While the Auto Shipping industry isn’t full of scams, but since most customers are new to such a service or only get to use it once in 5-10 years, they are not fully aware of the process. That’s what scammers are looking for.
Since most of the process is regulated by authorities like FMCSA and DOT, the only margin left for scammers is brokering and miscommunicating. They might lowball you by offering low rates initially and once the deal is done and the day of shipment is near, they might increase their rates significantly. Other times, they might commit to a certain time of shipment but then fail to follow through.
While these might not seem like big scams, but they can be frustrating of the user depending on his scenario. Therefore, to help our users avoid such scams, and have a smooth auto-shipping experience, we have compiled this guide.
Identifying Car Shipping Scams
The first step in avoiding car shipping scams is to know what to look for. Here are some red flags to be aware of:
Unsolicited Phone Calls:
Requesting Payment Upfront:
If you receive an unsolicited phone call from a car shipping company offering you a deal that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Legitimate car shipping companies don’t engage in cold-calling tactics.
While it’s understandable that you want to save money on car shipping, be wary of companies that offer prices significantly lower than the competition. These companies may cut corners and not provide the quality service you need.
Legitimate car shipping companies typically don’t require payment until the vehicle has been picked up. If a company is asking for payment upfront, it could be a sign of a scam.
Lack of Information:
If a car shipping company is vague or evasive when answering your questions, it could be a sign that they’re not a legitimate business. Always do your research and make sure the company has a solid reputation.
Some car shipping companies add hidden fees to their quotes, which can increase the cost of shipping significantly. These fees may include storage fees, fuel surcharges, or administrative fees. The company might not disclose these fees upfront, and you may only find out about them when it is time to pay.
Many car shipping companies use fake reviews to boost their reputation and attract more customers. They might hire people to write positive reviews or use software to generate fake reviews. These reviews can be misleading and may not accurately reflect the company’s performance.
Another scam to watch out for is the lack of insurance. Legitimate car shipping companies are required to have insurance to cover any damage to your vehicle during transportation. However, some companies may claim to have insurance but do not actually have it. If your car is damaged or stolen during transport, you will be left to cover the cost yourself.
While most of you will be worried about your cars being stolen, this is once in a decade kind of case. Since most auto shipping companies are DOT and FMCSA-approved, the likelihood of them stealing a car is equivalent to closing their business. However, make sure whatever service you get, make it is written and you have a copy or proof of the contract.
How to Avoid Car Shipping Scams
Now that you know what to look for, here are some steps you can take to avoid car shipping scams:
Research the Company:
Get a Written Contract:
Before choosing a car shipping company, research them thoroughly. Look for reviews and ratings from previous customers and check their ratings with the Better Business Bureau. Don’t be afraid to ask for references.
Make sure that you get a written contract from the car shipping company that outlines all of the details of the transport, including the price, pickup, and delivery dates, and the condition of the vehicle.
Make sure that the car shipping company has adequate insurance coverage in case something happens to your vehicle during transport. You can ask for proof of insurance before signing the contract.
Don't Pay Upfront:
All car shipping companies are required to be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You can verify the company’s licensing by checking the FMCSA’s website.
Never pay for car shipping upfront. Legitimate car shipping companies won’t require payment until your vehicle has been picked up.
By following these tips and being vigilant when choosing a car shipping company, you can avoid scams and have peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is in good hands. Remember to always do your research, get everything in writing, and verify insurance and licensing before signing a contract. If you have doubts about a company’s legitimacy, don’t hesitate to walk away and choose a different provider.
At Quickship, we understand how important it is to have your vehicle transported safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, there are many fraudulent car shipping companies out there that try to take advantage of unsuspecting customers.
What should I do if a car shipping company demands additional payment?
If a car shipping company demands additional payment for services that were not included in the initial contract, refuse to pay and report them to the DOT and BBB.
How long does it take to ship a car?
The time it takes to ship a car depends on several factors, including the distance, the size of the car, and the time of year. On average, it takes 1-2 weeks to ship a car across the country.
How can I track my car during transport?
Most car shipping companies offer tracking services that allow you to monitor the progress of your car during transport. Check with your auto shipping company and see what kind of monitoring they offer.
What should I do if my car is damaged during transport?
If your car is damaged during transport, file a claim with the car shipping company’s insurance provider. Make sure you have documentation of the damage and any repairs needed.
Can I transport personal items in my car during transport?
It is not recommended to transport personal items in your car during transport, as they can shift during transport and cause damage to your car or other vehicles.