How to Choose a Car Shipping Company

At ABC Car Shipping, we believe that transparency and honesty are non-negotiable. However, not everyone sees it this way. Unfortunately, some companies in our industry resort to deceptive practices to secure customers and we see it as our duty to warn you about such practices so you could make an informed decision when choosing a company to transport your vehicle.

Dishonest Brokers

Deceptive Pricing Tactics

First and foremost, due to the nature of this industry, every company that reached out to you, including us, is a broker, meaning that they do not have their own trucks. Therefore, be wary of companies offering rock-bottom prices and guaranteeing specific dates for pickup and delivery. While these offers may seem tempting, their only purpose is to get your business and lock you in a contract to then increase the price dramatically once they secure a driver. Instead of being upfront about the actual costs involved, they resort to dishonest tactics to secure your business and then significantly raise the price on you making you pay almost double or triple the initial amount. The reason for this is that they find themselves unable to locate a driver willing to work for the originally quoted price, so they have no choice but to raise the price on you to turn a profit. Operating on a relatively small scale, these companies always prioritize increasing their broker fee to maximize profits at the expense of customer satisfaction.

At ABC Car Shipping, we do not engage in mentioned deceptive practices, but take a different approach instead. We are committed to finding you the best possible deal to move your vehicle because if the carrier we offer you doesn't meet your needs, we don't get paid.

Constant Overpromising

Beware of representatives who overpromise and assure you that they already have a driver on standby waiting to pick your vehicle up. As mentioned previously broker companies don’t have their own trucks and estimated dates are a standard practice in this industry. Honest companies will provide you with realistic estimates and communicate openly about having to look for a driver first and not being able to guarantee an exact pick-up date and time.

At ABC Car Shipping, we prioritize accuracy and reliability in our estimates, striving to ensure that your vehicle is picked up and delivered according to your preferred schedule. While we can’t guarantee exact pick-up and drop-off dates, our statistics show that more than 98% of all transportations happen on the date requested by the customer.

Upfront Payments

A reputable company would never charge anything upfront. If a company requires an upfront payment before securing a driver, it is a clear sign that they are trying to lock you in a contract. This tactic makes it difficult for you to cancel, especially after they increase the price since not only you are facing cancellation fees, but you've also already paid them, making it more challenging to back out.

At ABC Car Shipping we do not require a deposit from you until after we've secured a driver and you've confirmed that you're satisfied with the carrier we've selected for you. This means there's nothing for you to be concerned about if, for any reason, we are unable to find a suitable driver for your shipment.

We encourage you to thoroughly research and evaluate each company that reaches out to you, including us. We suggest you get a comprehensive picture by reading reviews on Yelp, Google, TrustPilot, TransportReviews.com, and Better Business Bureau (BBB).

  • When viewing Google reviews, we recommend to sort them by Newest on top and check out most recent negative reviews (i.e. 1, 2, and 3 stars) to see if there’s a pattern (i.e. reviewers mention same issues such as last minute driver cancellations and a new driver offered at a significantly higher price – and all of this on a regular basis, including most recent reviews that are no more than 1-2 weeks old). For this purpose, make sure to check the frequency of such negative reviews (i.e. weekly versus monthly, etc.) and when the most recent one was posted (i.e. a week, a month or a year ago, etc.). Of course, nobody is perfect and even honest and reputable companies may from time to time get negative reviews, but such reviews will be rare (i.e. not regular) and have intervals between them longer than just 1-2 weeks.
  • Make sure to check company’s reviews on Yelp.
  • When viewing BBB ratings, we suggest you check out not just company’s reviews, but read complaints closed in last 3 years and complaints closed in last 12 months. Company’s BBB ratings are based on the number of claims (not reviews) and how they are handled and resolved. Please also pay attention if the company is BBB accredited or not - usually (but not always) accredited businesses are more trustworthy.
  • At ABC Car Shipping, we take pride in our commitment to transparency, reliability, and customer satisfaction. As an A-rated and BBB accredited business with excellent reviews, we strive to uphold the highest standards of service and professionalism in the industry.

