These 7 tips will help you avoid car shipping scams

September 2, 2021
Ina Gjika

Shipping a car, especially during a busy season can be a bit tricky as it may be difficult to find drivers right away and at a good price. If you are shipping a car for the first time, perhaps you feel nervous as you are not sure of what questions to ask or what steps to follow. These are just some types of situations where you could become a target of car shipping scams.

As many transactions occur online, the frequency of fraud schemes tends to increase. The key to saving yourself from the hassle of dealing with the consequences of car shipping scams is to be informed and vigilant at all times. Through this post, arm yourself with the information on potential scams and ways to avoid them.

What are the different types of car shipping scams?

Fake seller

As you seek to buy a car online, you find a great deal by a seller who also offers to bake the auto shipping price into the overall vehicle cost. You enter into a deal and the seller tells you that the car is currently held by the car shipping company, giving you their website and contact info. The seller assures you that your cash will be securely held in escrow by the auto shipper, and you decide to wire the money. In fact, the car shipper’s website you were given is also created by the fake seller. There was never a car to be sold or shipped, and you just sent money in vain for a vehicle that will never arrive.

Pre-paid car shipping

This scam, as the title suggests involves a request to pay the entire car shipping cost in advance. Usually, you are either required to make a down payment and pay the rest upon delivery. However, if this is your first time shipping a car, you may easily agree to pre-pay. Ways to incentivize you are a low price and quick driver availability.  You feel tempted by an incredibly good deal and don’t want to miss out on the opportunity. You wire the money only to find out that there is no trace of the car shipping company. All was fake.

Hidden fees scam

In this case, the auto shipping company is real but their service rates are not transparent. This company may initially offer you a very low quote and then ask you to sign a contract to lock the rate. However, as it often happens, somewhere in the contract, it says that other fees may apply during the process. Eventually, you are charged additional fees which raise your costs even higher than some of the quotes you had received during your research. Yet, there isn’t much you can do, as you are already bound by the contract, and your car may have been picked up by the auto shipper. As in the previous scenario – when the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

What are some tips to avoid car shipping scams?

1. Learn to recognize the red flags

Lower than the market prices – the quote you receive is unreasonably low compared to all the other companies, especially during the busy seasons.
Absence of MDOT number and licensing information on the website.
Emails are sent from general domains such as Hotmail, for example, instead of a business domain.
No online reviews or any other information regarding the company, except for its website.
Payments via anonymous untraceable platforms such as MoneyGram or Western Union.

2. Verify the credibility of the company

You can start by checking the Department of Transportation’s website. Each shipping company has to register with the FMCSA and obtain a seven-digit USDOT Motor Carrier Number and a six-digit MC Docket number. Reliable auto transporters will have these numbers available on their website or provide them upon request. You can consult FMCSA for the company’s reliability and safety records.

3. Verify the company’s contact information

Verify the phone number and office location of the company by either calling, checking with Google Maps, or asking a friend to check it out in person in case they live nearby.

4. Check online reviews

Read online reviews from Google, Yelp, Facebook, TrustPilot, or ask friends and colleagues if they have heard of this car shipper.

5. Pay attention to paperwork details

Read any contract and terms and conditions before you contract the car shipping services and pay a deposit. Confirm that there are no additional or hidden fees.

6. Get the driver’s contact

Speak directly with the driver to get information on the shipping status of your car.

7. Inquire about the means of payment

Always ask to pay using verifiable means such as bank transfers, checks, or credit cards.

Although anyone can become a victim of a scam, you can reduce your chances by following these tips. For more information and tips on how to stay safe from car shipping scams, you can also check this post.

You can also call us at Corsia Logistics and our logistics experts will answer any car shipping questions you may have. After years of operating in the car shipping industry, we know how much your car means to you. Our five-star reviews reflect our quality of service, transparency, and professionalism. Contact us anytime to get advice and your free, no-obligation quote.