The Fine Print in Car Shipping Contracts (Podcast)
Mike Scenna from Preowned Auto Logistics (PAL) talks with John Maher about the fine print in car shipping contracts. He explains cancellation policies, pick-up and delivery details, liability, insurance, and more.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher, and I’m here today with Mike Scenna, sales manager at Preowned Auto Logistics, a car shipping and auto transport and logistics company in Massachusetts. And today, our topic is the fine print in car shipping contracts. Welcome, Mike.
Mike Scenna: Hey John, how’s it going?
Cancellation Policies on Car Shipping Contracts
John: Good. So there’s a lot, I’m sure, that goes into a contract that deals with car shipping from one place to another. And there’s maybe a lot of things that I’m sure you discuss with your customers, but maybe people kind of forget about it, or it’s like a little bit of that fine print stuff, the details that maybe they don’t always remember for every one of their car shipping experiences.
So, I want to just talk about a few of the things. And the first one is like a cancellation policy. What is the cancellation policy for a car shipping contract? Is that something that, up until a certain point before it gets shipped, I can just call you and cancel it? Or what’s the policy there?
Mike: Yeah, so that’s something great to look into John. And first and foremost, you want to make sure that there is one, that you actually have one in place. So, as we’ve talked about before, there are tons of car shipping companies out there, anywhere from really big car shipping companies, brokerages with lots of trucks or lots of resources to trucks, and also just small companies with individuals just on a single truck and they’re looking to haul a few cars around the country.
So, you want to make sure you actually have a policy, a cancellation policy or a contract in general. Because there’s a lot of companies out there that will take an order from you just verbally and take money, and you have a no contract and nothing in place. And that’s something you want to stay away from.
I see it all the time. I hear it all the time. And that can be scary, because if something goes wrong and you have to make a last minute change, or someone’s unable to move your car, you could be out money and you have no one moving the car. It does happen. People take money and they’re not able to move the car. So, you want to make sure you have a cancellation policy. Typically, you want to be able to get your money back.
Our company here, we offer a full refund as long as you’re canceling in an adequate amount of time. So, there’s a lot of work that goes into preparing for shipping a car. We spend a lot of time looking for a carrier to find that spot on a truck for you. There’s a lot of people in here, a lot of resources that are applied to that.
As long as you’re not canceling a day of transport, any good reputable car shipping company should be able to offer you a refund. So, that’s something that you should look out for. You should see in the fine print that you’re able to get your money back. So, it’s a great question. I think you should look out, and read the fine print, and make sure that, as long as you’re doing the right thing on your end, that you are able to get your money back if you aren’t able to go through with your vehicle shipment.
Obtaining Refunds for Car Shipping Cancellation
John: Right. So, if you do cancel your car shipment and you do want a refund, what’s generally the way to go about getting that refund?
Mike: Yeah. I guess it really depends on your situation and how you paid. Right? If you paid with a credit card, it could be as straightforward as just refunding those funds back onto the card. Maybe it’s mailing a check back. We ship a lot of people seasonally or on a regular basis. Sometimes, we have folks who aren’t able to make a car shipment, so they have to cancel it or put it on hold.
So, we can just credit those funds to their file, apply them to their next shipment if they know that’s something that’s coming up. But as long as we’re being fair to the customer, we just make sure that we get those funds back to them in whatever way is appropriate or easiest for them.
Pick-up and Delivery Terms for Car Shipping
John: Okay. And what are the pickup and delivery terms for car shipping, or some of the things that… the details of what happens during the pickup and delivery?
Mike: Yeah. So, for that, it’s just going through the proper procedure to make sure you’re covered. So, it’s all about the condition reporting. Right? So, the driver shows up, or you meet the driver somewhere to hand over the vehicle, and you go through that condition report.
You really want to go through exactly what the condition of that vehicle is like prior to giving the vehicle up for the shipment, because that’s really what it’s all about, you and the driver agreeing this is what this vehicle looks like prior to the shipment. The driver is responsible for getting the vehicle back to you in that same condition. So, this comes up if there’s a dispute about damage or any kind of funds involved with covering any disputes on the condition of the vehicle.
