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The Importance of the Auto Transport Company's Terms and Conditions

The vast majority of people completely ignore the Terms and Conditions portion from their auto transport company. After all, it's the big things that most people tend to focus on, such as the price, the estimated delivery date, etc... But it'd be a mistake to not go over the terms and conditions, as you should know what's included there, mainly so you don't run into anything unexpected in the future.


For the most part, every single auto transport company makes their Terms and Conditions known, namely on their website. If it's not made publicly available, that should be a warning flag to you that something is amiss. In fact, by law, it is a requirement that they have their Terms and Conditions made available, as dictated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which you can locate at


The Terms and Conditions of an auto transport company should provide you with the following information:


The Booking Process

In the majority of cases, the Terms and Conditions will let you know the booking process that you can expect. For example, they will include information on how they find the carriers, the time windows in terms of pick up and delivery, various time policies, information about delivery guarantees, and so forth.


Each auto transport company will differ, but most will include some information on the whole process, specifically in regards to the fine details that a customer service representative might not feel necessary to mention.


What is Done With Your Personal Information

The legitimate and professional auto transport companies will want to assure their customers that their information is protected at all times and can't run into the wrong hands. This means that it is not sold to other companies and that your personal payment information is done through a secure process.


If you don't see it in writing, always ask the company if your information is sold to other ones. You don't want to be the victim of spam texts, e-mails, or calls!


The Refund / Cancellation Process

You should always be aware of the refund and cancellation process before you commit to anything, as well as their payment process. All auto transport companies are not created equal, and you should be aware that some companies may make you wait a bit longer than others for your refund, such as your deposit (such as 30 days). This should be outlined here.


Other companies may charge you different fees for cancellations. Many of the less than reputable companies may have it in the fine print where after a certain cut off date, your deposit or payment is absolutely non-refundable or that they will charge you fees so astronomically high, that it's basically what you already paid. Their liability in which they owe you a refund for poor service could also be outlined here.


A-1 Auto Transport makes sure to list our Terms and Conditions right on our website so that you can easily find it. We always try to be upfront with our customers, but some other companies may not do so. Make sure to read the Terms and Conditions in order to make a sound decision!


Canceling an Auto Transport Order

Canceling an auto transport order can be done obviously, but there are still some things that you should be aware of should you decide to change your mind after placing the order. Each auto transport company will differ in terms of their cancellation policies, so you should always keep that in mind. With that being said, if you want to cancel your auto transport order, make sure to take the following into consideration:


Check the Policy of the Auto Transport Company BEFOREHAND

Most people don't bother to read the cancellation policy that a company has. They are not all created equal, which means that they do have some variations between them. Before you sign anything, you really should take the time to go over it. Otherwise, you might be locking yourself into something that you can't get out of.


So where do you find an auto transport company's cancellation policy? It's usually in their Terms and Conditions section, which should be accessible on their website. If it's not, make sure to ask the company directly. To be extra safe, you want to have something in writing.


What Does the Cancellation Policy Describe?

In most instances, a cancellation policy will lay out the instances in which you can cancel your order without too many complications, as well as minimal, if any, fees that you will be responsible for.


It will lay out:

  • The cut off point in which you can cancel without minimal penalty
  • What the penalty is for canceling
  • Information about canceling the order at an advanced stage of delivery


When Should You Cancel By?

Ideally, when you cancel your auto transport order, it should be before the deposit has been made. If you're going through an auto transport broker, the best time to cancel would be between when you first make the order all the way until they find a carrier, which is when you would normally have to pay the deposit. During this stage, it doesn't matter your reasoning for canceling, and there is no penalty involved, especially if you have not made a deposit.


Canceling After a Deposit Has Been Made

If you have already made your deposit, it gets a bit more complicated. There are two stages to consider:


  • Making a deposit but it has not yet been picked up




  • Making a deposit and it has already been picked up


For the first one, if you've already made the deposit, but it has not yet been picked up, you will receive a refund, though you may also have to pay some sort of cancellation fee or penalty. It is not going to be much, and the important thing to note is that, by law, the transport company has to provide you with your deposit back no matter what. You may experience a delay in receiving the deposit back, so be mindful of that if you really need the money returned to you right away.


