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Auto Transport Companies to Avoid

Editorial Note: Commissions may be earned from partner links on A4 Auto Transport, but this will not affect our editor's opinions or assessments. Our content is based on hours of research and industry experience to help end-users.

Last Updated on January 27, 2023 by a4autotransport

Auto transport scams are becoming increasingly common and can be costly and time-consuming for consumers. Whether you’re moving across the country or just a few states away, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and to take steps to protect yourself.

How auto Transport Scams Work 

Car shipping scams occur when a consumer hires a fraudulent auto transport company. Scammers may take a deposit and disappear, hold the vehicle for ransom, damage the vehicle during transport, provide false or misleading information, or refuse to deliver the vehicle. It’s important to research the company, get everything in writing, be careful of lowball quotes, avoid upfront payments, and check your vehicle before and after transport to avoid falling victim to a scam.

Common Types of Auto Transport Companies to Avoid

Upfront Payment Scam

Scammers may ask for an upfront payment before providing any service. This can include a deposit or full payment for the transport. They may then disappear without providing any service, leaving the consumer without their vehicle and without a way to contact the company. To avoid falling victim to this scam, consumers should never make an upfront payment and should only pay after the vehicle has been successfully delivered.

Lowball Quotes

Scammers may offer a low quote to entice customers but will end up charging more later on. This can happen when they add on hidden fees or surcharges after the vehicle has been picked up. To avoid falling victim to this scam, consumers should thoroughly research the company and ask for a detailed quote that includes all fees and surcharges.

Phantom shippers

Scammers will pretend to be a legitimate car shipping company but will disappear with the customer’s money and vehicle. They may use false or misleading information and may not have a physical address. To avoid falling victim to this scam, consumers should thoroughly research the company, check for licenses and insurance, and get everything in writing.

Insurance Scam

Scammers may offer insurance coverage but will not have the required licenses or coverage to provide the service. They may also provide fake insurance documents. To avoid falling victim to this scam, consumers should check for licenses and insurance, and confirm their authenticity with the insurance company.

Holding the vehicle for ransom

Scammers may hold the vehicle for ransom by demanding additional payment or threatening to damage the vehicle if the consumer doesn’t pay. To avoid falling victim to this scam, consumers should be careful of lowball quotes, avoid upfront payments, and check their vehicle before and after transport.

Tips on how to avoid auto transport scams, so you can have a smooth and stress-free experience.

Research the Company

One of the most important things you can do to avoid auto transport scams is to research the company you’re considering using. Look for reviews and testimonials online, and check their rating with the Better Business Bureau. Also, make sure the company is licensed and insured, and that they have a physical address and phone number.

Get Everything in Writing

When you’ve found a company that you’re interested in using, make sure to get everything in writing. This includes the price, the pickup and delivery dates, and any guarantees or warranties. This will help protect you in case something goes wrong and will also help you to hold the company accountable if they don’t live up to their promises.

Be Careful of Lowball Quotes

Be careful of companies that offer lowball quotes. While it might be tempting to go with the lowest price, it’s important to remember that you usually get what you pay for. A lowball quote might mean that the company is cutting corners or not providing the level of service you need.

Avoid Upfront Payment

Never pay for the entire service upfront. A reputable company will only require a deposit to secure your reservation, the rest of the payment should be made at the time of delivery. If a company asks for full payment upfront, be wary.

Check the Vehicle Before and After Transport

Before your vehicle is transported, make sure to document its condition with photographs and notes. This will provide you with evidence in case of any damage that occurs during transport. Also, check the vehicle again after it’s been delivered to ensure that it’s in the same condition as when it was picked up.

Use a reputable auto transport broker

A reputable auto transport broker can help you find a legitimate company and will typically handle the transport arrangements and payments, reducing the risk of scams.

Steps To Take If You Are a Victim of a Car Shipping Scam

1. Report the scam

Contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and file a complaint. You can also report the scam to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

2. Gather evidence 

Collect any documents, emails, and phone records related to the scam. Take photos of the vehicle before and after transport and document any damages.

3. Contact your bank

If you made any payments to the scammer, contact your bank immediately to report the fraud and try to stop any further payments.

4. Contact your insurance company

If you had insurance coverage for your vehicle, contact your insurance company to report the scam and see if they can assist you.

5. Get a new quote

If you have not yet shipped your vehicle, find a reputable auto transport company and get a new quote.

6. Contact an attorney

If you have suffered significant losses due to the scam, you may want to consider contacting an attorney for legal advice.

Should you avoid brokers?

Brokers are a type of auto transport company that act as intermediaries between customers and carrier companies. They take orders from customers, find carriers to transport the vehicles, and then take a commission for their services. Some brokers are legitimate and operate ethically, but others may engage in fraudulent or deceptive practices.

brokers can be a type of auto transport scam. Some brokers may engage in fraudulent or deceptive practices, such as taking large deposits or full payments upfront without providing a service or providing fake carrier information.

However, it is important to note that not all brokers are scams and some can be legitimate and operate ethically. It’s always a good idea to do your research and check for reviews before working with any auto transport company, including brokers. Look for the credentials and make sure they are licensed and insured.

Recommended car shipping companies

Here are a few reputable car shipping companies that you can consider:

AutoStar Transport Express

This company has been in business for over a decade and offers door-to-door car shipping services. They are fully licensed, and insured and are registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

AmeriFreight

This company is a broker that has been in the industry for over a decade and has a good reputation. They offer a variety of car shipping services and have a user-friendly website that allows you to track your vehicle during transport.

Montway

This company offers both open and enclosed car shipping and has been in business for over 16 years. They are fully licensed, insured, and registered with the FMCSA.

Conclusion

Auto transport scams can be costly and time-consuming, but by following these tips, you can avoid falling victim to one. Remember to research the company, get everything in writing, be careful of lowball quotes, avoid upfront payments, and check your vehicle before and after transport. By taking these steps, you’ll be able to have a smooth and stress-free experience.

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