    If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to proceed with shipping your vehicle, please feel free to reach out to us at (323) 405-4503

    FAQs

    1) What do I do if I have already paid a deposit?

    If you ever find yourself in a situation where you've already paid a deposit to a dishonest broker only to discover later that they engage in deceptive practices such as bait & switch and now you want to change companies without facing cancellation fees, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself and potentially get your money back.

    a) Check Documentation

    Start by gathering any documentation you have from the initial transaction, including emails, contracts, or receipts. Read thoroughly through the contract to see if it mentions cancellation fees and what are the conditions. Check your emails and text messages to see if the broker provided you with any information regarding the carrier company.

    b) Request Carrier Information

    If you have not found any information about the carrier assigned to transport your vehicle in your communication with the broker, reach out to your agent and request to provide you with the carrier’s:

    • Name;
    • U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number, and
    • Motor Carrier (MC) number (i.e. interstate Operating Authority).

    A reputable company should be able to provide you with this information. However, if a company hesitates or refuses to do so, it possibly means that they didn't have a real driver assigned to your shipment in the first place. In such a case most policies allow you to cancel with no cancellation fees and get full refund.

    c) Verify Carrier Information

    If the company you are dealing with does provide you with USDOT or MC number, verify its authenticity by checking it on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. This website allows you to search for carrier information and confirm whether the company is indeed a registered carrier. You will also be better off contacting the carrier company at the phone number on FMCSA website and asking them whether the broker company actually dispatched your order to them (i.e. contacted them, communicated the information about your order and assigned it to them by signing a dispatch sheet). This way you’ll be able to make sure that said carrier is a legit company and the broker company didn’t just make it all up to secure your deposit.

    However, if you find out that the broker company was not honest with you, then armed with the evidence of their deception, contact them and demand full refund of your deposit. Explain that you've uncovered evidence that they didn't have a real driver assigned to your shipment and that you expect a full refund without any cancellation fees.

    2) Why it is not a good idea to book with more than one broker?

    In order to post and find shipments most brokers and carrier companies use the same national load board called Central Dispatch. When you book with multiple brokers, they end up competing against each other to secure offers from drivers through a bidding system (i.e. carriers will contact the highest bidder, and to be the highest bidder every competing broker will keep updating their posted price for a higher one). This competition drives prices up, and you may find yourself paying much more than you or the broker anticipated for the same service.

    Moreover, carriers are often wary of loads posted by multiple brokers for the same vehicle and may hesitate to accept such shipments out of concern that one of the brokers might hire another carrier, which can potentially result in losses if they arrive at the pickup location only to find out that the vehicle has already been picked up by another carrier. To avoid such risks, it’s obvious that carriers prefer the loads posted by just one broker.

    Most importantly, when you book with multiple brokers, you're essentially sacrificing the quality of service and the chance to secure the best carrier for your vehicle. Instead of prioritizing the search for a reputable carrier with a good track record, the brokers' focus shifts to securing a driver as quickly as possible to prevent other brokers from getting your business. Imagine if your vehicle ends up with one of the less reliable carriers and gets damaged on its way to you. While the vehicle will likely be insured, believe us the time and effort spent resolving these issues can quickly outweigh any perceived benefits of booking with multiple brokers. Instead of saving time and securing a better deal, you may find yourself dealing with added stress, delays, unforeseen expenses and increased costs.

    3) How do I verify that the company I’m dealing with is a broker or a carrier?

    To determine whether a company is a car shipping broker or a carrier, you can follow these steps:

    a) Check the Company’s Website and Customer Reviews

    Brokers typically market themselves extensively making their online presence more prominent while most carrier companies do not even have a Google reviews profile.

    b) Review the Company’s Licensing and Registration

    Use Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website to confirm the company's status. This platform enables you to determine if the company holds licensing as a broker or a carrier. Make sure to check both USDOT (United States Department of Transportation) number and MC (Motor Carrier) number and cross-check them against USDOT and MC numbers provided to you by such a company.

