10 Tips to Ensure a Safe Auto Transport with No Surprises!
No company knows if a carrier is in the area before you book. Beware if they tell you “we just happen to have a truck in your area.” Until they have an order and start calling trucks, they have no idea where the trucks are. They are telling you what you want to hear just to get your order!
Beware if they tell you “your deposit guarantees a spot on the truck”. They have no idea if a truck will take your order. Don’t pay a deposit until they have a carrier confirmed, and they give you the name and phone number of the driver. There is no way of ever telling what trucks will be in your area, at your specific time frame, with space and going where you need. This is why there is a national board for auto transport with both licensed carriers and licensed logistics brokers.
Look for disclaimers on the very bottom of their terms and conditions, contracts and emailed quotes. If you have strict parameters for pick up or delivery dates, and they tell you that they can do it. They even go so far as to say they guarantee it. Read their terms, and they always have an out. Specific days should never be guaranteed. *Vehicle trucking companies never guarantee them for many reasons which I lay out for you below. If drivers don’t guarantee days, how could your broker?
This is an example of a common one from competitors.
“*Indicated dates are approximate and are a subject for carriers confirmation due to limited availability, No Refunds.”
*In addition to your vehicle, your carrier may have anywhere up to 10 other clients to accommodate with their schedule at the same time as yours. Possible delays may occur due to traffic, weather and most commonly time conflicts with other loads. However, if you have strict date requirements we will go over all those details together and work a solution for every concern and make sure we get it done the way you need. The difference with Motherload is we you are prompted to list your needs to be done to ensure your transporter is on the same page.
If they tell you they will give you a gas card worth $200 to $300 when your order is complete. Don’t waste your time. THESE ARE NOT Visa Gas Cards. They require you to save your receipts and then send them in. There are so many limitations, it’s not worth your time. Also, the company DOESN’T even send you the card. Google “Free Gas Card Scam” and see what you aren’t getting.
Some quotes will be from companies who are both a broker and a carrier. They lead you to believe that they will transport your order on their truck, when in fact they will broker it to a different company. While there is nothing wrong with them brokering it, the issue is that they mislead you into thinking they will be doing the transport themselves. There are very few brokers who have a truck of their own and even fewer that have two. Some that do have one truck almost never have it run, too expensive. They use it to mislead customers in their sales pitch to unwitting first-time auto shippers.
The thing is, even if they do have one truck, the odds that on or near [first_pickup_date] their truck will just so happen to be “close by” are usually lies.
If you are quoted a price that is low, and they tell you that it is the full price to ship. What they do not tell you is that buried in their terms it says that they will charge you a broker fee in addition to the price quote. Or they do not guarantee the final price. You wind up paying $150, $250, $300 or more than what you expected. Read the terms and understand them before you sign. Look for disclaimers on the very bottom of your emailed quotes.
This is an example of a common one from brokers.
Top of the email (Large Font):
“We CAN transport your (vehicle & route info) for the Total Price of $xxx”.
Bottom of the email (Tiny Font):
“*Indicated rate is automatically calculated based on previous similar shipments on a similar route. The rate is a subject for carrier’s confirmation due to limited availability.”
Why the tiny font? We don’t think there should be any issue with how rates are determined, we just think it should be clear. We make it a point to explain the process and include all fees up front to every customer, so you are empowered and know what to expect. We will go over all your details with you and make sure all your needs are met. With all the knowledge disclosed in the beginning we allow you to make the best decision for what you need. We guarantee the final price when you approve your carrier. There are never any surprises with Mercury Auto Transport.
They tell you that the quote is the full price, but once again, their terms allow them to raise the price without you agreeing to the increase. Some companies have terms that say the customer agrees to have us add monies to the carrier’s pay in $50.00 increments, until the vehicle is accepted for transport by a carrier. This can be done up to a maximum of $250. Now, they do not need to have you sign a new contract or an amendment saying that you agree to the increase. When the truck delivers and asks you for more money than what you thought you were going to pay, they tell you that you did agree on the phone, even though they never asked if you want to raise the price. It’s your word against theirs, and you lose. Read the terms and understand them before you sign.
While every company has in their terms that you agree not to chargeback on your credit card, some say they will charge you a fee if you do charge back. It Is a violation of the Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Merchant Agreement for them to charge you. If they do charge you, turn them in and they will be fined a substantial amount.
If they can’t accept the major credit cards as payment that is a red flag. When you use a credit card, you have recourse by disputing the charges if they do not do what they have agreed to. If you pay by any other way, they have your money, and regardless of what happens, you will never get it back. If the company only has one payment option and it is to use PayPal, stay away! The reason they only use PayPal is because they cannot qualify for a merchant account. Either they had their merchant account canceled due to a high number of customers disputing charges, they have extremely poor credit, or they violated the Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Merchant Agreement.
I they are asking for a deposit before they have an assigned carrier. Do not pay the deposit/broker/admin fee until they have assigned your shipment to a truck. If they tell you they do have a truck, get the name and phone number of the trucking company. If they will not give you the name and phone number, cancel your order. Why, because they do not have a truck. Now they can then charge your credit card to buy more time.