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5 Tips for Avoiding Car Shipping Scams


5 Tips for Avoiding Car Shipping Scams

Whenever you are trying out a new service, having a bit of apprehension about the legitimacy of the business is expected. Car shipping services are still a relatively new concept for many individuals, and there are plenty of horror stories on the internet about people who have gotten caught up in car shipping scams. If you are considering shipping your car during your next move to save you time and money, check out these tips for avoiding car shipping scams and finding a reputable auto transport company.

Types of Car Shipping Scams?

There are a few different car shipping scams common in the industry; luckily, it is easy to avoid them if you know what to look for when booking an auto shipping service.

Bait and Switch

The most common auto shipping scam is the bait and switch. This is where a company offers a rate for shipping your car well below the industry standard to get you interested. Then, once you have booked the shipping date and paid for the service, no one shows up to transport your car. When you or the scammer reaches out, they’ll tell you that they require more money to ship your vehicle.


This scam is similar to the bait and switch but often targets individuals looking to relocate. The scammer quotes a low rate for moving your vehicle, you book the shipment, and the day of the move arrives. The scammer loads up your car, takes your payment, and leaves. After a while, the scammer calls and tells you that they will require more money to complete your shipping either due to your vehicle being overweight, oversized, or because there was a problem with the shipping address.


Phishing scams are not unique to the auto shipping industry, but they are another type of scam to watch out for when selling your vehicle online. For this method, the scammer will pose as a buyer for your car. After agreeing to purchase the vehicle and shipping it via their “approved shipping company,” they’ll send you a check, which clears.

After a day or so, the buyer will request money back for the shipping of the vehicle via a wire transfer. You’ll send the refunded shipping money to them and, shortly afterward, get a message from your bank that the check has bounced, and the money has been removed from your account.

Fake Seller

Lastly, if you are buying a car online, keep an eye out for this scam. This is where the scammer poses as a seller and offers to sell you a vehicle well below the market value. Once you’ve agreed to purchase the vehicle, they insist that you pay up-front and then never ship the car, claiming the shipping agent is holding it. They’ll often send you to their website and insist that they will return your money, but they never do, and they never deliver the vehicle.

How to Spot an Auto Transport Scam

Sometimes, catching a scam can be difficult; however, there are a few easy ways to identify a scam right off the bat.

  • Confirm that the URL matches the company name.
  • If communicating online, verify the email address uses the company’s domain name. It is likely a scam if it ends in or or any other generic email addresses.
  • Never pay using untraceable services like MoneyGram or Western Union.

Tips for Avoiding Car Shipping Scams

Below, we’ll take a more in-depth look at some of the ways you can avoid falling prey to some car shipping scams and have a great experience with your chosen auto transport company.

  1. Know the Standard Rates and What to Expect

One of the best ways to avoid a car shipping scam is to talk to a lot of companies before deciding on a carrier. You should get quotes from each company you are interested in and compare the pricing, terms, and other options available.

  1. If it Seems Too Good to Be True? It is.

A good rule of thumb is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. All the companies should offer a similar rate for your car, with some slight variation. If one company quotes a price that is far below the others, it is likely a scam.

Additionally, keep in mind that no company can 100% guarantee transit times. Road conditions, traffic, and other unforeseen circumstances make it impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to ship your car. However, most companies will be able to give you a time frame for delivery. If you notice one company with significantly shorter shipping times, that is likely another instance of a scammer trying to hook you.

  1. Research and Read Reviews

Another way to avoid scams or problems with your car shipping experience is to research the companies you are considering. Read online reviews from multiple sources. Some companies will maintain high ratings on a particular website but neglect others, which is why it’s important to find various sources to get an accurate picture of the company’s customer service.

Learning more about the company will also help you understand their values and what you can expect from them during your auto shipping experience.

  1. Get on the Phone

At Preowned Auto Logistics, we believe it is vital to get on the phone and talk to a person at the carrier you are considering. Quoting a rate for shipping a vehicle is a complicated process, and there’s no better way to get a feel for their customer service than speaking with them directly.

When a company quotes you for your auto shipping needs, they will need to ask many questions about the vehicle, including size, age, make, model, etc. Additionally, the carrier will require information on the destination and other factors. It is best for both parties when this exchange takes place over the phone.

  1. Find a Company with a Proper Licensing and Registration

Lastly, you will want to verify that the company you are going with has the proper licensing and registration needed to transport vehicles safely. All carrier companies must register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which assigns the company a number. If the company you are considering does not have a number, they are not allowed to operate.

Additionally, you’ll want to ask about the company’s insurance coverage and policies for your vehicle while in transit.

Choose Preowned Auto Logistics for Your Auto Shipping﹘ Request a Quote Today

If you are considering going with Preowned Auto Logistics for your auto shipping anywhere in the USA, Canada, or overseas, give us a call at 877.542.1955! We’ll work with you personally to provide a custom quote for your auto transport needs.

Sample Customer Reviews

“It was great working with Josh!! Communication was on point, and car was delivered on the exact date. Would definitely recommend this company over any other shipping company!!!”

– Chinda Tham

“I recently hired preowned auto logistics to ship a brand new car from MA to MN. I worked with Jake, and he was professional, helpful, and communicative throughout the whole process, especially when I had to change the departure date.  The driver called my daughter the day before he got to MN, and they worked out a delivery time and place that worked for both of them.”

– Michele Cohen

Read more customer reviews.