How to Avoid Car Shipping Scams

December 31, 2016

When it comes to shipping your car, you need to be mindful of the company you select. While there are many outstanding and reputable companies out there, you also need to watch out for the ‘bad eggs’.

There are several shipping scams to watch out for that can compromise your car, your security, and your belongings. Here we’ll discuss a common scam that you may come into contact with, as well as give you suggestions on how to protect yourself and the vehicle you’re shipping.

What is the most common scam to watch out for?

One major car shipping scam that has been reported involves those pesky hidden charges. Some vehicle shipping companies will offer outstanding low rates, guaranteed shipping dates, and even all-inclusive handling.

Suddenly, while on the flight to your new home, you take a call from your shipping advisor. The advisor will tell you there are some extra charges due problems that have “suddenly arisen”. Most often they will state that the vehicle has already been loaded and request immediate payment.

As you can no doubt guess, when you eventually dispute the extra charges, the advisor notifies you that they’re holding the vehicle in lieu of payment.

How do I protect myself from a scam like this?

This common bait and switch scam can be avoided by fully vetting the car shipping company before you make a booking. Several questions are listed below that will help to ensure the shipping company you choose is reputable.

  1. Is the company BBB recognized?

The BBB receives complaints about approximately 20 companies every year. By checking into the company you are considering, you will be able to see the complaints and any action that was taken to properly (or improperly) handle the issues.

  1. Does the company have a professional online and phone presence?

Reputable auto transport companies have more than one phone number for different departments, such as Customer Service, Support, Sales, etc. Are you able to get in contact with the dispatch department, support department, and your main sales agent? Companies providing prompt response via email, phone call are good signs that the business is well established and operating professionally.

  1. Does the shipping company guarantee dates?

While this may sound great, the truth is that unless the shipping company owns their own fleet, or has secured a spot on a truck, there is no guarantee that a trucker will be available for your shipment route on an exact day. Until they have actually had time to contact the many truckers that run your particular car shipment route, they cannot know if your dates are possible. So, beware of sleazy salespersons promising guaranteed pickup, no charge for personal items, incorrect transit directives on the first communication. In an industry where there are many moving parts, your pickup/delivery dates are only estimates.

  1. Have you read the company’s Terms and Conditions?

Many shipping companies have additional fees for different situations. These are most often listed in their Terms and Conditions, which many people skip reading. In addition, the Terms and Conditions will include all of their “easy outs”, something you will want to know about if anything happens.

  1. Does the shipping company insist on payment before confirmation of a carrier?

Again, we come to the confirmation of carrier availability. You will want to know the name of the carrier, the dates, and any necessary instructions before you make payment. By paying before confirmation of carrier, you are opening yourself up to additional fees and a hold being placed on your car.

Asking yourself these five simple questions can protect you, your vehicle, and your payment information from the most prevalent shipping scam reported to date. Remember to research the company, ask questions, and get confirmation of the carrier name before you place yourself in a position to be scammed.

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