Rica. Getting
your information on the different countries has been very interesting.

But we are getting upset more and more with every 'Postcard' we get from you.
The reason? We give you below an example of the information you e-mailed to us
on August 20, 11:27 AM:

International Living Postcards-your daily escape
Friday, Aug. 20, 2010
Costa Ballena: Costa Rica's Affordable Frontier

Right now, while this place is still under the radar, you can buy a gorgeous
two-bedroom home on a large and perfectly landscaped riverfront lot for
$99,000... or a three-quarter-acre lot for just $23,000. You can have a
magnificent view and build your dream home of your own design for less than the
cost of a starter house back home. Find out what Costa Rica has to.....

And now, for the first time in 25 years, it's about to offer you rock-bottom
coastal real estate, too.

Also: Costa Ballena Beach Towns
A 4,000-square-foot home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen,
dining room, excellent security, phone line, Internet access, and two large
covered outdoor living areas both upstairs and downstairs. There's room to build
a swimming pool and the property has a solid paved driveway. Last year, this
property rented for $700 a month. Price: $139,000.
A three-bedroom, three-bathroom home on a lot of almost 2 acres-with hardwood
floors and tiles throughout, and a relaxing patio/deck area. It also has cable
TV, Internet, and a telephone line. Price: $150,000.

All this was written in the report by:
Jackie Flynn
Publisher, International Living

All this sounds ooo great. BUT, when I went to the Costa Rica Real Estate sites,
e.g. United Country Properties in Costa Rica,
I found only the following listings:
1060 sq.ft $295,000. = $278/sq.ft
1302 sq.ft $420,000. = $322/sq.ft*
1615 sq.ft $399,000. = $247/sq.ft
1700 sq.ft $550,000. = $324/sq.ft*
2030 sq.ft $780,000. = $353 sq.ft* Since my husband is a retired opera
singer and can't live without his grand piano, we
would need
this sq.ft space
1000 sq.ft $449,000. = $449/sq.ft*
591 sq.ft $295,000. = $499/sq.ft*
2200 sq.ft $890,000. = $405/sq.ft*
1300 sq.ft $575,000 = $442/sq.ft*

* These terribly overpriced square foot prices are almost unheard of in the
United States.

Please, since we are serious in our desire to move to Costa Rica, we request
that you send us information about your advertised/mentioned 2 BR/2BA perfectly
landscaped river front for $99,000. OR the 4000 sq.ft 3 BR/2 BA for $139,000,
or even the mentioned A three-bedroom, three-bathroom home on a lot of almost 2
acres-with hardwood floors and tiles throughout, and a relaxing patio/deck area.
It also has cable TV, Internet, and a telephone line. Price: $150,000.

We very much would appreciate your reply informing us, whom best to contact in
purchasing one of these properties listed above to those prices.

Thank you in advance.

With friendly regards, C......... and N.............

Sherwood S. Tucker and all you other readers: I hope very much that I will get a response from Dan Prescher, InternationalLiving, or Jackie Flynn, InternationalLiving. I certainly will post any positive reply I will get from them.

Greetings, N.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2010 4:50:29 PM PDT
Einkaeufer says:
Dear Video Hound: We too are considering retiring in Costa Rica and have researched many sources to help us to make an informed decision. We came with International Living to the conclusion, I have replied to below. Please read it; maybe it will help? Greetings, N.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 8, 2010 1:09:11 PM PDT
Kris Howatt says:
Dear Einkaeufer, Have you received any details regarding property specifics in Costa Rica? Thanks very much.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2010 4:00:54 PM PDT
D. S>V>D> says:
I, too, have ordered things from them, with immediate success and gratification for the resources I received! Do NOT judge them by the unfortunate dealings of a few.

