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How to Avoid Car Shipping Scams (Podcast)

How to Avoid Car Shipping Scams (Podcast)

Mike Scenna, sales manager at PreOwned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company located in Massachusetts, discusses how to car shipping scams.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Mike Scenna, sales manager at PreOwned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. Today our topic is How To Avoid Cars Shipping Scams. Welcome Mike.

Mike Scenna: Hey John.

What Are Car Shipping Scams?

John: So Mike, how common are car shipping scams and what are they?

Mike: Yeah, so they’re probably more common than you’d think. I don’t know if I’d call them scams, exactly. I haven’t seen a lot of people completely lose their money out there, but there’s definitely some things that happen that I don’t think create the best experience for the customer. The most common one we see by far is sort of the old bait and switch. When people go to ship a car you’re going to gather a lot of quotes. If it’s something you haven’t done before you probably want to make sure you’re getting the best price. A lot of people I talk to, regular customers, will tell me they’ve gotten other quotes and some of them come in so low, it seems too good to be true. And that’s because it is too good to be true.

A lot of these companies would give you a really low quote, take the order, get your money and then the day comes to move the car, and no one’s there. A couple days go by and no one’s there. You get in touch with them and they tell you they apologize. They came in too low and they need more money to move the car so you end up paying closer to what the other quotes that you got were. But they came in low just to get you in the door, get you with their company and then creep up the price, creep up the price until you’re right back where the average is. That’s a really common one.

I have seen people give deposits to companies, that’s why I say it’s very important to check out your reviews, get someone on the phone. Don’t always just do it online because I have seen people give deposits of a hundred, maybe $200 on a big move. Again, the day comes to move the car and they don’t hear from anyone. No one shows up and they just aren’t able to move the car and they don’t see their deposit back. [crosstalk]

How to Avoid Car Shipping Scams

John: So, how would it normally work for a reputable company? Are you normally asked to give a deposit or how does that work? What should people be expecting?

Mike: Right. So we ask for a payment in full upfront and we have an order confirmation with a refund policy. We also have a money back guarantee at our company. So if your mood doesn’t go the way it was supposed to go, then you’ll get your money back. If you decide to cancel your move or something comes up and you can’t do the move, you get your money back. And you pay us with a credit card, which we also feel is a lot more secure. There are companies out there that post, no upfront payment, no deposit, but then you’re looking to pay cash or a check to a driver at the end of the transport, which isn’t always the most secure way to do that either.

So yeah, we tell people to look into the company. Take in to who you’re giving your money to. Make sure it’s a reputable company. Make sure this is a safe place that you’re sending your money.

Types of Car Shipping Scams

John: Any other sort of scams that you’ve heard of other than the bait and switch with the low quote and then the deposit thing?

Mike: That bait and switch one is by far, and it just comes in a few different forms. Other than that, there’s really not too much more. You might get people on transit times, promising times that are unrealistic. Again, that comes with a conversation and especially if timing is important to you. Anyone out there who promises transit times, it’s not really possible. So the best thing to do is talk to someone so they can understand how important times are to you so they can do their best to make sure that the entire shipment goes well and doesn’t really mess things up in everyday life for you too much.

So more to just digging in and as I always say, I’ve said to you before getting on the phone with someone, I don’t think that this is the kind of thing that you should do just by filling out a form online. It’s a big endeavor. You’re shipping a car across the country, and I think you should be on the phone with someone so you can help them understand what your needs are and also understand what to expect.

John: Have you ever heard of somebody, actually again, maybe giving a deposit and then their car gets picked up and then while their car is no longer in their control, it’s like on a truck somewhere. Then the company calls and says, “Hey, in order to deliver this car you’re going to have to pay extra.” Is that just another variation on that bait and switch type of thing?

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. It could happen like that. I’ve heard of instances like that now that you mention it, where they may say something along the lines that they didn’t understand the delivery address, as well as they had spelled it out. Or it didn’t come through the order form, or it wasn’t presented properly on the front end and they’re going to need more money now to get to location.

I’ve also heard, now that you bring that up, I’ve heard of companies calling people while the vehicle is in route, asking for more money because they were overweight at a weigh station and the car was over packed. So again, these are all things that I believe can be avoided by just proper communication on the front end of the move. So yeah, that stuff happens, as well.

John: Yeah, so really the main thing is just to make sure that you’re working with a reputable company, checking out their reviews online and things like that. That’s what you can do as a consumer.

Mike: Right? Yeah. Again, it’s a big thing you’re doing, so I wouldn’t take it lightly. Look into it. The short answer is yes, there are scams out there. It is something you should be cautious about doing and skeptical about who you work with. Make people answer questions. Ask the right questions and look for the right answers before you choose a company.

John: All right Mike, that’s great information about avoiding car shipping scams. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Mike: Yeah, thanks John.

John: And for more information or to request a quote for your auto shipping needs, visit the website at Or call (877) 542-1955.