You could lose hundreds of dollars if you don’t know how to identify a car shipping scam. There are many different warning signs to look for, such as companies that offer delayed, vague, or deceptive pricing information. You also want to watch out for overzealous companies and those that don’t provide proper credentials.
To help you navigate the industry, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most popular car transport scams. From the costly bait-and-switch to the easy-avoidable upfront payment, we’ll walk you through some of the most common vehicle shipping scams and teach you how to steer clear of fraudsters.
- Upfront Fee
- Bait and Switch
- Reservation/Cancelation Fee
- Hidden Language in the Contract
- Refund After X Days
- Driver Availability Statement
- Truck Broke Down
- Poor Customer Service
- Charge More After Delivery
1. Upfront Fee Before Finding a Driver
The first red flag of an auto transport scam is when the company asks for a large deposit before they even start to transport your car. Legitimate brokers collect their fees only after your car has been delivered. If the company requires a non-refundable fee upfront, it puts you in a difficult position. A scammer will also typically ask for payment via wire transfer. This is because it’s virtually impossible to dispute the payment if you don’t get the service you paid for.
2. Bait and Switch
The car shipping bait-and-switch scam can cost you hundreds of dollars and lead to a miserable experience. Here’s how it works. A car shipping service gives you a super low rate that makes you feel like you found a bargain.
How does it look like
|Sample company||Sample quote|
In this example, three of the four companies have quotes within about $100 of each other. Company A, however, beats the nearest-priced competitor by $300. That’s the company you’d probably want.
Carrier companies will not accept such prices, because it is unprofitable. Then, when it’s time to pick up the car, the broker raises the price to $900 or more and finds a carrier. On the day of pickup, a broker calls you and says that they have found a driver, but the price has changed and now you will have to pay more. Also, they acknowledge that this is the last carrier in the area and if you don’t accept it, your car won’t be picked up until next week. Unfortunately, most shippers accept this, but if you don’t agree, they have another way to scam you, which we will tell you about in the next 3 steps.
3. Reservation/Cancelation Fee
After they couldn’t find a carrier for your car and you don’t agree with the increased price, they demand a cancellation fee because they worked on your order even if they didn’t do the work. If you paid upfront they won’t refund you or if you provided your credit card information (most broker companies ask for your credit card information) they charge you a cancellation fee.
4. Hidden Language in the Contract
This is also another way to get your money. When you cancel your order with a scam company they show you a contract with your signature which shows they can take your money or they have X days to find a driver even if it should be picked up today or something else. To avoid this kind of tricks you should properly read the contract. Then if there is any suspicious term which broker can take money if even job is not done just don’t sign it.
But if you have already signed the contract, you can get your money back. Although it will be expensive and time-consuming.
5. Refund After X Days
This is one of the unpredictable ways. If you paid upfront and read all the terms in the contract and the company has to refund you the money under the contract, the scam brokers will say they can refund your money in 15-20 days. Do you think they will refund your money? No! After 20 days, they won’t answer your calls, and if they do, they’ll say that the agent who guaranteed your money back has been fired and they don’t have any information about the money back.
6. Driver Availability Statement
Another car shipping scam occurs when a broker texts you to say that it has a truck in your area. This is an increasingly common ploy scammers use to suck you into one or more of the pitfalls we’ve discussed. The goal is to get your business—and then take advantage of you.
The scam broker sent you a contract and you sign it. Then one of the partners of the scam company calls you and arranges pick-up. Then they take your money as a broker fee (most of the broker companies take their deposit after assigning a driver). But at the pick-up date, there is no driver. When you call the broker they say it is not their problem as they found a driver and assigned pick-up.
7. Truck Broke Down
As we said before, the scam broker claims that they already have a driver available. The broker then tries to find a real carrier before the pickup date. If they can’t, they say the truck that is supposed to pick up your car has broken down and they need more time to find another one.
If the transport company is unable to provide you with proof of insurance, then they may be fraudulent. Every legitimate transport company has at least a basic level of car shipping insurance. A trustworthy broker will never hesitate to provide you with the carrier’s most updated license and insurance. You should also check the extent of their coverage to see if you need to get additional coverage.
Sometimes cars get damaged in transport. Driving a car on and off trailers involves very narrow spaces, and sometimes the car can get scraped or dented in the process.
A reputable carrier company will accept responsibility for the damage – they’ve got insurance to cover it. But lesser carrier companies might try to prevent you from discovering the damage until it’s too late. You need to find the damage when you accept delivery of the car – finding it even a few hours later is too late. And disreputable companies can edge the odds in their favor by making it hard for you to find that damage.
Brokers must carry liability but not necessarily any insurance needed in covering your automobile. Brokers ensure that customer vehicles are insured under the carrier cargo insurance and not a broker’s bond. Unfortunately, if any damage occurs during shipping scam brokers will simply hand you off to the carrier and “wish you luck.”
9. Poor Customer Service
Great communications and strong customer service are also attributes that the best auto transport brokers will have. A vehicle is usually the first or second most valuable asset that you own. You don’t want to trust it with just anyone. You want to be sure that the company you’re working with is going to communicate with you throughout the shipping process and will be there for you if you have any questions or problems.
Unfortunately, many shippers complain about shipping companies’ customer service. The only thing they care about is getting your money. As we have already said, most brokers receive their deposit after they find a carrier for your car. If you have any problems with pickup, delivery, or transportation questions, they probably won’t answer your questions because they don’t care. In short, they will not serve you properly for the price you paid.
10. Hidden Fees or Raised Prices After Delivery
The target of this scam is someone who wants to ship their vehicle because they’re relocating in a hurry. Using a very professional-looking website, they offer to ship your car at a very reasonable, often cheap, price. When you contact the company, you get to speak with a very pleasant and polite person. Because you’re in a rush to get things sorted, you provide your credit card details and get on with making the rest of your arrangements.
A little while later, after they have picked up your vehicle, you’ll receive a call from the company to inform you that the price has changed. They could give a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that if you refuse to pay they’re bound to hold your car until you agree to pay the increased price.
Evolution Auto Shipping
Evolution Auto Shipping is an auto transport management company. Our company falls somewhere between a carrier and a car shipping broker. We manage the complete shipping process from start to finish.
- Taking your booking;
- Getting in touch with some of the most reliable car transport companies;
- Coordinating the vehicle shipping process;
- Keeping you updated throughout the process;
- Resolving any issues that might arise.
- After the car is delivered, we pay you $20 for the car wash.
- Even if you do not need auto transportation, you can benefit from us. How? Recommend us, tell others about us. If we transport the customer’s car after delivery, we will pay you $10.
As you can see, Evolution Auto Shipping cares about its customers. We are not here to benefit from our customers, we are here to bring more value and satisfaction to our customers.
|Services||Scam Broker||Real Broker||Evolution Auto Shipping|
|Payment||Upfront||After carrier assigned||After delivery of your car|
|Refund||No||Maybe||There is nothing to refund as you pay after delivery|
|Customer service||Bad||Good||Customer satisfaction is our success|
|Car Wash||No||No||Yes, after delivery, we pay you $20 for a car wash|
|Bonus||No||Maybe||Yes, if you refer us to others, after delivery we will pay you $10 for every customer you refer.|
If you’re looking for car shipping services, only use legitimate and reputable companies that have been operating for a number of years. The company should have all the necessary licenses, registration, and insurance, and be able to offer a market standard quote.
We suggest that you choose a company that not only transports your car but also brings you benefit and satisfaction.
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