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How to Avoid Car Shipping Scams

We’ve all heard the saying “it’s better to be safe than sorry.” This is particularly true when you ship your car. For most people, a car is vital part of their lives. It takes them to work and the grocery store. It can be inconvenient and irritating to ship your car and have it arrive late. Unfortunately, this can happen if you don’t know how to check out car shippers and make sure they deliver on the promises they make you.

The Lowest Quote Is Not Always the Best Quote:

You’ve probably found this to be true in other areas of your life. It is not always wise to make your decision purely on price. Quality matters too and you usually get more quality and better service the more you pay for something. While this is not always true, it is a good idea to consider factors beyond price.   Sometimes companies will quote you a lowball price and then add on extra, hidden fees after you have committed and it is too much of a hassle to back out. All car shippers have expenses when they ship your car. These include the overhead of running a business, the cost of gas, storage space, and insurance. You don’t not want to get in a situation where your car is “held hostage” until you pay extra fees you weren’t aware of until your car was delivered. This can turn into a nightmare process and you have little room to negotiate if you need your car right away.   Not every good deal is shady, but you want to make sure you know what you’re getting and paying upfront. One of the great things about our site is you can get multiple quotes and if one of them is way below the average you know you need to dig deeper.

Do Your Homework

After you get your quotes, you can begin to do your homework on the companies you like the most or who give you the best offers.   Start by finding out about the basics of the company, including the name, address, and any phone numbers. You also need the USDOT or DOT number, which is used to monitor the safety management practices of the company. The company also needs interstate Operating Authority (or a MC number), which is required of all auto transport companies. You can check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and confirm they have an active license.   If they pass this test than you can take the next step and ask for references and make sure they have adequate insurance. Also, do a search online for good and bad reviews, but keep in mind that some reviews may not be legitimate. A personal reference you can call and talk to is more reliable.   Also, keep in mind that a company doesn’t need to have zero negative reviews to be a reputable company. In the Internet age, companies can have a few bad reviews and still be okay. Many times the only customers who write review are ones that had a problem. But if you see a number of bad reviews, you probably need to look elsewhere.

Know the Difference Between a Broker and Carrier

Your can set up your car transport through a carrier or a broker. A carrier is a single entity that will handle the actual shipping of your car. A broker is a middleman who will work with multiple carriers to find you the best deal. If they’re a good one they will also help you find the carrier that is best for your type of situation and vehicle.   You still have to proceed with caution as some brokers only focus on getting you the best price not the best car shipper for your specific situation. But brokers can usually find you better rates since they have a variety of carriers to choose from.   Carriers usually ship your car faster because you are cutting out the middleman.  You also know who is responsible if something goes wrong since you’re only dealing with one company.

Read the Terms and Conditions on the Bill of Lading

Auto transport companies may not offer you an official contract. Instead you’ll receive a confirmation that includes the companies terms and conditions. This is your agreement or contract so read it carefully. It should explain the details of the shipping process and detail your commitment. Many car-shipping companies will even include a FAQ with questions that are asked a lot.

Contact a Real Live Person

Sometimes, because you can do so much research online these days, customers fail to take the simple and important step of contacting a real, live person who represents the company. It’s always a good idea to find a contact number, call it and ask your questions. You can usually get a pretty good idea if the company is competent and trustworthy after the conversation.   Your car is a big investment and being without it can cost you a lot of time, energy and money. So it’s worth taking a few extra steps to make sure you’re working with a reliable company, not just one that offers the lowest price.
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