    Keep in mind that carriers typically do not reach out directly to customers due to the nature of this industry. Therefore, if a company contacts you regarding transportation services, it's more likely to be a broker.

    4) What do I do if a broker is posting my vehicle without my authorization and refuses to remove it from the load board?

    Firstly, check all your correspondence with the company such as emails, calls, texts and make sure you have not signed any contracts. With the volume of calls, emails, and texts you've likely received after your car shipping inquiry, it's possible to overlook completing an order form with one of the companies.

    If you did book with a company and paid a deposit, read our article on 1) What do I do if I have already paid a deposit? for guidance.

    While filing a complaint with the national load board and considering a legal action are options, this may be not the most practical approach as it could consume valuable time while your vehicle still needs transportation. Instead, one of the most effective strategies to compel the company to take action in such a situation is to directly communicate with your agent or the person you were in contact with. Inform them that since you did not authorize them or withdrew your authorization, whichever is applicable, to post your vehicle on the load board, what they are doing is illegal, and you’ll have no other choice as to report them and share your negative experience online by posting your feedback on a number of review platforms unless they remove your listing. Most broker companies are likely to comply to avoid any possible issues.

    5) Why it is not a good idea to pay any deposit prior to your vehicle being picked up?

    Since brokers don't own their trucks, they must secure a driver first before providing the service. Paying a deposit upfront to a broker means you're committing to a service that hasn't yet been fulfilled, and you have no assurance of when or, if at all, it will be provided. For this very reason, a reputable company won't ask for a deposit or collect any payment upfront. Be wary if a company is asking you to pay a deposit before they find a driver as it leaves you vulnerable to potential fraud or disappointment if the carrier company doesn't meet your expectations. Once a driver is secured, they may quote a much higher price than initially discussed, leaving you in a difficult position as getting your deposit back in such cases can be challenging, especially if the broker refuses to refund it on the basis of having already provided you with the service by finding a driver.

    For guidance on how to recover your deposit if you've already paid one, please refer to our article 1) What do I do if I have already paid a deposit? above.

    6) How do I make sure the broker company is telling the truth that they have a driver?

    Car shipping is an extremely competitive industry, and in their quest to secure your business, some companies may resort to a range of deceptive tactics. For instance, after you inquire about car shipping, you may start receiving text messages such as:

    "Is your vehicle ready for shipment? The driver is waiting for your confirmation to proceed" or

    "Looking for a DEAL to ship your car? I GOT IT FOR YOU call/text me on my cell we have open spots and need to fill text/call me asap" or

    "Cut the middleman and deal directly with the carrier" or

    "I have a driver in your area", etc.,

    which might lead you to believe the company contacting you already has a driver, and their price is final. Some of such companies might straight away claim that the driver is already waiting at your door despite not having specific knowledge of your physical address or the actual availability of a driver.

    If you receive such messages, it's essential to trust your instincts and be cautious. We would recommend avoid companies that send you such texts all together as this is nothing but a deceptive tactics to secure your business by creating a sense of urgency and prompting you to take immediate action so the company could lock you in a contract and then change the price on you afterwards. To check if their claims are true or not, start with verifying their status as either a carrier or a broker on FMCSA website. To access their company snapshot simply type their name or MC or USDOT number. If the company is indeed a broker, their claim of having a driver ready or waiting is likely false. Brokers do not have their own fleet of trucks or drivers and typically need to secure a driver after confirming the shipment with a customer.

    It's important to be wary of such pressure tactics and to take your time to thoroughly research and evaluate any company before making your decision. Don't be rushed into a contract without verifying the company's reviews and ensuring that they are not overpromising.

    MC#: ‍1316725 USDOT: 3730551
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