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Buyer Beware: Heavy Equipment Shipping Scams

What's in this article?
  1. The Name Game
  2. The Price Hike
  3. Tips To Avoid Being Scammed
Buyer Beware: Heavy Equipment Shipping Scams

Scams and fraudulent behavior are an unfortunate part of any industry, especially those with a high point of sale like auto transport services. If you take into account that shipping heavy equipment can be much more costly than standard vehicles, the potential for scam artists and bad actors can be even higher since the payment is higher. Luckily, there are some very easy ways to separate the wheat from the chaff and make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate heavy equipment shipper. In this post, we’ll go over some of the common auto transport scams that apply to heavy equipment shipping and how to avoid them. 

The Name Game

The internet has made it very easy for some companies to pose as another, more established company in the industry—a trend you might find if you search around enough for shipping companies. These are fraudulent companies that usually take on a name and web address that’s very similar to a different company, maybe even go so far as to basically replicate their website. To avoid this, be sure to verify who you’re speaking with, along with some other aspects of the company. For more information on how to avoid being duped by this scam, read the tips in the last paragraph. 

The Price Hike

Also known as the “bait and switch,” this scam is designed to entice the customer into making a payment to a company by offering an unrealistically low price. Once an initial payment is received, the company then requests additional payment, citing some made up reason for them to hike the price at the last minute, often after your vehicle is already in their possession. One way to avoid this scam is to talk to a few different shipping companies to get an estimate so that you have a general idea of what the price range should be. If you find one that is substantially lower than all the others, that’s usually a red flag that it’s a company you should avoid. 


Tips To Avoid Being Scammed

Now that we’ve covered the most common scams, let’s get into how you can avoid them. While there are other similar types of fraud in the car shipping history, the tips mentioned below should help you easily weed out the ones that are suspect. 

  • Verify the Physical Address – Part of the “name game” scam mentioned above involves crafting a nice website that doesn’t include a physical address for the company. That’s usually because they don’t have a physical address, just a site mimicking another one to siphon off some of their business, or worse, scam potential customers out of money. Verify the physical address of any company you’re considering for heavy equipment shipping to make sure they are who they claim to be. 
  • Look Up Companies on FMCSA – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a website that allows you to look up official information about companies, including any other names they go by, their operating authority, safety history, and more. 
  • Ask Questions When You Call – Before you agree to anything with a heavy equipment shipper, call them with a few prepared questions. This way, you’ll be able to gauge their customer service and verify the information you find online. It’s also helpful to get names of who you speak to for future reference.
  • Call Again Later With Follow Up Questions – After a few days have passed, call up companies again and ask to speak to the person you spoke to previous and have some follow up questions. This is really just a feeling out process, but a reputable company will have the same staff available to you and they should be able to competently answer any of your questions. 
  • Only Use A Traceable Payment Method – Any payment request should be able to be process through a credit or debit card. If a company requests an untraceable method of payment like a money order or wire transfer, that’s a huge red flag and you likely won’t be able to recoup any of the payment. If you use a credit or debit card, there are customer protections in place that will help if you fall victim to any vehicle shipping shenanigans.
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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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