Unfortunately, if you have already made a deposit AND your vehicle has been picked up, good luck being able to cancel it. It can be extremely difficult to do and results in major route changes in many cases for the carrier. You would, at the very least, have to pay an extremely large penalty or fee that could almost match the cost itself.


In short, be mindful of your auto transport company's cancellation policy and make a decision that you're fully confident in before you commit to anything, especially in terms of a deposit.


The 5 Trends Shaping the Auto Industry in 2015

2014 proved to be the best year in auto sales since 2006. And in 2015, this momentum is expected to continue, as some estimates peg sales as being as high as 17 million vehicles. Some of the reasons for the increase in sales are an improvement in consumer confidence, more access to credit, and an economy that is much healthier than it has been during the past few years. With that being said, here are the 5 trends that are shaping the auto industry in 2015.



Better In-Car Technology

This isn't referring to such things as heated seats, but instead, to digital elements that consumers are demanding more and more of. In-car technology is one of the top selling points of new vehicles, which auto manufacturers certainly realize. Infotainment systems are being designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly, with systems that are designed to do even more, whether its in regards to GPS, Bluetooth connectivity, or playing music directly from your smartphone.



Subcompact SUVs

Subcompact SUVs are poised to be the hottest new car sector in the United States. Similar to sport utilities, they are designed for people that want an SUV but are put off by the cost. Some of the prominent names to look out for include the Honda HR-V and Mazda MX-3. They are being marketed at young people, particularly urban explorers. Already having proved to be extremely popular in many parts of world, such as Australia, 2015 will determine their future in the United States.



Pickup Trucks

Yes, you read that right. In 2015, pickup trucks are hotter than ever, with all of the three main auto manufacturers in the United States engaged in heavy competition with each other. The fact that both Nissan and Toyota are also planning on introducing new pickup trucks in 2015 is just another sign of the consumer demand for them. Competition breeds innovation, so look for the considerable improvements in the new batch of pickup trucks that are being released.


Speed, Speed, Speed

Gas prices are lower than they have been in years. As a result, consumers aren't as concerned about spending money on gas like they used to be. High-performance sports cars are now in greater demand than before, including such successful vehicles as the Cadillac CTS-V.



Green Vehicles

Green is in. More and more consumers have become environmentally conscious, meaning that auto makers are producing vehicles that are increasingly green. Not that many of them have a choice. Government regulations that have been put in place have dictated strict terms that they have to follow, such as in fuel economy. New vehicles are thus trying to be extremely fuel efficient, including utilizing fuel-cell concepts. Toyota, for example, will be selling its Mirai fuel cell vehicle later this year in certain states.



Look out for these trends in 2015. While many of them may not last, you can be confident that you'll notice them, especially if you're in the market for a new vehicle. Innovation is certainly the name of the game this year!

The Requirements of Importing a Vehicle to the United States

While it's not as common of a practice, importing a vehicle to the United States is something that you may want to consider. The problem with doing so is that it can be a very complicated process, as there are numerous rules and regulations that have to be followed. All vehicles that are imported to the United States have to follow strict requirements in regards to emission standards, safety standards, and even with bumper standards.


Imported cars that auto dealers sell in the country are manufactured abroad specifically for the US market. Vehicles made abroad not specifically for the U.S. market should be examined quite closely to see if they adhere to the same standards that the United States requires. Here are the main things that you should know about the requirements:


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The Environmental Protection Agency in the United States creates and regulates the vehicle emissions standards in terms of air pollution.


Under certain conditions, the following vehicles do not have to adhere to emissions requirements:


  • Racing cars
  • Non-chassis mounted engines
  • Vehicles built before 1968
  • Unregulated fuel vehicles


You can visit the EPA's website here for more information:


The emissions requirements themselves are based on strict measurements of Carbon Monoxide, Hydrocarbons, Nitrous Oxides, Evaporative emissions, and Particulate Emissions.