Posted on Oct 15, 2010 5:27:02 PM PDT
J. Wright says:
Anyone have a phone number for these jokers? Four months, countless emails and a supposedly good phone number (left a message a week ago) and nothing. The presentation sounded good, and the money was a lot for me, but many of the presentations did not work and NOBODY has bothered to respond yet. I really had hoped to get a good experience and am very disappointed.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2010 5:31:14 PM PDT
J. Wright says:
Incomplete presentations. What I read was good, but only about half of the presentations were there and I have sent countless emails about it over four months with NO response. NO customer service after emails, and one phone call that apparently is their company's idea of a joke. Go to instead. Cheaper (most info is free) a lot of different people writing with good and bad, so you get a balanced picture. He is a realtor but tells you that upfront and even refers to other realtors. He also has a lot on just areas and tours. Most of the info from Internation Living is for investors with a lot of money... guess that is why they don't respond to me!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2010 5:33:45 PM PDT
J. Wright says:
How did you get to talk to anyone or get a response. I have been trying for over four months and can not get a response to emails and can not find a phone number. I only want to get what I paid for. But I can not do a lot of travelling and am mostly interested in Costa Rica, so I guess they think I don't have enough money for them!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 15, 2010 5:38:02 PM PDT
J. Wright says:
How did you get an email address. I have written to every listing they have on their site for four months and NOTHING. I suggest Most items are free and the annual "Premier Membership" is only 47$ a year. The owner Scott Oliver, is a realtor so much of what he has is sale oriented, but also LOTS of postings from ex-pats who have made the move, both positive and negative. Another two I like are Boomers Offshore (Andy is a great videographer) and The Real Costa Rica by Tim Lytle, who seems a tad curmudgeonly so I like his refreshing take vs. the Pollyanna view by IL.

Posted on Oct 21, 2010 1:38:19 PM PDT
Paul Jackson says:
I have also ordered items from them that have not been delivered, and receive no replies to my inquries. Disappointing.

Posted on Oct 24, 2010 11:39:08 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 24, 2010 11:39:27 AM PDT]

Posted on Oct 25, 2010 11:07:33 AM PDT
J. Wright says:
RE The post about being too"stupid" to pay for IL products before visiting blogs like this. Unfortunately, the magazine is pretty good, so I had few qualms about the presentations. Unfortunately, their customer service, including the correct presentations is non-existent. It was not until I got angry at them about this problem that I sought out forums like this. I don't consider that being stupid, only optimistic. Being stupid would be to continue my association with them.

Posted on Oct 25, 2010 11:39:52 AM PDT
Jon W. Owens says:
I've had a couple dealings with them over the years and have come to the conclusion that they are a scam operation. The last dealing was an Import/Export book offered with a one year no-questions ask guarantee if not satisfied... Started reading the book until it said that selling goods is recession proof-yeah right! I've been fighting with them for months to get my money back. A joke of a company. I've investigated some of the the prices they provide for properties and they don't pan out. Got to wonder if the positive comments are a shill too. I've heard many negative things about them over the years.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 10, 2010 7:08:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 10, 2010 7:43:42 PM PST
kate says:
Hi Baily: I have been subscribing to IL for about 7 months. I have not had any problem with them and I think for the $$ the magazine is worth exposing yourself to some of the options. They do seem to sell a lot of other stuff which I havent ordered yet but so far I've been happy with it. I have done some google searches also. For me it was a place to start. Wow after reading some of these blogs I really wondering? Kate

Posted on Nov 20, 2010 10:46:39 PM PST
T. R. Layne says:
Dishearteing! I recently subscribed to IL's Daily Postcards, assuminng I would receive on per day. Today, I received four of them: two originals and two duplicates -- all within an hour. So, I went to their website and hunted for a way to contact 'em; even the customer service page was useless. So I wrote an email via one of their other click-on pages, that had nothing to do with customer service, complaining about their hard-sell and unavailability. When I went back a bit later and googled IL again, I found all these scam-accusing website. Really disheartening.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2010 9:49:28 AM PST
J. Wright says:
Best of luck! I have tried repeatedly. Watch for Investor postcards also... Very upsetting... I had such high hopes, as I am sure you did. As far as I can tell, customer service is a sham - just a button on their website. I even tried calling a number I found somewhere... nothing.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2010 10:40:57 AM PST
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Posted on Dec 20, 2010 10:28:11 AM PST
rockmeister says:
I've never fallen for this scam. With all of the negative feedback I'd really be surprised if all of the positive comments are not shill postings to attempt to continue fleecing of the gullible. Not one person seems to have found property available for anywhere near what is purported - another indication of a flimflam - too good to be true.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2010 2:34:23 PM PST
Yes, there is something a little..."off" about the positive comments. They sound just a little too artificial and canned.

