Tips to Avoid Auto Shipping Scams

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Online scams, or frauds, are more common in today’s world than you may imagine. Shopping for items on the internet may result in a complete loss of money or even worse if the website has fake information and scamming payment processes. 

The internet allows anyone to build a website from scratch. You can build your own ecommerce site for your recent entrepenuriship, portfolio, or any other project that you consider will have a positive growth on the internet. 

However, certain people will build a website for completely different and nefarious purposes. Since anyone can do “whatever” they want on their site, some prefer to take advantage of that by scamming users through tricky, malicious methods. 

The Origin of Online Scamming

Since the internet was first introduced to the world, users began to scam as well. There was no gap of time between the internet's birth and online fraud's arrival. They all emerged at the same time. In the early 1990s, the online revolution exploded, helping thousands of people to gain more venture-based income while spending less, different industries grew tremendously, and the world started moving at a much faster pace. 

Everything changed, including the way of conning people. Nowadays, there are countless numbers of scam artists nearly everywhere on the internet. Therefore, the world has developed cyber-security and educational strategies and methods in order to avoid falling into a fraudulent scenario during an online purchase or search. Also, professional hackers and coding experts are constantly building up new alternatives to lower the scamming rate, since it tends to increase rapidly. 

Car Shipping Scams: Are They Frequent?

Since the transportation industry is extremely reliable and professional, car shipping scams are not as common as in other types of businesses. Despite that, auto transport scams do exist, and hundreds of people have experienced it for not having previous knowledge of what a transportation fraud could appear as. Along the reading, we will discuss different methods and tips so that your car shipping company and experience is a hundred percent reliable and successful. 

How do Auto Transport Scams Occur?

Scams for car shipping can occur in many different ways. Bait and switch scams are the most common, where the sellers create an appealing but ingenuine offer of a shipping they are not intended to do. 

Frequently, new or less reputable auto transport companies tend to attract their potential customers by offering low shipping rates. To be honest, everyone likes cheap costs, and because of that, the scamming procedure has worked for years. 

The thing here is that when the customer hires the service for the price he was told, things will eventually start to change without good explanation. Most scamming companies will ask you for more money by increasing costs, and will give you a bunch of nonsensical reasons for that. 

New car movers will accept the additional costs since they will prefer to continue the process rather than start it all over again with a new company. Sadly, they will be scammed and probably asked to pay much more than what a reliable car transport company would.

Red Flags on A Car Shipping Procedure

Confusion, lack of customer service, and no previous experience or education in car shipping procedures are the most common reasons for why customers fall on car shipping scams. Most of the time, the scamming process looks something like this:

  1. The company will offer you a shipping price much lower than at any other car shipping company. The price will be so affordable and attractive that you might even think “this is too good to be true”. 
  2. After you hire the service, you will be requested to do an upfront payment before even starting the work. And if you’re required to pay via wire transfer instead of credit card, take that as another warning sign.
  3. Right after that, your carrier search will begin. If you’re lucky enough to find a carrier that will ship your vehicle for that price, believe it, you’ve won the lottery. Most of the time truckers won’t accept such low fares. 
  4. That will lead to additional fees on your total price, making you pay more for several reasons the company will build up to make you pay. 
  5. Once you’ve paid the total amount, which might result much higher than the original one, your shipping will begin. 
  6. Most of the time, these companies don’t have professional truckers and shipping services. Therefore, your car will be highly prone to get unexpectedly damaged. 
  7. Low insurance coverage, numerous delays, poor treatment of your vehicle, non-professional shipping equipment, among others, are additional factors that are common in auto shipping scams. 

Fact: There are even scams where your money will be totally taken and no shipping of your vehicle will actually happen. 

Steps to Avoid Vehicle Shipping Scams

Now that you have learned about the red flags on car shipping scamming, there are also multiple ways of avoiding it before even hiring the service. They’re quite simple and will lead you to find the perfect, professional, and reliable company for your vehicle’s transport. Check them out:

Gather Reliable Information of Your Car Shipping Company 

Being able to find information on each website that will ensure you've found a legitimate company, will guarantee you a good experience during the journey, and free from any possible scams.

Company address: Is there any address? Does the address exist? Are you able to find it on the map?

Sometimes, scamming companies don’t have any address on their details. Addresses are a reliable source since they will let you know about the location of the company and will assure you that it is a legit auto transport company. Remember to check the address well, because, in rare cases, these companies add false information to their details. Do an internet search of the address.

Company phone number: Is the phone legit? Are you able to make a call?

Always check the phone channels of the company. They should be located at the bottom of the home page, or in the details section. If there is no phone number, keep that as a warning sign. If there is, make a call and verify its the company’s actual phone number. Do an internet search of the contact numbers.

Customer service system: Are there any real agents to solve your inquiries? Does the company have any modern chat bots? Do chat bots respond quickly?

Real agents are crucial for solving any possible misunderstandings, problems, inquiries or comments. They are always available via phone number, text, email or even at the company’s chat box on the website. 

Chat bots are a modern way of speaking to customers in a much more targeted way, which is also a good customer service method. Most modern and experienced auto transport companies have chat bots on their customer service systems. This ensures that the company is up to date with customer activities, and is constantly changing towards more effective results and successful shipping for the clients.

Customer service treatment: How do agents or bots speak to you? Their tone of voice is friendly and welcoming? Do you notice any response protocol?

The way an agent or customer service expert treats you is a sign that the company cares about their client’s experience during the process. A warm greeting, nice talk, professional vocabulary, and structured responses are all part of a positive customer service treatment. Take that into account when contacting customer service.

BBB & FMCSA: Does the company have the Better Business Bureau rating and FMCSA license? You can check that on the company’s website or both entities' sites.

The BBB and the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) are accredited organizations that establish if the company is registered and approved for auto transportation of different types of vehicles. These licenses guarantee that you’re transporting your vehicle with a qualified auto shipping company that has no previous scam incidents. 

Customer reviews: Are there any customer reviews on the company’s website? Do they seem real? Are they updated regularly?

Customer reviews are a key element for identifying a safe car shipping experience. Reliable and safe auto shipping companies will include their customer reviews directly on their website. Most of them are ranked with stars as well, and are written directly by real customers telling about their past shipping experiences.

Remember to check the date of the last customer review, since reading an evaluation from 2019 is not the same as reading one from 2022. Companies change, as such, experiences change as well. 

Also, if you see that most of the reviews are negative, then try looking for another company. But, if most of them are positive with quite some other negative reviews, give it a try. Not everything ends up being perfect after all!

Once you’ve noticed all of these different aspects, you’ll get a clear picture of what the company could be like. And, if it has the majority of these signs, you can trust their service even more.