If you’re getting ready to ship your car from one state to the next, you need to choose a car shipping company. If you’ve never done this before, there are a few unfortunately common mistakes that you want to avoid. Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice of car transport company.
Mistake #1: Not Doing Your Research
Doing your research before choosing a car shipping company is the most important step you can take. Ask friends and family for suggestions. If you’re moving house, your moving company probably has good suggestions as well.
Check out online reviews as well. Be suspicious of any company that only has a handful of reviews. And don’t stop there, but check out the company with the Better Business Bureau as well.
Make sure you ascertain your company’s credentials before you make your choice. All legitimate, high-quality car transport companies are bonded, insured and licensed, and this information is a matter of public record. The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all shipping companies to have a valid Motor Carrier number, which should be on the business website.
Mistake #2: Paying a Non-Refundable Deposit
If a car transport company asks for a non-refundable deposit when you place your order, you may not be dealing with a reputable company. Often the comapnies that ask for these deposits are the ones that quote the lowest rates, so keep your eyes open.
Legitimate companies may ask for a deposit once you’ve scheduled your pickup date (not your transport date), and some legit companies may even ask you to pay in advance. But any money you pay before receiving your car should always be fully refundable if the company doesn’t deliver or if you cancel your order for transport.
Even worse are companies that demand that you pay by wire transfer. Doing so wipes out all the legal protection and support you get from paying with a credit or debit card. A company that asks for wire transfer payment, such as payment through Western Union, is probably attempting to scam you.
Mistake #3: Choosing a Company Based on Price or Delivery Time Quotes
Sure, you don’t want to overspend when you hire a car shipping company, but price shouldn’t be the primary concern driving your choice. Far too many companies are happy to give you a low-ball estimate, but you’re likely to regret the choice if you go with one of these companies. All too often, you’ll start to hear excuses about why they can’t deliver, or they’ll raise the price after you’re already committed, claiming fuel prices have risen or they made a mistake when they bid on your job. Once you’ve turned your car over to them, you’re stuck — and if you’re already in a different city, the company knows that, and is happy to take advantage of that fact — and of you. In fact, you’re likely to be stuck paying a far high price in the end than if you’d gone with the reputable company that initially gave you a higher quote.
Instead of looking for the lowest quote, look at the company’s reputation and reviews. Only once you’re satisfied that you’re dealing with a legitimate company should you ask for quotes.
Watch out as well for companies that make grand promises about pickup or delivery date. No company can promise a delivery date, especially one with very short notice, at the time you place your order. Because of the complexities of cross-country transport, no legitimate car shipping company can give you a hard-and-fast guarantee of delivery on a specific date, so start looking elsewhere when you hear those kinds of promises.
When you’re ready to ship your car, keep these three very common mistakes in mind to make sure you choose a car shipping company that will treat you and your car well. Making a smart decision is one step to help make your move go smoothly so that you and your car both reach your destination happy and in great shape to go forward.