We all want to believe that other people are honest and well-intentioned toward us. Unfortunately, giving someone the benefit of the doubt might leave you doubting your bank account. When it comes to shipping your car, falling for scams could leave you up you-know-which creek without a paddle.
People who have fallen into the traps of these deceitful providers can tell you how they lure customers in with fake websites, only for the customer to realize later their auto transport services are non-existent.
Luckily, it’s hard to make a living from scamming today because of the abundant anti-scammer information available to consumers. Below are five scams you should be wary of when looking for an auto transport company to ship your car.
Signs of a reliable auto transport provider
When it comes to avoiding scams, you should know how a reliable company looks and acts. Here are some signs of a car shipping company you can trust with your caddy and your cash:
- The company has excellent customer reviews on its website, and the insurance is verifiable.
- The price should be affordable, but not too low. The quality of services goes hand in hand with the price. The company should be very open on its pricing, with no hidden charges whatsoever.
- The auto transporting provider gives you enough time to consider its services without rushing or pressuring you into choosing them.
- Has no requirements to make payments via a wire transfer.
Reputable transporters like Guardian Auto Transport (https://guardianautotransport.com/) will do their best to make you feel confident and comfortable throughout the shipping process.
Auto transport scams to spot when shipping your vehicle
Before you swipe your credit card and turn in your keys, here are five auto transport scams to keep an eye out for.
1. Suspicious payment methods
Some scammers may try to persuade you to give out your credit card details before you have even agreed to their terms. They may claim that handing over your card information guarantees your reservation or that they need your card number to provide your free quote. Never share your card information until you’ve read the company’s terms and conditions and signed a contract.
You should also stay wary of wire. Any company that asks you to pay via wire transfer is as good as trying to steal your money. No genuine auto transporting company will ever ask you to wire money or pay with prepaid debit cards.
On the other hand, you should also stay vigilant if a provider charges an extra fee for paying by credit card. Surcharges are only legal in some states, so check your state law before handing over that extra percentage.
2. Questionable claims
If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Some scammers will try to lure you with false claims such as “guaranteed spot” before you even make your payment. Genuine companies will have details such as which specific transports and drivers are available and won’t describe the transport contract in terms of “spots.”
Scammers will also never say “no” to consumer demand. Often, they’re quick to provide any service a customer asks for and even offer a guarantee. If a “provider” quickly assures you of complimentary amenities or a specific delivery time, hang up and find another option.
In this industry, differing traffic and weather conditions make timed guarantees nearly impossible, which any reputable service provider should be upfront about.
3. Unbelievably low auto transport prices
Swindlers may quote misleading shipping quotes that are much lower than what other providers offer. Though expensive doesn’t always mean better, you also should be wary of the cheapest options, especially if they’re drastically different than even the next inexpensive option.
If a provider quotes unbelievably low prices, don’t hesitate to question them. There may be other hidden charges in their terms and conditions. Ultimately, you may find yourself having to pay much more than your initial quote.
Before making the payment, ask for all the charges, including what is missing in the quote. As always, get all of the information in writing before you agree to pay any costs.
4. The gas card trick
Some fake auto shipping providers may try to trick you by luring you in with false promises of a complimentary gas card when you hire their services. No actual auto transport provider will ever promise you free gas as an incentive for hiring their service.
This “prepaid gas Visa” is, unfortunately, a prevalent scam. If you’re skeptical, run a quick Google search. The horror stories from victims of this scam might convince you to hold a healthy suspicion of any gifts.
5. Absence of a bill of lading at the loading point
The Bill of Lading is a legal document required for shipping in all fifty states. Your transporter is not allowed to leave your car behind before you sign it. The Bill of Lading protects you from liability in case your car sustains damages during shipping. If a transporter tries to rush you through signing it or isn’t present for the signing, it’s a good bet that they don’t have good intentions toward you or your vehicle.
At the same time, however, you shouldn’t believe false assurances about the safety of items left in your car. Carrier insurance doesn’t typically cover personal items, so most auto transporters will warn you to remove valuables before shipping. Any transporter that doesn’t warn you of this or tries to guarantee the safety of personal belongings should be regarded with caution.
Above are the most common auto transport scams you’re likely to encounter in the auto shipping industry. Happy shipping, and remember, when in doubt, go with your gut.