A car is one of the most beloved and valuable things, and therefore, when it becomes necessary to transport it between states, you need to take the most responsible approach to choosing a transport company. There are many of them on the transport services market, but only a few deserve trust. There are a variety of fraudulent schemes, and therefore it is worth being very attentive to details, because even the slightest oversight can cost the owner of the “iron horse” very expensive. In this article, we will focus on the most popular fraudulent schemes, signs of unscrupulous companies, and tell you what to do if you still fall into the clutches of scammers.
How Do Fraudulent Car Shipping Companies Work?
Lack of registration and insurance
Car carriers must be registered with a government agency called the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration. To receive this registration, they must have certain minimum amounts of insurance coverage. However, not everyone adheres to this scheme of work – many work illegally. To check for registration, you must insert the vehicle number on the FMCSA website. On the site you can check the availability of registration and the required levels of insurance. It is one of the most popular auto transport scams.
Most trucking companies on the market are not actually direct carriers. This means that in fact they are only intermediaries (brokers) and find a carrier to perform a particular transportation. being a broker it’s not a scam as brokers help customers to save time and get a great carrier for a reasonable price.
But the snag lies in something else – in the mechanism for getting paid for the service. If the broker insists on receiving the insurance money before they say who will be the carrier – run! This clearly indicates that cooperation will not give you pleasure. Many contracts include a clause according to which, if the service is canceled for a certain number of days, the deposit will not be returned back.
A company that values its reputation will not use this and charge you only after pickup, but some may first name a low price for the service, then wait until the cancellation period ends, and then say that the price is too low and no one will work for it. In such a situation, the customer will either have to pay the announced price in order for the delivery to be completed, or lose the deposit and time.
Hidden Language in the Contract
This cannot be called fraud, although some may consider the inclusion of certain conditions in the contract of the trucking company as fraudulent activities. In fact, by signing a contract, a person agrees to everything that is stipulated by the terms of the contract (whether you read it or not is your own business). However, there are situations when companies include illegal clauses in the contract – in this case, the need for their execution can be challenged in court. And it takes a lot of time and effort, and of course money too. A typical example of a disadvantageous item for the client is the deposit item described above.
Hide the Damage
It happens that cars are damaged during transportation (the reasons may be different). If a company values its reputation, then it will not hide the fact of damage and try to somehow shirk responsibility. Small companies that are afraid for every penny will try in every way to hide the fact of damage and delay time. If a scratch or dent is found even a couple of hours after delivery, then nothing can be done. If you are offered to deliver the car at night, then you should be wary. The same thing happens if the car was delivered dirty. What darkness, what a swamp can perfectly mask scratches or small dents.
Add On Fees
Suspiciously low prices are a sign that you may be required to pay hidden costs after you agree to transport the car. Before signing a contract, make sure that all costs including taxes, fees, service charges and more are already included in the price.
How To Identify A Fraudulent Shipping Company?
Recognizing a company that is fraudulent is difficult. Some are good at disguising themselves. Nevertheless, there are a number of points that may indicate that you should not order a car transportation service from a particular company:
How To Avoid Fraudulent Car Shipping Companies?
Check out company reviews
Before signing a contract, check the reviews and ratings of the company on independent sites. Reviews are key when analyzing the work of the company and therefore you should definitely pay attention to them. It is also worth checking out the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website and the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) and checking the carrier for any complaints.
Such a primary selection allows you to weed out some of worst auto transport companies. Unfortunately, the industry does not provide consumer protection. The rules and regulations are extremely focused on the safety of trucks and drivers, but they end there. There is little or no regulation on how services are sold to the consumer. This leaves open the possibility of becoming a victim of motor vehicle fraud.
Read the contract for the delivery of the car
When signing a contract, stay away from questionable points. Often they can be interpreted not in favor of the customer of the service. You should also be alerted if the company does not provide an agreement in advance for review. If there is nothing to hide, then the conditions can be viewed on the website or at the link that managers will gladly provide. The contract must detail all the conditions relating to the delivery of a car, vehicle insurance, compensation for damage, pricing procedures, etc.
Pay attention to details – the high speed of the organization is not always an indicator of the high quality of services
You should be alerted if the carrier agrees too quickly on all the conditions for sending a car from state to state, etc. Usually, it takes time to agree on all the details. Of course, there are cases when the stars converge and the company accidentally ends up in the right place at the right time, but this is rather an exception to the rule. After all, the selection of a car and the speed of its delivery are influenced by seasonality, the dimensions of the cargo being transported, points of loading and unloading, etc. In order not to fall for scammers, check with the person who communicates with you, the contact number of the carrier, and all the details of shipping (possibility of door-to-door delivery, delivery date, and other information).
Check for a license
Transportation can only be carried out by companies that have licenses. If the MC number (truck number) or DOT number is not displayed at the bottom of the web page, then most likely the company is operating illegally and the quality of service will be poor.
Be critical of shipping conditions
If you are offered a low price for transportation that is too different from other offers on the market, then most likely the company is a scammer. The same applies to situations where you are promised too fast delivery times for cars. Unfortunately, transporting a car is not a wave of a magic wand, it takes time, and if all companies promise to deliver the car within 7 days, and someone is having lunch to do it in 2 days, then most likely something is wrong here.
What To Do If You Are A Victim Of A Scam Shipping Company?
No matter how attentive a person is, he can still fall into the hands of scammers. In this case, it is necessary:
Is there a list of auto transport companies to avoid somewhere?
No, there is no such list anywhere. Each position of interest should be analyzed individually, analyzing such points as: pricing procedure, availability of a license, site quality, etc.
What signs unite the worst auto transport companies?
As a rule, they combine: a bad one-page site, lack of transparent pricing, the presence of reviews that contain information about car shipping scams, transport reviews fake on paid sites, etc.
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