Not all auto shipping is legitimate. According to The New York Times, there is a profitable trade right now in illicitly shipping high end cars to China. Because of U.S. trade restrictions, luxury cars like the BMW X5 sell for three times as much in China as they cost in America, leading to an underground trade of buyers hoping to make a quick buck. This is, of course, illegal, and federal prosecutors have been cracking down on such shipments.
When you need help shipping a car across the country, you might, yourself, run into a few less-than-trustworthy businesses. Here are our three tips for avoiding car shipping scams in 2014.
1. Make Sure You Understand the Final Price
Quotes can be misleading. It’s always a good idea to check different companies and see what they will offer you. If one deal seems “too good to be true,” however, keep in mind that it probably is. At the end of the day, every shipping company needs to cover the expenses of gas, wages and overhead, and car shipping quotes far below average are likely excluding something that will show up in your bill later on. Always read and make sure you understand terms and conditions before signing.
2. Warning Signs and Red Flags
Why would a vehicle transport company ask you to pay via Paypal? In most cases, this should serve as a red flag because it indicates they were not able to get a legitimate merchant account with a credit company. Similarly, you should expect the overall transaction to be professional. Be wary of anyone offering you “free” gas cards or asking to use your credit card to secure your car’s spot. And, of course, look at online reviews to see what the average consumer is saying about their experience with this company.
3. Confirm the Company has Insurance
No matter where your vehicle is going, there are rules and restrictions regarding the level of insurance that needs to be covering it. For international car shipping, Expat Focus recommends making sure the company is registered with DOT (domestic auto transport). You will also need cargo insurance with a liability minimum greater than your car’s value. International shippers will also need a bond and shipping license to legally provide car shipping services; you can check up on this with the Federal Maritime Commission.
Do you have tips for avoiding auto shipping scams? Let us know in the comments! Continue.