How to avoid car shipping scams
This article is aimed to educate our customers/ visitors to this blog on the car shipping process in general, with no necessary connection to the Cargo World Link (www.shippingcarsworldwide.com) process.
International car shipping and transportation is a complicated business. That’s why freight forwarders exist; they help shippers (customers) with all the international shipping procedures so that shippers can focus on the details of their own other businesses.
Unfortunately, there are times shippers rush into a transaction with a car shipping company and get scammed or ripped off.
There are numerous incidents where customers with good intention, end up being victims of car shipping/ transportation scams. How does this happen in this day and age? To understand how fraudsters are able to gain the trust and deceive many people we have realise that the internet allows unprecedented market access to criminals that lie and cheat. In the past it took years of good service and investment to build a reputation and a client base, but now there are brokers who simply buy leads without having to worry about their reputation. There are people who simply misuse this trust to defraud innocent victims. However, sometimes people are just prone to these scams due to lack of knowledge. Below is a summary of the common issues you need to be aware of to reduce the chances of being scammed. The best thing to do as consumer is to be especially cautious on who you hire to ship your car. Follow these guidelines to not Get Taken for a Ride When Shipping Your Car.
- Too cheap or too expensive
Many shippers get into trouble because they choose their freight forwarder or shipping company completely based on car shipping prices. While freight rates are important when importing and exporting goods, they should not be your number one determining factor when choosing a freight forwarder or shipping company. Customer service and experience, as examples, are both more important.
Whenever a quote is unbalanced compared with what other car shippers offer there is a great chance that, sooner or later, the shipping company will have some explaining to do. There are logical reasons for fluctuating prices, such as seasonal demand, but fraudsters often prey on people looking for the best deal.
The cost that shipping companies charge for their services can certainly vary. If you request multiple car shipping quotes and there is one substantially low quote you feel you cannot overlook, you should know the main three reasons a car shipping company could afford such alluring charms: hidden fees, terminal to terminal services or low payments offered to the actual car transporters. Take some time to read more about the dangers of extremely cheap car transport services.
While an unbalanced high cost does not guarantee the absence of any of the problems above, it generally means one thing: you are getting ripped off.
As a rule, anything that deviates too much from average should be regarded with caution
- Check the Website
Respectable companies will invest in their website and care how they present themselves. Bad, unusable or outdated design are all signs of a company that isn’t going to be there for the long haul. A reputable website will clearly list a phone number as well as the address of the company you are dealing with
Someone who doesn’t put any effort in his/her own image is highly unlikely to put any effort in anything else. Keep in mind that creating a high-quality website is not a significant challenge anymore.
Does the website offer only generic information without a clear explanation of the process? Do they care to objectively inform the customer about the car shipping process without trying to sell themselves? Are you introduced to the people behind the curtains? Does their website look like it was created by the neighbour’s cousin, who happens to build websites in his spare time?
The fact that a company pops up among your first results when you are searching for options on the internet is not a guarantee for the quality of their services. Getting a website to rank high and shipping a car are two completely different things
The way a company presents itself may not be the most accurate way of measuring their performance, but it is still a good indicator as to how they view “quality” and how much of that you’ll get.
- Avoid Multiple Bid Sites
There are websites that take your information and resell to other brokers, in some cases up to 10 different brokers. The problem with this is that you will get overwhelmed with phone calls and emails and are more likely to make a mistake. Another issue is that most 3rd party lead companies have no vetting processes – so practically anyone can sign up; the website operators are simply in the business of selling your information to the highest, and at times unscrupulous bidders.
- Large deposit required up front
While some perfectly respectable companies may require you to pay a deposit before they pick up your car and ship it this may also be a sign of lack of confidence in their abilities to resolve your car shipping requests or, in the worst case, their smart way of letting you down and make a financially favourable way out.
Be curious about the necessity of this deposit and if you pay a deposit use a credit card just in case of a future dispute if the company accepts such method of payment.
- Fairy-tale promises
Promises that sound too good (and usually are) may be the reason why the shipping company requires the initial deposit. Beware of companies that offer extremely cheap, next-day services. Whoever has been in this business long enough knows that shipping a car is largely a game of circumstances, and that every order is unique, as is every attempt to respond to it. International car shipping is known for challenges that are sometimes out of the shipping company’s control. Delays in vessels loading and off-loading at various transit ports, change of vessels, bad weather and sometimes pirates can cause unforeseen delays.
That DOES NOT mean these promises have no chance to be kept – only that you should remember to run some extensive checks on the company and see if they are in a good habit of delivering what they promise. If you choose to trust them obtain these promises in writing where ever possible.
- Unreliable instant quote
Some companies offer instant online estimates. If you ask for one:
Do not take it literally. The estimate might not take into consideration extra fees like door to door services, insurance coverage, or terminal fees.
- Read the fine print.
Always ask for a customised quote, that considers only your particular situation. Every shipping company should have an easy system that allows you to request such a quote.
Spend some minutes playing with the instant quote system. If you ask what it costs to move a car 10 miles down the road and you get an estimate of some hundreds, you know the system is unreliable.
The point is, you should spend some extra time asking questions, rather than relying exclusively on what the online system tells you.
- Check Insurance
Established freight forwarders will carry additional insurance to protect their customers. You must clarify the level of marine insurance cover that is offered (if any) before you ship your car. Most customers are under the false assumption that there is automatic insurance cover provided by shipping companies. You need to make sure you are clear on this one before it is too late.
This article is intended for information and guidance only. It cannot be used as a basis of making a decision to use Cargo World Link as your preferred shipping company. Tips stated above do not necessarily represent those of Cargo World Link.