Posted on Dec 24, 2010 11:36:20 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 24, 2010 12:12:25 PM PST
K. Akey says:
I am always surprised when I encounter such polarized responses that there is always someone who breaks out the "the positive responses are artificial and canned" card. I should not be, but I am.

I have held a subscription to this magazine and found it an interesting source of information well worth the $49 per year charge to me. I am also not interested in purchasing the "full meal deal" because I do not see any value in it "for me".

I find that typically in polarized discussions it is typically about meeting and/or not meeting expectations. This magazine meets my expectations but my expectations were fairly low and I was pleasantly surprised when they were exceeded. I do not understand why people have such high expectations for everything they buy regardless of the cost of the product.

1. I could do without the constant sales pitch but if it keeps my cost for the service lower on the information I find useful, then I am fine with sifting through it.

2. I could do without the lowball information about "better than advertised deals" driving the sales pitches but I understand how this works and I can sift past it.

I would suggest to the responder above looking for good deals via the internet that you will not get good deals via internet posting on properties in these areas. The good deals are going to be aquired by going there and dealing with the locals.

I would also suggest, asking a realtor than makes his money on this type of margin to do the leg work for you and identify the "good deal" is like asking your grocer to set you up directly with the farms with his rates for the produce they sell you so you can get it directly ... unrealistic to say the least.

If he can find these deals he will capitalize on them and resell to you via the internet or an international living magazine because that is his business. If you want the deals, you need to do what they do, go to the country and find them. By the time they hit the internet, the person who bought that property for price you are looking for has listed it on the internet for the price you are seeing them and is reaping the margin.

3. I understand I can surf the net to get all this information and possibly more but I am willing to pay to have someone else put it together for me. I understand this means I need to review the information with the expectation that it will be biased to some degree. By understanding the bias, I can sift through it and get the information that is useful to me.

4. I expected the service to be poor, that is often the driving factor behind this kind of polarization and so I took precautions to protect myself. I was pleasantly surprised to not run into any issues in this area when I cancelled my subscription.

In the end, I typically find that polarized responses to a service such as this is more about understanding the expectations of the people providing the service vs the people receiving it. And, of course, understanding that people are more likely to complain than to offer positivie response. So across a broader range of people you will get a representative population of people that have had a bad experience but that is the same with any product and is exasperated by products with poorer service levels.

In short, often the best value in anything can be found by looking past the complaints of people with unrealistic expectations to understand the value of the service that is being provided. With the correct expectations in place, you can value the service/product appropriately and make the correct decision about leveraging it.

Or, you can not do your research, have unrealistic expectations and then spend a lot of time ignoring the value of the product/service and complaining about it. I find my method far less stressful though.

As an aside, this service is not going to work well for people that expecting someone else to do and provide everything for them. Either because they cannot afford to do it yourself (then it becomes something to plan towards ) or because they are unwilling to do so.

This service will give YOU the information YOU need to make YOUR choice and/or choices about where YOU should explore further to find decent deals YOURSELF by doing the leg work YOURSELF. If YOU are willing to do some work in sifting though the information and potentially visiting the places YOURSELF.

If they were going to actually do it all for you, you would be paying FAR more for the service although, I would be willing to bet if you could contact the independant authors of the articles, they might be willing to assist you with the legwork for a commission. That said, you need to to understand their expectations, biases and motives as well to understand the appropriate value for that service.
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Total posts:  560
Initial post:  Sep 13, 2008
Latest post:  5 days ago

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