If you own a vehicle, you’re probably no stranger to the horror stories of drivers ramming into devastating auto transportation scams when shipping their vehicle. In worst-case scenarios, car owners will spend all sorts of money only to find out that the company never actually picked up their car, and it was just a ploy for some quick cash.
Unfortunately, it’s not an uncommon occurrence, but there are ways to avoid scam artists in the auto transport business.
It takes a fair amount of research, but if you do it right, you can be confident that you’re getting a legit company that will deliver on its promises.
With the cost of shipping a car costing a pretty penny, you need to make sure that you do business with a reputable company like this. Meticulously screening your auto shipping provider will ensure that your vehicle and hard-earned cash aren’t in imminent danger. To guarantee your car is in the safest hands, search for companies with glowing reviews and those that offer no-obligation quotes. As an extra precaution, consider enclosed transportation options to nip risks of exterior damage in the bud.
When hunting for trustworthy car shipping companies, keep your eyes peeled for auto transport schemes. Here are seven tips on how to spot and avoid scams.
Get multiple quotes
To avoid getting scammed, you should get multiple quotes. Collecting quotes is an excellent way to know what the going rates are and give you the leverage needed to inquire about their additional fees. Still not convinced the research is worth the headache? You could also be charged with hidden fees if you don’t do enough research.
Although it involves many phone calls and internet browsing, it’s worth the effort to avoid being taken advantage of. If you’re looking for a long-distance move, it’s best to be proactive so that you have time to research your options and have less stress on the big day.
Look for reviews about the company online
A company with a lot of reviews online is usually worth trusting. You can find people who have used the company and their experiences online. This way, you avoid using a fraudulent company by researching others that provide legitimate moves for satisfied customers.
Long-distance movers will need to do this even more than local movers because there are countless options for long-distance moves. Keep in mind that not all reviews are honest, though, so use your best judgment when reviewing each post.
Check their address and phone number
When looking online for a potential mover, see if they have a physical address where you can go in person and talk to a representative face to face. You should also verify their phone number through other means such as calling the main office or asking others who have used the company before to confirm that it’s a legitimate phone number.
You want to avoid going through companies located overseas because this is another common scam tactic. These international auto shipping providers will trick you into believing you need to pay them in advance to book your space on their truck. Then, when the big day arrives, these supposed auto transportation service providers won’t pick up your car and will pocket the money.
Ask your friends or family
If you’re planning on moving across the country or just across the city, ask your friends or relatives if they recommend any great companies. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of someone else’s experience, and it could save you time and money in the long run.
These fellow drivers in your network will also be able to tell you who they think is reputable and experienced.
However, when asking friends and family, make sure that they have actual first-hand experience with the company they recommend. If they don’t, these endorsements will rest on shaky ground.
Verify that you are dealing with a licensed, legitimate operator
There are a lot of drivers who try to scam people for money. For example, they’ll mention an affiliation with a company, but when you pick your car up, the company doesn’t exist anymore.
To avoid this, you should always see if the person or company is licensed and bonded. If they are not licensed, then steer clear immediately because it’s probably only a matter of time before they scam someone else too.
To verify that you are dealing with a licensed operator, you can always ask for references. A legitimate company will generally be happy to give you references from past customers, so that way you can get a better idea of what they are like and how they operate.
Just make sure that you call them and talk to those people to determine whether they’re honest about their experience. If you catch wind of any suspiciously sketchy testimonials from either party, then don’t do business with them.
Insist on written confirmation of all details
This step is pretty simple. You should question everything a company tells you verbally because it can be forgotten or misunderstood over time.
Sometimes, companies that scam people simply say to their victims to trust them, giving them no way of getting their money back when they find out they’re victims of a scam.
When getting multiple estimates from multiple companies before you make a decision, get them in writing. Getting your estimates in writing ensures that everything will work out in the long run. In addition, be sure to make any changes or additions to your order in writing for your protection.
Should they say anything different from what you have written down, you can show them your notes and cancel the job before making a payment.
Take pictures of your vehicle for damage claims
Taking pictures is a good idea for any move, but it’s imperative if you move long distances. If your car is damaged in transit, you will need proof that your vehicle sustained damage in the auto shipping provider’s care.
To cover your bases, take pictures of the vehicle before and after the move. That way, you can file a damage claim with the carrier if need be.
In addition to pictures, walk around and take a video of your vehicle before loading it on the truck. Repeat this procedure afterward to show any differences resulting from damage during transit.
Avoiding scams when transporting your vehicle can be difficult because it is a process that involves many moving parts. However, the more research and due diligence you do before hiring, the smoother the process will be.
By following the tips outlined here on avoiding auto transport scams, you’ll know that you’ve done everything you could to prepare the right way and make the process as stress-free as possible.
When your vehicle transport process is smooth, that’s one less thing on your list of concerns.