How to Cancel with a Bad Auto Transporter

To get your car off the boards and clear bookings you didn't authorize, the best course of action is to tell the company that has you listed that you / friend/ family member is already driving the vehicle to the destination and isn't there any longer.

That's the direct and short answer. Here's the explanation:

In any normal circumstance when you cancel something it’s done. You expect that money will be refunded, the order will be removed from the queue, etc. But with auto shipping, that’s not always the case. 

Making Cancelling Difficult

It’s very common in this industry to get a lot of pushback when trying to cancel and even have certain auto shipping brokers say they have done so but will still be trying to save the deal.  But why?

For the most part, auto shipping companies pay their salespeople only in commission. If they don’t get the car shipped they will not be paid. So there is an urgency to keep your order going.  This eagerness to keep the sale could actually cause you more issues as you try to shop around and book with another company. This can lead to it’s known as double booking. 

The Process in a Nutshell

In a typical scenario, the auto shipping company needs to determine how much the drivers are charging, add their fee on top, and then place it on the national dispatch board. The final step can only be taken when they have a bona fide sales contract with you, the shipper.  This is how 99% of all auto transport works. Unbeknownst to most customers, many mom and pop brokers put cars in the board to try to be the hero and say they actually have a driver. We’ll get into that later.  

Why Your Vehicle Has Not Moved

There are only two reasons after that where the car doesn’t get picked up. First, it’s in the middle of absolutely nowhere as far as carrier shipping is concerned and/or it is priced too low to gain the interest of the drivers moving cars in the area.  That’s right, I said interest. See,  they don’t have to take your car if it does not pay them what they expect.  So if your shipper didn’t do the research the driver will totally ignore your vehicle. That’s why you never book the lowest price.

The Same Old Story

So at this point you’re calling the transporter and are not getting any definitive answers. They keep telling you that they’re waiting for a driver. Offering a little explanation to why that is. 

At one point you’ll get frustrated and call other companies to see if they can help you. But you have just found out you’re on some kind of board. You will be told that the vehicle must be taken off before they can help you. Drivers may be scared off worried someone else is going to get the vehicle when they are already about to get there.

You may immediately have noticed that the price you’re getting from everybody else now is going to be higher than what you were quoted from the previous company where some were lower before.

Here’s why this happens. The company that is looking into the pricing will see the existing listing for the vehicle and see that that price is certainly not working and increase it to make sure they are able to move the car for you and win the sale. But there is more to it than that.

Double Listing / Booking

We just touched on this a moment ago and on a previous post about how your car is already on the board right? Well this is the breakdown on that situation. 

This happens for 3 reasons.  

Reason 1: The customer is frustrated and looks elsewhere, books elsewhere not knowing that it’s all the same system. So they try to find another company to move their vehicle. Broker 2 may not have not have checked to see if the car is listed.  Car is listed twice, customer is bidding against himself. Drivers eat popcorn and wait for the price to go higher. 

Reason 2: Customer is getting quotes. Eager salesman wants the deal. The customer may have mentioned that they wanted an exact day or wanted to deal with someone that had a driver already. With minimal information, they put the car on the board and probably at a higher price than the other cars listed to assure a quick call from a carrier. The goal here is to call you back with a guaranteed pickup.   The problem is this basically locks you in to dealing with them and other brokers won’t get any headway for you unless they notice it’s double listed.

Reason 3:  They just want to lock you in to working with them. Their listing on the board maybe above market so to force the driver to call them. They may even try to convince you that this is the result of getting a quote and that’s how they work on the quote.  

Must Have a Contract To List You Vehicle

To be able to list your car on the national board there needs to be a contract. That is the only way the company is allowed to publish your vehicle on the driver boards. If there is no contract there is no valid listing. 

Unfortunately, our company for example can’t call the shifty shipper that has the listing and say they have to take it down. Nine times out of 10, it has to be the customer to call in because [enter reason here]. Usually they are "not allowed to disclose customer information", or something to that tune.

So unfortunately, that falls onto the responsibility of the customer.Which equals more In this case for us, we give you the phone numbers of those that have it listed he can reach out to them and have them terminate the listing. After you’ve contacted us back and told us that you did. 

If after that the listing remains, and you have both with us, we will then contact the dispatch board and file a complaint against the offending broker. At that point they usually take it down right away so we remove the complaint. I know this business is crazy! 

What to Do

When shipping a box you don’t need to understand how UPS or the post office works right? You know it just does. So it’s crazy for most people to realize they almost need to be experts to not get their vehicle stuck.  

When cancelling, tell them your best bet is to tell them the car is no longer even there. Why? As mentioned, many of these sellers are very persistent and they want to deter you from booking with someone else. If you say you are booking somewhere else, it's almost guaranteed they will try to stop you. "Oh, [insert carrier / company name here], is who you are booking with!? Wow, we get complaints about them all the time!" I could go deeper into it, but you know what I mean already. With the vehicle "gone" there's no point in wasting phone time for them. After the offending listing(s) dissapear, you are free to move on.

Carl has a decade of experience in the car shipping industry. He has worked in nearly every aspect of the transport business since 2014, taking charge of various roles in the company such as dispatching, sales, and customer service.

During those years, Carl amassed an invaluable amount of experience which has contributed to his writing of every article and and guide on NX since taking over content in 2015.