A declaration form has to be included to the U.S. Customs, which is Form 3520-1, located here:


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) / The Department of Transportation (DOT)

If a vehicle is less than 25 years old, it has to adhere to certain motor vehicle safety standards as dictated by the Department of Transportation, in addition to certain bumper standards.


You will need to fill out and file the DOT HS-7 form at the time of entry of the vehicle to make sure that it follows these regulations. You can find it at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website here:


A certification label has to be placed on the vehicle by its original manufacturer if it follows all of the safety standards. If it doesn't, the person importing the vehicle has to reach an agreement with a DOT Registered Importer in order to ensure that the vehicle is modified to meet U.S. requirements. This contract has to be placed on the DOT HS-7 form and given to the U.S. Customs officials during its arrival.


S. Customs and Border Protection

All vehicles that are imported have to be approved by the U.S. Customers and Border Proection agency. The required documents are:


  • The original bill of lading
  • The bill of sale
  • The foreign registration
  • EPA Form 3520-1
  • DOT HS-7 Form


An ICI, known as an Independent Commercial Importer, is an option to chose, as they will make sure that your vehicle is modified to fit any of the EPA's requirements.


Visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's guide to importing vehicles at


A-1 Auto Transport will be able to help you out with this process! Contact us today.


The Changing Nigeria Auto Market

The Nigerian auto market should be undergoing some big changes this year and beyond, as the government in Nigeria is trying to initiate an overhaul.


As a country that boasts the largest economy in Africa, it also has the largest population. Recently, Nigeria surpassed South Africa in becoming the 21st biggest economy, with it being valued at over $500 billion. The problem that their government is currently dealing with though is in trying to get automakers to start manufacturing automobiles in Nigeria itself, rather than relying on imports as they have been doing for the past few decades. The steps that they're taking to do so are quite simple, as it's a two-step process:


Stop the Importing of Vehicles

This is the first step of their process and is an obvious one. Starting in 2014, the Nigerian government has been steadily increasing the import tax rates on car imports, with the goal being to eventually increase these import tax rates by 70%. The first increase was introduced in February of 2014, with an increase of 34%. As a direct result, the amount of car imports from the United States to Nigeria decreased by a year-on-year rate of close to 50%.


The next 35% increase was supposed to be implemented on January 1st, 2015, but the Nigerian government recently decided to push that back to April of 2015, with the reason being that there simply has not been enough movement on the part of automakers to build the infrastructure needed within the country to produce vehicles at a significant production volume.


Because of these tax import increases and the one that is coming in April of this year, many exporters that shipped cars to Nigeria, specifically to the Port of Lagos, are now deciding against it. Instead, they are getting around this issue by shipping cars to the Port in Benin instead, which is a country that borders Nigeria.


Benin now has a new influx of cars being shipped there, with many citizens from Nigeria simply choosing to pick up the vehicles there and to then drive them back to Nigeria. Of course, this is technically an illegal practice, but Nigerians are finding ways to smuggle them across their border. The Nigerian government is aware of this and is trying to put a stop to it.


Make Automakers Manufacture Vehicles in Nigeria

Of course, the Nigerian government has to try and make sure that the automakers start producing vehicles in their own country. One way that they're planning on doing so is through passing a law in April of this year, in which any automaker that has sales of over 10,000 units during the year has to start manufacturing the vehicles in the country. This has already been a success even before it has officially been passed, with companies such as Honda and Volkswagen currently making plans to open up factories.


Adding to this is that oil prices, which the Nigerian government relies on heavily as their main export, have seen a sharp decrease in their prices. In order to make sure that they have revenue coming in, these new import taxes are more important than ever for them, and if the price of oil doesn't rebound, you can expect them to make the import taxes even higher.


Nigeria's import market is one to watch for this year!