Just take that time to go over the vehicle, take pictures, and make sure everyone’s on the same page with the condition of the vehicle. And then, you do that, the same exact thing, on the other end, on delivery. We see it a lot where people don’t take the time to do that on delivery, which is unfortunate because it’s a lot harder to help people fix any issues after the fact. Right? So, when you’re receiving the car, take the time to go through it and check those things, because you want to make sure you note that right then and there. If there’s something that you see that’s out of place, we want to address it before that driver leaves. They’re going to have that bill of lading or condition report.
You want to get it noted right there at the time of delivery. It’s very important. It makes it a lot easier to dispute any discrepancies that there might be, rather than having the truck leave and making a phone call later. So, just really take your time on pickup and delivery.
Pick-up and Delivery Details in the Contract
John: Are the details of the pickup and delivery detailed out, or spelled out, in the car shipping contract as well, in terms of like that this car is going to be picked up at this time, and this date, at this location, and the owner of the car is going to be there to meet with the driver of the truck, that sort of thing? Is that all part of the contract?
Mike: So yeah. The addresses and the individual’s contact information is all in the contract, but we try to be flexible here because we understand that, when you’re shipping a car, that there’s probably a lot of other things going on in life, that you’re either moving permanently or seasonally, or you’ve just got a lot of things going on, and you’re on the go. You’re moving around. So, you might need to have a neighbor meet the driver with the keys. So, we understand that that might come up. So yeah, we’re going to work with people.
And then, dates aren’t always going to be exact. Things come up that… Drivers get delayed, or even individuals’ availability changes. So, that stuff’s not exactly set in stone. We try to set… here especially, get set up with a really good representative, a good customer service representative, and work with them. That’s our goal here is just, we know flexibility is very important, so constant communication, stay flexible, and just let’s see if we can make sure that the pickup and delivery both go smooth.
Damage Liability During Car Shipping
John: Right. So, you mentioned that, during pickup, you want to check over the car and make sure that you accurately detail what the condition of the car is, so that if any damage does occur, you’re aware of it. Who is liable when there’s an accident or maybe damage that happens during a car shipment?
Mike: Right. And that’s exactly the reason you want to go over it. So, as long as we’re covering that condition of the vehicle, very specifically, that’s how we’re able to find out who’s liable. So, if everything is noted at pickup, if every scratch is noted, pictures are taken, and the car arrives at its destination, and there’s something that’s noticed that wasn’t there at pickup, and it’s noted on the bill of lading, and it’s also maybe the customer has also taken a picture…
A lot of these drivers are very responsible, but sometimes you don’t notice. Something happens, a tree branch, a rock off the side of the road, bounces up and hits the car. They don’t know something happened that hit the car, but that’s why we do these things.
That’s why these drivers have insurance, so if something does happen, the carrier is liable for the damage. And we want to have these condition reports done to cover that. So, you are fully covered during transport. So, if you’re shipping a car with a reputable company, once it gets on that truck, until you receive it and have the car back in your hands, if something happens to it, you’re covered. The person shipping the is liable. So, it’s just important to make sure you’re doing the condition report right, so that if something does happen, you are covered.
Insurance Details on Car Shipping Contracts
John: And I assume that that type of damage is covered by insurance of some kind. Do you know, how is insurance handled on a car shipping contract?
Mike: Yeah. So, if there is damage and it’s noted at the time of… you note it at the time of delivery, you note that on the bill of lading, you contact the company that you shipped with, and you put in a damage claim. Once the damage claim is put in, you wait to hear back from your rep at the company. And it depends on the company. For us, we handle it all internally here. Some companies, however, they might pass you off to their insurance company. You’ll get a policy number. And it’ll be handled with the insurance company from here, like I said.
Or with us, it’ll be handled all internally. So, we’ll deal with the insurance company and act as an intermediary from there. So, we’ll reach out to the body shops, get the estimates, reach out to the carrier, handle the insurance from there, set up the appointment, handle it really from beginning to end to make sure that it goes very smooth, right until the car is repaired and the whole lot of damage is behind you.
Contact PAL for Your Auto Shipping Needs
John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Mike. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Mike: Yeah, of course. Thanks, John.
John: And for more information, or to request a quote for your auto shipping needs, visit the website at Preowned Auto Logistics dot com, or call 8 7 7 5 4 2 1 9 5 5.