In spite of improved customer awareness and the availability of information to protect consumers, fraud still exists. Each year, consumers pay billions of dollars for commercial fraud, most of which were avoidable had they considered the most commonly used fraudulent practices. Although fraud in the auto transport industry is rare, it is best not to take any chances, especially considering that cars are high-value assets. To avoid loss, theft, damage and unnecessary expense associated with scams, keep these red flags of car shipping fraud in mind:
No Business Address, License, Or Established Identity
One of the most common red flags of car shipping fraud is the lack of an established identity. A simple online search for the business name should identify the business on various listing and review sites. An established website filled with helpful content, FAQ's, Videos, and contact info, is a solid indication that you are dealing with an established business. You should also verify the business with reputable business review sites like the Better Business Bureau, and Transport Reviews.com.
Unable To Reach Customer Service Or Get Answers
Any reputable car shipping company will be immediately accessible to its clients. If you dial the company phone number and your call is rejected, ignored or if the person on the other end of the line fails to answer your questions about how the auto transport process works, you should avoid this company. A reliable company should be able to provide you with all the necessary information you need regarding any transaction you may make with them.
Payment Upfront Prior to Providing the Service.
Beware of car moving companies that require a significant amount as a deposit for their service. You may also want to avoid companies that require payments to be made through Western Union and other money transfer services that make the recipient hard to trace.
The Car Shipping Company Fails to Provide A Detailed Agreement.
Another way to spot a red flag of car shipping fraud is the company's refusal or failure to provide a quote or a detailed agreement. The quote should include the type of vehicle being shipped, the origin and destination of the shipment, the type of carrier (open or closed) that will be used, and other related details.
No Inspection or "bill of lading"
Another red flag is if the driver does not require or initiate an inspection of your vehicle. When the carrier arrives for pickup, they should initiate a vehicle inspection and fill out a report called a "bill of lading". They take note of any existing damage to the vehicle before shipment. You will inspect your vehicle upon delivery, and if all is well, you sign that bill of lading to release the truck from any liability.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to Your Car Moving Questions
The hardest thing for people researching car moving companies to understand is that the prices they are getting are not hard and fast gaurantees, but rather ESTIMATES of what one company thinks it will take to get a vehicle moved promptly versus another company's opinion of what it will take. Don't be fooled, there are not carriers committed to take your vehicle at these quoted prices, the company you choose will still have to get to work getting a carrier to commit to move it at the price they quote you.
Your total price breaks down into two parts, the broker's fee (or 'deposit' as everyone calls it) and the carriers fee (your COD amount) Make no mistake about this, EVERYONE YOU ARE GETTING SALES CALLS FROM IS GOING TO BROKER YOUR MOVE. In this industry, there are brokers who try to fool you into thinking that they are the actual carriers and there are an equal amount of carriers who sell themselves on the fact that they have a truck or two but are not being honest about the fact that they broker out 90% of the orders they book. Here is a quick easy way to tell, if a company takes an up front fee, whether they call it a deposit or any other name, they are a broker. Carriers do not take any payment until the vehicle is delivered.
In our opinion, you are crazy to do so. Have you ever been paid up front for the work that you perform for your employer? Why would you pay a fee up front when there are reliable and trustworthy companies like ours that won't ask for it until we provide you with your carriers details?
The average transit time from pick up to delivery on any vehicle going coast to coast will be between one and two weeks. From there you can figure your transit time based on how far your vehicle is traveling, i.e. from either coast to the Midwest might average 3-7 days.