Spotting Car Shipping Scams
With the abundance of car shipping services that are available through the internet, one of the unfortunate side effects is that there's also a variety of scams that are present.
In order to avoid falling prey to these car shipping scams, it's important to recognize them and to also take proper precautions through all the steps of the process. Despite the scams that exist, most of the auto shipping companies are perfectly legitimate and safe. In fact, there have been various regulations passed by the United States that have made it much more difficult to for these dubious shipping companies to get away with theft.
Examine the Company's Website.
Many of the auto shipping companies that are scammers unknowingly give away their intentions through their website. One of the main ways that they do so is through having a poorly designed site that just seems thrown together. After all, they don't care much about their presentation, but instead, are focused on spending as little amount of money as possible to obtain yours.
Here are some the warning signs:
- A site that seems extremely basic and archaic in its design.
- A frequent amount of typos throughout the text.
- Little to no contact information besides an e-mail address.
- No available Motor Carrier # visible on the website.
- Few pages besides the main page.
Make Sure That There's a Telephone #
Every car shipping company will have a phone number that you can contact. Having a telephone number not only provides a sense of legitimacy, but it also is something that is needed in this industry. Otherwise, it can be very difficult for fast and effective communication to occur when arranging for the shipment of an automobile.
There are certainly some scam companies that do have phone numbers, but the best thing to do is to always call and speak to a customer service representative, in which you can then ask them for a variety of information that any legitimate company should have. This includes their Freight Broker License and Motor Carrier #.
Do Your Due Diligence.
In order to spot car shipping scams, you should always make sure to do your due diligence through researching the company. With the internet, there's no excuse for not doing at least a Google search on the company.
If the company isn't listed on those sites, the chances are that they're not legitimate. Look for the best companies to have plenty of positive reviews. As is the nature of business, some companies may have negative reviews present, but it's important to see if the company actually responds to the negative reviews and leaves a comment.
As has already been mentioned, all of the shipping companies in the United States will have a Motor Carrier #, as it's a requirement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. You should visit their website at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ for more information.
Finally, most legitimate shipping companies will have their information present on the Better Business Bureau's website. Not only are most shipping companies registered on that site, but it also allows consumers to post reviews about each one. Visit it at http://www.bbb.org/.
Be Aware of the Common Shipping Scams.
Some of the common shipping scams will ask you to wire payment through a transfer service. Any wire transfer request should be a major warning flag. Instead of a wire transfer, the only payment methods that you should agree to are checks, debit cards, and credit cards.
Another common warning sign is seeing a price quote for shipping an automobile that is much lower than what other companies are offering. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Bargains certainly exist, but don't expect to pay much lower than the normal shipping rate that other auto shippers offer. The low offering price is a way for these fake companies to lure you in.
Finally, don't send a payment without first getting the information of the driver that will be transporting your vehicle.
Don't be afraid to ask the company for as much information as you need in order to feel comfortable. Companies that have nothing to hide will not hesitate to answer.
A-1 Auto Transport has been shipping vehicles for over 20 years and freely provides all of the required license and registration information! Contact us at your convenience.
Written By:Joe Webster
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.