How To Know if Car Shipping is a Scam

March 6, 2023

How To Know if Car Shipping is a Scam

If you don’t know how to spot a car shipping scam, you could lose hundreds of dollars. It’s one of the main reasons to takes the time to thoroughly research the best car transportation, providers. There are a variety of warning indicators to look for, including companies that provide pricing information that is delayed, ambiguous, or dishonest. You should also be wary of overly enthusiastic companies and don’t present sufficient qualifications.

How can I tell if I’m being conned into exporting a car?

Learning about the transportation sector can help you spot a potential car shipping scam. Learn about particular businesses and be wary of brokers who demand payment upfront, provide poor customer service, or refuse to accept credit cards.

The Big Picture

There Will Be No Background Checks

Be wary of brokers who fail to perform rigorous background checks on their carriers. The less a corporation investigates potential drivers, the more likely you are to be assigned to risky and costly carriers. This kind of knowledge is hard to come by on the internet. As a result, you should inquire about the broker’s background checks on potential drivers. Also conducts behind-the-scenes interviews to assist us to identify providers who go above and beyond.

The MC number, USDOT number, and insurance status of a carrier are all verified by good vehicle shipping businesses. They normally take a few extra steps as well:

History of car accidents. Top-tier brokers scrutinize each carrier’s track record to weed out risky drivers.

The highest percentage of best drivers. Only the top 5% of drivers are considered by the best vehicle shipping businesses, who evaluate statistics available to brokers that rank carriers from 0 to 100%. We even located one company (American Auto Shipping) that refuses to hire carriers unless they have a 98 percent or above rating.

Database created in-house. The leading transportation companies also keep internal statistics on each driver’s performance. This allows them to cut ties with companies that customers dislike and stick with the ones they like.

There Are No Credentials

Car shipping businesses that do not post their credentials online should be avoided because they are most like to be a car shipping scam. A US Department of Transportation (USDOT) number and a motor carrier (MC) number should be prominently displayed on the broker’s website. These digits are very similar to the numbers on your license plate and driver’s license. They’re used by the federal authorities to keep track of the company’s safety record and client complaints.

Texts that Deceive

Another scam involves a broker texting you and saying that it has a vehicle in your neighborhood. According to industry experts, scammers are increasingly using this tactic to lure you into one or more of the hazards we’ve mentioned. The idea is to gain your trust before taking advantage of you.

Unpredictable Drivers

If you get a call from unknown drivers indicating they’re coming to take up your car, it’s a symptom of a possible scam. You shouldn’t give a driver your keys unless the broker offers you the carrier’s name and phone number. A random carrier will, at best, charge you an arm and a leg. In the worst-case scenario, your car could vanish into thin air.

Similarly, be clear of brokers that refuse to supply the trucking company’s contact information. Be wary when a broker informs a consumer that they have a carrier but do not provide the carrier’s name or phone number. They’re merely taking their time while looking for a carrier. Then they’ll say the carrier’s truck broke down and they need additional time a day or two later.

Ask your broker for your carrier’s information to avoid these car shipment frauds. Furthermore, you should never lend your vehicle to a driver who contacts you at random.

Desperate Broker

Be wary of car shipping brokers that appear to be desperate to sell. It’s similar to dating: you want someone who is appealing and interested in you, but not someone who makes promises they can’t keep or who appears to be desperate.

Customers frequently complain that a broker is constantly texting, calling, or emailing them. If a broker has time to phone you every 10 minutes, it’s evident that he or she isn’t busy moving automobiles for customers.

It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what characterizes a desperate broker, so trust your gut. If you get the impression that the organization is desperate, look for another option.


Car shipment deposits are fictitious expenses that you will never be reimbursed for. Only after your automobile has been delivered can legitimate brokers collect their fees. If the company demands a non-refundable fee in advance, you’ll be in a difficult situation if the price rises.

One of the most costly car transportation scams is the use of deposits. They’re pricey because the totals frequently exceed $200. Do you forfeit your $200 deposit and look for a new broker? Or do you swallow your pride and accept the increased fee from the car shipping company?

This is a particularly humiliating con because it usually only works on persons who are unfamiliar with the auto transport sector. It’s a lot more entertaining to watch crooks work their magic on screen than it is to be a deposit scam victim in real life.

It’s a heinous ruse. There have been instances where people have paid a deposit to a company and then never heard from them again.

If a car shipping firm asks for a deposit, take our advice, and walk away it is most likely a car shipping scam.

Brokerage Costs That Aren’t Clear

If the vehicle transport company refuses to disclose its broker charge, this is a clear sign of a possible automobile shipping fraud. When shipping your car, you almost always work with two companies: a broker who makes the reservation and a carrier that ships your vehicle. Brokers can’t make money unless they charge a fee, so it’s a red sign if they claim otherwise.

If a corporation does not disclose its broker charge, carriers will most likely be underserved. Because the broker must wait for a carrier to accept your job at a razor-thin profit margin, this might create considerable delays.

Pricing Crickets

When you ask precise pricing queries, beware of “pricing crickets” or the sound of crickets chirping. A broker who dodges your queries concerning what happens if vehicle transport charges go up is an indication of a possible con artist.

The fact that most businesses would not provide honest answers to these inquiries is a major red flag. It usually indicates that your price will not hold up.

Inquire with the transportation business about what would happen if they are unable to obtain a carrier at the advertised price. If the broker claims that this type of thing never happens, you’re probably not dealing with a legitimate firm.

Related Article: The Ultimate Guide to USDOT Number, What is it and How to Check It

Negative Feedback

Poor customer reviews are a simple way to spot prospective vehicle shipping con artists. You can feel safe walking away if clients mention any of the frauds on this list. We recommend looking for a company that has at least as many positive customer reviews as the industry average (4.6 out of 5 stars). In addition, look for a vehicle shipping firm that has received positive feedback, such as affordable costs, outstanding customer service, or professional drivers.

Before booking a transportation service, look up some online reviews. Simply reading what others have said can give you a good idea if you’re dealing with a reliable organization.

Car Shipping Scam


The bait-and-switch car transportation scam can cost you hundreds of dollars and leave you with a bad experience this car shipping scam is one of the well-known. This is how it goes. You get an extremely low rate from a car shipping service, making you feel like you got a great deal. However, when it comes time to pay, the vehicle transporter informs you that the first figure was merely a quote and that your actual cost is substantially greater. Rather than saving hundreds of dollars, you frequently end up spending that much more.

Red flags are prices that appear to be too good to be true. It’s one of the reasons we slam businesses that quote us prices that are much lower than the industry average. We know that pricing won’t last and represent what customers should expect.

Doing your homework is the simplest approach to prevent the bait-and-switch scam. Get three or four bids and choose the cheapest one that doesn’t seem out of place. Customers don’t comprehend the auto shipping procedure or brokers’ function, which is why this fraud is so successful. You should be always on the look for any car shipping scam.

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