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Auto Transport Scams: Beware of Shady Carriers Demanding More Money on Delivery

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

The auto transport industry is a vital component of the automotive ecosystem, enabling the seamless movement of vehicles across long distances. Whether you're relocating, purchasing a new car, or sending a vehicle to a loved one, auto transport services can be a convenient solution. However, like any industry, there are bad actors seeking to take advantage of unsuspecting customers. One common auto transport scam involves carriers accepting a load for one price and then demanding more money on delivery. In this article, we'll shed light on this deceptive practice and offer tips on how to protect yourself from falling victim to it.

auto transport scams

Understanding the Scam The essence of the auto transport scam we're discussing revolves around deceptive pricing. Carriers initially provide a customer with a competitive quote to ship their vehicle. This quote is often lower than the prevailing market rates, making it an attractive proposition. However, once the car is loaded onto the carrier and en route to its destination, the customer receives a call or email from the carrier, claiming that unforeseen circumstances have arisen. These circumstances could be anything from sudden fuel price hikes, route changes, or additional insurance costs.

In response, the carrier demands additional payments, often significantly higher than the original quote. The customer is left with a difficult choice: pay the inflated fee or risk having their vehicle held hostage until payment is made. This bait-and-switch tactic preys on the customer's desperation to have their vehicle delivered, leaving them feeling helpless and taken advantage of.

Protecting Yourself from Auto Transport Scams

  1. Research Thoroughly: Before entrusting your vehicle to any carrier, do your homework. Read online reviews and check the company's reputation on platforms like the Better Business Bureau. This will help you identify reputable carriers and avoid potential scams.

  2. Get Multiple Quotes: Obtain quotes from several auto transport companies and compare them. While a lower quote may be attractive, be wary of prices that seem too good to be true.

  3. Insist on a Written Contract: Never accept verbal agreements. Ask for a written contract that outlines the agreed-upon price and all associated terms and conditions. This will protect you in case any disputes arise later.

  4. Avoid Upfront Payments: Legitimate auto transport companies typically do not require upfront payments. Be cautious of carriers demanding full payment before they've even loaded your vehicle.

  5. Verify Insurance: Ensure the carrier has appropriate insurance coverage for your vehicle during transit. Ask for proof of insurance and review the coverage details.

  6. Document Vehicle Condition: Before handing over your vehicle, document its current condition with photographs. This will serve as a record should any disputes arise regarding damage during transit.

  7. Communicate Clearly: Maintain clear communication with the carrier throughout the process. Any sudden changes in the agreement should be well-documented and agreed upon in writing.

  8. Report Suspicious Behavior: If you encounter a carrier attempting to scam you, report the incident to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and local law enforcement. Your report may prevent future victims from falling into the same trap.

Conclusion Auto transport scams that involve carriers accepting loads at one price and then demanding more money on delivery are deceptive and unfair. While the majority of auto transport companies are reputable and committed to delivering a quality service, it's crucial to remain vigilant and take precautions when choosing a carrier. By doing your research, getting everything in writing, and being aware of the warning signs of scams, you can protect yourself and your vehicle from unscrupulous operators in the auto transport industry. Don't let a tempting quote turn into a costly and frustrating experience.

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