How Can I Spot Auto Transport Scams?

no scam auto transport

There are several companies that use tactics and scams. Like baiting and switching, false promises, negativity, to name just a few.  

We provided a list below of common tactics used by those you want to avoid at all cost to assure your transport takes place the right way. 

You’ll notice quickly that those that have the least bit of interest in you as a customer or your auto transport, and will begin to lose patience and even become rude when you do not believe them. 

Be wary of salespeople that tell you everything negative about their competitors and nothing good about themselves. If the person you are dealing with has nothing to say but to scare you about others, then what kind of service do they have? We have the best ratings in the auto shipping business to back us up. Do they?

Scam auto shipping websites are easy to detect with little or no research. In this online world, there’s very little those that aren’t legitimate can try to hide.

Here’s a comprehensive list that will provide the best ways to avoid getting scammed when shipping your vehicle. We try to cover everything, but nothing beats looking at reviews and paying attention red flags Chances are if you have a bad feeling, you’re right.

1. Paying a fee in full upfront, or paying anything upfront for car transport can be a bad sign. It traps you with that company. You are more than likely not to walk away when the service is bad. This is because if you are like most customers, you can’t afford to pay twice and deal with a refund (if it happens) later. The result is a bad experience and your are stuck with your vehicle not being picked up on time if at all.

2. Making a payment in the form of deposits to their account or wires / check drafts. Wire transfers or deposits like those cannot be disputed like a credit card. Don’t fall into that trap.  It is normal however to pay in cash, money order, or direct deposit during delivery. At this time your vehicle is present and is being unloaded.

3. Stay away from simple, badly made, or generic looking websites. Websites are designed by professionals. There should be little to no misspellings or bad grammar throughout the site. The site should also have a privacy policy and information on how the transport works. There should be verifiable credentials listed. Answers to your questions. Mostly original photos, not just “stock” images taken from elsewhere on the internet.

4. A legitimate auto shipping company will include a contact form and a toll free number on the site. Scam transport companies list a number that rings to voicemail or doesn’t work at all. Also a legitimate company will have a phone system with options. Not someone answering a cell phone.

5. A real auto shipper has a real address. Do an address search on a map. Is the location an actual building? Is it a residential address? There should be some indication that this is a business by where it is located.

6. Look for links to third party review. Search for the company by name with quotes in a search engine.  You will run into reviews, local listings or anywhere else they are being talked about. If you want more detail on just complaints you can add the word after the name of the company.  Not every customer can be happy, and no company is going to have 100% all the time. However if there are a multitude of negative reviews, it’s clear to stay away.

7. Bad Communication is a red flag. At all times during business hours someone should answer. There can be time that very high call volumes could push a caller to a voicemail, but calls should be returned within minutes, not hours, or ever at all.  Scam auto shippers do not answer the phone, tie you up in a loop of holds, transfers, and call backs that never happen.

8. When booking, the terms and conditions should be clear and easily available to read before booking. Ask them how they handle complaints, damage, or delays. Make sure you don’t see an open ended agreement that doesn’t solidify the price. This is a can be a very unregulated industry and many bad business practices can cause problems for you down the road.

9. Super low prices can cost more in the end. In auto shipping, the price is usually the top concern.  However that cannot be the only one. You may get a rate that’s $100 higher or even lower than ours. But let’s say a company wasn’t the lowest, but gave you great service and a good feeling. Then perhaps that difference is worth peace of mind. Just like in most industries, you get what you pay for.

Below are a list of common scam car transport tactics:

-“We know this company, [ABC Company].. You think you are paying what they quoted you but you are just going to pay a lot more, trust me we know. They will hold your car transport hostage!”
Do they have an *A* with Angies List? 5 Stars on just about every review site? Probably not. We offer a contract with your firm price, and no hidden terms or conditions , what about them?  How are you to know that won’t be the case with them?

-“Don’t deal with companies from Florida!”
This is a new one we just heard of. Yes, that’s because 90% of the transporters are in Florida. Why are they not where the epicenter of auto transport is? Maybe they could not make the grade. Just a tactic.

-“[ABC Company]., is quoting you a bad price. They don’t know what they are doing. Your car will be sitting in your driveway for weeks, and they will just come back and tell you that you have to pay more to get it picked up. By then the rate will probably go up because we are in season”.
That is one of the most popular ones we hear. Depending where you are coming or going to and when you are shipping your vehicle determines the rate. At some times of the year, certain routes are more expensive. For example, auto transport from FL to NY is cheap in the winter, but nearly doubles in price in the summer. “In Season” applies there, but unfortunately is a sales tactic the other 90% of the time. Our experience and resources nationwide  provide you with not an estimate but a rate. Our rates are rock solid, fair, and current. We also advise you of other opportunities throughout the year to save money on your move if such flexibility exists.

-“[ABC Company]., has terrible ratings and we hear about their poor customer service all the time”.
Just search on Google, Bing or Yahoo and the evidence of our record for excellence is there.   This is a sales tactic. Nine times out of ten they never heard of the auto shipping company you mentioned to them.

-“Oh, of course you can pack your car with everything you want, no problem!”
There is a limit to what you can pack when transporting your vehicle.  The DOT does not allow the transfer of household goods (no appliances). You can pack personal items but we ask a limit of 150 lbs. These loads are planned by size and weight. This could result in you having to empty your car at the last minute before pick up.

-“We can do it for [insert extremely low price here]. Those other guys are just trying to rip you off”
Big red flag. If you are getting quotes ranging within $50-$100 up or down, then these can be somewhat normal. But if you are paying way less for your auto shipping and it sounds too good, it probably is. This is what is usually called bait and switch scam or hidden fees.  Your contract (if they even use one) will have fine print with pick-up fees, drop-off fees, insurance fees. This is sadly a common practice.

-“We can guarantee that we will be there at exactly at the date and time to deliver your vehicle”
Big red flag. In this industry, unless it is a local car transport, there is no way to plan a long distance move to the day and hour for several cars being transported.  If there is a road closing, bad weather, tire damage, a car won’t start, this can all cause delays which can’t be predicted.  Reasonable windows for delivery are usually 48 hours. So if you are leaving on a plane the 15th, plan for us to be there the 13th-14th to help you leave on time.

National Express Does not employ any representative that will use negative tactics or get clientele by talking down any other company. There are indeed several good and honest transport companies like ours out there. However we believe our services to be the best, fastest, and most reliable. (And so do our customers!)

Be ready for those bending the truth to get a sale. See our FAQ for the solid facts on most of your questions.

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